This is designed to help you figure out how much you should spend on an EPOS – what we’d think of as “cheap”, what we’d think of as “expensive”, and what the differences are between the top, middle, and bottom of the range.
Remember, in EPOS, there’s three parts. The software, the hardware, and the payments. The software is the beating heart of the system, and the payment processors move the money from the customer’s bank to yours. Hardware is the till itself. You can browse hardware here!
If you’re not sure what would be right for you, we can chat you through the market for free. We’re a market, not a shop, so we can tell you about several different software and payments companies without hassle from their salespeople. Being referred by us won’t affect the price and we may be able to discount hardware in some instances. Alternatively, you can use this test to get (good) automated recommendations from our in-house robot.
1. EPOS Software Costs
Cheapest on the market: £0 per month
Middle of the market: £30-£50 per till per month
Top-whack: around £60-100 per till per month
A) Cheapest on the market – £0 per month
Nothing is for free, and companies which do free EPOS software want you to use their payment processing, for which they’ll charge a percent per transaction. That said, you’ll need someone to provide payment processing anyway, and their rates can be competitive for merchants who process small volumes or with a low average transaction sizes. The EPOS software is basic and we’d recommend using for small merchants only – even if you continue using their payment processing as you get bigger!
You’ll sometimes here these companies called “two-in-one solutions”, “payment facilitators”, or “payfacs”. They include iZettle, Square, PayPal Here, and Sum Up. The software is available via an app and can be downloaded, but you’ll need to apply through StoreKit for your discounted reader.
What do we mean by basic?
Well, on the one hand you can have a simple sales log and simple reporting features, which will tell you things like “you sold X amount on Saturday, Y amount on Sunday, and here’s a list of transactions.” But that’s about all they’ll tell you.
It doesn’t do reporting on specific things – e.g. it won’t tell you what kind of line items are doing well, or what items aren’t worth your precious shelf space. Similarly, there’s no service-based reporting, on your staff performances, or tables, or anything like that. The service is likely to be inferior to the more expensive systems – whereas some have a 24/7 UK office to call in case of emergency, these companies serve more people at fewer prices, and are less likely to be available.
B) Mid-range: £30-£50 per month per till
Merchants generally graduate to these after starting out with a payfac. You can also continue payment processing with your current provider and integrate with this better EPOS software, if you like. Call us and ask what integrations are available with your processor.
What do we mean by mid-range?
Here, the reporting improves dramatically; but there’s still problems around really specific/niche functions and generally speaking they’re still not very well designed for multi-store.
So for reporting, depending on which system you choose, you can see reports on what’s selling well or badly; your staff performances; or in some systems, which parts of the restaurant or shop are doing well . It tracks stock, and while it can’t handle the level of complexity of stock which the top-whack software can, that means they’re still nice and simple to train on.
They work very well for systems with simple and rapid front-ends like QSR and cafes – we’d expect those groups to have to pay a little less for software that works great. Restaurants which want table service will probably need to spend a little more for systems which are organised around tables.
There are fewer examples of mid-range software in the retail category here than the hospitality category. AirPOS, Shopify POS, and Vend Lite are great retail choices; whereas Nobly, Goodtill, iZettle Pro, are better choices for hospitality. (If you have niche needs, call us). We can talk you through in preciser detail what the advantages and prices of these systems are.
C) Top-whack – around £60-100 per month per till
If you have a bunch of stores, or you have complex multi-service elements in your store, these software brands are likely to be the right answer. It’ll require a few days of training and setting the system up, and if you have a simple store, you’re likely to find the functions a little unwieldy. Call us and ask what integrations are available with them and whether we can match them to your store.
What do we mean by top-whack?
These systems are large, complex, and can do most of the things you want. Would you like to incorporate tipping into your EPOS whereby you can produce a weekly report of tip earnings? That’s fine. Would you like to discern which parts of the store are the top earning so you can put your high value stock there? Great. As we get bigger and better, the software also becomes more bespoke – so is usually more customisable to specific tasks you need logged.
They’re also just designed for bigger stores. That can mean chains of a few different stores; or that can mean something like a complicated hotel, with a restaurant, bar, spa facilities – which is probably the example of store kind which demands the most of an EPOS when it has a single location. If you’re a retailer, the assumption here is that you’re likely to have an e-commerce operation, in which case integrations are available with your online shop.
2. Hardware Costs
Cheapest working till: £299 ex VAT
Normal till price: £600-1000
Bells & Whistles: £1000-1500
A) What is the cheapest till we sell?
Includes an iZettle card reader, a mobile printer, and till rolls.
Pretty good, right?
This is the absolute cheapest we could make it – so there’s a few compromises you have to make to get to this rock-bottom price.
The first: you have to already have a “controlling device” for this one, by which we mean a tablet or smartphone. If you’re running a market stand, there’s nothing to stop you downloading your payment processing app onto your phone; and simply using that.
The second: we don’t normally recommend the printer we’ve chosen here because it prints quite slowly. It’s usable – but if you ever see queues, the printer will make them longer.
There’s no cash drawer included here, so you’ll either need to buy one for an extra £50, look into cash wallet options (which we don’t sell – sorry!), or refuse to take cash altogether.
B) Normal till price – £600-1000
Includes iPad, tablet stand, card reader, receipt printer, till rolls, cash drawer
OK, so now we’re into the territory that most POS hardware will cost per till. It really depends what you want – for example, we have cheap, solid, durable iPad stand which costs £29, or we also stock superb designs from Heckler, which are up to £200.
But mainly, it depends how many bits you get. You’re not going to get any change from £200 per printer. iPads are the most expensive part of a till, and we price-match with Apple.
You can use our tool to play around with options here. I quickly built a kit which came to £650, but I didn’t include a barcode scanner or a stand for it. Using an mPop can be a good way to reduce costs because it rolls your cash drawer and printer into one thing. Another thing to note is that if you’re in a business which needs multiple tills but only one printer; or multiple printers per till; you’re going to want to get the ethernet printer.
C) Bells & Whistles: around £1000-1500 per till
Includes every accessory and item for a till available through StoreKit.
The extra cost here goes mainly on the kitchen printers, so you can send through an order to a kitchen if you’re a restaurant. The difference with kitchen printers is that they don’t use thermal paper, so they don’t break in really hot kitchens. They’re also a little louder than the receipt printers so they can be heard through the kitchen din.
The best thing about the iPad based systems isn’t that the total cost of the till set-up is cheaper than a till from days gone by. It’s that the software is better. If you don’t like your software, you can switch systems without paying hardware costs.
3. Payments Processing Costs
Small volumes: 1.75%
Large volumes: 0.8%-1.1%
This is where things get confusing – because it’s backwards! Processing more money makes payment processing cheaper per pound, but will pay higher amounts in total. So for example, someone paying 1.75% on £2,000 card volume would be paying around £30 per month for payment processing. Someone spending 1% on £20,000 would end up spending around £200 – but they have the cheaper rate.
Payments is a commodity – no matter what you spend, the product is the same – so we’re working this out based on price.
A) Small volumes: 1.75% / fixed rate
Pay this on volumes of less than around £6K per month
If you’re not processing very much, you’re likely to get a cheaper rate through a payfac. The other advantage of payfacs, and the reason they work well for people just starting out, is that there’s no contract – it’s pay-as-you-go. So you can start and stop processing whenever you like. We’ve produced a calculator which lets you quickly check what your rate would be on a payfac. But on higher volumes, it could be cheaper on a traditional processor, for which you’d have to call us.
B) Mid-market: 1.1-1.7% / rate type depends
Pay this on volumes of between £6K and £60K per month
The reason rate type depends in the middle market is that there’s more than one factor at work which decides your rate. It’s a combination of your average transaction size and your total processing volume that works out the cheapest rate style for you. Either way, it should average out as between 1 and 1.7% across all cards. (With blended quotes, they might only cite the cheaper rates on some cards, and not the more expensive rates on others, so this may look high).
C) Top of the market: around 0.8-1.1% / rate type depends
Pay this on £60K per month plus
These are killer rates, and will only be available to merchants processing big volumes. Mostly, these would be available through a traditional processor – the absolute cheapest a payment facilitator will go is 1%. (That said, they’re still the cheapest for businesses with very small transaction sizes, like coffee shops.) What does this mean?
That means that the cheapest you could do this for £227 as a flat rate – but the merchants this will make sense for are likely to be charged 1.75% on payments. If you’re a middle of the road merchant, budget £9K for your till set up, £40 a month on software and set up a call to find out how to negotiate the best payments rate.
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