Laser engraving remains a lucrative way to set up a business in a burgeoning industry that only requires little investment.
Laser systems are really simple to use that you can start using one immediately. Moreover, they are really affordable and normally pay for themselves in no time. Whether you decide to work from home or open a storefront business, you’ll find that laser engraving can be a very profitable business venture.
Some of the ideas to start this kind of business include wedding gifts like photo albums and etched glasses, photo engraving, custom signs in acrylic and wood, as well as toys and architectural models.
Steps for starting your laser engraving business
Get a job or hold on to your current one. You need to invest a huge amount of time to launch a laser engraving business before you’re ready to sell your first piece.
Make sure to learn the software package that most engraving systems use. Knowing how to use the graphic software your laser engraving system uses is vital to a thriving engraving business.
Take lessons or enroll in other areas of study. Even if you’ve got some graphic design background, it’s best to keep your skills up-to-date by taking lessons at your local community college. If you’re not thrilled by the idea of attending classes, you can buy or borrow manuals and books from your local library and use them to learn graphic design as well as how to run a business. Also consider taking online courses to learn some essential laser engraving skills.
Decide on the kind of engraving you’re going to do. Although your engraving machine may be able to handle many different media, including wood, metal, glass, leather, and so on, focusing on one particular niche or area (like items for golfers or wood gift items) will help you plan your business and serve your market.
Decide on the location of your business. While many people like to run their engraving businesses from home, remember that this business will require adequate space for your computer, laser, supply storage, general office equipment, and worktable. You’ll also have to contend with the occasional smell and the noise from the laser engraving process. It’s probably not wise to start your engraving business from home if you don’t have enough space.
Prepare your business plan. You need to write a business plan even if nobody ever sees it. If you’re not looking for financial support, it doesn’t have to be formal, but it should still have your business description, operating budget, marketing plan, and short-term and long-term goals.
Get the required business licenses and permits from your state and local agencies.
Buy your laser equipment. Conduct some research on various manufacturers before you pick a machine to buy. Don’t be shy of asking questions as your laser engraving system will be a significant investment.
Buy general equipment for your business. You’ll need a dedicated telephone line, printer, fax machine, and storage for supplies and files.
Have samples of your craft. It isn’t enough to tell potential customers what you’re capable of doing; you should be able to give them samples of your products so they can buy from you. If you’re new to this business, it’s recommended that you spend 2-3 months perfecting your skills and making samples.
Market and promote your business
Your laser engraving system is simply a business tool; you’ll need to spend most of your time creating and selling your skills or products. You’ll need brochures, business cards, sales letters, a site, your samples, as well as relentless persistence.
Continually update your knowledge and skills by subscribing to magazines in the industry, attending trade shows, taking extra graphic design lessons, and connecting with other engraving experts.
Finally, when you buy your equipment, consider what you’ll be doing now and a few years from now. The kind of engraving you decide to do will impact the location of your business. For instance, if you’re planning to sell gift items, having a storefront rather than operating from your house can be the best option. Get a computer that’s dedicated exclusively to your business so that graphic design applications can work at their optimum levels.
For additional information on laser engraving, marking, and etching systems, click here.