Tips for Starting An Inkjet Cartridge Refill Business

Many people ask us for tips for starting a refill business. We'vedecided to put together this tip sheet to help people start up.

  1. Market Evaluation
  2. Operations
  3. Sales
  4. Suggested Initial Inventory
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Market Evaluation

When looking over your market, consider the following rules ofthumb:


Some key areas of operations are the following:


Equipment is available at three different levels:

Beginning Equipment

At this level, the required equipment is the following:

This equipment will allow you to operate a low volume inkjet cartridgerefill business.

Medium Volume Equipment

At this level, you will want to purchase some of the more specializedequipment available, such as:

High Volume Equipment

You may eventually wish to look at some of the high volume equipment.Two examples:


Initial ink stock depends largely upon your customer base. However,we have found some rules for guidance. The following are the mostpopular inks to refill with.

Black ink

Color Ink

The asterisk (*) signifies most people's highest volume products.If startup cash is tight, we suggest that you focus on these inksand cartridges first.

There are many other inks, but these are limited to printers withlow installed base. We suggest that you consider purchasing thoseinks as the refill opportunities come up. In general, you shouldbe able to pay for a pint of ink with the sale of three or fourcartridges.

Do not purchase more than 1 pint (450 ml) of each ink until yourvolume begins to move. After all, on some of the Canon cartridges,you only put 2 ml of ink into a cartridge. Some of the largerHP cartridges will use up to 60 ml of ink. Eventually, you willwant to purchase in larger volumes to reduce your ink cost onyour most common refills.

Black ink is more popular than color ink. However, as a refiller,you can make more profit refilling color cartridges.


This has always been the most difficult part of starting a refillbusiness. You must get cartridges. There are several options:


With a low volume business, it is essential that good controlof labor costs be accomplished. With training, few cartridgeswill take more than 10 minutes of labor to refill. However, thefirst time someone refills a particular cartridge, it may takeup to 30 minutes.

A well-organized work area which keeps all tools and instructionsreadily available to the refiller is key.

Where possible, refill multiple identical cartridges in batches.This will reduce setup time.

We make the following additional suggestions:

  1. Utilize family members
  2. Stick with temporary, part-time workers. Look for thinkingpeople, since the variety of cartridges requires some adaptability.
  3. Focus workers on a particular type of cartridge. Cartridgesbasically fall into three types:


Sales of refill cartridges are best made in several ways:

You should strongly consider establishing VISA and Mastercardcapability. Check with your bank. Although many banks will notaccept home-based businesses for VISA and Mastercard, they usuallyknow another company which will.

Your customers will evaluate you on the following points:

Consider these points in what you do.