While it’s easy to find a simple cash register for under $100, a high-end POS system can set you back more than $2,000! What gives?
Well, for a start, a POS system is much more than a simple register. In fact, modern POS systems, with their sleek exteriors and sophisticated software, are more like computers than cash registers:
The new: Cake POS The old: Casio TE-100 cash register
As with most things in life, costs don’t tell the full story. If you manage a store, run a restaurant or own a business in the service sector, choosing a POS system that strikes the right balance between price and performance is one of the most important decisions you’ll make.
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How Much Does a POS System Cost?
The table below shows typical POS system costs for different industries.
You’ll notice that the costs are split into hardware and software components. Let's take a closer look at the distinctions:
POS Hardware Costs
POS systems have several parts:
1. POS Display Terminal
This crucial piece of kit is key to unlocking the power of your POS system. It’s the device that you and your staff will spend the majority of your time using. Without an intuitive, easy to use touchscreen, even the most advanced POS software can’t help you.
You can pick up a general purpose touchscreen POS terminal from around $400. Many suppliers, like Revel and NCR, bundle hardware and software together, often at better value than when they’re sold separately.
If you’re an iPad owner, you’re in luck. Most POS suppliers have apps that bring all the functionality of POS software to your smartphone. Opting for an iPad POS lessens the learning curve for employees, and lightens the load on your wallet.
2. Receipt Printer
Receipt printers let you process transactions quickly and accurately. Wireless ones, like the Star Micronics TSP100, are great for wait staff and store clerks who move between locations to serve customers.
A typical wireless receipt printer with a print rate of 30 receipts per minute costs upwards of $250.
3. Cash Drawer
Card payments are on the rise, but cash is still king. A secure cash drawer, combined with software that monitors cash levels, lets you keep track of the day’s takings.
A multi-compartment cash drawer, bought separately, will set you back $60-$150.
4. Bar Code Scanner
A best-in-class bar code scanner lets you run price checks on goods without breaking the bank. You can buy a basic bar code scanner for as little as $100. For a more sophisticated ‘2D’ scanner that recognises QR codes, you’re looking at $200+.
POS Software Costs
Here’s where doing your research really starts to matter. Let’s compare the costs for a one-year subscription to Epos Now’s POS solution with Upserve’s Breadcrumb POS software:
‘Standard’ tier price (single POS terminal):
’Core’ tier price (single POS terminal):
You may be wondering why we gave both of these POS solutions top ratings, despite the difference in price.
Simply put, each solution serves a different set of needs. Epos Now’s software brings a heady mix of features for retail and hospitality clients to the table. Meanwhile, Breadcrumb is laser-targeted on helping hospitality clients deliver the best customer service possible. To use an example, Epos Now would represent great value for a mixed inventory business like a grocery store, while Breadcrumb would be a better fit for a table service restaurant.
In short, any top tier POS system can add massive value to the right business.
With this in mind, let’s take a closer look at POS systems costs for different business types.
Find the POS provider that's right for your business
Restaurant POS Systems Cost
As a restaurateur, customizing menus, running financial reports and managing ingredients are just a few of your regular assignments. Unspecialized POS systems simply can’t handle the heat of the kitchen. Luckily, restaurant POS systems are designed with you in mind.
Restaurant POS systems come fitted with special features like:
- Table management
- Customized ordering
- Inventory management
- Automated ordering
- Customer loyalty services
Prices for a restaurant POS system start from around $700. A typical low cost example is the Vend Premium, which includes POS software, a complete hardware bundle and PayPal card readers.
At the other end of the bracket is the BCI Restaurant/Bar POS, which includes Aldelo Pro software, a touchscreen POS-X terminal, receipt printer and a cash drawer. Prices for this system start at $2,600.
Grocery POS Systems Cost
Grocery POS systems are purpose-built to handle large numbers of customers. While you rack up sales, a great grocery POS lets you manage your inventory, set up automatic low stock alerts, and accept gift cards, all with the tap of a touchscreen. The best solutions even use advanced analytics and reporting to shed valuable insight into your best and worst selling products.
Core features include:
- Inventory management
- Accept coupons
- Customer loyalty programs
- ‘Mix and match’ pricing (i.e. set up special offers for specific product lines)
At the top end of the market is the BCI Grocery Premium Plus which retails for around $4,000. Features on this model include a 19 inch monitor, Inuit POS software, scanner, pole display, credit card reader and receipt printer.
For businesses looking for a budget option, the ShopKeep POS Basic is one to consider. This is an entry level POS system with iPad compatibility which allows users to take payment and monitor inventory levels. The monthly software subscription fee is a very reasonable $49 per month.
Salon POS Systems Cost
The more time you spend pampering your customers, the more money you’ll make from their repeat business. But it’s easier said than done when you’ve got lots of payments to process and appointments to manage, especially during peak hours.
That’s where salon POS software can help. Bespoke salon solutions help you manage bookings with ease, reschedule appointments, and take requests for new ones. Purchasing a salon POS is a surefire way to boost the efficiency and profitability of your business.
Salon POS systems’ key features include:
- Appointment management
- Employee time tracking
- Online booking integration
- Customer account management
- Inventory tracking
One of the most popular models designed specifically for salons is the Stylist in a Box Point of Sale which includes MIKAL salon software, an 18 inch monitor, HP hardware, magnetic stripe reader, bar code scanner and cash drawer. This model retails for around $3,300 for a single terminal system.
On the entry level end of the scale, a system like Rosy's Cloud POS for salons and spas starts at just $29 per month for one user.
Bar POS Systems Cost
As a bar owner, you no doubt keep close tabs on hourly, daily and seasonal trends that affect drink prices. If you serve food, you probably also juggle ticket orders, food preparation and section seating. But what if your POS system could do all of that for you?
Specialized bar POS systems can help with all of these tasks, and more.
Core features include:
- Happy hour pricing
- Bar tab tracking
- Liquor inventory control
- Credit card processing
- Age verification tools
The Bar Standard POS system from BCI costs around $2,300 and includes Aldelo Pro software, a credit card reader, a touchscreen POS-X computer, receipt printer and a cash drawer.
Alternatively, the PayPal Standard POS system costs around $550 for a basic terminal and card reader.
How Much Do iPad POS Systems Cost?
As touched upon already, iPad-based POS systems are the preferred option of many small businesses. Most suppliers offer some kind of tablet integration for their software.
Three big benefits of iPad POS systems are:
- They are easy to set up and train staff to use
- They are mobile, which helps staff deliver consistent customer care across locations
- They have lower repair and maintenance costs than a lot of desktop-based systems
The NCR Silver is a great example of a system that caters to both crowds with desktop and iPad-based solutions. Costs for the iPad solution start from $500 for the hardware. This includes a swivel stand for the iPad, cash drawer, credit card reader, and a countertop receipt printer. The company then charges $79 to register your device and 10 cents per transaction (up to a monthly maximum of $39). This monthly fee provides access to live support seven days a week. NCR are so confident of their POS that they even let you sign up for a free trial.
To find out more about using an iPad as a POS system, check out our dedicated iPad POS page.
unTill's sophisticated POS systems incorporate many different features including; a messaging system, multilingual options so you can switch between English and any other language, differentiated menu options, historical data archive, time and attendance monitoring, chair ordering options, VIP accounts, pre-fix menu control, drive through and loyalty points.
With operation made easy thanks to intuitive touchscreen displays, prices for unTill systems depend on the specific features you need. Think $1,800-$2,000 as a ballpark starting figure.
All MICROS systems include integrated back and front office to allow for improved customer service and optimized workflow. Other available features include wireless handheld devices, touchscreen monitors, alert manager, kitchen display system, digital signage, menu boards, customer waiting list display, customer pager, reservation management and table reporting.
Prices vary according to which system you choose, but basic MICROS POS systems start from under $2,000.
Retail Data Systems
Retail Data Systems (RDS) are the largest suppliers of POS systems in North America.Retail Data Systems cover all of the types of businesses mentioned above. All systems are highly customizable, which makes them well-suited for clients looking to meet the exact needs of their individual business.
Retail Data's POS systems start from around $2,000. For a lower cost option, some machines are also available to rent.
By now, you should have a better idea of how much various types of POS solutions cost. To summarize, POS system costs depend on three things:
- Industry: From multi-location retail to independent eateries, different POS solutions target different niches
- Feature set This is what separates entry level from high end in each niche
- Supplier: Different companies offer great deals on hardware bundles and software subscriptions
It’s worth repeating this last point. POS costs have actually come down in recent years, and that’s because competition between suppliers has skyrocketed. A decade ago there might have been only a dozen systems worth considering. Today? 250+ POS options are vying for your attention.
Overwhelming, we know. But before you throw your hands up in despair, consider that 38% of businesses are still using old cash registers or legacy POS systems. Their reluctance to adopt new technology means there’s an exciting opportunity for you to reap the benefits.
There’s truly never been a better moment to purchase a POS system. So why waste time?