Printer Filling Station

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The Printer Filling Station early beginnings:

Yes, we are the Lewis Family that were on Family Feud

What began as a means to supplement his salary has grown into a sole source of income for Gordon Lewis, founder of the Printer Filling Station, former Senior Service Technician with Scientific-Atlanta. When the Internet developed and began to grow, Gordon started thinking about business. The printer he had at that time was a laser printer and the replacement cartridges were large and expensive. He found a local source to buy the toner, refill it himself, and save a good deal of money. One thought led to another, and Gordon began to visualize an opportunity. "Everyone on the Internet has a computer" Gordon said, "and if they've got a computer, they've got a printer and most printers are inkjet" and the idea for an Internet-based printer ink refill business began. Gordon started in 1997 and spent over three years developing his website and his product and researching the market, before launching the Printer Filling Station in 2000. He bought original ink cartridges and took them apart to see how they could be refilled. He took photographs in various stages of dismantling the inkjet cartridges to use in his website for refill instructions. He learned about the properties of various printers and inks. Epson printers, for example, need a lubricant in their inks to keep the printers working properly and prevent the print head from drying out.

     At first Gordon sold his inks as a dealer under a bulk supplier. Business grew quickly and he needed a direct source. Using the Thomas Book of American Manufacturers, Gordon found numerous direct ink sources with inks of different qualities. He chose what he knew to be a superior ink supply and began purchasing direct. Gordon talked with other self-employed individuals he met waiting to mail packages at the post office and in community classes and exchanged business tips with them . He discovered sources to improve his rankings on Internet search engines, to improve his 800 number services, and other marketing strategies. He developed a product and service, which has been so successful, he offers a 100% money back guarantee. An ink cartridge that costs $25-$40 can be refilled for about two dollars, and there is a toll free number for technical support, if needed. His wife, Margaret who has worked beside him from the start adds, "We started small, not with too many inks."

     The Lewis's have moved from their original home to a larger home in Loganville Georgia with a full 2500 square foot basement to house the business. The advantages of working at home Gordon says, "We do not drive to work, and don't get in traffic jams. With gas prices up as high as they are, we don't use very much gas, so that hasn't bothered us. UPS and USPS now comes to the door; so theoretically, we don't have to leave the house at all. It's actually the ideal business to have." The down side is the competition in internet-based businesses has grown. "A lot depends on the search engines. When you rank good; you make good. "It's not like working for a company with a steady income. Your income is up and down, but hopefully the average is better than working for someone else." Other negative factors: Gordon has to pay his own health insurance, which is now in the neighborhood of $1,300 per month and for the services of a good tax professional. "Overall, it's been a good move, a good change. To start your own business, don't get discouraged when you try five others that fail. If you keep on trying you're going to hit one that's going to succeed for you. Keep on trying. If you don't try, you'll never make it. Desperation is a good motivator."

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