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Printer Tips

Learn how to save money for your small business or home office through printer repairs.

Save Money through Printer Repair

by Jerry Gorman

What does your company do with malfunctioning printers? With the costs of printers coming down in recent years, many corporate decision makers assume it is less expensive and time consuming to simply buy brand new printers. But while printer costs have certainly come down, so have the costs of printer repair.

Given that America is a nation of do-it-yourselfers, it is surprising that many don't realize how easy it is to fix common printer problems that can save their businesses thousands of dollars. If your company is having trouble with its printers, consider repairing them yourself as your first solution.

Most printer problems are relatively easy to fix - if you have the parts that are included in a standard printer maintenance kit. For example, the printer fuser, the part that fuses the toner onto the paper, is one of the most common trouble spots. Repair "depots" (companies that provide replacement parts and services for major manufacturers like Hewlett-Packard, Lexmark, and Canon) say that most of the time, malfunctions are caused by a damaged fuser. Even on top-of-the-line printers, fusers can stop working properly long before the rest of the printer.

Yet replacing fusers is simple if you follow the directions in the maintenance kits available for your printer models. For most HP models, it simply requires opening the printer, releasing the fuser levers or unscrewing the connection screws, and then replacing the old part with the new. Most other printer problem can be identified and repaired with similar ease.

As companies of all sizes are learning, it's easy to turn printer repair into an opportunity to trim capital expenditures, and there are several companies that provide parts and maintenance kits for do-it-yourself printer repair. Leading companies provide maintenance kits for all major printer models and their web sites also offer free detailed instructions. These printer maintenance kits contain spare parts that have highly predictable wear characteristics, which help eliminate repeat service calls and maximize the paper feed and print quality performance.

In addition to simply providing you with the parts to fix your computer, printer repair depots also provide further means to save money. Here are some common ways to save money through printer repair:

1. By removing the broken parts and sending them to a printer repair depot instead of throwing away the whole machine, businesses are finding that they can save thousands of dollars each year.

2. Even more money can be saved by opting to have the depot's technicians replace broken parts with remanufactured (sometimes called "refurbished") parts. Corporations with staff people assigned to supporting their computers typically want the remanufactured parts because they know that the remanufactured parts need to be tested to comply with the manufacturer's standards and that the depot selling them guarantees their performance. These high volume users appreciate the substantial savings that come from using "good as new" over "brand new" parts.

3. Many depots offer core buy back programs. Companies with damaged printers send the depot the damaged parts and subassemblies for a cash incentive. The depot then repairs, tests, and resells them as remanufactured parts. Everyone benefits: the seller, the depot, and the customer.

4. And a money-saver that savvy companies know very well: frequently there are environmental compliance costs associated with throwing out computers, printers, and other electronic devices. By repairing printers instead of throwing them out, companies save on trash removal fees too.

Printer repair depots also provide in-depth online resources to help you identify what you need to fix. Many host printer error code library of documents on their web sites. These libraries give specific information on diagnosing many common problems.

Once you have identified the problems with your company's printers, you can purchase the proper parts or maintenance kits and make the repairs. A full inventory of parts plus optional overnight shipping means that you can have your printer fixed and operation regularly the next day. After you have learned how easy it is to repair your printers, you can begin to perform regular maintenance to minimize the chance of printer problems, saving even more money in the future.

As with most do-it-yourself projects, having the information you need and the right parts are critical for success. And like most do-it-yourself projects, your company will appreciate the cost savings that come along with self-repair.

Jerry Gorman is Director of Technology at Depot America, a market-leading reseller of printer parts and service solutions assisting customers worldwide. Visit for valuable resources, including technical cross reference material, driver downloads, service manuals, fuser guides, maintenance kit intervals, troubleshooting tips, and error codes.