How to Start an Ink Refilling Business

by Catherine Capozzi; Updated September 26, 2017

Printer companies gain large profits from the sale of printer ink. A few entrepreneurs realized that refilling ink jet cartridges with little more than ink and a syringe could save their customers money and reap a large profit for their new business. If you wish to become one of these entrepreneurs, starting your own ink jet refilling business requires minimal equipment and money and can be started quite easily.

Step 1

Know the types of ink jet cartridges. Printing cartridges come in various shapes and sizes, each require slightly different refilling techniques. Know the sales of each of the major brands to get an idea of the cartridges you will most likely be expected to fill. Common types, according to Oddparts.com, are vacuum retained or sponge-based, multi- or uni-color cartridges, and “other” (most likely reservoir-only).

Step 2

Learn how to inject ink. Learn the filling techniques for each of these cartridges as they all differ. Despite these differences, within three attempts of refilling each type of cartridge, you should become proficient. See "Resources" for instructions on filling various cartridges.

Step 3

Prepare your workspace carefully. Keep ink stored away from pets and children, and place cartridges, which may leak, on inexpensive tablecloths. Dress as you would to paint a house, only wearing clothing you don't mind staining. An apron is ideal.

Step 4

Get supplies. If your business is small, your equipment is inexpensive and found at most hardware stores. Buy ink wholesale online. Purchase additional supplies. Oddparts.com recommends syringes, a 1/16-inch hand drill, a glue gun, small ½-inch screws, a wrench with a 12-inch handle, electrical tape, and a vise. As your operation expands and you gain capital, consider purchasing more expensive equipment to expedite the refilling process. Available equipment includes air-powered syringes and drill presses.

Step 5

Manage cartridges. Most customers bring in their old cartridge to be refilled. Otherwise, consider obtaining old cartridges, filling them with ink, and selling them at a discount. Fundraiserhelp.com mentions that collecting ink jet cartridges in the community is a common way to raise money. Therefore, speak with school clubs and offer $1 to $4 for used cartridges.

Step 6

Market to appropriate companies. Funcareers.com explains that some industries buy primarily refilled ink for their business operations. These businesses include graphic design studios and companies, architecture firms and photography businesses. Target these companies in your city and offer your services at a discount, in addition to broke university students who are looking to save money.

Large drug store chains offer “free ink refill” days to attract new customers. Do the same for your grand opening. Few people know about the option to refill their current ink jet cartridges as an alternative to paying a premium for new ones. Offer cash to those who bring in old cartridges for recycling.

About the Author

Since 2008 Catherine Capozzi has been writing business, finance and economics-related articles from her home in the sunny state of Arizona. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in economics from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, which has given her a love of spreadsheets and corporate life.