Our research shows point-of-sale systems typically cost between $50-100 per month for small businesses with one register, while larger businesses and franchises will likely have to pay $100-200 per month for extra features and registers. Including the initial cost of hardware, a POS system may cost between $1200 and $6500 for the first year, and $600 to $1200 for each year afterwards.
Granted, this is a broad range. There are loads of POS suppliers on the market, some of whom offer free services, while others charge per transaction. Others might not even disclose their pricing publicly and do it on a business-by-business basis, instead.
That's where Tech.co comes in. Our experts have spent hundreds of hours researching the POS market to make your choice as easy as possible. We provide all the information you need upfront to help you compare and contrast providers before making your decision.
What's more, you can even use our quick and easy quotes questionnaire which will give you bespoke prices for each of the leading providers on the market. Join the other thousands of business owners who used the tool last year to compare and save on their POS system.
In the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, it's worth having a POS that can mange online ordering, contactless payments, and deliveries to help make your store, restaurant, or any other business as safe as possible.
(All prices correct as of 11/26/2020)
POS System Cost Factors
Not all POS systems are equal. Even the best POS systems might not be quite right for your unique needs. Here's a checklist to help you think about which one you'll want.
- Size of your business — This has a major impact on the price of your POS. Each additional register or location will cost extra under most POS software plans. A tiny market stall or mall kiosk with no plans to expand, meanwhile, might not even need to pay at all, thanks to the free options available.
- Amount of features — Perhaps the least surprising cost factor is the sheer amount of features a POS system has to offer. After all, it only makes sense that a more comprehensive, useful system would cost more. If you're unsure which features will be essential to your business, you can read more about the best ones over here.
- Quality of features — While most POS systems offer an analytics feature that displays data, some are more complex than others. A more pricey POS might offer more detailed data-crunching options that can help streamline a large business's operations.
- Type of industry — Restaurants and retail are the biggest industries with their own types of POS systems, but plenty of niche industries have specialized POS systems that address their specific needs, from pizza delivery tracking to table layouts.
- Potential for expansion — What's the five-year plan for your business? If you aim to open a new location, you should take into account how much more your POS vendor of choice might charge you. You can always migrate to a new POS if you need to, but picking one that will best suit your growing company can save you time and effort down the road.
A POS system is composed of software that allows employees to make sales and track inventory, plus the hardware that this is run on. A monitor and a card reader are the most important hardware components needed, though many businesses include a receipt printer and scanner as well.
If you're confused about what options would most suit your business — we get it. It's time-consuming doing tons of research and we understand how costly getting it wrong can be. That's why we've created our custom-built comparison form. It allows you to get matched to the providers that suit your specific business needs, all in under a minute.
Let's take a more nuanced look at each element that goes into a POS system's total price.
Tech.co's verdict to help you identify the most suitable choice for your restaurant
The typical lowest starting price. The lowest price available for your business will depend on your needs.
Businesses looking to integrate ecommerce functions into their POS system.
Smaller, quick-service businesses, due to cost-effective pricing, strong brand recognition, and strong support.
Businesses in need of flexible, niche, or unique abilities, due to robust third-party integrations.
Free (but transaction fees apply)
Sold by Shopify, but also works with iPads and Android tablets
Sold by Square, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands and has a great free trial.
Sold by Lightspeed, available separately or packaged with software. Works with most leading brands.
POS Software Costs
POS software is typically cloud-based, meaning it can be accessed through the internet (generally with a short-term offline mode too, in case of a power outage), and there's no need for an in-house IT employee to fix bugs. Businesses will pay an ongoing fee, billed monthly or annually, in order to use the software.
Most POS vendors vary their costs according to three main factors: the size of your business, the range of features it needs, and the industry it is in. Here are a few practical data points to consider:
- Size: How many products do you sell and how large is your layout?
- Terminals: How many checkout terminals does your business need?
- Locations: Do you run a single location or do you manage a regional franchise?
- Industry: Does your industry require features beyond the basic POS offerings? The Lightspeed POS is a good example of how price differences can apply: Their ecommerce-specific POS is $69/month, while the retail-specific POS will run you $99/month.
- Hardware compatibility: Most POS software will be compatible with most POS hardware, so this isn't a significant concern, but some POS vendors' software includes proprietary hardware.
If you run a single location with one register, the average cost for software is between $50 and $100 per month, though it may be higher if not billed annually.
For larger operations with multiple locations and more exhaustive reporting features, between $100 and $300 per location per month is average for the industry.
Of course, instead of shooting in the dark and hoping for a good deal, our POS quotes questionnaire will give you the prices you need without any hassle.
POS Hardware Costs
POS hardware is less complicated than software: You'll need to buy it once, then you can own it forever.
A small business owner with just one or two employees may only need to buy a few iPads for under $500, while a mid-size or larger store might need three monitors, three receipt printers, and three scanners, for a hardware budget of over $2,500. Costs may be even higher for industry-specific needs: A diner, for example, may want every server to use an iPad in addition to the hosts.
However, it will need to be compatible with your POS software of choice.
- Tablets: iPads are a popular choice for running POS software, though Android devices are also supported by many POS vendors. One of the least expensive iPad purchasing options is Best Buy, which offers a selection of refurbished iPads for between $170 and $300 each, depending on the model.
- Monitors: If the register doesn't need to be portable, a simple touchscreen monitor might be the best bet, instead of a tablet. Amazon sells 12-inch POS monitors starting at $160, and 15-inch ones starting at $190.
- Card Readers: Options for card readers vary. Portable offerings are cheaper than stand-alone ones, while swipe-only readers are cheaper than contactless ones. The Square POS card reader costs $49 but can't be used with any other POS service.
- Receipt printers: This produces a printed receipt, and may not be needed if your POS software can email a receipt instead.
- Barcode scanners: While a stall or a kiosk owner might simply type in the product or search through a touchscreen's product buttons, a scanner can make checkout more efficient for a larger store. Costs range between $50 and $200.
- Self-Service Kiosk: This less common hardware setup requires a large stand and monitor, a receipt printer, and a (non-portable) card reader. While the upfront costs are high — they can be anywhere from $300 to $1,500 — a business with a simple checkout process can save far more by freeing up employees who would otherwise be checking customers out all day.
POS hardware can make your system costs spiral quickly, so it pays to get the right system at the first time of asking. That's where our bespoke quotes form comes in. We match your business' needs to the perfect POS supplier and make sure that you don't pay a dime more than necessary.
Payment Processing Fees
What's left after considering software and hardware costs? Payment processors. These third-party services aren't exactly part of setting up your POS system itself, which means they can easily take a new business owner by surprise. Every time a customer uses a credit card, you'll need to process the payment, and the costs comes out of your revenue.
Some POS software systems serve as their own card processors, taking an additional percentage beyond their monthly fee. It shouldn't be more than 2.4% per transaction though, with the exception of Square's 2.6% charge (Square gets away with a high per-transaction price tag because it doesn't charge any monthly fee at all).
POS Systems Total Cost
The total cost of a POS system, covering both setup costs and the first year of a software subscription, can vary: Smaller stores might pay around $1200, while larger stores might pay around $6500. Many will fall in between.
Ultimately, your POS System cost will come down to a number of decisions and factors relating to your business needs; there's no set number. For a new business, learning about all of these variable price points for software, hardware and payment processing may seem overwhelming and expensive. But in reality there is a huge amount of flexibility to make your POS system work for you. If you don't mind limited features and already own an iPad, “free” is even an option.
Let's take a look at two case studies: The typical costs for a small business and for a large one.
A small store with just a dozen products to sell — a cronut store, let's say — won't have the large kitchen personnel to justify advanced POS features. The cronuts are first-come-first-served, not baked to order, so there's no need for detailed kitchen-to-server communication. Only one cashier is on duty at a time, so the POS software is limited to one register at one location, with one iPad, one iPad stand, and a card reader.
Total POS system cost: Around $1200, including between $720-$1,000 for an entire year's worth of a POS software plan priced at ~$60-$80/mo.
A large store — let's call it a thrift shop — will need both larger amounts of hardware and a more advanced software. Detailed reports from a higher tier of POS software plan can help the store manager know which products sell faster or at a high enough price point to justify ensuring they're in stock, or giving them a store display. A row of five monitors, card readers, and receipt printers keeps the lines moving. While the software plan is needed for five registers, many POS vendors offer deals for accompanying hardware (the POS TouchBistro, for example, offers a $249/month plan that covers five registers).
Total POS system cost: Around $6500, including $3000 for one year of a professional POS software.
Most single-location businesses can expect to land somewhere in between. Initial costs will be lower if you opt for a card-processing POS like Square, though monthly charges will be higher.
Compare POS System Prices
The only way to ensure you're getting the best deal on your POS system is to directly compare tailored price quotes, for your specific business needs. Comparing how leading suppliers would fit your business, side by side, will enable you to make the most informed decision. Tech.co can help you do this, with our secure and quick comparison form — you'll get obligation-free quotes from the leading POS system suppliers in minutes.
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