Clover as an option…

In the last month there has been a Clover outbreak.  It’s not a disease or anything but it may very well give you a sizeable headache.  Don’t get me wrong, Clover is a great system.  It’s a bare bones, no hassle POS system that most processing companies on the First Data platform offer as a solution.  They typically really try and push it as a solution if you let them.  Recently, I have ran into a few merchants that have purchased it and now wish they hadn’t.  I thought it would be a great time to discuss the pros and cons of owning the Clover system the way I see them.

Understand, I process on the First Data platform and I offer it as a solution to my clients when they ask.  However, I make sure they are aware as to what they are getting into.

The Pros

  • It’s simple.  It has a lot of functionality that most larger, more expensive POS systems offer.  Those larger systems might include Aloha, Micros or Digital Dining.  Clover is not nearly as complex as those mentioned above and because it is simple, it can’t be complex.  You have to give up some things in order to keep it simple.
  • It’s relatively inexpensive.  Again, comparing Clover to the more robust POS systems I’ve listed, it’s a fraction of the cost.  A typical Clover set up would cost you anywhere from $1,000 to $1,500 depending on extras such as printers, scanners, scales, etc.  Micros on the other hand, might run $5,000 or more per station and a whole restaurant set up may cost upwards of $15,000 or more.
  • There are a number of downloadable apps that will do just about anything you want that are compatible with Clover.  Time cards, schedulers, inventory management and more are all readily available.
  • It’s Cloud based which allows you to access it from anywhere.  This is a big plus but most systems now a days are built on this technology so it’s not really and advantage over others in this category.

Now for the Cons

  • Because of the apps that you download, you are really tied to the companies that make the apps and not Clover. If you download a timesheet app and it fails or errors, you have to call the company that made that app and not Clover.  If you have multiple apps, each one may have been designed by a different company therefore you need to keep track of each one.  Rather than just having a single company to call, you may now have multiple.
  • It is proprietary to the processor who sells it to you.  This is probably my biggest issue that I have with it.  If you buy a Clover system and decide in a year that you don’t like your current processor and you decide to make a switch, the next processor would have to sell you ANOTHER Clover system if you want to continue to use it.  Knowing that, the processor who originally sold it to you can continue to raise your processing rates until you notice enough to look into making a change.  Then you’ll find out that you’d have to fork out another $1,000 or more on a new Clover system to lower your processing costs which will probably irritate you even more than the rising cost of your fees.  Think about it like this, you buy a new car and after a few days realize that if you want to put gas in it, you can only buy that gas from the dealer who sold it to you at $5.00 a gallon or go spend the money on a different car from another dealer.  You could sell your Clover system but you would have to find a party that knows who they would have to process through to use it.  Good luck with that.

This is what I know about Clover from a ‘selling’ it stand point and what I see as the biggest benefits of it as well as the downsides of getting it for your business.  Some of the customers that I’ve talked to that have it seem to like it for the reasons I’ve mentioned above as well as some that I didn’t.  However, not one single customer that I talked to liked the fact that they felt tied to their processor after it was explained to them.  Not being able to switch if rates ever got out of control was not something they liked hearing.

Regardless if you have Clover or are thinking about looking into it for your business, it is a great product for the price and serves a great purpose for a small business.  If you feel you can trust your processor to not raise your rates if you bought it, it’s a valid solution if you are in the market.  I guess it really comes down to trust. Do you trust your processor or don’t you?  No, I’m not trying to dissuade you from purchasing one or not.   The point of the article is the truth about the benefits of the system the way I see it.

If you currently have a Clover system or have used one in the past, please leave a comment about your experience as I think others interested to hear you feedback.

Until next week,

I’m Ed Craft, your credit card guy!

15 years in the business and counting.

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