Help! What do I ask my POS representative before installing a POS system?

Taking the leap and installing a new point-of-sale (POS) system can feel daunting, but the effects it will potentially have on your business can be enormously positive. When evaluating solutions, be sure to get a demonstration of the solution in person or via webinar. Below are a number of ideas to consider when speaking to point of sale providers upon purchasing a POS system.

When should I place my order for a POS system? 

This will vary from one provider to the next. Be sure to give yourself enough time to have the system ordered, shipped and installed. 

How does the implementation process work? 

The sales representative should give you a basic understanding of what is required. Be sure to find out how long the shipping will take from the distributor to the reseller. You will need to know if you need to do your own product or menu programming or if it is included in the service. Know if you are going to be doing the installation yourself, or if the provider will do it for you.  Familiarize yourself with the training process---is it self-guided virtually or onsite with a trainer? Who on your staff will receive training?

How do I prepare my site for installation? 

Some POS installations are turnkey solutions, while others are a la carte. Make sure that you understand what your provider is responsible for and what you are responsible for. Make sure you have power and network cabling at each POS station position.

How long will it take for me to learn the software?

Simple software solutions with limited functionality can be fully learned in as little as a week. More complex solutions may require a few months of part-time effort.

What happens if my server fails?

Have a formal plan in place in the event of system failure. Speak with you representative to make sure you understand the technical support, warranty repair and logistical challenges that must be addressed if the server fails, and use this information to develop your own stopgap plan. Most importantly: do not rely on anyone outside of your business to make sure you can make it through a failure.

Your POS service provider should be able to answer all of your installation questions. A POS installation should be painless if you are adequately prepared.