Last post we talked about why clothing is one of the best things to sell on ebay. This post is going to talk about printer ink and toner. “Printer ink?” You may be wondering. “How can selling printer ink on ebay be lucrative?”
Anyone with an ink jet printer knows that printer ink is insanely expensive (which is why a thermal printer is the best printer to use for eBay). Smart people know that paying retail for ink is for suckers, so they turn to the Internet for cheaper options. Before I started reselling I would have never realized that there is a market for selling ink online, much less expired printer ink- yes expired printer ink sells also!
Printer ink and toner need to be new to sell for more than a couple of dollars. I have sold slightly used toner cartridges for as much much as $45, but this is a very, very rare scenario. If you’re going to sell used printer ink/ empty cartridges you’ll usually get around $1 for each cartridge. If you can get a ton of empty cartridges for free from your office then selling used cartdiges may be a lucrative avenue for you, but for most of us we should stick to selling new ink.
Ink in Thrift Stores
So what brands should you be on the lookout for? Lots of well known companies produce ink and toner: Hewett Packard (HP), Canon, Xerox, Samsung, Brother, and Epson are some common and profitable brands to look for.
The most that I’ll spend on new ink cartridges is $15 to $20. Most ink sells for $50 or less, so any ink priced at more than $20 is usually not worth it to buy (remember to bring your smartphone into the store with you so you can look it up!) It sounds kind of odd that people donate ink to thrift stores and Goodwills, but it happens everyday. You’ll inevitably find new ink cartridges if you are a frequent visitor to these places.
Last summer I found ink for $5 at a thrift store. The ink was a new 2 pack of HP 957xl black ink and not yet expired. After I got home and did some research I learned that this ink sells for more than $85, and within 24 hours mine sold for $89! A $70 profit on a $5 item is very good.
Dumpster Diving For Ink
I’ve been dumpster diving for a couple of years (I usually don’t get into the dumpster, I just open the top and look inside/ move things around). I frequent an office supply store chain that rhymes with Maples. I usually don’t find much inside the dumpsters, but sometimes (1/4 of the trips) I will find something valuable. One of the things that I consistently find are toner cartdiges. Sometimes they are new in the box, but sometimes they’re opened (we’ll talk about how to deal with opened and expired ink soon). One more than one occassion I have found a brand new, sealed toner cartridge and sold it for more than $100!
I’ve found dozens more different profitable things in dumpsters like wading boots, jeans, shirts, shoes, external hard-drives, sweatshirts, books, pens, batteries, office chairs, pencil sharpeners, and more. I’m going to write an article solely about dumpster diving soon so stay posted!
I just went off on a dumpster diving tangent, so let’s bring the conversation back to printer ink.
After buying the printer ink I bring it home, take the price sticker off, and then list it.
Printer ink is the fastest thing to list on ebay, and for that reason I love listing it! First you’ll need a title that describes your ink. Remember to include the company, the model, the expiration date, and whether it’s new or used. I always include free shipping and returns with ink so I also put “Free Shipping/ Returns” at the end of my title. Reminding buyers that you’re offering free shipping is a good nudge to close a potential sale. If the ink is expired I put the condition as ‘New Other’ and if it’s brand new I put the condition as ‘New’. My descirptions for ink are very very short. I write them like this:
HP 52 ink cartridge for sale New & Factory Sealed Expires ‘month/year’ Smoke free home Free shipping/ Returns
The above descirption may sound too short, but it’s effective. Ink doesn’t need a long explanation because what the buyer sees in the title and pictures is exactly what they get.
Ink is almost always light enough to ship First Class Mail (see my post about the shipping options if you’re confused what that means). Ink is usually really cheap to ship so it’s a good idea to offer free shipping because listings with free shipping show up higher on the web page. It’s also good to offer free returns. With expired and opened ink you need to offer free returns since the buyer is taking a gamble buying the ink, but I offer free returns with new ink too. I’ve only ever had one return for the ~100 ink cartridges that I’ve sold and it was for a cartridge I found in a dumpster. To ship the ink I just throw it in a poly-mailer, stick the shipping label on and then it’s ready to ship!
If I found the ink or toner in a dumpster is opened, but still looks new then I say something like in the description:
This cartridge was gotten at an office overstock supply store and was only used once to test it. It turned out to not be the right model, so the ink was never used, but was opened. I’m offering free shipping and question free returns so there’s no risk when you buy it!
The above paragraph is not be entirly true because I got the ink got it in a dumpster not an office supply store, but this description reassures the customer, so I include it. If I find ink that is missing it’s original box, but is still new and never used then I’ll still list the ink as ‘New’.
Remember that printer ink is a common item to find and lucrative thing to sell. Try not to spend more than $20 on it. When listing your ink be sure to inlcude the company, model number and expiration date in your title and descritipion. Also offer free shipping and free returns. If your ink is less than a pound then ship it First Class Mail (95% of ink will be less than a pound). Remember these simple guidelines and you can make $100 or more a month with just ink!