Friday, September 28, 2012

Part 8 of our "how do I know which cash register to buy?"

When you buy a cash register you need to ask yourself this very important question "Do I want to program on my own or have it done?"

Well do you? Regardless of whether you buy a SAM4s or Sharp Cash Register it is going to need some level of programming. Some registers require a great deal of programming depending on what application you will be using it in. Restaurants require more programming in most cases however a retail store that wants to bar code scan can also require many hours of work.

In my humble opinion if you are cost conscience as most of us are than you should do as much of the programming as possible. Doing your own programming will save you money now as well as in the long run. However keep in mind we cash register guys charge for programming because it can take a lot of time! Do you have the time to program the register yourself? Here are a couple of estimates based on my experience for an average end user to program a cash register.
  • Simple 10 department machine with alpha, 2 tax rates, discount and text logo = 2 to 3 hours
  • 20 departments with alpha, 2 tax rates, 2 discount keys, 4 payment keys, graphic logo, macro key and a few misc items = 4 to 5 hours
  • 20 departments with alpha, 300 PLU / UPC's (without software and import file), 2 tax rates, 2 discount keys, 4 payment keys, graphic logo, macro key and a few misc items = 7 to 9 hours
  • 20 departments with alpha, 3000 PLU / UPC's, (with software and import file) 2 tax rates, 2 discount keys, 4 payment keys, graphic logo, macro key and a few misc items = 5 to 6 hours
  • 100 menu item fast food register with no kitchen printer = 3 to 5 hours
  • 300 menu item fast food register with no kitchen printer = 5 to 7 hours
  • 100 menu item fast food register with with kitchen printer requiring modifiers  = 8 to 10 hours
  • 100 menu item table service register with kitchen printer requiring modifiers = 12 to 15 hours
You get the picture, it takes lots of time to get a cash register ready. Some of the items being programmed are specific to cash registers and you would probably never have encountered any of these items before but a lot of it is just the time consuming work of plugging in hundreds of names, prices, status, etc.

A cash register with a large multi-line display is almost always faster to program. You can accomplish more line of data in one program job opposed to a register with a one or two line display it is one program for name, another for price, another for status, another for link, etc etc.

So one way or another you are going to pay for programming either with your time or with you money! Cash register dealers have to charge for their time or they won't be around long. No one would expect a professional CPA to install Quick Books for a couple hundred bucks just because quick books is cheap!

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