Computer Hardware has become Plug and Play
When you purchased your computerized point of sale system one of the reasons was probably because it was an open architecture system. That meant that it was standard hardware with special software designed for your business. While the software may be specialized, the hardware was probably standard and easier to find replacements than you imagine.
The term “plug and play” may refer to some sort of video or audio component but it also describes how easy computer hardware is to replace when broken or worn out. You simply look at the model number of the device that is broken or defective and purchase a similar one to replace it. No software is needed in most cases, with the software drivers already being loaded in the operating system of your computer. Connect the cables to the replacement hardware exactly like they were on the broken hardware and you are back in business.
Pay Yourself Instead of the Technician
Let’s say you need to replace a printer on your system. You have choices that you may not realize.
You could call the company that installed your system. They will probably offer to repair the printer first. After all, they are in business to maintain your system. If you select this option there is probably a service fee in addition to you buying the parts for the repair. The dealer will make money on the fee, and you will pay full list price for the parts. In the end you will have a repaired printer with possibly a 30-day warranty. Look for a bill of $200 or more.
You could call the company that installed your system and they may offer to wave the repair fee is you purchase a replacement printer from them. This printer is going to be around $495 for a standard thermal printer. Hopefully, you are not hit with an installation charge. If you are look for an additional bill for $95 – $125 for a total bill to replace the printer of $580 – $615. Ouch! If the dealer has the printer in stock you probably will have your new printer the next business day.
Or you could pay yourself. Replacement printers as the one I used in the example above can be found on the Internet for $295 every day. Shipping will range from $0 to $25 depending on the site. If you just have to have it overnight then you will have to pay the charges. Overnight charges could run around $50 for this printer. So, worst case you pay $349 to have a NEW printer delivered overnight. You unplug the broken printer and plug in the new one and you are back in business. You received the same printer the dealer was going to sell you and you plugged it in yourself. You just saved yourself a minimum of $149 and now have the same printer with a full manufacturer warranty. In most cases, this is a 3-year warranty.
Think “Easy” Because it is
Most service calls for point of sale systems are now handled via the phone. Onsite support is fast becoming a thing of the past. More and more companies are going to a “hot swap” mentality and shipping replacement hardware and expecting you to install it. Their sales pitch is that it is easy and will save you a service call.
My point is simple. If they are going to send you the replacement hardware and expect you to plug it in then it must be fairly easy to do. I am suggesting that you now get smart about where you get the replacement hardware and don’t pay more than you have to.
Don’t pay an electrician to change a light bulb and don’t pay a technician to replace a printer.