Free POS Software? It's Too Good To Be True
At first glance, the offer of free POS software can seem like a sweet deal. Free, high quality applications, games, and software are not hard to come by these days, so it’s not unreasonable to assume you could hit the jackpot with free POS software. The ‘what have I got to lose?’ mentality is extremely common among business owners.
Unfortunately, the old expression, ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is also true, especially when it comes to point of sale (POS) software. Here’s why:
Free POS Software isn’t really free
We know what you’re thinking – how can something free cost money? While the initial software download is free, you’ll soon find that using anything beyond the basic program causes you to be charged. Here are some of the hidden costs commonly associated with free POS software:
- Installation, training, and support: POS software can be complicated to setup and manage, especially when everything is new to you and your employees. If you require any technical assistance or training you can expect to go around in circles with vague online help centers before finally giving in to the company’s technical support fees.
- Additional essential features: Important features are occasionally excluded from the free POS package so you will have to pay to add them to your dashboard.
- Exporting large quantities of data: You may be able to download some basic reports and stats, but large volumes of data will often come at a cost if you’re using free POS software.
- Customization: You could be facing some extra charges if you want to customise your dashboard and reports.
- Reports: It’s not uncommon to have to pay to set up non-standard reports. Even some very basic reports will cost money to add.
- Hidden monthly fees: We’ve probably all fallen for this scheme at some point in our lives – a company will advertise as free, you’ll download it, invest your time in it, and then at some point in the near future you’re getting hit up for credit card details. Your program wasn’t free at all, it was merely a trial, and now that you’re hooked you feel you have no choice but to pay.
- Hardware requirements: This is another hidden cost to watch out for. Some free POS softwares only work with specific hardware (which definitely isn’t free!).
Free POS Software Can waste Your Precious Time
If you choose to download free POS software, installation and setup alone can take up a fair bit of your time. For most business owners, this is an entity even more valuable than money. It’s common to hear about hours wasted on unhelpful tech support centers or time spent creating your own mini-hacks and workarounds.
Add employees to the mix and things get even more complicated. Wasted time is literally costing you money at this point, not to mention it can cause a lot of frustration and dissatisfaction in the workplace.
Free POS Software Is Not a Solution for the Future
Most business owners have big plans for their companies. This means you need software that will grow with you and keep up with demand. You need to consider whether the software is of a high enough standard to keep growing with you as you continue to hire more employees. Is the technical support high quality? Are the fees for this service affordable? Will employees find the software easy to use? Does the software handle transactions efficiently and effectively?
Many free programs simply won’t live up to their hype and will end up hindering your business as it tries to move forward. It’s best to think about your POS software as an investment: you might need a little capital to get started, but once the initial purchase is out of the way it should be contributing positively towards your bottom line.