Cash Register, Point of Sale & Credit Card Information Central

(The Worst) Advice on Event Planning

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 @ 01:41 PM

planning sessionThere are a lot of opinions out there on how to plan an event. Some insights can be incredibly helpful while others sound good, but fall short. We have heard a few pieces of “advice” that haven’t delivered on their promise to make things easier.

“Always plan for the absolute worst.” This advice may seem sensible, but this viewpoint can have a highly stressful and negative effect on the event planning process. If you focus on everything that can and probably will go wrong throughout an event, chances are you will be blindsided by other issues you couldn’t predict anyway. Event planning is a stressful job, so don’t start there. A better way of thinking about it is “always pay attention to detail.” Instead, start with the details and go from there. Have a plan A, B and even a plan C if necessary, it’s all in the details.

“I’m sure I can figure it out on my own.” This type of statement is usually given to yourself as a little pep talk. It usually comes with the caveat, “if I have enough time or resources.” Even if the statement is true, don’t be afraid to reach out to others who have experience. This is especially true when it comes to event planning. Your time is more valuable than you realize and stretched way to thin. Having access to professional guidance and support can help get the job done right, give you peace of mind and keep you focused on the things for which you are best suited

 “Your memory is sometimes enough.” The key word in this statement is sometimes. Relying on “sometimes” can be pretty detrimental when planning an event. From all of the things that need to get done, problems to be solved, people to meet with, details to look into, and jobs to be delegated don’t rely solely on your brain power, even sometimes. We can easily over look seemingly small details that can often result in a very large impact down the line. Write it down, set a reminder, make a list, or better yet, they most likely have an app for that.

“Expect great things from spur-of-the-moment ideas.” All ideas and plans of action start somewhere. Running with the first idea that pops into your head may not lead down the intended path. Brainstorming can have a tremendously positive impact when planning an event. Brainstorming lends inspiration, creativity and clarity to ideas; helps develop good ones and weeds out unfruitful ones. When there is a big amount of company time and money being spent, spur of the moment ideas can lead to mistakes and disappointment that we didn’t see coming. Think about who your audience is and what they want and need. Often times we are biased and don’t realize it. Share your idea with potential audience members and current clients to see if they find it just as interesting or entertaining. If you want your event ideas to be successful, bring in new clients, and create buzz, then BRAINSTORM!

Tags: Event Planning, Rental

M-Box Credit Card Processing Demo Video

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Wed, Feb 05, 2014 @ 12:46 PM

Seing is believing, right? With as often as the m-Box gets mentioned around here, it would be nice to actually see what it can do. Well, here's your chance to catch it in action. This promo video covers the basics of using the m-Box for credit card processing as well as highlighting the benefits of the online reporting component. You can even get a glimpse of what the online web portal looks like.

If you would like to know more about the how American Metro can boost the productivity of you business with a cash register and credit card processing, or to get a quote, just click the button below.

I'd Like a FREE Quote

Tags: Event Planning, Credit Card Equipment, M-Box

How many Cash Registers do I Need?

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Wed, Jan 08, 2014 @ 10:33 AM

crowd photo

Have you ever wished there was an easy way to accurately calculate your equipment requirements? We’ve had many requests to help answer this question over the years.

Why this question is important:

  • Guests don’t want to wait in long lines.
  • You need enough equipment to get you through the crunch times.
  • Spending more than is necessary for equipment or personnel is counterproductive.
  • There is a limited amount of counter space available.
  • Accurately completing a transaction saves time and money.
  • A percentage of your customers prefers to use a credit/debit card instead of cash

Our team of on-site managers and technicians has been personally involved in events covering all ends of the spectrum. We’ve identified over 20 factors that can greatly influence the checkout process.

Where to start

The first thing we look at is the expected attendance or expected revenue from your event. If you know this, you’re well on your way. One or both of these numbers are generally available from historical data or new events can be estimated based on similar events.

A few of the other factors we use to complete the calculation are:

  • How many days is your event?
  • What are the hours each day?
  • Are there sales spikes during your event? (i.e., When a concert lets out; At the end of a session)
  • How many sales areas (vendors) are at the venue?

The rest of the questions are equally easy to answer. When the right questions are asked and answered, the correct result is achieved.

Additional benefits

Another positive outcome of going through this exercise is identifying a handful of procedures that may cost you valuable time at checkout. Having done thousands of events, we’ve seen
the impact of these small variables; each makes a difference of perhaps only a couple seconds. When you multiply it out, two or three seconds times 20+ variables can double or triple the amount of time it takes to perform a simple transaction. With a slight modification, you could speed up your lines and require fewer cash registers.

Bottom line: happier guests; lower expenses.

For more information or a needs evaluation, contact Tim Mueller at American Metro using the button below.

.Needs Assessment

Tags: Events, Event Planning, Cash Registers

Pop-Up Retail Point of Sale Checklist

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Wed, Nov 13, 2013 @ 09:51 AM

checklistWhen producing a pop-up retail store, no matter the location, there are so many things to do and remember. Including stressful and important things that we can’t afford to forget! Technology is extremely important, especially when your revenue relies on it. This information will help you remember some of the important technological aspects that can determine your pop-up retail stores success or failure.

little checkmarkCash Register/POS System:

The most essential piece of technology that retailers everywhere depend on. So, how do you find a cost effective, reliable, and mobile system? Depending on your needs, the basics should include: either mobile options, all payment acceptance (credit/debit, cash), inventory management, or receipts (paper vs. email).

little checkmarkRouter:

A quality router is necessary for strong security and solid WiFi or cellular connectivity, when processing credit cards. It has the important applications of card swipers, security systems (if needed), WiFi network, printers, etc.

little checkmarkPeripherals: Scanner, Printer, & Cash Drawer:

Laser barcode scanners can be extremely efficient if your products have barcodes. It will make transactions quicker, so customers spend less time waiting in line and more time purchasing your products. External printers compliment a wide range of POS systems and can be important when printing receipts not only for your customer, but for you as well. Printers also have options in displaying logos and coupons that can help promote your business. Cash drawers are a simple but essential item, especially when only accepting cash. Steel drawers with a manager key option can assist with keeping your funds safe and secure.

little checkmarkInventory Reporting:

Not all Pop-Up retail events need inventory reporting, since some events sole purpose is to move product. However, it can be pretty useful when wanting a timely salesreport of the event. Instead of spending hours counting cash and checking receipts, you can receive a financial report in minutes from instant data readings during the event. This feature has become extremely valuable to event organizers everywhere, after all time is money.

Tags: Events, Event Planning, Rental

Accepting Credit Cards: Handheld vs. Integrated

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 @ 10:48 AM

If you are thinking about accepting credit cards at your next event, consider these points on the differences between using a handheld terminal and integrated credit card options. Hopefully these will be able to assist you in making the right decision and improve the success of your event.

battery icon1)  No-Power (battery) vs. Power:

Handheld credit terminals are great if power sources are limited or unavailable. They have rechargeable batteries that can last up to 6-8 hours. The integrated system MUST have a power source to operate.

cash register icon2)  Register vs. No Register:

Integrated credit card processing takes place directly with the register. If you need or would like a register to assist with handling cash transactions as well, this option is both faster and more accurate. The Handheld is small and portable, so it takes up less room. With this option, you will need to establish a different system to handle your cash.

mobility icon3)  Mobility vs. Fixed Location:

Handheld credit card terminals offer lots of mobility. They can be very useful to trim down long lines by walking though the lines and checking out the individuals who are paying with credit or debit. It also works well for conventions or craft fairs when there are multiple transaction locations happening.

connectivity icon4)  Connectivity Concerns:

If there are potential connectivity issues at your venue, a backup plan is always a great idea. With some handheld credit card terminals, they have a “store and forward” mode. This allows you to accept payments offline that can be processed later. With an integrated system, if connectivity is lost, you are unable to accept electronic payments. Please note however, there are certain risks while in the store and forward mode. You are not getting a true authorization from the processor, so there is a risk some cards might be declined.

reporting icon5) Inventory Reporting:

The integrated credit card option has a higher detailed report of all transactions. If your event needs inventory reporting by instant data readings, then this would be your best option. The handheld credit card terminals only track the credit/debit transactions, not the actual items being sold.

Whether a hand-held terminal is right for you or using a point of sale system with integrated credit card processing is what you are after, American Metro is here to help. For additional information on credit card processing and pricing options, please follow the link below for a free, no obligation quote.

I'd Like a FREE Quote

Tags: Event Planning, Rental, Point Of Sale, Credit Card Equipment

mBox - Wireless Credit Card Processing

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 @ 11:53 AM

We at American Metro strive to help our customers find the ideal solutions to their cash register, credit card processing and point of sale needs. With over 30 years in business, we have collected a vast knowledge of the workings of the retail world and we look forward to sharing that with you. We hope you will find this blog useful as we post helpful hints on how to get the most out of your cash register, fill you in on the lastest point of sale technology, or share our experiences from some of our on-site locations.

mBox Wireless Credit Card ModemFor instance, let's take a quick look at our newest wireless credit card modem made by Sterling Payment Technologies, simply named the "mBox". Made from military grade components and running on the Verizon network, this modem boasts consistanly fast tranaction speeds. In fact, while at a recent tradeshow held inside a convention center, credit card payments were being processed and completed within 2-3 seconds after being swiped.

This opens up viable wireless solutions even in structures with large amounts of concrete or places where the average cell phone coverage is sketchy at best. In many convention centers or large outdoor venues, getting hard lines or internet drops average $10,000 per access point. 

Online Reporting

The mBox is also equipped another major cost saving option, Online Reporting through Sterling Bridge. Think of all the man-hours it takes to collect reports, balance drawers, enter sales data into an accounting program and calculate final sales totals. With the mBox, running a report on the cash register will also upload all the data to an online web portal for instant access. This makes figuring totals from each register across multiple locations take a fraction of the time. Get a financial summary, or complete breakdown, PLU reports, time reports and more. With all this data available at your fingertips, it can easily be converted into multiple formats for import into your accounting software. 

There is also a real-time component that allows you to see sales as they happen. This information can help you stay ahead of potential changes in staffing needs or inventory levels. The best part is all this information without having to leave your desk.

For more information on whether the mBox is right for your next event, click the button below for a customized assessment of your point of sale need. You'll also get a free quote. 

I'd Like a FREE Quote

Tags: Rental, M-Box, Wireless Credt Card Processing

New Point of Sale Opportunities on the iPad

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Wed, Jul 24, 2013 @ 09:43 AM

Here's a quick look at a couple of key features to consider when thinking about using your tablet as a point of sale terminal.

iPad infographic

To find out if renting an iPad is right for your company's point of sale needs, request a quote today.

Get an iPad Quote

Tags: Rental, Point Of Sale, iPad

Hobby Stores Find a Cost-effective Point of Sale System

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Fri, Jun 21, 2013 @ 12:03 PM

glider in a field

New and established Hobby, Trading Card, and Memorabilia Stores looking for a PC-based point of sale system no longer have to deal with utilizing three different pieces of software to run their business.  Why have one software application to run your point of sale, one for your inventory control, and yet one more to handle your accounting and/or payroll?  American Metro offers the AIMsi Retail Management Software program.

AIMsi (Accounting, Inventory, Management system integration) is a fully developed and integrated point of sale software application capable of handling all aspects of your retail business.  Many Hobby Stores deal with large inventories, small parts, and specialized custom orders.  Not to mention dealing with tracking employee hours, being able to print out complete reports, transfer information into a general ledger for proper accounting, placing stock re-orders through the Purchase Order module, and even tracking something simple like a Paid out of Drawer for office supplies.  These types of processes and procedures are exactly what the AIMsi software is built to accomplish with your business.

AIMsi is available in two different versions to better meet your immediate needs.  Are you just starting out and only need to track your inventory, maintain a customer database, and have access to the full point of sale capabilities of AIMsi in a single workstation environment?  Then AIMsi Lite is all you need.  Are you ready to dive in and utilize the full spectrum of modules available with AIMsi and send out e-mails, manage your customer contact information, create and receive purchase orders, and utilize the built-in General Ledger program to manage your financials in a multi-workstation or location environment?  Then AIMsi Pro is for you.

Visit: http://www.americanmetro.com/product/aimsi/hobby-shops to learn more about what AIMsi Retail Management Software can do for your Hobby Store business.

Tags: Point Of Sale, AIMsi

Free Customizable Templates to Make Your Life Organized

Posted by Courtney Swanson on Wed, Jun 12, 2013 @ 08:37 AM

time managementThere is nothing we want more than to be able to kick off our shoes by the lake or hit up the golf course. However, with summer in full swing, things can get out of control. Something we find to be a simple solution to organizing a hectic work-load is Vertext42. They offer free templates that are customizable to your needs and are easy to share. We value our time and understand that you do too. The excel templates come updated with customizable features, so they work with everyone. One of our office favorites is the “Yearly Events Calendar” which already includes all national holidays and it lets you organize with different notification colors to really make things stand out. Being in the event services industry this template has literally been a lifesaver for multiple people in our office. We found this source to be incredibly helpful and wanted to pass it on.

(Resource: http://www.vertex42.com/calendars/yearly-schedule-of-events.html)

Tags: Events, Training, Event Planning

10 Tricks Every Festival & Event Organizer should know!

Posted by Bryan Mueller on Fri, Jun 07, 2013 @ 12:06 PM

Whether you’re in the planning stages or getting ready to set up, the summer’s festivals and events are in full swing. We understand all the work that goes into preparing for these events, and we want to help make things simple!  Here are some unique tips that we would like to share with you to make life easier for event organizers everywhere:

  1. knot your cordsTired of extension cords unplugging? Tie them together to keep them from falling out.








  2. store and organize your cordsWith all the different cords you may need at your event, organize them like this for easy access and quick labeling!







  3. pallet on a keychainWhen working with a client on a specific color pallet, paint Popsicle sticks of the color scheme and organize them with a binder ring. This way you can bring them with you everywhere when looking at fabrics or design ideas.





  4. describe the imageWith all the Keys on our key ring, organize them with paint or nail polish for easier and quicker access, after all time is money!









  5. tape tabsTape is a must have for any event whether its scotch tape, masking tape, and the most valuable duct tape. Save the end with a bread clip for easier use.







  6. penny in a vaseIf you are having fresh flowers at your event, place a penny into each vase with a pinch of sugar to keep flowers perkier longer. How’s that for penny’s value?









  7. quick candle cleanupIf candles are a part of the atmosphere at your event, remember to spray each holder with some oil. This way the wax won’t stick to the glass and makes your clean up that much faster!







  8. clever containersOutdoor events and festivals don’t have too much security for your belongings. As event organizers we carry some pretty valuable items, so be sure to disguise them with a unique case!






  9. dry checksIf you participate in outdoor events and are still accepting checks or have valuable paper documents, be sure to store them in a Ziploc with a piece of cardboard to keep them dry and un-creased!









  10. reserved seatsUtilize Space. To help prevent the front rows from being empty, place reserved signs on the last row or two to make people shift forward (you can remove the signs once the front row is filled).




Tags: Events, Event Planning, Service