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Old 10-19-10, 05:53 PM   #1
wheelies
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What is the best Bike Shop Management and POS system

Looking to open a bike shop after 7 years as a mobile repair service we need to expand our service bay area and feel we should open up a retail outlet. I need a management software system/POS system. The key needs are, work with my mobile repair, labor management, invantory and cash controls. Other questions is Bike-alog good or not. Any suggestions.
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Old 10-19-10, 09:12 PM   #2
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After almost 40 years selling to dealers, I can tell you that there's no correlation between any particular POS system and profitability. POS systems are just tools, and like mechanics tools it isn't about the tool, but how it's used and the skill of the user.

In my experience, those who have the most success with their POS systems are those who are basically organized and would have done well with almost any or no POS system. Those who do worst aren't organized, and their problems are more related to the owners and staff rather than the particular hardware.

Shop the various systems, but ask tough questions about ease of implementation, ease of use, simplicity of transaction processing, and flexibility to handle non normal sales.

Here's an example. A customer comes in on a Friday, having just crashed and needing a pair of wheels ASAP as in NOW. You have a leftover bike in an odd size or color that isn't going anywhere, so you decide to cut him a deal for those wheels, figuring you'll get more for the bike as parts than as a discounted leftover model. Ask the POS vendor how you'd need to process that kind of sale. Also check to see how you'd have to account for front of store parts like cable kits used in the service dept.

In a small shop with few employees, many POS systems generate more work than they save, and the sales history data they accumulate has little value because things change so much year to year. Make sure you understand the time demands maintaining a POS system, before locking yourself that takes you off the sales floor, or away from the workbench, and makes you a data clerk.

BTW- one of the most successful shops I know, does multi-millions in sales, using an old fashioned price marking gun, and simple cash register, whose most complex feature is automatic calculation of sales tax.
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Old 02-14-14, 06:41 PM   #3
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I am just curious to see if anyone has anything to add to this discussion after 4 years. We are about to buy an existing shop that does over half a million in sales through a register that tracks only total sale value and calculates tax. The systems I found online that seem to have an application tailored for bike shops are below. Does anyone have experience with any of these or a recommendation of their other favorite?

- Lightspeed POS
- Merchant POS
- Shopify POS
- Shopkeep POS
- QuickBooks Pro POS
- POS Nation
- cashierlive
- TriTech AIM
- Vend POS
- RetailPoint
- Café Cartel Systems
-
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Old 02-14-14, 07:33 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
I am just curious to see if anyone has anything to add to this discussion after 4 years. We are about to buy an existing shop that does over half a million in sales through a register that tracks only total sale value and calculates tax. The systems I found online that seem to have an application tailored for bike shops are below. Does anyone have experience with any of these or a recommendation of their other favorite?

- Lightspeed POS
- Merchant POS
- Shopify POS
- Shopkeep POS
- QuickBooks Pro POS
- POS Nation
- cashierlive
- TriTech AIM
- Vend POS
- RetailPoint
- Café Cartel Systems
-
So will you be selling a bike brand that offers a POS? Will you really need the complex reporting that a POS make easier? Will you be willing to do cycle counts and maintain inventory accuracy needed to have the reports be valid? Have you figured out the top 5 features that your POS has to have? Will you have multiple stations?

The last three shops I've worked in all used the POS that the bike brand offered. All three had very different ways to use them and had varying results. One took most of a year to start it up (and still wasn't done when i moved on). The biggest used the least amount of the POS's capacity. The shop that owed the most money used the most of their system. One thing in common was that they all had only one person that really knew the system and could troubleshoot, upgrade, use it to the max. When these people were not on hand and there was a problem or question the efficiency slowed dramatically. Andy.
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Old 02-14-14, 07:34 PM   #5
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BTW- one of the most successful shops I know, does multi-millions in sales, using an old fashioned price marking gun, and simple cash register, whose most complex feature is automatic calculation of sales tax.
Just a shot in the dark, especially since it is not too close to you, but is there any chance you mean Merv's Bike Shop near Shippensburg PA?

jim

p.s., we need to talk again about those Cane Creek wheels. If you have a CX set with 700 rims and 135 rear hub spacing, I need to get you money.
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Old 02-14-14, 08:43 PM   #6
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we use litespeed cloud and have our own program(we developed/progammed it) that works with the litespeed api to give us the info we need and want. i doubt many people here have used more than one or 2 of these systems unless they job hop a lot. bike alog is good for when you want to find a part. their website is pretty crap(the search and design is from like 2005) but it is great to search a bunch of vendors when other places are out of stock
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Old 02-14-14, 11:14 PM   #7
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Andy - Thanks for the info. I still am unsure of what we will need as I am trying to decide if we really need much more than the cigar box system in there now. I have some technology background and am willing to do the extra inventory management if I can determine it will help me manage profitability better. I have also seen systems where you are a slave to the system and do not get enough benefit out of it to cover the additional costs. I am really interested to hear what others have to say on this subject especially if some folks that went from a basic cash register to a modern system really got a payback from the investment in time, hardware and software. I really have an open mind on this subject. I have also seen older systems ill suited for specialty store use that really do not cut the mustard.

We will have 1 cash register and an access terminal in the shop area for access and updates. Also will have a back office PC accessing system for reports, etc.

Best regards,

Don
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Old 02-14-14, 11:17 PM   #8
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jgedwa - We are looking at a different shop, small one North of the city a piece.
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Old 02-14-14, 11:22 PM   #9
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reptilez - Litespeed cloud seems to be one of the bigger players out there. Did you find it worth the investment? Does it seem to generate a lot of extra work to use? Is it easy to learn, especially for a new store employee?

Thanks,

Don
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Old 02-15-14, 01:52 PM   #10
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reptilez - Litespeed cloud seems to be one of the bigger players out there. Did you find it worth the investment? Does it seem to generate a lot of extra work to use? Is it easy to learn, especially for a new store employee?

Thanks,

Don
i am just a mechanic so i do not have full knowledge of the inner workings of litespeed. it is easy to use at the cash register and doing service work. pretty standard if you know how to use a computer. i do not do purchasing or inventory. we use our own proprietary program for inventory. same with receiving. the program we have can track bike inventory, store transfers, overdue special orders among other things.
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