Every business needs a cash register, and if you don’t have a lot of working capital to invest in one, you can make your own. From the super simple to the slightly more complex, here is a look at three cheap cash register alternatives:
Grab a calculator and a plastic box with a fitted lid, and you have everything you need to make a basic cash register. When customers are ready to make a purchase, use the calculator to add up their totals, and then slip the cash in the box.
To make receipts, simply write a list of the purchased items as well as their prices and the date on a piece of paper. To make the receipt look more official, draft it using a word processing program and print it out. You could simply email it to your customers, too.
The upside of this option is that it is easy, and there is little to no upfront cost involved. The downside is that there is no option to let your customers pay with a credit card, and you will have to track all of your sales and GST payments by hand.
Middle of the Road
Create a slightly more impressive cash register using a smartphone, a credit card reading device and a locked money box. By upgrading from a plastic box to a locked metal box, you keep your money slightly safer, and you can even bolt the box to a countertop to increase its safety. By adding a credit card reading device to your smartphone, you potentially increase the number of sales you can make by making it easier for your customers to pay with multiple money sources.
There are many credit card processing apps that can be downloaded directly to your smartphone. In exchange for a small monthly fee or a percentage of each sale, these devices process credit card payments and send the money to your bank account.
For cash sales, you will need to follow the protocol explained above, but for credit card transactions, you can generate a receipt and keep track of sales using the app that attaches to your credit card reader. If you already have a smartphone, this option is inexpensive to pursue, and it offers lots of advantage.
Slightly More Complex
If you want a slightly more complex homemade cash register, keep the cash box, but replace the smart phone with a tablet. You can download cash register software to a tablet. Although options and prices vary, some of the features you may find include inventory and sales tracking, invoice and receipt generation and the ability to create a database of clients.
These programs give you all of the advantages of a complex cash register with advanced software, but you don’t have to worry about buying lots of hardware. For more cheap cash register options, you can check out providers such as POS in a Box.