Laser cutting is a process that uses a focused laser beam to cut or engrave materials into desired shapes, designs, or patterns. While laser cutters are often used to cut or engrave metals, they can also cut through wood, plastic, glass, and other materials. Laser cutting technology has come a long way in recent years, and there are now a variety of laser engravers available on the market, such as desktop laser machines, that are suitable for a wide range of applications, from hobby use and small business projects to industrial-scale manufacturing.
Engraving is not the same as etching. The latter uses chemicals to make marks in a material whereas laser engraving actually cuts the material to create designs. But if you already use laser cutters for engraving as a hobby, you already know the above information.
If you enjoy spending time laser engraving, you may be considering turning your hobby into a profitable business. But how exactly do you go about doing that?
Decide Whether Your Business Will Be Product-based on Service-based
There are two different ways in which you can turn your laser engraving hobby into a fully-fledged business opportunity. You can either create products using laser engraving and sell those products or you can offer laser engraving services for products that customers provide.
For example, you could create products like laser-engraved house signs or you could engrave a sports team’s trophies.
You also have the option of setting up a business in which you sell products and engrave customers’ items, but it is usually best to choose one route when first starting out. You can always expand your services and product range later on.
Get the Right Equipment
Once you have decided on your business model, you will need to ensure you have all the right equipment.
If you are already a hobbyist, you will have a laser cutter that you use for engraving, but you may wish to look at expanding your equipment, such as looking at this selection of used CO2 lasers, so that you can provide a wider range of products or services or provide a higher level of quality.
Decide How Much You Will Charge
Getting your price point right can make the difference between a profitable business and one that just manages to get by, so spend some time working out your production costs and profit margins.
If you are providing a laser engraving service, which will mostly involve engraving words, you can either charge by word or design or by the minute. Typically, laser engravers charge between $1 and $2 per minute.
Whatever products and services you offer, to make your business profitable, aim to make between 30% and 50% profit on each product or service.
Once you have worked out what products or services you will offer and how much you will charge, it is time to set yourself up online. For either business model, you will need a website. You will also need to get onto all relevant social media platforms so that you can market your business.
When it comes to selling laser engraved products, you will need to get onto e-commerce sites like Etsy. You should also look at selling your products directly from your website.
Market Your Business
To drive customers to your new business, you will need to use effective marketing techniques. Online, you can do things like place paid ads on relevant sites, use SEO methods to attain a high rank on search engines, and post engaging and informative content on your social media channels.
If you are providing an engraving service, you should market yourself locally as well as online, such as by placing ads in local newspapers and doing leaflet drops. You should also consider running a service in which customers can mail you items that they want to engrave; which will open up a whole new stream of revenue.