Tips for Handling Cash in Your C-Store
"Errors in cash handling can be one of the major causes of cash loss." This means that you and your employees should know the best practices of handling in-store cash. Taking simple measures can improve your bottom line and help you to avoid major loss due to simple errors that add up over time.
Create guidelines for all employees to follow.
Having the same system that everyone working in the store is following is essential when trying to improve your cash handling procedures. Owners should train employees so that everyone is using the exact same process. This is even more important in c-stores where employees may be left alone for long periods of time. After working long hours workers may become less strict with these procedures so it is important to emphasize how important proper cash handling is.
Set up one cash point.
Whenever cash is being taken out of the register or being handled it should be in the same place every time. Whether it is being counted or transferred if it is in the same area every time there will be less overall confusion.
Have receipts for everything.
You should have records for all cash transactions that customers make. These are automatic for credit or debit transactions and should also be necessary with cash purchases. This way you know where every cent was earned and you are not left trying to figure out where your money is coming from or how much you should actually have.
Don't keep large amounts of cash in-store.
You should be making regular deposits in your bank to ensure that you have the least amount of cash in your store as possible. This way you know where your money is and there is never any confusion when it comes to the amount of cash you have in your c-store.
Set up a solid security system.
One of the biggest ways to avoid loss is to arm your store with visible security cameras. The best place is above the register so that both the employees and the shoppers are visible and the camera is out of reach and cannot be tampered with. This way everyone is aware that they are being recorded and are less likely to assist in a cash loss incident. This also protects your employees because they have a clear recording that they are following the proper cash handling procedures. Owners will have peace of mind knowing their store is protected and that they are able to see what is going on without actually being there.
Simply talking to your employees can help prevent theft and loss. Having a conversation about cash loss and making sure they are aware that all registers are monitored and recorded can help encourage employees to be careful and aware when working. If you notice that loss is occurring when one specific employee is on shift then talk to them directly and make sure they are aware of the loss that is happening while on their watch. You may also want to be available during those shifts to watch and make sure that everything is being handled according to the guidelines you have created.
Don't require employees to make up the difference.
Often times employees are held accountable for any losses that occur on their watch. This is the case with most small businesses who are trying to encourage employees to pay attention to their cash drawers. When this happens there often becomes a "slush fund" that is used by employees to make up the difference whenever a drawer is short. This can actually hurt your business because you are not able to see when the loss is happening. By doing this you are actually putting yourself at more risk for loss. Instead, encourage employees to be open about when they are short and try to figure out where the shortages are coming from. This way you can solve the problem instead of just prolonging it.
Consider using a drop safe.
Another way to protect your profits is to take measures against burglary. Theft often happens in c-stores that have high amounts of cash in their registers. Using a drop safe can help ensure that registers keep low amounts at all times. Place the drop safe next to or under the register and transfer cash into the safe once the register reaches a certain amount. To ensure further protection make sure that you are the only one with access to the safe. Employees should not know the code and you should be the only one making transfers. You should also keep a record of all the cash that enters the drop safe and make sure that it is emptied at the end of every shift. Burglars often do not ask about the separate area such as a drop safe that holds additional cash. This means that even in the event of a burglary you are not losing all of your nights profits.
Limit the use of high bills in your c-store.
An easy way to prevent cash loss is by only allowing customers to use $20 bills and under. You can easily enforce this with signage right by the register. It is good to do this in c-stores since it is often be harder to identify counterfeit bills that are over $20 since most people do not deal in bills that high on a daily basis. Having a standing rule for all customers can help protect your store and those employees who may not be able to tell the difference between real and fake bills.
Fight against all types of counterfeit currency.
Even if you are limiting the use of high bills in your store loss can still occur through smaller counterfeit bills. These are often used in c-stores where transactions are typically under $20. You can prevent this by educating employees on what to look for. Each bill has their own security features and employees at the register should get in the habit of checking for these frequently. Although it may be hard when the store is busy, these are the times that the use of counterfeits are the highest. You may also want to invest in counterfeit detection technology if this has become a frequent problem in your c-store.
Use a cash recycler for more efficient transactions.
A cash recycler is great for businesses that have a high transaction amount and customers that are in and out quickly. A cash recycler does everything from progressing transactions to balancing totals. This gives employees more time to interact with customers and complete transactions making your c-store even more efficient. This also increases security by taking out the guess work for employees who may not be as good at handling cash on the spot.
Overall, owners can help prevent loss in their stores by better handling their cash. Employees should always know exactly how much cash they have on hand and be aware of any counterfeit bills. By creating and implementing cash handling procedures in your c-store you will be able to better identify problem areas and prevent anything from affecting your bottom line.