Written by Martin Nikolaev: Point of Sale Expert
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Every service-based company needs a fitting POS for service business to thrive, there’s no doubt in my mind about that. Retailers are not the only ones who can benefit from a modern point-of-sale solution’s perks. POS systems for service business is a growing niche that service-based operations can greatly benefit from.
POS systems for retail operations are similar to POS for service business in many ways. They both serve a special purpose: to provide you, the business owner, with a variety of features allowing you to manage and control every aspect of your company. But there is another equally important purpose: to provide your clients with the best customer experience possible. Consumers would choose to pay with the same means, regardless if it comes to products or services.
There are, however, some differences. To make POS for service business a matter you understand well, we’ll dwell on the details and reveal what it is all about.
|Our Experts’ Choice||Square System|
|The best POS for service business is Square POS. Square offers:
Don’t have time to read this whole review? Skip ahead to:
- POS for Service Business | Definition
- Reasons Why a POS for Service Business Is Important to Have
- POS for Service Business: The Important Features
- Types of POS for Service Businesses
- POS for Service Business: The Vendors
I hope you take the time to read this useful article, but here’s a short list of its highlights:
- POS for service businesses are specific because they require certain tools that are not necessarily part of retail POS software, for example. These tools include, but are not limited to appointment management and scheduling, repeat orders and bookings, extended CRM attributes, campaign management, and so forth.
- The best POS for service business needs to have a rich toolset, including appointment management, reminders, alerts, inventory monitoring, customer data analysis, and dozens more. It also needs to be mobile-friendly and highly customizable.
- Finding the best among all POS for service business solutions requires planning, research, and comparisons based on several criteria.
- The best point of sale solution for service-based businesses is Square POS because of its affordability, flexibility, mobility, and ease of use, among other perks.
POS for Service Business | Definition
A POS system for service business is always as specific as the organization or niche it’s supposed to tackle. For example, restaurant or fast-food POS solutions have a number of features that speed up ordering and payment. They also have specific tools, such as kitchen display systems connected to the terminal that send order information back and forth when needed.
The best POS for service-based businesses is always equipped with a plethora of appointment and scheduling features and numerous alerts related to tasks, sales, supplies, inventory, and so on. Such a system would also have an extended range of reporting features. Having access to them will help you control your organization and identify any weaknesses you could guide your attention to and eliminate.
Finding the Best POS System for Service Business | Must-Have Features
Even if most POS solutions are compatible with your service-based business, there is still one that would be better than all other types you could opt for. It all comes down to your preferences and the ability of a certain POS vendor to cover all of them. Whether it’s loyalty management programs or tracking of work hours, the right POS for service business needs to have it all. Plus, most service operations have different requirements compared to retail enterprises, for example.
First and foremost, the POS system you choose needs to be bulletproof in terms of client experience. The faster and smoother the transaction, the better. You cannot afford to waste your clients’ time, which is why choosing the perfect point-of-sale system matters a lot.
Reasons Why a POS for Service Business Is Important to Have
Your ability to accept payments via all methods possible is a key reason for having a point-of-sale solution that suits your needs. Slow and faulty transactions need to become a thing of the past, meaning that you should settle for nothing but the best POS for service business out there. It would bring convenience for your clients, but it will also make everything a lot easier for you by taking care of a plethora of things. Here’s a quick summary of the important bits:
- Inventory tracking
- Appointment management
- Staff management
As competitive as most service-based niches are, you surely need all the advantages you can get. Running your operation from a single device with the help of a fully loaded POS app is one awesome advantage that often gets neglected. Here are a couple of facts to back this up:
- Web payments: Some service providers allow their clients to pay from the comfort of their homes via a portal or a website (restaurants, for example). Having a third-party payment processing partner becomes a thing of the past when you have a POS for service business that supports website payments. Such integration is a must for service-based businesses that operate partially or entirely online.
- Integrations: Your best option is to choose a POS for service business that offers a full set of integrations. This means that the system must work side by side with your existing software (such as accounting apps). Reaching this level of efficiency results in a competitive advantage you would be glad to have.
POS for Service Business: The Important Features
As mentioned earlier, the most important reason why you must choose a reliable and customizable POS for service business is to achieve the ultimate client satisfaction. In the world of service-based businesses, a good reputation is everything, and maintaining it would result in retainer clients.
To reach the above-mentioned goal, you need to make sure every client has the best experience possible, including every step of the service delivery process, from the appointment to the payment processing. This is possible with the help of a POS for service business that has all the bells and whistles. Let’s look at the must-have features to look for.
- Easy checkout procedure: Many service businesses need to be flexible enough to respond to clients’ expectations. Sometimes, your customers would switch between services based on their needs and preferences, or the type of service you provide. This means that you should be able to provide them with a reliable checkout option at every step of the way. This is where mobile POS systems come in handy. Splitting a bill at a diner when each of the clients wants to pay with their credit or debit cards is easy when you have the right software. The same goes for a plethora of other service-based and hospitality businesses.
- Scheduling: Schedules are a must when it comes to delivering services. The basis of offering your clients a particular service and being able to deliver it properly is a mix of dedicated time, effort, skills, and knowledge. Having this in mind, it’s obvious why combining them in the most efficient way possible is the key to success, and this would be impossible without a strict and precise schedule. This is where POS systems for cafeterias and schools come in handy. If you’re in this industry, then you need a complete scheduling toolset. It should include repeat orders, bookings, and other tasks, as well as separate employee timetables.
- Portfolio customization options: Using an appropriate POS for service business will allow you to create a competitive list of services that can vary all the time. You can add additional services to it, based on a particular client’s preferences and expectations. Being able to offer a tailor-made solution to a client for which they can pay immediately using their preferred method is a great way to stand out from the competition.
- Client profiles: Having a state-of-the-art POS for service business gives you access to nifty features that make all the difference. Being able to keep track of client profiles and their purchase history is one such option. Not only that, but you will be able to create a service purchase sequence in which the client will be asked to pay only after the service has been delivered.
- Task/order/appointment calendar and reminders: If time is money, then missing an appointment is equal to a hefty loss. This can be avoided if the cafeteria POS software you choose features the tools needed to properly schedule tasks and appointments and to remind you of them. Automatic alerts are essential for both your employees and clients. They guarantee a smooth sales process, as well as the quality of the services you deliver.
- Loyalty programs and campaign management: Business owners know that loyalty programs are an awesome way to tell their clients they care about them and that they are thankful for choosing their services. Client retention would be impossible by utilizing the proper set of loyalty programs and campaign management tools. Integrating them into a POS system makes the most of all related processes. Having it would allow you to track and organize every piece of data you need to set up loyalty programs.
- Unmatched transaction speed: One of the most important aspects of any retail or service-based business is ensuring smooth and fast transactions. This aspect of doing business is in direct correlation with your profit. The right POS for service business has this covered: providing a seamless client experience when the time for payment processing comes. No matter how many steps it takes for the whole process to be completed, it must all be turned into something that will make the client come back. This way of caring for your clients is also beneficial for your employees. They enjoy the ease of the process as well. All in all, your whole operation becomes as optimized as possible, allowing the rest of the business management aspects to be handled better.
- Customer history: When it comes to service-based operations, having more than just a basic set of tools is very important, to say the least. You should be able to store data related to sales and customers and access it in the form of reports or history logs. When you access and analyze this information, you’ll be able to serve your clients better and offer them a better customer experience. By strengthening the relations with your clientele, you’ll end up with higher profit margins.
- Inventory management: The best POS for service business will treat you with an inventory management system that is simple to operate, but very important to have. Keeping track of stock quantities is crucial for many service-based businesses. All the tools, products, and ingredients you need to have in order to deliver high-quality services is the foundation of all your efforts. Needless to say, the inventory management app will alert you when your stock quantities need to be updated. This makes ordering and scheduling your operations a piece of cake and eliminates potential losses. A grinding halt in your business is the last thing you want.
- Workflow and reporting: A proper POS for service business would be beneficial for your employees. Instead of having a hard time using complicated and slow software, all staff members will be glad to use a flawless system with an easy-to-learn interface and simple structure. This will help them perform better and increase their productivity. In addition to that, the POS system will allow you to store valuable information about clients’ behavior. You will have access to reports about preferred services, payment methods, and other factors to analyze in search of better results.
- Management flexibility: Service-based business owners are very busy. If you’re one of them, you know that it’s tough to manage all aspects of your operation at once. Luckily for you, the right POS for service business is a solution that makes managing your business flexible enough to be doable with less effort. Scheduling, updates, promotions, adjustments, or issues are a lot easier to handle with the help of modern point-of-sale software.
- Omnichannel experience: Many service-based businesses combine online and offline presence. A state-of-the-art POS for service business will ensure a smooth transition between booking appointments online, mobile sales units, and brick-and-mortar locations.
- Mobility: As mentioned above, the best POS systems out there are the ones that feature the latest technology. There are a lot of innovations in the POS industry lately and most of them are related to mobility. Contactless payments are growing popular, and this is a fast process. This means that you need to be prepared to accept payment for your services via NFC (near-field communication) and QR technology. To be able to do this, you need to choose a POS software that supports these functionalities. It appears that countertop POS terminals are stepping back to make room for mobile payments. There is no wonder about that, as the mobile POS market in the US alone has already surpassed the $2 billion mark.
Last, but not least: check for social proof. You’ll find user ratings and reviews of almost every POS vendor, and analyzing them is a must. They’ll give you a clue of how a well-marketed point of sale solution performs when put to the test. Luckily for you, many business owners and managers take their time to leave honest reviews. Being able to access such feedback for free is a blessing.
Types of POS for Service Businesses
Among the plethora of POS types, there are a few that work best for service-based operations. Not every point-of-sale solution can act as the ultimate POS for service business. We’ll take a look at the three most popular ones that could be a possible solution for you.
- Mobile POS systems: This seems to be the type of POS that service-based businesses prefer more than the rest, and for a good reason. In most cases, the mobile point-of-sale system consists of an app and a card reader (if needed), but a mobile phone could do the trick as well. Mobile POS terminals are small and easy to work with while on the go, making this solution a great choice for a variety of service providers. If you are one of them and you need a portable POS device or several ones that need to be more flexible than the traditional cash terminal, then this is the point-of-sale type to choose.
- Tablet POS systems: While similar to mobile POS systems, tablet point-of-sale systems have an obvious difference: they use a tablet as a primary device. The tablet could be yours to begin with, or provided by the POS vendor, depending on your needs and the POS app compatibility. Some service businesses require such devices to deliver their services to a full extent, mainly due to the larger screen size and better resolution. When it comes to service options, large inventories, lists, schemes, and more, a tablet POS system may be the most fitting solution.
- Desktop POS systems: Not all POS for service business need to be mobile or flexible. Some service providers still use desktop POS systems, as they find them to be a working solution. Using a laptop or a PC, alongside peripherals such as a cash drawer or a card reader, is still an option. If your business works fine with a fixed point-of-sale and has a higher client volume, then this might be a good soliton.
POS for Service Business: The Vendors
There are numerous POS vendors to choose from, but comparing them needs to go further than just price-wise. It is the price/value ratio that matters, but what is more important is the match between the point-of-sale system’s features and your specific needs.
You need to consider everything: hardware availability and compatibility, software integrations, support, etc. You should choose a POS solution only when you find it suitable enough to cover all your criteria.
Of course, the most important aspect of the best POS system for your service-based operation is its ability to support all types of payment and provide a seamless transition between managing online and offline sales. A proper POS for service business will increase your efficiency and profit, so you need to choose wisely. Let’s take a look at some of the POS vendors that provide fitting solutions for service-based businesses.
I didn’t rank the POS providers I reviewed, but there needs to be a clear leader among them. When it comes to service-based small and medium enterprises, Square POS takes the lead, according to my book. The system is easily accessible and comes with a free basic plan, which is awesome for startups or companies on a tight budget. The cloud-based POS app is agile and mobile-friendly, which is why it can be utilized for almost every service-based operation you can think of. The available integrations and hardware options turn Square into a versatile solution for almost every industry or niche.
Let’s look at what the top 3 POS system vendors have to offer when it comes to service-based businesses and their needs.
|POS Vendor||Best Feature||Price|
|Square POS||Flexible, free basic plan||A free basic plan is available; $60 per month for one register, custom pricing for the Premium plan|
|Lightspeed||Appointment scheduling||Starts at $69 per month (billed annually), custom prices for the Enterprise plan|
|Clover POS||Loyalty program, virtual terminals||Depends on types of services offered; free subscription plan available|
Square is a popular name in the POS world. You can get the app for free, too. It has modern payment processing built-in, alongside inventory management and reporting tools. The biggest asset of this point-of-sale solution is the variety of types of payments it accepts. There are also various upgrades for the system you could add based on your specific preferences, making it a flexible solution.
Small business owners have been relying on Square for quite some time, but it is not an effective POS solution just for retailers. If you run a service-based operation, then this is a POS system you might be interested in. The affordable price and the support make Square a great choice for startups.
Still, the ease of access and the low to no-cost entry is not the best thing about Square’s POS for service business. The system is simple and straightforward to use, and it takes mere minutes to set up. Being able to have a running POS system within such a short time for literally no cost is something that business owners have been looking forward to. The processing rates offered by this POS vendor are also affordable.
If you want to scale your business and grow it as fast as possible, then you should stick to a low-cost solution that also has the essential features you need to pursue that goal. Square is such a solution.
- Multiple payment methods supported
- Available integrations and add-ons
- Easy-to-use interface
- Easy setup
- Affordable fees
- Some users report unstable accounts
Lightspeed is another popular POS system that could be the right solution for your service-based business. It is mostly a retailer-oriented solution, but it could serve as a POS for service business as well, thanks to its features.
Lightspeed’s built-in processing and toolset make it a desirable point-of-sale solution for various types of businesses. There are many integrations you could take advantage of. Although most of the integrations are retail-specific, service-based business owners could also find this POS system to be a good fit for their needs.
This point-of-sale solution is customizable and boasts an intuitive interface. On the downside, Lightspeed is not among the affordable POS systems you could opt for, but it is worth the investment. It has the features a POS for service business should have, including loyalty program management and multiple payment options.
I’ll list part of Lightspeed’s numerous perks below:
- Special offers, quotes, and orders
- Delivery tracking
- Wishlist’s and requests
- Appointment scheduling (crucial to have)
- Loyalty programs
- Online booking and preorder
- Stock management
- Various add-ons available (at an extra cost)
- Extended inventory management suite
- Integrated payment processing
- Reputable POS vendor
- A complete, feature-rich POS system delivered by Lightspeed could be costly due to extra costs for add-ons
Clover is a great solution for service-based businesses looking for simple payment processing, flat rates, and an intuitive interface. Clover is a flexible POS system that has a bundle of features and add-ons. It’s popular among startups and small businesses because of its ease of setup and simple structure. The system is compatible with various peripherals and is easy to upgrade.
As a POS for service business, Clover is more on the basic side, but it could be easily upgraded thanks to something called App Marketplace. It is how you enhance your POS system and customize it by adding all the functionalities that could help you run your business better. This is an exciting opportunity that does not cost a pretty penny, too.
The basic free plan offered by Clover includes no monthly fees for the software you would be running. You would need the small countertop hardware provided by Clover that could be substituted by the Clover Go mobile card reader, depending on the type of services you’re offering. There is a virtual terminal available for those who don’t need any hardware or for operations where it’s not applicable. In short, Clover is a versatile POS solution that could fit most service-based businesses.
Clover POS may vary in terms of pricing, depending on the type of services you offer. For professional, home, and field services, you can benefit from the free basic plan. For personal services, prices start at $50 per month.
- Easy setup process
- Multiple apps and add-ons are available
- Loyalty program management
- Countertop and virtual terminals are available
- Some resellers will not give you the ultimate price for the bundle you pick
Running a service-based business is as challenging as any retail operation, if not more. This is why a POS for service business must cover every last specific requirement you could have. This is an essential part of your business and a foundation for its rapid growth. An effective point-of-sale solution will increase your productivity and bring more sales. It will save your employees’ valuable time and help them establish a better connection with your clientele, which is the ultimate goal of every service-based business.
Having the means to secure a sale both online and offline is a must, and you have the right solution: POS for service business. Once believed to be suitable for retailers only, more service business owners are beginning to realize that having a modern POS system is a must for them. This is also the reason why POS vendors try to offer specific software that meets service-based businesses’ requirements. Plus, it needs to boast all the features to help you run your company better with less effort than before.
What are the best types of POS for service business?
This depends on the type of business, but most service-based businesses choose mobile POS systems or tablet POS systems.
Why is having a POS system a must for service-based businesses?
Having a modern point-of-sale solution is important for the exponential growth of service-based operations because it increases efficiency and improves the clients’ experience.
What are the benefits of implementing a POS system into your service-based business?
A proper POS for service business will help you manage loyalty programs better and allow you to accept all types of payments, leaving no room for client disappointment.
What are the important features of a POS for service business?
The best POS systems for service-based business feature a variety of add-ons and integrations that allow for seamless processes and a smooth customer experience.