It’s crucial to know what point of sale questions to ask when purchasing a POS. Researching POS systems can become an overwhelming and elongated process if you’re not certain of what you’re looking for.

Some business owners choose based on the first hit that appears on a Google search, while others will settle for the least expensive–or seemingly least expensive–system on the market. Often times, merchants are misled when searching for a POS system and will be left with a system that they are tempted to return. To avoid the unnecessary stress, it’s important to ask the right questions while doing your initial research for a point of sale. Here’s a list of essential things to consider before purchasing:

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1. Will this system meet my needs?

Make sure to prioritize what features are truly important to you and inquire about them while speaking with different POS companies. It is best to try to find out what a system is capable of while doing your initial research. You don’t want to pay for and set up the system, and then realize that it is not ideal for your business type. Gather all of the information about functionality that you possibly can, and then do a comparison of systems before committing to something.

2. How much does this REALLY cost?

This is the point of sale question that most people don’t ask POS companies. Many companies will conveniently provide partial information on pricing. It’s important to dig deeper and ask about hidden fees, processing fees, and monthly payments. Some valuable questions to start with are:

  • Is support included? If not, how much is it? Do you charge hourly? How many calls are we allotted? Is there a limit?
  • Are updates included? If not, how much will it cost to update the system and how often will we need to update? Ideally, you’ll want a system with rolling updates – this way you don’t have to pay a large amount down the road to upgrade your old, obsolete system.


3. Is your only option a contract?

Try and steer clear of POS systems that only offer services on a contract basis. Though there is nothing wrong with signing a contract (you can often save money over the course of a year), systems that only offer contracts should be approached cautiously. It isn’t uncommon for some POS companies to coerce you into signing a long-term agreement. To prevent yourself from being caught in this trap, ask the POS specialist you speak to if they offer a month-to-month option — and if not, why. If you don’t like the answer, or they dance around the question, take your business elsewhere.

4. Is the hardware proprietary?

Ideally, you won’t have to switch POS systems after investing in your first one. However, it is not a bad idea to ask about hardware compatibility. If you end up having to transition over to a new system, it is nice to have equipment that can be used again. If the hardware is proprietary, it will become useless.

Depending on your business type and the kind of system you need, you may find yourself having to ask just a few more point of sales questions than you anticipated, but at the very least, these will ensure that you don’t sit with regret like many other small business owners. Are there any other questions that helped you make your decision? If so, we’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.

Sarah Steinle

Sarah Steinle

Sarah Steinle is a POS specialist working at ShopKeep, the #1-rated iPad Point of Sale System. After years of fighting with outdated, crash-prone POS software in the hospitality industry, Sarah is proud to have helped hundreds of small business owners avoid the same fate.