I’m sorry to hear about your Dad. My condolences.
If your Mom is ready to go except for a POS, she’s ready to go. It
is my experience that you don’t need a POS system at all, at least
starting out. They can be very handy to have but in my humble
opinion, the $8000 could be put to far more productive use purchasing
tools, metals, lighting, bookkeeping consulting or even
marketing. I guess my point of view is that especially as a start-up
business, any available money is better spent on things that will
generate income as opposed to things designed to streamline
operations that aren’t even in operation yet.
Jewelry POS systems are different from non-specific POS systems.
QuickBooks POS is a total waste of time and money according to those
I have talked to that have used it. The two majors in the jewelry
industry point of sale software business are Shopkeeper and The Edge.
My friends in the trade seem to like The Edge. It seems to be more
user friendly and more powerful. Both have somewhat interactive
websites where you can get a feel for the software and price the
hardware without the sales pitch.
The main advantage to having a jewelry specific POS system is the
ease in setting up and retrieving the reports it can generate. You
don’t know if you are making money or losing it without good reports.
QuickBooks can generate all of the necessary reports, but the old saw
applies - garbage in, garbage out. Set it up right, and it’ll work
fine at generating what she needs. David Geller can help with that.
In fact, if I had $8000 for POS stuff, I’d hire Mr. Geller to set up
my QuickBooks before buying anything. No affiliation, the guy just
knows his stuff.
We have a cash box we keep in the safe. We keep enough cash in it to
make change. We do all of our bookkeeping with QuickBooks, balance it
daily and protect it with a password. We threw out the cash register
that we got with the store when we moved in, and have never missed
it. Very few people pay with cash anymore, so the need for a cash
register has pretty much gone the way of the buggy whip. Sales
transactions are done with a credit card machine and QuickBooks
As far as security with temporary help, she has a lot more important
things to worry about getting stolen than sales reports and customer
lists - things like jewelry, stones, tools, etc. If she just doesn’t
want people looking at her records, you might suggest she use a
password for access to her bookkeeping software. Most security issues
will be essentially the same with or without a POS program.
Don’t know about the specifics of transferring inventory to a POS
system, but I’m pretty sure you have to do it item by item, or pay
someone to do it for you. The Edge and Shopkeeper both offer this and
other setup tasks as a service for hire. We keep up with our
inventory using handwritten price tags and spreadsheets on Excel,
broken down by vendor. We also have to enter it into QuickBooks to
get accurate GMROI and COGS based reports. A good POS system does it
all simultaneously, but it’s a lot of cash to lay out to save a few
minutes a week.
We handwrite gift cards, which seems to be a more personal way of
doing it anyway. I would continue to handwrite gift cards and thank
you notes even if I had a sophisticated POS system.
Repairs and special orders can be easily handled without a POS
system, especially if she is going to use QuickBooks. We use numbered
repair envelopes and use the number from the envelope as an invoice
number. We do the same with sales. Works for both wholesale and
It sounds to me like your Mom needs to be making jewelry and
interacting with people rather than struggling with setting up and
learning to use a complex POS system. If she is one who can immerse
and lose herself in hard work, being creative and helpful to others,
running a jewelry store should be just the ticket for getting her one
step closer to stability and contentment in her “new normal”. I can’t
think of a better therapy. But those are the things I was put on this
Earth to do, so I’m a little bit biased.
I think my recommendation would be to wait on buying a POS system
until she knows what she needs in one. I would also recommend
contacting David Geller (or an accountant specializing in retail
jewelry) and have him help set up her bookkeeping so she can access
and understand the reports she will need to become profitable.
Purchasing a system at the outset might mean she will buy things she
doesn’t need, and not get things she does need. It also, at least
temporarily, complicates a non-income producing business task, and
she most likely will have many more of those than she expects (or
wants) already. As Bill points out, the old manual systems have
worked for thousands of years for some pretty successful businesses.
There is no reason to think they won’t work for your Mom.
The very best of luck to your Mom. My heart is with her.