Running Out of Ink? Follow These Tips to Stay Stocked

Figuring out when you actually need a replacement ink cartridge for your business's printer is tricky. Here's how to know, and how to keep your stock full.

Any business owner who has had to print off a big report right before a meeting or conference knows the dreaded scenario of rushing to print your materials, only for the printer to run out of ink mid-report. The more this stressful situation happens, the more critical it becomes in a business environment, when the inability to print can result in a lost project, revenue and/or customer.

Below are some tips that can help you avoid running out of ink at a critical stage, and information regarding how to know if you actually need a replacement ink cartridge:

Study Your Printer

All printers provide information about ink levels, but sometimes when it says it's low, there's still a good percentage left, according to Kim Komando, expert on consumer technology. When you purchase your printer, make sure to read all the literature that comes with it (and multiple consumer reviews) to see how long users can go between cartridges.

When you start using a new cartridge, monitor how long it lasts. When your ink is indicated as ""low"" for the first time, test it out on scrap paper and make a note of how many sheets you can print before the ink-less streaks appear. Post this number near your printers, and then have people tally the pages printed on ""low ink."" This way, you and your staff know if you can get the project printed — or if you need to replace cartridges immediately.

While you can take measures to drain every last drop from your cartridges, it also pays to be prepared.

Consider a Subscription Service

Some manufacturers and stores offer ink subscription services. Auto restock is a free service from Staples that will send you the replacement ink cartridge you need, so you don't have to worry about running out!

As part of the service, your business automatically notifies the provider when a printer is low on ink, your account is billed and the ink is shipped directly to your doorstep. The advantage is that it's automatic, so you don't need to keep track of ink levels yourself — and when you run out, you don't need to worry about having ink in the supply room. You also know the quality of the product.

Use Multiple Printers on a Network

If your business is large enough to warrant more than a single printer, put them on the same network, so it's easy to transfer jobs during ink emergencies. You want to research various brands of printers for your network before buying so you can see which option works best for your business and ink needs in the future.

By following the above ideas, you can avoid running out of ink at a critical juncture of a project. Doing so could potentially increase your business — while decreasing your stress levels.