I'm often asked what folks with seasonal businesses do when it comes to cash registers and point of sale systems. Having worked with various businesses that operate from just a few days each year to several months out of the year, as well as venue operators at fairgrounds and event venues, here are my thoughts and advice (assuming that the business generates enough revenue to require more than just a cash box and square):
1) Cash Registers
Obviously you can buy a cash register and use it as needed. Just keep in mind that some models will lose all programming if left unplugged for too long. Advantage: low cost and you own the equipment. Disadvantage: they are just cash registers - not much in the way of detailed information.
2) Computer Based Point of Sale Systems
Believe it or not, I have worked with companies that buy full blown point of sale systems that run on computers. Its a big investment but the cost might be justified via extremely high volume and gross sales. Advantage: you own the equipment. Disadvantage: up front costs and sheer size of the equipment (ie. setup and tear down).
3) Mobile Point of Sale Systems
A third option has become available which involves some of the mobile point of sale solutions like NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale. The equipment is easier to move around and you likely have other uses for some of the equipment between events or seasons. What NCR Silver and Bindo Point of Sale allow you to do is to set up seasonal payment plants. You still have to buy the equipment but the monthly software and support fee can be turned off and on as needed. Advantage: better business data and mobility of the hardware. Disadvantage: durability of the equipment in extreme conditions is not yet proven.
Are you in the US and in need of no cost retail point of sale advice? I'm happy to help and can be reached on my cell at 208-340-5632 (I am on Mountain Time) or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. There is also a contact form to the right that can be used to reach me.