Lease POS System or Own? A Guide For Restaurants
lease pos system vs buy

Lease POS System or Own?
A Guide For Restaurants

January 24th, 2024

Whether to lease or own your Point of Sale (POS) system is an important decision facing many restaurateurs today especially when one POS system can cost your restaurant up to $2000. If you got offered a POS system with a lease term of 24 months at $50/month or a buy option of $1000, what option would you pick? The right answers depends on your restaurant’s needs and in this guide we will dive into the pros and cons of lease versus ownership when it comes to POS systems and help you make the right decision for your restaurant.

A POS system entails more than just a tool for transactions; it’s the technological heartbeat of your restaurant. The hardware might include an iPad, enclosures, printers and various components. The software component is equally vital, streamlining sales processes, tracking consumer behavior, and centralizing business operations.

Lease

POS system lease involves a contractual agreement between the business and the merchant services provider,  referred to in the contract as the lessee and the lessor, respectively. This
contract specifies the details of the lease agreement, such as the duration of the lease (usually in months, such as 12, 24, 36, etc.), the amount of the monthly fees to be paid, and other contractual obligations such as maintenance requirements, approved uses of the equipment, and other restrictions.

Pros

Lower Initial Costs: Leasing typically requires a lower upfront investment compared to purchasing a POS system outright, making it more accessible for small restaurants with limited capital.

Up-to-Date Technology: Leasing allows you to stay current with the latest POS technology. As technology evolves, you can upgrade to newer models without significant additional costs.

Predictable Expenses: Lease agreements often come with fixed monthly payments, making it easier to budget and manage cash flow since you know what to expect each month.

Maintenance and Support: Many leasing agreements include maintenance and support services. This means that if your POS system encounters issues, the leasing company may provide repairs and technical support, reducing downtime for your restaurant.

Tax Deductions: Lease payments are typically considered a business expense, which may be tax-deductible. This can provide potential tax benefits for your restaurant.

Cons

Total Cost of Ownership: Over the long term, leasing a POS system may result in a higher total cost of ownership compared to purchasing. The cumulative cost of lease payments can exceed the cost of buying the system outright.

Contractual Obligations: Leasing agreements often come with contracts that may last several years. Breaking these contracts prematurely can result in penalties or additional fees.

Limited Customization: Leased POS systems may come with limitations on customization. If your restaurant has specific needs or wants a highly tailored system, leasing may not provide the level of customization you desire.

Dependency on Vendor: When you lease a POS system, you are dependent on the leasing company for ongoing support and maintenance. If the vendor’s service quality declines, it can impact your business operations.

No Ownership: At the end of the lease term, you do not own the POS system. If ownership is important to you or if you plan to use the system for an extended period, consider a least to own or full ownership option.

When To Lease

A restaurant should consider leasing a POS system when faced with limited capital, seeking access to advanced features without a hefty upfront investment, and desiring the flexibility to scale operations up or down. Restaurants with short-term needs or those wanting to test a specific POS system before committing to a long-term purchase, leasing provides a practical solution that allows for flexibility and reduced financial risk.

Where To Lease

There are many POS providers that can offer varying options to restaurants but few come close the features and options we offer here at Snappy. Even though our subscription model differs from a lease, Snappy’s POS streamlines transactions, inventory management and reporting to enhance operational efficiency and customer experience.

Own

Owning your POS system offers a sense of control and long-term cost savings. You’re not bound by long-term contracts and can switch processing services if needed. Purchasing upfront might be a significant investment, but it pays off by avoiding ongoing lease charges and granting you the liberty to tailor the system to your exact needs.

Pros

Total Ownership: When you purchase a POS system, you own it outright. This provides a sense of ownership and control over the equipment and software.

Long-Term Cost Savings: Over the long term, owning a POS system may result in lower total costs compared to leasing. Once the initial investment is made, there are no ongoing lease payments.

Customization Options: Ownership allows for greater customization. You have the flexibility to choose and modify software, hardware, and integrations based on your restaurant’s specific needs.

No Dependency on Lease Terms: You are not bound by lease agreements, giving you the freedom to make decisions about your POS system without contractual obligations or potential penalties for early termination.

Stability and Predictability: You have stability in your POS system setup, which can lead to more predictable operations and reduced reliance on external vendors for ongoing support.

Cons

High Initial Costs: Purchasing a POS system requires a significant upfront investment, which may be challenging for smaller businesses or those with limited capital.

Technological Obsolescence: Technology evolves rapidly, and owning a POS system means you are responsible for upgrades and staying current. Upgrading can incur additional costs over time.

Maintenance and Support Costs: Unlike leasing, where support is often included, owning a POS system may require additional expenses for maintenance, repairs, and technical support.

Limited Flexibility for Upgrades: While ownership provides control, it may also mean limited flexibility when it comes to upgrading to the latest technology. Upgrading hardware or software may involve additional costs.

Responsibility for System Issues: When you own a POS system, the responsibility for resolving system issues rests with you. This can lead to downtime and potential disruptions in service.

Risk of Technology Changes: If there are significant changes in technology standards or industry trends, owning a POS system may lead to obsolescence, requiring a larger investment to stay competitive.

When To Own

Restaurants should consider owning a POS system when they have the financial capacity for a significant upfront investment and seek long-term cost savings. For establishments with stable operations and a desire to avoid ongoing lease payments, owning a POS system can be a strategic decision. Additionally, ownership may be preferable for businesses with the capability to handle maintenance and support in-house or through a chosen service provider, as it offers autonomy and stability in managing the technology infrastructure.

Where To Own

We offer subscription and ownership options with our POS system which provide great value for restaurant owners who are looking for long term point of sale solutions and support for their business.

Lease To Own

Leasing to own a POS system for restaurants offers a middle-ground solution, combining the advantages of both leasing and owning. This arrangement typically involves a fixed-term lease agreement with an option to purchase the system at the end of the lease period. The initial costs are often lower than outright ownership, providing businesses with more affordable access to advanced POS technology.

Throughout the lease term, the restaurant can benefit from regular upgrades and support services, addressing the evolving needs of the business. This option allows establishments to test the system’s compatibility and performance before committing to full ownership, providing a flexible and cost-effective pathway for acquiring a POS system.

Hardware Subscription

An alternative option that you should also consider is a hardware subscription model for POS. This purchase model allows you to upgrade your POS hardware as you go and provides the benefits of both – leasing and owning – without the downside.

The main difference between subscription and a lease is that you have a shorter term and receive hardware updates without the need to buy outdated hardware or sign up to lengthy terms.

Interested? Snappy offers a subscription option and you can get a free demo by filling out the form below:

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the decision to lease or own your POS system depends on your restaurant’s specific needs and financial situation. Leasing can be a strategic choice for those looking to switch POS providers or wanting to stay technologically current without a hefty initial investment. Owning, on the other hand, offers long-term savings and complete control, ideal for businesses with sufficient upfront capital and a desire for customization.

FAQ

Yes, restaurants have the option to lease a POS system, allowing them to access the technology without making a full upfront purchase.

The monthly cost of leasing a POS system can vary widely depending on factors such as the provider, the features included, and the specific needs of the business, with estimates ranging from $50 to several hundred dollars per month.

The duration of a POS system lease typically ranges from 24 to 60 months, with the specific term negotiated between the business and the leasing provider.

Yes, many POS system leases offer the option to purchase the system outright at the end of the lease term, providing businesses with ownership after the leasing period concludes.

Ending a POS system lease early usually involves negotiating with the leasing company, but it may entail paying penalties or fulfilling specific contractual obligations outlined in the lease agreement.

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