Monthly Archives: October 2016

Should I Fix My Broken POS System or Just Buy a New One?

Sometimes fixing a POS system, cracked screen, dead motherboard, or even a broken thermal printer is almost as costly as buying a new one. When that happens, you have a pretty tough decision to make: Do I stick with what I’ve been using and love, or get something brand new? Here’s what you should consider before making the choice.

It might seem like new technology is always preferable to repairing older hardware, but that’s only true if every upgrade is a good one. Let’s take a look at a things you should think about.  Depending on your situation, spending cash to get a new POS system might be better than repairing what you have, and in other cases you might be better off fixing what you have.

Is Buying a New System Really an Upgrade?

Remember, not everything “new” is an “upgrade.” It may seem like you’re getting something better, since presumably you’ll get a new, unused item instead of repairing your used system, but if the the new system you’re buying doesn’t suit you as well as what you have already, it’s not an upgrade.  For example, the “free” POS system sounds like a great deal, but if you, like many restaurateurs today, will want integrated online ordering, loyalty programs, inventory programs or Quickbooks integration, you might be unhappy with the upgrade to that basic “free” system. Sure, it’s technically better, spec-wise, but we all know that whether you enjoy using something comes down to more than specs. You’ll need it to help run your business efficiently.

On the other hand, the money you’d spend repairing your old device could go towards getting you something new. Maybe instead of repairing a blown motherboard, you can spend a little more and get a new POS terminal with a faster processor, or the latest model with more storage and memory than the one you had. Think about that before you make the decision to repair your old system or buy a replacement. If you’re going to spend your money buying new instead of repairing what you use and love, you should make sure you’re actually getting something that’s better for you than what you have.

Offset the Cost by Selling the Broken Hardware

One thing to keep in mind when you’re comparing the cost of repairing broken technology to the cost of buying new is how much you’d make if you sold the broken item. Remember, people pay for broken technology on eBay and Craigslist, so you can easily offset the cost of an upgrade by selling the broken item. That means if it would cost you $500 to repair your broken item, and a few hundred more could buy you a new, similar item, think about how you could soften the blow once you sold the broken one for parts, or how much more you could get for your money after you sell it.

That’s just an example, and there’s no guarantee that your broken technology will sell for enough to make a difference, but do some research. Keep in mind some people might want your broken model for its working screen, internal battery, or other parts they can use to repair their own. The money you may make on your broken one may soften the cost of the whole affair. Just make sure to properly clear the system before you sell it.

Consider The Value of Your Time

Your time also has value that’s often overlooked when making the decision to repair a well-used POS system versus replacing it outright. It makes sense to try and approach these things logically in terms of specs and dollars, but keep these things in mind when making your decision as well.  Do you have the time to research, shop, program and implement a new system? How much time will it take your staff to learn the new system?


Consider repair time and how long you’ll be without your system.

If you choose to repair your current devices, make sure to find out how long you’ll be without your equipment while it’s being repaired.  Does your POS provider have an advance replacement service?   After all, if your primary terminal is the one that needs repair, you may be without a POS system for a while unless you have a backup. You don’t want to be stuck in a never-ending repair hell where your terminal is in the bowels of some repair shop for months upon months while you wait. If a little more money could get you up and working in hours instead of weeks, it might be worth it.

Of course, the actual decision is up to you—there’s no one answer that applies to everyone here. Sometimes it makes more sense to get your old, reliable, and trusty system repaired so you can save time and money than it does to spend the same amount of money on a new system that could be refurbished or problematic on its own. Other times, if you can score an upgrade or get the same item without the wear and tear you’ve put on the one you own, it’s a better route. Weigh your options—including the value of your time and how much the item means to your business—and make a carefully considered decision from there.