Q&A with Bret Bottger of HP and Mark Evans of BID Blinds
After weeks of blogging about his experience with an HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One, Mark Evans of BID Blinds emerged with the most votes among the five small business owners who participated in the HP Officejet Pro Challenge and won the grand prize package worth more than $2,100. Beyond the obvious advantage of receiving professional color documents while saving up to 50 percent on printing costs and energy use compared to laser1, Mark says he learned a lot about how to use his new printer to help run his business. In this wrap-up interview with HP, Mark shares some additional perspective on printing in a small-business environment.
Mark is the owner of BID Blinds, which provides eco-friendly and affordable custom window treatments to residential and commercial clients in the greater Nashville, Tenn. area. Mark retired his Lexmark X125 All-in-One printer for the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One, and hasn’t looked back since.
Mark Evans, owner of BID Blinds and his new HP Officejet Pro All-in-One
Bret Bottger of HP, who has been chatting with Mark and other participants throughout the Challenge, touched base with Mark to get his comments. Here’s what Mark had to say about his experience:
Bret: After testing the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One for four weeks, what did you particularly like or dislike about it?
Mark: Wow, that is a dangerous question to ask if you don’t know the answer! I think the general thing that stuck out to me was the ease with which I could perform all of the tasks that HP put us through. Of course, I had the occasional – okay, more than occasional - brain cramp that complicated things because I overlooked the obvious. I also like the energy saving “sleep” mode it goes into when it has been idle for a short while. That same mode was probably the “worst” thing, too. Sometimes I get in a time crunch trying to get out the door. I hit “Print” and have to wait a sec for the machine to stir from hibernation. Again, my issue, not the machine’s.
Bret: What features did you find most useful during your four-week “test drive”? Were there any features that you found hard to use?
Mark: Let’s tackle the second part first. NO!!! Emphatic enough? There really was nothing that was difficult. For the Challenge, sometimes I was pressed for time meeting your deadlines because I am still running a business. But, man, this 8500 really came through. Had it been a bear to learn or had it required reading a 600 page manual, I would’ve put it back in the box.
Now for the Part A of your query, the feature I utilized the most was, without question, the two-sided option, both printing and scanning. Not only was it a time saver, it reduces usage and waste and saves the dollars and time it would take to produce a high quality product that is suitable for giving to my clientele!
Bret: What did you think of the quality of materials printed when using Original HP Papers, such as the HP Bright White Inkjet Paper, HP Photo Paper and glossy HP Brochure/Flyer Paper?
Mark: Okay, you got me here. I’ve only used the Photo paper once – four prints. Did I tell you I was running a business? But all of the paper products have been excellent. They have made the final presentation products “POP!” And the way they hold the ink in trying circumstances is “magnifico.” They don’t smudge up or run when wet. The brochure paper is amazing. I am still trying to find the ideal template for my biz. But the brochures I’ve produced are as good as they come.
Bret: Overall, how well did the new Officejet Pro fit the needs of your business compared to your previous printer?
Mark: This is a loaded question. Your HP bias is showing. Let me put it this way. If I hadn’t gone through this experience and learned how many more things I could do and DO WELL with this All-in-One, it would have been a tie. But this 8500 allows me to do things I never would have done with my previous all-in-one. And it does them with such ease and in such high quality.
“WOW’” is the impression the Challenge left me with.
Bret: Would you recommend this printer to other small business owners? If so, why?
Mark: Without a doubt. This machine will make you proud of what you are able to produce. Sure, there are some items that I do in the hundreds, and even thousands, that I will outsource. But for those things that take a personalized touch or those that require differentiation or contrasting ideas, the end product from this small business machine will be hard to beat (and you don’t have to wait for the Print shop to call and say that it is ready).
Finally, even the routine functions, are handled seamlessly by a touch screen input panel. It walks you through your options and maximizes the result. What more could you ask for from the machine? Espresso? Latte?
Bret: Now you have the choice. Would you ever go back to your old printer?
Mark: Somebody would have to pay me a LOT of money as an inducement to use the old machine. Even then, I’d keep my 8500 wired in and sneak back to use it at every opportunity!
Bret: Congratulations on your win, Mark! I hope that you continue to enjoy the HP Officejet Pro 8500 Wireless All-in-One. Be sure to follow the new HP Officejet Pro Challenge: Laser Edition when it launches in a few weeks to hear what a fresh group of small business owners are saying about the Officejet Pro. Click here to check it out.
Opinions expressed here and in any corresponding comments are the personal opinions of the original authors, not of HP and may not have been reviewed in advance by HP.
1Majority of color laser AiOs <$600, June 2008; for details, www.hp.com/go/officejet. OJ Pro ISO yield with highest-capacity cartridges based on continuous printing; see www.hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies. Energy use based on HP testing using the ENERGY STAR® program's TEC test method criteria.