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Service-Based POS Buying Guide - Find The Right Service Industry POS.

When choosing a point of sales (POS) software for your service-based business, it is important to find a system that is built for your specific needs.

The main thing to keep in mind is how a service-based business differs from your standard retail or restaurant businesses. A service-based business sells services rather than selling products like clothing or food.

For the most part, a retail store needs a POS system that focuses on inventory and stock management, supplier management, and even ecommerce capabilities to sell their products online.

By comparison a restaurant typically needs a POS system that focuses on guest dining experience, sit-down food services, tipping, bill splitting, or even delivery and take-out.

However the needs of a service-based POS software are different in that it is almost a hybrid of the two systems.

Common examples of service-based businesses include: hair salons, nail salons, beauty salons, tourist activities, ski or golf courses, guides and tours, massage therapists, pet groomers, interior designers, and more.

This guide will walk you through the considerations to take into account when buying a POS system for a service-based business.

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1. Appointment Scheduling, Booking, and Reservations:

Woman on laptop making an appointment online.

Sure most restaurants offer reservations, but it is rare (if not non-existent) for you to reserve a specific waiter or waitress to serve your table. However when it comes to a service-based business, you often need the ability to book a time with a specific person who only works on certain days and at certain times and who can only serve a very limited number of customers at the same time. That is why you will typically need the following features in any potential POS solution:

2. Checkout and Payment Separation:

Several chairs at a hair salon. At a store there is typically one POS computer connected to one payment terminal. Even in stores where they have multiple checkouts, everything is kept separate, the cash is then completed once at the end of the day. However for the service industry, software often needs to treat each employee like their own store with their own opening and closing hours.

Take a salon for example, if someone works 8am to 3pm, and someone else 2pm to 10pm, or someone works Monday, Wednesday, Friday, but the salon is open 7 days a week. There needs to be separation of payments, tips, and you need to be able to easily close one cash and open the other at the days and times customers want to pay.

Further, many service-based companies pay their tips out on a daily basis which is not common in a product-based business where commissions are calculated and paid out with the paycheck. So you need a system that supports this.

3. Customer Relationship Management:

Woman with long hair at a hair salon.

When it comes to service-based businesses a happy customer is not only key to business success but also key to the success of each employee. Therefore it is imperative for most service-based companies to manage their customers as best as they can and personalize services wherever possible.

4. Appointment Reminders:

Hand holding a pen over a calendar.

One of the most annoying things a service business can experience are no shows. You think you have a lot of appointments scheduled, you expect to see revenue come in from those appointments, you maybe even turn away other paying customers because you are fully booked... then they simply do not show up.

No shows not only cost the business expected revenue, but also have an opportunity cost because you could have booked someone else for the same time and day instead.

That is why it is super important that you can remind people of their appointment so that they do not forget, allow them to reschedule if they are not going to make the appointment, or at least cancel so someone else can take their spot.

Good reviews mean more business. Some POS systems provide easy ways to remind customers to leave reviews, either by sending an email after a reservation was complete, or just listing links to Facebook, Google, Yelp, and other reviews directly on your website.

Not a must have feature (as you can do this outside the POS) but definitely a nice to have feature if included.


Try not to make the mistake of buying just any point of sale and assume it will have the features you need to run your business. Finding the right system that meets your business needs will not only save you money in the long term, but can also drive future sales.

Still Not Sure?

If you need help with your POS purchasing decision try our free retail pos finder, we guarantee you will find the best suited POS for your store at the best cost possible.


About The Author:
Written By: The AppIntent Team
Published On: 2021-09-10
Last Updated: 2021-09-19
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