There’s no limit to what you can do to make money with a laser engraver: from providing engraved products to offering engraving services. Succeeding in the business comes down to finding the right niche, employing effective marketing, and accounting for the costs.
Thinking of setting up a versatile business that stands out from the competition?
A laser engraving business offers endless opportunities to make extra money at a low investment.
Like any business venture, you’re not going to make a profit overnight. Building a PROFITABLE business requires some necessary steps.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through how to make money with a laser engraver.
A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Money With a Laser Engraver
Table of Contents
- A Step-By-Step Guide on How to Make Money With a Laser Engraver
- What Products/Services Can I Offer With a Laser Engraver?
- Costs to Consider Before Starting a Laser Engraving Business
- Frequently Asked Questions
A laser engraver is a powerful tool that opens up numerous business opportunities.
Whether you want to craft laser-engraved items yourself or lend the machine to a professional engraver, a laser engraving business can be profitable.
Follow this step-by-step process to find out how to make money with a laser engraver:
Step 1. Select Your Business Model
As a potential entrepreneur, you must decide how to use your laser engraver.
You can utilize a laser machine in TWO WAYS:
- Laser engraved products
- Laser engraving services
Both options are great business ideas to start out on your laser business. You can easily switch between providing products and services or even combining the two.
Finding your niche market will solidify your brand recognition and boost your success.
Offering Laser Engraving Products
Customized items are sure to impress anyone. There’s a huge market for selling engraved products that can guarantee a reliable profit.
You have the flexibility to create virtually anything you can think of!
It’s an attractive option for many hobbyists and crafters.
Whether you want to make personalized picture frames, rubber stamps, or keychains, you can sell them at any physical or online store for a sizable profit.
Although it is harder to sell laser engraved products than offer engraving services, it allows greater creativity and freedom for you as an owner.
Providing Laser Engraving Services
The kind and volume of products you need to make depends on what type of business you want to get into:
1. Corporate Laser Engraving Services
With this business type, you will have to work for a company that specializes in products with laser engravings.
Your primary task is to follow specific designs set by the company and engrave them on the products.
In most cases, you’ll be looking at engraving stationery, medals, plaques, and the like.
Although this path does not have the same versatility as offering laser engraved products yourself, it provides a more stable income.
You can also generate a greater profit margin in the corporate market with bulk orders from clients.
2. Commercial Laser Engraving Services
Establishing a commercial laser engraving service allows you to be your own boss.
You have the freedom to manage your laser cutting business on YOUR terms, but that also means finding target clients yourself.
Fortunately, there’s no shortage of businesses that need laser engraving services.
To succeed in this path, you have to build long-term business connections with potential customers.
An advantage of this is that you can focus on customizing orders according to client needs instead of grinding to create the same orders over and over.
With commercial laser engraving services, you will most likely deal with engraving products like jewelry, photos, decorations, and more.
You can enjoy greater freedom in your business dealings to entice more customers.
Step 2. Determine Pricing
Finding the right price for your engraved products is KEY if you don’t want to go out of business too soon.
It’s recommended to price your products lower when you don’t have a wide consumer base just yet.
Once customers are satisfied with your laser engraved items and leave good reviews, you can gradually up your prices.
Try to reach a 30% to 5o% profit on your sales to ensure financial gain and cover material and labor costs.
In the laser industry, laser costs are typically calculated based on the engraving duration at $1.24 per minute.
You can use this measurement to price your laser engraving services as well.
Check how much other laser engraving businesses charge for their products or services so you can price your own offers evenly.
Step 3. Market Your Laser Engraving Business
As with any business, you’ll need to market your products or services to let customers know what you offer and how they can buy them.
Marketing makes your presence known to your target market.
Here are some of the ways you can promote your laser engraving business:
Despite the trend towards online selling, many customers still prefer buying in-store for many reasons: to avoid scams, to assess the quality of products, etc.
A physical store is a great way to STRENGTHEN your business presence and sell laser engraving products to potential clients.
Customers can visit your store and buy pre-made engravings or request customized products, personalized gifts, and more.
It may cost to pay rent and renovate a space, but it can prove beneficial for your laser engraving business in the long run.
Establishing an online presence for your laser engraving business allows you to reach more customers outside of your locality.
Satisfied customers can post testimonials or reviews to help BOOST traffic to your own website or e-commerce page.
There are several online platforms that integrate e-commerce systems for small business owners and merchants.
Below are some websites you can use to build an online store for your laser engraving business:
- Etsy – Etsy marketplace has millions of active users worldwide. It’s one of the largest e-commerce platforms where you can sell engraved products.
- Wix – With a user-friendly interface and customizable templates, Wix is a great option for small businesses and entrepreneurs who may not be familiar with web design.
- WordPress – WooCommerce is a WordPress plugin intended for online businesses. If you want to rank high on Google and sell more, WooCommerce is your best bet.
- Weebly – If you don’t want to commit to a paid subscription just yet, Weebly lets you launch your own website without paying for a subscription plan.
- SquareSpace – SquareSpace lets you set up an online store and offers stunning templates so you can readily showcase your products.
If you want the best of both worlds, you can create a physical AND an online store.
You can display your laser engraving products in-store for incoming customers while also making them available for online purchase.
It’s a foolproof way to make money with a laser engraver.
Opening a physical and an online store may cost you more, but it promises a great return on investment.
Social Media Marketing
Nowadays, you won’t find anyone who isn’t on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.
Social media platforms allow you to reach a wider audience by advertising your business.
However, all the content ads can pose a challenge in making your brand stand out.
To differentiate your laser engraving business, you can employ targeted ad campaigns, post regularly on social media pages, and network with influencers.
Knowing trends and popular internet lingo can help you connect with online customers better.
Step 4. Establish a Consumer Base
To ensure the success of your laser engraving business, you need to show potential customers that you provide reliable and quality products.
Getting positive reviews can get the word out to other clients that your product or service is worth paying for.
Go the extra mile to provide excellent service for your customers.
Add freebies, do giveaways or promos, and ensure swift delivery to elevate the customer experience.
You can offer discounts to first-time customers or hold a contest. To increase your reach even further, you can also promote on social media sites.
With quality products and a feasible business model, you’ll be making money in no time!
What Products/Services Can I Offer With a Laser Engraver?
What used to take hours of painstaking work can now be done using a laser engraving machine.
With just a laser engraver and some materials, there’s no limit to what you can create.
If you want to know how to make money with a laser engraver, you need to choose the right PRODUCTS to offer.
Some of the most profitable products are personalized gifts. Find out other laser engraving business ideas you can do below:
Nothing impresses more than fine jewelry with a little personal touch.
Using a fiber laser engraver lets you create stunning personalized engravings on necklaces, bracelets, and rings.
Jewelry remains a timeless gift for family, friends, and loved ones. It’s a great material to use if you want to make money with a laser machine.
Many laser engravers on the market also work on leather. If you want to make money with a laser engraver, you can’t go wrong with this essential item.
Almost everyone has a wallet, but not all have a customized one.
A laser-engraved wallet is a one-of-a-kind accessory that anyone would want in their pocket.
3. Wine Glasses
Want to try your hand at laser marking glass?
Engraving glassware is entirely possible with laser engravers. Cater to the sophisticated crowd by laser engraving on wine glasses and decanter sets.
The ideal gift for special occasions like birthdays and weddings.
4. Cutting Boards
Wood is a standard material in laser engraving.
Most laser machines can engrave on different wood types, making cutting boards a great business idea for laser engraving.
Customized cutting boards are perfect for homemakers or cooks who want to spruce up their kitchen.
You can laser engrave personal recipes or short quotes for the added value that customers will definitely love.
5. Charcuterie Board
For customers who are more into eating than cooking, a personalized charcuterie board might just tickle their fancy.
It’s an impressive, rustic addition to social gatherings and dinner parties.
The popularity of charcuterie or cheese boards makes it one of the best business ideas to make money with a laser engraver.
The growing shift to eco-friendly materials has contributed to the rise of reusable tumblers and water bottles.
One way to break into the market is to customize tumblers using a laser engraver.
Personalized tumblers are not only lightweight and convenient but also stylish.
You can also solidify a profitable business by engraving trophies and awards.
There’s no shortage of local sports teams and community groups giving out awards. It promises a niche market you can tap into to make money.
One of the most common applications of laser engraving is on plaques.
Plaques have a broad range of uses, from commemorating special occasions to remembering deceased loved ones and for office use.
9. Dog Collar
Aside from kisses and kibbles, a laser-engraved dog collar is one of the best gifts anyone can give to their pup.
Any good pet owner will get a collar with their contact information to help keep their pets safe.
It’s an essential accessory that guarantees a steady market demand and a steady income for you.
10. Engraved Photos
Among all the customized gifts on this list, an engraved photo is perhaps the most thoughtful.
Capture clients’ cherished memories with a beautiful laser engraving.
A laser engraving can last for several years without wearing or fading, making it the perfect solution to memorialize precious moments.
Costs to Consider Before Starting a Laser Engraving Business
Before starting a laser engraving business, many people ask about the initial investment involved.
Establishing a laser engraving business requires various costs and expenses.
Consider the following factors if you’re interested in how to make money with a laser engraver:
1. Laser Engraving Machine
First things first, you need a laser machine to make products or provide services.
Laser engraving machines are powerful equipment that can be used for various applications.
The cost of a laser machine depends on the type of laser engraver it has. There are three main types:
- Diode lasers
- CO2 lasers
- Fiber lasers
Diode laser machines are the most economical models available. It can cut and engrave various materials with adequate speed and precision.
For most small businesses, a diode laser is an excellent machine that can deliver quality results at a mid-range price.
CO2 laser machines are comparatively pricier but come with powerful lasers and more features like air assist and red dot guidance.
A drawback of a CO2 laser cutter is that it does NOT work on most metals.
If you’re thinking of working with metal materials, a fiber laser engraver is the perfect tool for the job.
Fiber lasers are the most expensive type of laser engraver. These machines have greater laser power and durability.
Consider your budget and your application needs to find the most suitable laser engraving machine for you.
Most raw materials for engraving have low and high-cost options.
If you’re on a budget, consider the following inexpensive materials you can use for your engraving business:
- Wood: White oak, poplar
- Metal: Aluminum, carbon steel
- Plastic: High and low-density polyethylene, polypropylene
- Leather: Cowskin
Alternatively, if you have the capital to spare for high-cost materials, here are some options you can try:
- Wood: Ebony, black walnut
- Metal: Unalloyed steel, zinc
- Plastic: High-density polyethylene
- Leather: Snakeskin, deerskin
- Glass: Hand-blown glass
Choose the most suitable material according to your budget and target clients.
Once you’ve secured a laser machine, you have to purchase extra attachments according to the needs of your business.
If you plan to engrave tumblers or glasses, you’ll need a rotary attachment designed for cylindrical objects.
You must also buy a honeycomb panel to protect your workspace during the laser process.
Some laser machines don’t come with air assist. It’s an essential component that blows away the smoke to keep your machine working optimally.
Aside from attachments, some machines require external laser engraving software to import designs for laser cutting and engraving.
All these features translate to additional COSTS to your overall business expenditures.
Like most machines, a laser engraver requires electricity to function. It means that the electricity it consumes will add to your utility bill.
How much it would cost would depend on the wattage of your laser machine.
Diode lasers have lower wattage compared to CO2 and fiber laser machines.
Before purchasing a laser machine, check the wattage to see how it would add up to the electrical expenses.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some related questions many people ask about how to make money with a laser engraver:
What’s the Difference Between Laser Engraving and Etching?
In a nutshell, the difference between laser engraving and etching lies in how they mark surfaces.
Laser engraving vaporizes material to create deep and permanent indents on the material’s surface.
On the other hand, laser etching melts a portion of the surface area to create high-contrast markings.
Laser etching is faster than laser engraving, but engraving produces a more durable marking.
Is a Laser Engraving Business Profitable?
Yes, a laser engraving business can be a LUCRATIVE venture.
A laser engraver is a versatile tool that can be used for various applications, which opens up limitless business opportunities to make money.
Not only does it have low overhead costs and competition, but it also allows you the flexibility to control your dealings.
It’s easy to scale, so you can adjust production to earn more income, like adding a new product line during the holidays to boost sales.
Is Wood Engraving or Steel Engraving Better?
There’s virtually no difference between wood and steel engraving other than the material used.
Both wood and steel are engravable using a laser machine. You can make beautiful engravings with either material.
The best material to use if you want to make money with a laser machine would depend on your business model, the type of laser engraver you’ll use, and the available resources.
With the right tools and a stable business framework, a laser engraving business has the potential to be a profitable venture.
A laser machine allows unlimited creative opportunities to gain a steady flow of income.
Getting the best laser engraving machine is only the first step. Make sure that you take the necessary actions to secure a SUCCESSFUL engraving business.
We hope this article helped you learn how to make money with a laser engraver.