Woman in white lab coat and protective glasses working with laser engraver - laser engraving business
28 Jun-2021

How to Build a Profitable Laser Engraving Business

If you’re thinking about starting a laser engraving business, you’re one smart cookie. As a laser engraver, you can carve out a niche for yourself in your local community and finally realize that dream of becoming your own boss. There are plenty of opportunities to make money, and with a growing population, they’re only set to continue growing. Read on to discover how to make money with a laser engraving machine and find out the answer to the question, “Is the laser engraving business profitable?”

Is the Laser Engraving Business Profitable?

Laser engraving businesses can be very lucrative, provided you’re willing to work hard and go through the due process. Just like any business, the laser engraving industry isn’t giving money away. You need to conduct market research, find out what’s in demand in your area and work hard to create a brand that connects with your target market.

Luckily, there are plenty of reasons why laser engraved products are great to make and sell, the first being the low overheads associated with laser works. Laser engraving machines are the biggest investment, and with changes in the market recently, you can get high-powered laser machines for a fraction of the cost they once were. You’ll need to spend a little on equipment, building a website and getting your name out there, but this doesn’t have to be expensive at all.

Many people think of trophies and gifts when they think of laser marking or engraving, and while they can be money makers, you’re better off thinking bigger if profit margins are a priority. Getting bulk orders from corporate or industrial laser engraving clients is where the big bucks are, which we’ll discuss in detail later on.

Benefits of Starting a Laser Engraving Business

Let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to start a laser engraving business:

  1. Profits: The beauty of a laser engraver is that you take a bland or ordinary object and turn it into something bespoke. Personalization is one of the biggest consumer trends right now, and laser engravers can tap directly into this. What’s more, you work with simple materials like acrylic but transform it into something special, which people are willing to pay a premium for.
  2. Speed: One of the reasons profit margins can be so high for a laser engraver is that you can create customized products at speed. Laser technology lets you add a design to a surface in a few seconds, which is much faster than any traditional hand-engraver would be able to achieve.
  3. Accuracy: Laser technology is special because it’s so accurate. The smaller the laser beam, the more detailed and crisp your designs will be, and the more you can charge per unit.
  4. Eco-friendly: There are no chemical elements in your laser engraver, and it doesn’t use finite resources such as ink. Provided you take good care of your machine, it’ll last years and doesn’t require much maintenance.
  5. Overheads: The laser engraving machine is a one-off cost and only a small investment that you can quickly recoup once you’re up and running. They don’t usually require much in the way of parts replacement and can last for years. You can quickly break even as a laser engraver, which is one of the reasons it’s such an attractive prospect.
  6. Convenience: Not only should your laser machine come with a detailed manual, but the best manufacturers ensure they have top-level support and curate online support communities so you can get the answer to any questions you might have.

 laser machine close up - how to make money with a laser engraver

What Can I Engrave Professionally?

We’ll go into detail about which industries have the highest potential for making money after the step-by-step walkthrough of starting a laser engraving business. Below is a list of some of the most popular laser engraving business ideas:

  • Company logos
  • Signage
  • Christmas ornaments
  • Spice jars
  • QR codes and barcodes for industrial clients
  • Photo engraving
  • Personalized products
  • Business cards
  • Wine glasses
  • Key chains
  • Customized jewelry
  • Theme toy boxes
  • Coasters
  • Artwork
  • Medical devices
  • Celebration and special occasion gifts
  • Custom metal cups

Starting a Laser Engraving Business: Seven Steps

Step One: Create a Plan for Your Business Venture

While it’s understandable that you’re excited and want to get started as a laser engraving maestro as soon as possible, never skip creating a business plan. Keep in mind that a large proportion of businesses don’t experience long-term success, but this is usually because they haven’t planned carefully enough.

Start off by doing a deep dive into laser engraving technology and the industry as a whole. Decide on the structure of your laser engraving business and mention which laser products you plan to create and who you’re going to sell them to. Finally, you need to create a short-, medium- and long-term plan of how you’re going to make money, from acquiring equipment to marketing and pricing.

Step Two: Marketing as a Laser Engraver

While marketing might sound like something fancy people starting up trendy businesses do, it’s actually essential for everyone. If you want people to buy your laser engraving, you’ll need to find out what they want and devise a strategy to let them know you exist.

Market analysis involves looking into demand in the industry in your local area and beyond. Keep in mind that because of the internet, you’re no longer limited to selling in your local area. As such, you’ll need to choose a market segment and learn the market forces driving that niche. Think about the following questions:

  • How do you plan on differentiating your laser engraving business?
  • How do you plan on adding value to your customers’ lives?
  • How are you going to deliver an exceptional customer experience?

Now that you know who you’re marketing yourself to, it’s time to create a brand that bridges the gap between what your potential customers want and what your company delivers. Key components of brand identity include:

  • Business name
  • Mission statement
  • Logo
  • Fonts, colors and imagery associated with your company

Step Three: Pricing Your Laser Engraving Business

Marketing is only half the battle. As with any industry, laser engraving pricing is a key driving force for your business. For example, when it comes to creating gifts and trophies, many consumers are focused solely on price when they choose a custom laser engraver. If you plan on entering this sector, you’ll need to find a way to ensure your prices are lower than competitors while still offering a high-quality service.

On the other hand, corporate and industrial clients might perceive low prices as a sign of poor quality. They’ll likely be looking at quality, track record and accuracy. When you’re starting out, you can demonstrate the level of quality you offer in your website, communication and samples.

Step Four: Get Laser Engraver Equipment

Now that you’ve got a plan in place, it’s time to take action. You can find laser engraving machines for a small percentage of the price they once were. Pay close attention to the size of the engraving bed, as this dictates what you can make. Some laser cutters come with an adjustable bed, which can offer additional flexibility. Laser power and wattage also play a role in how quickly and efficiently you can work

You’ll need to find out which materials you can use with your laser, and raw materials are your other main costs. Other items you’ll need when starting out are a computer, photo editing software, a content management system, web hosting and office materials.

Step Five: Register Your Laser Engravers Business

If you’re planning on becoming a high-flying laser engraving expert, you should register your business as soon as possible. If something goes wrong and a customer sues you, you could be personally liable if you’re not registered as a company. Getting registered also makes it possible to fulfill other legal requirements such as setting up for taxes, opening a business bank account and applying for credit.

Step Six: Build a Laser Business Website

Now it’s time to use your branding and marketing strategy to create a website. Lots of people settle for setting up social media pages or write themselves off as not being technically savvy enough to take this step. This is a huge mistake in today’s marketplace, where you can set up a website for your laser engraving business with minimal knowledge of coding or website building. There are lots of CMSs to choose from, making setting up your website as simple as using MS Word.

Step Seven: Start Creating Custom Engraving Pieces

You’ve made it. Becoming a laser engraving entrepreneur is not that difficult, but it takes hard work. However, in return for that effort, you get to work on your own terms, create the items of your choosing and make a ton of cash!

What Is the Most Profitable Area for Laser Engraving?

Now that we’ve established that it’s possible to make a laser engraving business profitable, let’s delve into the most lucrative ways to use laser engraving technology. When it comes to making big money in any industry, there are two main ways to approach your operation: quality or quantity. If you only work with fine materials and market yourself as a high-end brand, you can charge higher prices.

Alternatively, you can work with industrial and corporate clients that require bulk engraving services. From creating beautiful employee of the month plaques to etching codes into manufacturing tools, laser engraving can make a lot of money in these spaces. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, aerospace, specialized design, foundries and metalworking are the top-paying industries for etchers and engravers.

Check Out Our Range of Laser Machines

Get a laser engraving machine from Thunder Laser USA today and carve a niche for yourself in this growing industry.