Laser engraving is one of the most popular small business ideas that can make you good money in 2024.
With the advancement in technology, laser engravers are now available in benchtop formats at affordable prices.
This article will provide a detailed guide on how to start your laser engraving business and provide insights on projects that are ideal for beginners.
Steps Involved in Starting a Laser Engraving Business
Analyzing Business Requirements
Starting your own business sounds exciting, but there are various business ventures that bloom in the initial days and gradually fade away due to lack of planning.
Therefore, it is important to analyze your requirements and prepare a long-term plan before investing in your business.
To prepare the plan, you must analyze the requirement, which involves identifying the type of market that you will target, type of products needed, and type of material you will engrave.
Generally, there are three types of customers that you can target: Budget sensitive, Quality sensitive, and Time sensitive.
The primary requirement of budget-sensitive customers is low-cost products, whereas quality-sensitive customers look for quality products, irrespective of the cost.
Similarly, time-sensitive customers are drawn toward businesses that provide quick delivery.
However, targeting all three types of customers can be extremely difficult and might even lead to a loss. Hence, it is advised to identify your customers and plan the business accordingly.
With a good plan and creative engraving products, you can establish a profitable business, even in an overly saturated engraving market.
Selecting a Laser Engraver
After analyzing the requirements and preparing the plan, it is time to select a laser engraver suitable for your application.
According to John from Mellowpine, choosing an appropriate laser engraver is a crucial step in your business plan.
This is because, unlike CNC engravers, the cutting tool of a laser engraver cannot be replaced to machine different types of materials.
A low-powered diode laser engraver might be an ideal choice for small-scale DIY engraving projects.
However, if you plan to expand your business in the long term, it is recommended to own a powerful laser engraver, capable of producing deep engravings with a quick cycle time.
Furthermore, a fiber laser engraver is best suitable for engraving metal workpieces, whereas a CO2 laser engraver produces the best results when engraving non-metals.
Perfecting your Results
Laser engraving is the process of using a high-energy laser to vaporize the material and produce the desired pattern.
However, achieving perfect results can be challenging because the optimal parameters for laser engraving vary from one material to another and from one setup to another.
Therefore, it is recommended to perform test runs on the materials that you want to engrave and record the parameters that produce the optimal output.
Pricing your Products
After finalizing the type of products for your business and perfecting your results, it is time to set an appropriate price.
Pricing your engraving projects depends upon various factors such as cost of raw material, the overall cost of the laser engraver, cost of time invested in making the projects, and profit margin.
It must be noted that the overall cost of the laser engraver includes various costs such as initial/purchase cost, maintenance cost, and average operational cost of the machine.
Similarly, the time invested in making the project consists of time spent in preparing the design, engraving the product, and packaging it.
You can also provide laser engraving services to other small-scale businesses and charge them according to the project.
For a new business, it is recommended to offer heavy discounts and maintain a low-profit margin to attract customers.
This loss of profit can be considered a marketing cost as it leads to an increase in sales.
Advertising your Products and Service
Marketing is a crucial factor that determines the success of a laser engraving business.
You might be making the best engraving products and providing the best laser engraving service, but your business won’t bloom until you reach out to your target customers and make them aware of your existence.
One of the cheapest and most effective marketing strategies is to promote your business on social media platforms.
However, having your own website is a more professional approach that will help reach out to customers from all over the world.
Maintaining the Quality Output
After establishing a successful laser engraving business, it is important to maintain the same output to retain and attract even more customers.
A good laser engraving business must keep advancing and upgrading with new innovative designs and better equipment.
As the number of orders increases, the delivery time also increases. Therefore, it is recommended to upgrade to a powerful laser engraver to keep up with the increasing demand.
Laser Engraving Projects that Sell
Laser engraving is used in various fields ranging from aerospace to gift accessories.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, laser engraving is prominently used in aerospace, followed by metalworking and unique design crafts.
Engraving small accessories like keychains, pet tags, name plaques for trophies, etc., are some laser engraving projects ideal for beginners.
You can also engrave items such as denim jeans, guitars, tumblers, pens, etc., with customized and unique designs to earn extra profit.
Laser engraving photographs and artwork are profitable projects that require a bit of skill and experience to produce perfect results.
Apart from that, providing laser engraving services to local manufacturers for engraving their logo on their products can also be a profitable ideal to put your laser engraver to work.
Although there are various myths about the downfall and saturation of laser engraving business, excelling in this business is completely dependent upon your creativity and unique engraving ideas.
Targetting the right customers and planning the entire process beforehand, will ensure short-term, as well as long-term success.
Marketing the product might sound like a fancy thing meant only for huge brands, but it is a crucial step to reach out to your customers and inform them about your existence.
Finally, being creative and introducing new designs regularly, will help you sustain a profitable business.