Cost Per Page and Free Cartridges? Not really.

September 2, 2011

The latest trend for offices is to sign up for MPS or Manage Print Services.  The claim is that MPS will lower the cost for printing for that office, because it is based on a cost per page basis instead of a cost by cartridge basis.  Usually, the service runs like this.  Instead of paying for a cartridge, you are paying on the number of pages printed.  It usually also includes a service agreement, monitoring service, and another fee.

Here is an example:

Printer 1 – Black only, uses the HP Q2612A cartridge.  Monthly service fee $5, monitoring fee $9 (this includes making sure you have the cartridge and noticing any problems your printer has), misc fee (they usually have a name for this, but I don’t) $6.  Per page you pay (using an OEM Cartridge) 5.5 cents for example. But the Cartridge is free.

Now the HP 12A cartridge is rated for 2000 pages at 5% coverage, however, real life, no one prints at 5% coverage.  It is closer to 7-10% average.

Now let’s say it takes the customer 3 months to use that cartridge, and they printed 1200 pages during those 3 months.  So they have $15 in service, $27 in monitoring, $18 in the misc, and $66 in pages, for a grand total of $126 or $42 a month.  But remember the cartridge is free.

HP currently sells the HP 12A for $77.99.  So the question is that cartridge free?  Not really.  Any charge for monitoring is stupid in my mind.  They charge you to let you know your out of a cartridge and get one ordered, shouldn’t you already know that?  And they let you know if there is a problem with your printer, once again, shouldn’t you know if there is a problem.  You still pay for the cartridge, but you are paying for it in the pages you print as well as the fees that are added on.

While some MPS’s are good for businesses, the key is to watch for the nickle and dimes.  I prefer our method of an inventory control program partnered with a service agreement.


Cartridge prices going up again?

March 9, 2011

Oil, gas, and food prices in the last few months have been going up and for the short term at least the question remains, how high will they go?  The one thing rising prices have in common is the rising price in oil.  With rising oil you have rising transportation and manufacturing prices.  The question remains how will this effect cartridge prices for printers?

If you look back at the last time oil and gas shot up like they are now, that summer, prices for cartridge raised on average about 15-20%.  The prices that people see today when they buy an HP, Lexmark, or other brand name cartridge are the prices that were an effect of oil prices hitting $140 a barrel.  People may ask why, but here are the factors to remember.

  1. Cartridges are made out of plastic, plastic is made out of oil.  And while the brand name companies may lock in their component prices for a while, dramatic increases like we saw can not be avoided.
  2. Transportation cost rose up.  Since there are very few cartridges made in North America (there are a few plants in Mexico), all the cartridges must be transported in from Asia.
  3. Brand name cartridge companies like HP, Lexmark, Canon and the others are greedy.  Remember that the price of oil did drop down, and for a few years was below $70 a barrel, but prices for OEM cartridges did not go down.

So the question remains, what will happen with cartridge prices this year with oil going up?  I would be almost willing to bet that if oil stays at current prices or even increases to say $120 a barrel, OEM cartridge prices could see an increase in prices of an average of 10-15%.  This means that a HP 56 cartridge that cost $23.99 today could end up costing around $27-28 and an HP 42X toner cartridge could go from $249 up to $260-285.  I am sure we will find out by the end of June if the prices are going up or not.  To be honest I would be shocked if prices did not go up.

Now as for myself and for O-ink, we almost hope for a price increase from the OEM’s.  If they raise prices by say a flat $2-4 per inkjet and $10-25 per laser cartridge, that would mean that our prices would be $1.50-3.50 cheaper for inkjets in addition to the savings we already offer.  For lasers it would be around $9-$22 cheaper.  The reason I am not saying the 2-4 range or 10-25 range is I would expect our shipping cost to go up.

Please keep in mind, I hate high gas prices.  However, the last time this happened, I actually guessed about 5% lower on the price increases that happened.  I do hope I am wrong.


Kodak Printers and Printhead Problems

October 2, 2010

When Kodak came out with their printers 2-3 years ago, the major talk was about the cost of ink.  Granted, Kodak does have some low priced ink at around $27 for both a black and color.  So the question becomes, where did they scrimp on the cost to make money.  In talking to our customers, we think we have found it.

In reference to the blog post about kodak printers that  I made, most review placed don’t think the highest of them.  However, this is becoming more evident in talking to our customers who have them or have had them.  I would say about 40% of our customers experience a problem in the first 6 months of owning it.  Granted Kodak, usually makes it right, but still.  And the problem always seems to revolve around the printheads.  I have even had one customer who had his printer replaced 3 times, and the 4th time, they refused saying he broke it and that voided the warranty.  Of course this is a non-replaceable part, so if it breaks, you need Kodak to fix it.

I would think this has more to do with the ink that they use instead of the actual head.  If I remember right, they use pigment colors and black, which while good for colors and life, the ink can thicken and plug up easily (look up Epson R800 and R1800 printers on cnet.com, they talk about them their.)

Need to get a printer, look at a Brother model or a Canon model, those would be a safe bet.


New Products Available

April 1, 2010

We at O-ink are happy to announce that we have added 11 new replacement cartridges to growing list of inkjet and laser cartridges we offer.

  1. HP 60 Series Replacements: We now have both the standard and XL versions of both the cartridges available.
  2. HP 901 Series Replacements: We now have both the standard and XL black cartridges along with the color cartridge available.
  3. Brother LC61 Replacements:  All four colors are available.  These are not generic/third party cartridges, these are empty Brother cartridges that have been cleaned, inspected, and filled.

All of our cartridges are filled the the full weight of the OEM’s cartridges and carry our one year guarantee.  If you have any questions or need to place an order just look us up at www.oinkinkstore.com


Lexmark gets sued over Return Program technology

March 30, 2010

When Lexmark came out with the Return Program Inkjet Cartridge, quite a few people in the inkjet remanufacturing industry took note.  The Return Program inkjet cartridges have a built in kill feature that prevents a user or company from refilling and reusing that cartridge.  For Lexmark this is a great money move, because it forces people to buy their cartridges, which means more money from them.  Currently, from what I can tell, there is around 12 or so inkjet models that are Return Program Cartridges.

No one has found a way to get around the electronic aspect of the cartridge.  Now for Lexmark everything is going all good and that, but there was a small problem that arose.  Apparently, Lexmark took the kill feature that they use in their Return Program Cartridges from another company.  On Feburary 22nd, 2010, Advanced Cartridge Technologies (we will call them ACT to save on time) sued Lexmark for patent infrindgement (link).  Apparently ACT has three patent’s that they claim Lexmark is using without permission.

So how does this affect the user, nothing yet.  However, if Lexmark loses (remember court battles can take years), there are two possible outcomes.  1.  This could drive Lexmark under.  ACT is seeking Triple damages.  If Lexmark closes, there goes the supply of cartridges.  (I doubt this could or will happen, but there is that possiblity.)

2.  Lexmark stops the Return Program for Inkjets.  Lexmark has in place for all of their Return Program Inkjet Cartridges a replacement cartridge that technically be refilled called the “A” version.  The problem is that these cartridges cost around $2 more and are hard to find in a retail store.  The lawsuit could stop the sales of Return Program cartridges and force consumers to spend more on already expensive inkjet cartridges.

We are years away from this lawsuit affecting anyone, but it will interesting to see what happens.


IE not printing correctly – what is to blame?

September 14, 2009

Had a customer with an unusual problem a couple weeks ago.  They could print from My Documents, but anything from IE (Version 8) would only print the header and footer, no body.  Do you know how hard that is to research?  Well, here is what I found.

  1. Check your add-ons.  Some add-ons can cause problems with printing in IE, so it is recommended to turn them all off, and then try printing.  If it works, then starting turning them on and printing.  Repeat process until it doesn’t work or they are all turned on.
  2. Do you have MSIA installed?  MSIA stands for Microsoft Software Inventory Analyzer.  Apparently when this is installed it causes the printing to not work correctly.  It is not required for anything so uninstalling it  causes no problem (According to Microsoft)
  3. Double and triple check the cartridges.  This was my customers problem.  We could print in black/white mode, but once we turned the color on it failed, why?  Her cartridge was shorted and empty.  It should have still printed what it could with the black cartridge, but for whatever reason it didn’t.  Darn Lexmarks 🙂 (She has a Lexmark X75)

Hopefully if you run into this problem it is an easy fix.  Happy Printing.


HP 02 and 02XL versus O-ink HP 02XL Replacement

August 31, 2009

The HP 02 cartridges were a nice change for HP in the last few years.  They decided to go to a single color cartridge system designed for photos.  Using Dye based ink to get the best photos (I know this is up for debate) instead of a Pigment Black and Dye colors.

We often get people asking about our cartridges and why we are around the same price as HP.  Couple reasons.  1. The chip needs to get replaced after ever fill.  2.  The amount of ink we put in is much more than HP.

Recently HP has came out with HP 02XL cartridges, which you can only find as Sam’s Club in the 5 packs, that claim a 50% increase.  So the question is, how much more ink does HP put into the cartridges?

HP 02 Black – Official HP 10ml – XL 15ml

HP 02 Cyan and Magenta – Official HP 4ml – XL 6ml

HP 02 Yellow – Official HP 6 ml – XL 9ml

HP 02 Photo Cyan and Photo Magenta – Official HP 5.5ml – XL 8.25ml

Here are the prices for the XL’s, each color is $13.15 and the Black is $24.44 (Based off from a 48858 zip code).  The Standard HP’s Black is 19.99 and the Color is 10.99.  Now for O-ink

O-ink HP 02 Replacement Black – 30ml – 17.99

O-ink HP 02 Replacement Color – Each – 10ml – 9.99

Average Cost per ML is the following

Black – O-ink $0.60 – HP Standard $2.00 – HP XL $1.63

Cyan and Magenta – O-ink $1.00 – HP Standard $2.74 – HP XL $2.19

Yellow- O-ink $1.00 – HP Standard $1.83 – HP XL $1.46

Photo Cyan/Magenta- O-ink $1.00 – HP Standard $2.00 – HP XL $1.59

The numbers speak for themselves I believe.  Link for the O-ink HP 02XL Replacement 6 pack is here.