March 2022, by Angie Landsverk
Artists Share the Pros and Cons of Systems
For many artists, the decision to move from cash to a point-of-sale system at art festivals began long before the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in countless others making it part of their way of doing business.
There are various point-of-sale (POS) systems on the market. Most of the artists who responded to a Sunshine Artist email survey about the topic said they currently use Square. Other systems mentioned were Clover, Harbortouch, Intuit/GoPayment, PayPal, Shopify, Wix, and Zettle.
Why artists went with a particular POS system varied. Beth Ann Rheem has been using Square for five years. She chose the system for its low set-up costs, the fact its fees are for transactions only, and because she can do it on her cellphone.
“Money goes directly to my bank account,” Rheem said. She noted it is easy to refund money if necessary and that she finds the statistics about her sales to be helpful.
For Mike Perronne, the reason he chose Square 10 years ago was a simple one. It was the “first one I ran across,” he said.
Several artists said they picked Square because they found the costs associated with it to be less expensive than the costs with other systems.
“The No. 1 reason was only being charged fees when I used it. With the on again/off again nature of shows on my schedule, there are some months when I have no charges at all to run,” said Brad Foster. “The old POS systems charged several monthly fees, regardless of if you were even using it.”
He also said Square is easy to use, its fee schedule is understandable, and there is no need for expensive equipment for basic charging.
Dorothy Levine has been using Square for about five years. Inexpensive hardware that is easily available, and reasonable fees are the reasons why she chose it.
S. Brian Berkun moved from cash to a POS system in 2010 and has been using Square for about 9½ years. “Ease of use, ability to store multiple tax jurisdictions without having to re-enter each time, no hidden fees, very straightforward to use,” he said in describing his reasons for going with it.
He tried other systems, including PayPal and Groupon swipe card readers. “Hidden fees, escalating costs, and penalties for missed deadlines were true for my previous system. No problems with Square,” he said.
An artist who has been using Square’s stand-alone terminal for two years said its fees are standard rates, and the system is easy to use. “It also provides a paper receipt. No issues on all fronts,” said this artist.
Someone who has been using Square for close to five years said it is “upfront on everything in its practices and procedures. And it is always offering options to better perform in the various markets available to its users.”
Artists who use other POS systems also shared why they chose them.
Dave Buerger has used Intuit/GoPayment for about eight years and described it as user friendly. “The only equipment required is a very small credit card reader, which communicates with my cellphone,” he said.
An artist who has used PayPal for seven years said there have been no surprises with that system.
Another artist who has PayPal said all the fees are disclosed accurately.
Someone using Zettle for a year said, “So far no complaints!”
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