With summer officially upon us this week, many areas of the United States are looking forward to warm days and a chance to relax. With kids out of school, we are all reminded of how much we looked forward to this wonderful time of the year when vacations and time with family were the only thing on our minds.
Nowadays, with storms and other damaging natural phenomena becoming more frequent, business owners are seeing summer months as times of caution. This especially holds true for those in hurricane or wildfire prone areas. Even areas that are not directly affected by the epicenter of these events can experience power outages that can result in a loss of production, and important revenue.
Having a Power Outage Plan in Place
It’s very important to protect your investment from unforeseen natural phenomena, and that’s more or less where insurance comes in. However, insurance companies can’t swoop in during a power outage and save the day. During these times, businesses can grind to a halt, and in some cases, start losing money almost immediately. This is where a good backup plan is important.
Luckily we live in a time when power outages rarely last more than a few hours, under normal circumstances. However, in the case of the beauty industry, this is a very small comfort to those who were in the middle of a treatment or haircut when the lights go out. Always have alternative lighting sources readily available in the salon, should this happen.
In regards to the computer equipment that houses the point-of-sale system, a UPS battery backup should be a standard part of any set up. With this, the computer and anything else plugged into it (namely the broadband modem/router) will stay online for the duration of the battery life. This is generally 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the model.
During this time, it is recommended that sales tickets be closed out, and a standard upload be manually performed from the computer. This should be more than easy to do during the time that the battery backup is still online, and it is recommended that this procedure be integrated into any salon’s disaster preparedness policy.
Credit Card Transactions and Power Outages
Both standalone and integrated card processing methods are severely hampered by power outages. In either case, having the scanning devices connected to the UPS backup will allow users to process cards as normal for the duration of the battery charge. The notable exception to this being standalone systems and instances where the phone lines have gone out as well.
If/when the battery to the UPS backup goes off-line prior to the power being restored, salons may have to use even more old-fashioned methods to process card transactions. All credit card companies should provide merchants with manual implements that require the use of carbon paper, or other alternatives that are to be used during outages.
While power outages can be bothersome, they are by no means automatically catastrophic. A small investment in battery powered light sources, a UPS battery backup for electronic equipment, and manual implements for charging credit cards can make these events far more manageable. And as always, if you have any questions, or need any advice on this, don’t hesitate to contact us!