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Business Idea: Specialized Check Printer

Dymo Label Printer

Like I’ve said before, ideas are a dime a dozen. What it really takes to make a business is more than just an idea, it takes the execution of the idea. And this is by far the hardest part. I myself have no trouble coming up with new ideas. I actually have lots of them. The problem is that I can’t execute all of them. I just don’t have the time and the resources. So today I’m going to share with you my latest idea. And please go ahead and take it if you want. I’d love to see this product make it to the market! I’d buy it in a heartbeat.

Basically the idea comes down to a simple need, the ability to print checks from my computer. Right now in the market there are many great label printers, which is awesome. We use Dymo label printers here at LandlordMax to help us (it’s great for mailing labels amongst other things). It’s an amazing time saver. As good as having sheets of Avery mailing labels are, I often just need to print one label, of even just a few labels and not an entire sheet  of labels.  Hence I almost exclusively use the label printer (I actually only use the Avery sheets to print large quantities of return mailing addresses).

Now imagine if there was a printer just like the Dymo label printer, but for checks! How cool would that be?

There’s some details that would need to be ironed out. For example what do you get with a roll of checks? Does it print out your account information on the bottom of the check or just fill in the fields like the date, payee, etc. That’s the 99% perspiration part, I’m just giving the 1% inspiration.

The key to this printer’s success of course is to make it very easy to use and integrate with. If there was such a printer, and it was very easy to interface/integrate with, we’d almost certainly be supporting it as the primary check printing option for LandlordMax.

You see right now for a software to offer check printing, which we’re in the process of implementing for LandlordMax, you either need to jump through hoops or highly limit the capabilities of your check printing feature.

It basically comes down to a couple of options. The first is to support only pre-defined formats, but this means you’ll also have to sell checks “compatible” with your software. Not exactly where we want to go for LandlordMax. The alternative is to create some form of a “check designer” which allows you to configure how the checks are printed. Of course this option is much more complex for the software company to implement, and hence costs more. But not only that, most users aren’t really interested in configuring their printer alignments just to be able to print checks.

So there you go, a business idea that will solve a common and annoying problem faced by both consumers and businesses. Just think of the possibilities. Hopefully someone will take this idea and run with it!

And if you know of a check printer like this that already exists, please let me know. I’d be very appreciative.



 
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Comments:

  •     Drew
    · January 16th, 2009  · 2:46 pm  · Permalink

    I used to work in the accounting dept. of a large firm ($100 million annual budget) and we had a check printer. It looked just like a regular laser printer but was a MICR printer.
    I don’t recall what MICR stands for, but I do remember these elements:
    -We used special paper–essentially blank check stock–that was perforated along the bottom third.
    -The printer would add everything to the paper…two signatures, those numbers and routing information along the bottom, To and From, etc.
    -The software had a security feature that limited the number of people who could activate print jobs and, further, required two different people to initiate check printing to reduce the likelihood of fraud.

    Like I say, a multi-million dollar enterprise…it would be nice if there was something available for the smaller business, although I would be concerned about all the security features…there is such a thing as it being TOO convenient to write checks.

  •     Steph
    · January 16th, 2009  · 3:07 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Drew,

    You said it exactly, “it would be nice if there was something available for the smaller business”.

    Even if the printer didn’t print everything, and you had to have rolls of checks pre-fabricated for you (like most people order checks now), it would still be a lot better than what we have now. Plus this way you wouldn’t need to store your account information on your computer.

    The other thing to remember is that if it’s on someone’s desk, they’re probably the only person using the check printer. If you have multiple writing checks from the same printer, then you’re probably dealing with an enterprise solution.

    But as a last precaution, you can just omit the signature, there’s no difference between the personal checkbook I have right now and having a roll of checks sitting in a printer 😉

  •     Dymo King
    · January 17th, 2009  · 5:12 am  · Permalink

    Hi Drew, MICR stands for magnetic ink character recognition. We had one of those in our range when I worked for Xerox a long time ago. Basically it was a standard laser printer with special MICR toner and I think 1 or 2 small mods.

    Dymo LabelWriters and other direct thermal label/barcode printers use heat to ‘burn’ the image onto a heat sensitive label, so they would not be suitable for printing cheques. Unless the system has changed and MICR is no longer a requirement (or if your MICR account info is pre-printed onto the cheques by the cheque supplier)

    But either way as the cheques aren’t heat sensitive you can’t use a direct thermal printer to fill in the rest of the details.

  •     Steph
    · January 18th, 2009  · 12:14 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Dymo King,

    MICR is still a requirement, which makes it a bit harder to create a check printer. But it still shouldn’t be rocket science. And even if it was twice as expensive as a regular label printer, I have no doubt you’d have a lot of takers. I’d buy one today!

    And you’re absolutely right, the printing technology would have to be different. Although I absolutely love the thermal printing technology on the Dymo label printers, it was a great design decision, it won’t work for checks.

  •     Sean
    · January 27th, 2009  · 11:19 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Steph,

    A quick check of Google and I found this for you – http://www.eftechusa.com/p_cp_buss.htm

    It looks like just what you need.

    Sean

  •     Steph
    · January 28th, 2009  · 12:27 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Sean,

    Thank you, but unfortunately I’m looking for a hardware printer and not a software solution that will print checks.

    The key is that we want to offer check printing within our software product (LandlordMax but we don’t want to have to deal with every possible printer solution. This means printer alignments, support for different check sizes, check types, etc. We’re looking for a hardware solution that works just like the Dymo Label Printer where all you’d have to do is send the values to the API (date, payee, amount, etc.) and everything else is taken care of for you.

    Thank you very much though for taking the time to help us out, it’s very appreciated.

  •     Ben
    · August 21st, 2009  · 2:10 am  · Permalink

    Wow, way to spam the thread, did you even bother to read it before you posted?

  •     Steph
    · August 22nd, 2009  · 4:27 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Ben,

    I just deleted their comment. I suspect they just found the post with their keyword and added a link. There’s no way they even came close to reading it, which is why it’s now gone.

  •     Kashani
    · November 23rd, 2010  · 4:27 am  · Permalink

    please let me know if you found check personalization Machine that encode MICR as well or not because we are looking for a vendor

  •     Steph
    · November 25th, 2010  · 3:27 pm  · Permalink

    Hi Kashani,

    I’ve yet to find one…

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