How to Set Up a Cash Drawer


Properly setting up a cash drawer is an important aspect of any retail business. A poorly configured cash drawer can be a real problem when it comes time to make change for a customer or tally up the day's totals. Taking a few minutes to set up a cash drawer properly and creating procedures to keep it that way can eliminate many problems.

Things You'll Need

  • Cash drawer
  • Starting cash and rolls of change
  • Cash-count log (a notebook will work)
  • Cash bags or bank bags (your bank may provide this)

Step 1

Decide how much cash to start the drawer with at the beginning of the day or shift. Many businesses use $250, as it is a relatively low number that still allows for making change. You may wish to start with a higher or lower number based on experience or the nature of your business.

Step 2

Add change and bills to equal your starting amount and place them in the drawer. Only use $20 bills and smaller to make up this amount, as larger bills will rarely be used to make change. A good rule of thumb is to start with a mix of about $30 worth of rolled and loose change in the drawer and at least $100 worth of $1 and $5 bills. Over time, you'll get a better feel for the needs of your particular business.

Step 3

Record your starting cash amounts, including the totals for each type of bill and coin. Keep this information in your cash-count log for future reference.

Step 4

Remove excess cash from the cash register at the end of every shift or whenever you reset the register for bank deposits. Repeat this procedure on a schedule to get an idea of how your cash levels vary over time. Make sure to leave the starting amount of cash at the end of each period.

Step 5

Use your bank bag and get change early. Don't wait until you run out of change to make a run to the bank for change. Try to always have at least one roll of each coin on hand at all times.

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