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DIY Small Business POS System Setup Guide

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Installing a DIY Small Business POS System saves money, and does not involve anything overly technical. With it your business gains more granular customization features for tracking sales and inventory.

Here’s a universal, brand-agnostic POS setup guide that walks through the equipment needed for a point-of-sale system that can accept both credit card and cash payments. We will cover setup basics along the way.

Ready to profit? First a few questions.

What type of business do you have?

Certain POS systems and accessories are industry specific and include tailored features and functionality for the type of work they do. All-in-one POS systems offer more basic, static functions. When you DIY a point-of-sale system part by part, it actually gives you more options for customized use.

Building your own point-of-sale system can make sense when you want:

  • A tailored point-of-sale system for your unique business.
  • More control over how your network and POS system work together.
  • A more durable point-of-sale system for use in abusive environments.

Using an all-in-one platform can make sense when you want:

  • Easy setup and don’t need an advanced feature set.
  • Marketing and social media integration.
  • Mobility in your POS system.

Piecing together your custom POS: Inventory List

Let’s say you wanted to start selling automotive parts both online and offline. That means you need to hold inventory, have an in-store point of sale system, and conduct transactions online.

For hardware, that means

  • a cash drawer
  • some kind of register
  • a credit card reader
  • a way to scan and keep track of inventory
  • a digital display
  • a receipt printer

Install software on a PC or small server to handle cash transactions. You will use a service provider for processing online and credit card transactions, and maybe another program for taking inventory. Software for retail keeps transactional information and inventory data in the same program.

Check here for comparisons of retail management software. All of these things together comprise a functional POS.

This is what a DIY small business point-of-sale system might comprise.

Computer: All-in-One Desktop Touch Computer (around $1,225)
Cash Drawer: APG Vasario 1616 Cash Drawer ($87)
Printer: EPSON TM-T20II Thermal Receipt Printer ($140)
Barcode Scanner: Zebra Symbol LI2208 Barcode Scanner ($135)
Magnetic Stripe Reader: MagTek Dynamag Magnetic Card Reader ($50)
Customer Display: Logic Controls LD9000 Series Customer Pole Display ($175)
Cash Register Software: PC America Cash Register Express Professional Edition ($428)
Credit Card / Online Payment Processing: Chase Paymentech (Pricing varies)

Recommendations for purchasing an all-in-one POS

If purchasing all the equipment separately sounds like a chore, then perhaps an all-in-one solution is more for you. If you want a simplified point of sale system for your new artisanal ice creamery for example, you could go with a mobile point-of-sale (mPOS) system such as the Lavu Point of Sale for Restaurants (Single Printer) iPad Air POS System. It has a small BYOD component but for the most part provides everything you need to get started doing offline transactions.

It is BYOD in the sense that you need to supply your own iPad Air, but it provides an enclosure, receipt printer, cash drawer, and magnetic stripe reader. On the software side of things, they provide everything you need to manage both front and back of house.

Tablet: iPad Air (around $350)
POS: Lavu Point of Sale for Restaurants  ($1000)

Which one should you choose?

The choice comes down to how much you want to spend versus how much you want to customize your point of sale system. While building your own system is more expensive, you can better fit a POS system to your specific business needs. Meanwhile, an all-in-one POS system makes for easier implementation even if it isn’t 100% suited to your business needs.

Photo by Andrés Moreira, taken from Flickr Creative Commons
Summary
 DIY Small Business POS System Setup Guide - HardBoiled
Article Name
DIY Small Business POS System Setup Guide - HardBoiled
Description
Setting up your first small business POS system can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be. We discuss what to look for in a POS system.
Author
HardBoiled | NeweggBusiness
HardBoiled | NeweggBusiness
Wallace Chu

Wallace Chu

A self-professed tech hipster that loves computers and music. Uses an iPhone ironically.

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