A POS system sitting on a table in a retail store with products sitting next to it on the table.

Renting vs buying a POS system

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Understanding the benefits of either renting or buying a point of sale system for your business

What are POS solutions?

Point of sale solutions and point of sale software exist to help businesses process payments, store customer data, oversee inventory management, and support overall business operations. POS systems include hardware and software solution components. For example, your POS could come with a wide range of equipment and POS hardware, including a receipt printer, card reader, cash drawer, touch screen, barcode scanner, and other tools that support customer checkout. Hardware that is easy to use and accessible is desirable for business owners. Additionally, POS software can run programs that track customer purchases, generate sales and expense reports, and provide support for customer loyalty programs. Many POS companies offer packages to businesses who want a variety of capabilities and functionality with their POS system.

As noted, POS solutions support transactions at the time of the sale, whether with credit card processing, cash payments, or modern payment tools through mobile apps. With this new technology, POS systems provide modern payment options, easy calculations, and quick use by both employees and customers. Modern POS systems have the benefit of real-time analytics to gauge how the business is doing on a particular day, what products are performing well, and various other metrics for business analysis.

As businesses grow and expand, integrating a POS solution is necessary for small businesses and big businesses alike. However, some companies may prefer to utilize a point of sale rental with rental equipment and software as opposed to buying the technology. This article will provide an overview of the benefits and disadvantages of using a rental system compared to buying your own POS system for use in-house.

Renting a POS system

Pros

One of the primary benefits of renting a POS system is the immediate return on investment your company will see. With a lower price, you can reap the same benefits as a business who has invested full price into the technology. Other major benefits of renting a software and hardware POS solution include:

  • Less cost upfront. If you have a new business, you may need to give special attention to all operational costs that you have. Start-up capital may need to be reserved for other aspects of your business, so if you can save money on a POS system at the beginning, you will have more to work with. The best part is that you still have access to the same system and technology if you were to buy the product itself.
  • Flexibility. If you don’t invest in a POS system long-term, you can be more agile in technological choices you make as a company. For example, if you are using a rental system, you can always make a switch towards newer technology without losing money. You can simply switch, especially if newer technology offers products or functionality that aligns with your business needs.
  • Ongoing support. When renting a system, you will have access to ongoing customer support should you need troubleshooting with your product. If you buy your POS solution, some of the troubleshooting may fall on you with less customer support if something goes wrong.
  • Quality cash register. Instead of having to use older systems, through leasing and a monthly fee, you can access a system that has up-to-date payment methods, touchscreen functions, and familiar hardware that customers are comfortable engaging with. For new businesses, this will help your brand stand out as a modern, sleek company.
  • Business tax deductions. If you track the cost of your rental, you can submit these expenses as deductions when completing your taxes. This will help incentivize your business to invest in technology that can support your operational needs.

Cons

Of course, renting your POS system isn’t free of cons or disadvantages.

  • Buy-Now-Pay-Later. Though you won’t have to pay as much upfront as with buying a POS system, you may end up paying more through monthly fees and other pricing requirements. POS rentals often include customer service charges, transaction fees, etc. that can impact the actual amount you end up paying for the POS solution. So, it is important to examine upfront and long-term costs before making the final decision about POS systems at your company.
  • Interest rates. Depending on the established rates of your lease, you may be liable for higher rates over longer periods of time. If you negotiate a long-term lease, you risk the chance of paying more money than you would if you had purchased the POS system from the beginning.

Buying a POS system

Benefits

Many companies determine that buying a POS system is a better choice for their business and overall business model, especially if you have the cash upfront to make this investment. Here are some of the key benefits of buying your POS system, as opposed to leasing or renting:

  • Business tax deductions. Similar to leasing, you can submit POS costs and expenses as deductions when completing your taxes. This will help incentivize your business to invest in technology that can support your operational needs.
  • Customizations for your business. When you have your own equipment, you can customize the POS system in whatever way you would like, both in the hardware and the software components.
  • More profitable long-term. When you purchase your POS system, you won’t necessarily have to worry about a higher monthly payment that you would get with a leasing arrangement. You also don’t have to worry about changes to the leasing agreement (like interest rates) that could fluctuate what you are paying on a regular basis. If you have the finances upfront, paying for your POS system ahead of time will save you money in the long-term.
  • Equipment guarantees. If you have an issue with your equipment or have something that isn’t working, you will likely have a warranty that could help you exchange the equipment if an issue comes up. This helps keep you protected and not having to worry about out-of-pocket costs that could be associated with hardware concerns.

Cons

Likewise, purchasing your POS system also comes with some disadvantages .

  • Responsibility. When you own your POS system, you will have more responsibility when something goes wrong, even if the equipment is on warranty. You may have to pay for servicing as opposed to leasing when there can be troubleshooting as part of an ongoing contract with the POS service provider.
  • Start-up cost. POS systems are not cheap. In fact, they require a lot of investment on the front-end to make sure they can integrate and work within the business context you operate. As such, you should be aware of a higher start-up cost that can change the financial picture at the start of your business.

The right decision for your business

Whether leasing or buying, it is important to examine what advantages and disadvantages are most salient for your business. As you consider your next steps with POS solutions, you should be aware that purchasing POS solutions will always save you money in the long haul. However, renting is becoming a popular choice for businesses who want more agility and versatility with technology options. Whatever you decide, be sure to do your research and find the right fit for your business, of course at the right price point as well. POS systems can immediately add value to your business, so you want to make sure you find the right solution for your company.

Next steps

Are you ready to take the next steps in integrating a POS at your place of business? Are you ready to consider the right step for your business in investing into a point of sale solution?

Heartland is ready to help.

Heartland helps nearly 1,000,000 entrepreneurs make and move money, manage employees and engage customers with human-centered technology solutions that allow them to rise above the daily grind and lead their businesses into a brighter future. Learn more at heartland.us