5 Reasons not to use free POS software
If we’re being completely honest, not all free POS software is necessarily low quality and there may be some decent solutions out there for small businesses (if you’ve got the time to try them all). However, the fact of the matter is that these often heavily advertised ‘free’ options are designed to cost you money somewhere along the line.
We’ve put together the five reasons why your business shouldn’t use free POS software. Read this before you invest your time and money!
1. Free POS software will not grow with your business
Not without costing you, anyway. As we’ve written before, choosing a scalable POS system is vital to growing businesses. You may not need more advanced functionality now, but when you take on new employees, open a second location, or require a customised report, you may be wishing you didn’t choose a free POS solution. As you require more functionality, you’ll discover that most freebie software either doesn’t have the features to give, or they do, but they’ll charge you an often unreasonable price to install them.
2. You will not receive free installation, training, or support
Some free POS solutions may be easy to install without additional help, but the training and support that you would normally receive for free with other companies is going to drain you of some cash. If you don’t have any employees you may figure out things for yourself along the way and discover workarounds that will ‘do’ for now. But as soon as new people come on board, the training for this system is going to be difficult and/or expensive. Add to this the support required if something goes wrong, which it inevitably will one day. Many free solutions only offer a simple help forum on their websites.
3. Free POS software comes with many surprise fees
As you may have realised by now, ‘free’ doesn’t always mean free when it comes to POS software. We already know about the potential money burner that support and training can be, but there are a bunch of other things you may be charged for, too. These include adding new features, upgrading your plan, exporting certain data, customisation (if offered at all), additional reporting functionality, surprise hardware requirements, and hidden monthly fees, amongst others.
4. Free POS software offers limited or no customisation
When you pay for a quality POS solution, you become a valued client to a company that cares about providing a good service. This includes the latest and greatest features, as well as helping you customise their system to your business. If you need special reports, these can be set up to run automatically, if you require a special feature, this can be added, too. When your business is running on free POS software you’ll receive no such customisation. Some companies may offer it at a price (often a big one), but many will not even provide the option.
5. It can be a huge waste of time
On top of all of the other costs, free POS software can cost you a lot of precious time. There is usually a ‘DIY factor’ to these systems and you’ll often find yourself up late at night working on an installation problem or sifting through the online help forums trying to find a solution to something that broke. You may not cost your own time, but this isn’t true of your employees, who will no doubt spend extra time learning a system that comes with no training and spend time figuring out problems when something goes wrong. You may even consider hiring an IT person, as running a POS system with no support usually requires strong technical knowledge.
Summing all of this up, we could even say there’s just one big reason not to choose free POS software: it doesn’t offer a good return on investment. Your business may be small now, but it will grow and this ‘free’ arrangement will be anything but that as you add new features and require support and training.
When choosing a POS system for your business, we would encourage you to make your decision based on your business’s wants and needs. If you find a free or very cheap solution that offers everything you need with no outrageous hidden fees, then that’s great! But most likely you’ll find that the best investments often cost a little bit more at first.