As a small business owner, you’re likely budget-conscious. The offer of a “free” service or product, like free POS software, can be enticing. However, remember the saying, “there’s no such thing as a free lunch.” While free POS software exists, there’s more you need to know before you take an offer.
What is POS Software?
Point of sale software is what businesses use to streamline transactions and operations. Software and hardware combined form the POS system*, and you have a few options to choose from when it comes to the software side of the equation.
Traditional POS Software
Before cloud computing became all the rage, legacy POS software with locally-hosted data storage was the only option for point of sale software. With all of the data stored on-site, the business owner or manager must be present at the physical location to view reports, make changes to the menu, or any other task involving the point of sale software, typically through a dedicated back-office computer. Some benefits of this approach are less reliance on a stable internet connection and typically faster operation. However, this option lacks remote reporting and POS management functionality.
Cloud-Based POS Software
On the other hand, with cloud-based software, data is hosted on remote servers which you can access from anywhere with an Internet connection. This option gives you more flexibility when it comes to remote reporting, POS management, and software updates, but you do need to consider the fact that a stable internet connection is required to avoid any disruption to your operations.
Open Source POS Software
The last option, but only if you’re tech-savvy, is open-source POS software. With open-source software, you receive the source code, allowing you to customize it to suit your needs. However, unless you’re technically inclined, this may not be the ideal option for you, as most aspects of open-source software require a DIY approach.
POS Features: Free POS Software vs. Paying for POS Software
When it comes to POS software*, free products are typically the bare-bones version of a provider’s premium version. You’ll find limited capabilities and functions compared with the paid counterparts. Consider how this limited functionality could impact your business and whether you’ll need to purchase additional features down the line.
Some features that will be impacted include inventory management, employee management, and POS reports, all of which are significant parts of your business operations. With premium plans, you’ll have the tools to make these tasks easier, more efficient, and more accurate. Other features that may be impacted include returns and refund capabilities, discounts and promotions, and loyalty programs. Many free software packages will not have these built-in. Setup, configuration, and customization functions are usually also limited or less user-friendly with free software.
The Bottom Line
Free POS software may seem like a bargain, but it could cost you in the long-run. Consider how the limited functionality could affect you, your staff, and your business today and in the future. A POS system is an investment, and paying more now will likely pay off over time.
More About Harbortouch
In over 20 years of business, Harbortouch* has served more than 300,000 small to mid-size businesses, providing first-class POS software and state-of-the-art POS hardware and earning numerous stellar Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers*. From secure payment processing to cloud-based reporting and management tools, Harbortouch’s model makes its products affordable for any budget. Harbortouch’s ground-breaking free equipment program is frequently featured on the hit TV show Bar Rescue. The program offers merchants custom programming, quality expert installation, and unparalleled customer support.
Software and hardware combined form the POS system* – https://pointofsale.com/point-of-sale-systems-explained-what-is-a-pos-system/
POS software* – https://www.harbortouch.com/pos-solutions
Harbortouch* – https://www.harbortouch.com/
Harbortouch reviews from satisfied customers* – https://certifiedconsumerreviews.com/harbortouch/