Do you want to know how to make money with a laser engraver?
A laser engraving business is a creative enterprise that you can venture into — similar to knowing how to make money with a laser cutter, it’s easy to set up, has loads of business opportunities and is very much profitable.
All you need is a laser engraver, product ideas, a medium to sell and you’re good to go.
If you are looking for a side hustle that is unique and can still tap on your creative talents, this may be just the thing for you!
If you are worried about what can you do with a laser engraver, fret not!
There are no heavy start-up costs to begin this endeavor. It is not something that is flooding the market.
In fact, this is quite a niche product, and you may find that your creativity and business sense might push you to make a ton of money with this!
As you keep reading you will get more laser engraving ideas!
So if you’re thinking of making money the unconventional way using a laser engraver, read on to find out what it’s all about.
Here’s what I’ll be walking you through today:
- How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver
- How Much It Costs To Run A Laser Engraver
- Wood vs Steel Engraving
- What Can I Make With A Laser Engraver?
- Profitable Product Engraving Ideas
- Where To Sell Your Engraving Products?
- Is Laser Engraving/Cutting Business Profitable?
Affiliate Link Disclosure: The links on this page may be affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission if you click on them, at no extra cost to you. Hope you find the information here useful. Thanks!
How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver
With that said, the next thing to figure out is how to make money with a laser engraver.
Laser Engraving Business Ideas
There are two main ways of making money with a laser engraving:
- By offering laser engraving services
- By selling engraved products
The difference between the two is this — in the former, you receive orders from customers on how they want their products to be engraved.
In the latter, you offer readily engraved products for customers to choose.
As you keep reading, you will learn some of the best laser cutting business ideas.
Laser Engraving Services
When deciding which laser engraving services to offer, think about your target market.
If you choose to provide corporate services, you’ll be looking at engraving bulk orders such as plaques, medals, awards and stationeries.
On the other hand, commercial laser engraving services include personalized jewellery, like engraved rings and necklaces, as well as unique gifts such as engraved photos, mobile phone cases and rustic welcome signs.
Here’s a quick guide on how much to charge for laser engraving services for your laser cutter business.
Selling Engraved Products
If you choose to sell engraved products, then you wouldn’t need to invest in a laser engraver.
Generally, an order is placed for specified engraved products such as keychains, coasters and rubber stamps. These products are usually not personalized compared to if you offer engraving services.
Once ready, a price is set and these products will be sold commercially. Examples are engraved souvenirs from a particular city like coasters and keychains, as well as rubber stamps with generic engraving for regular office use.
What Can I Make With A Laser Engraver?
Are you wondering what are the things to laser engrave?
Once you learn how to make money with a laser engraver, the possibilities are endless.
Which makes you wonder, what can you make with a laser engraver?
There’s a long list of things you can engrave with a laser cutter, but here are some of the lucrative options that you can consider:
- Personalised Gifts – For Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s, Anniversaries etc
- Wedding Favours – If you prefer large scale projects, selling engraved wedding favours is a good option and amongst the best selling laser cut products.
- Household Products – Because there is always someone looking for a touch of personalization to spruce up their home, like cutting boards and bottle openers
Profitable Product Engraving Ideas
Is laser engraving profitable?
There are many engraved products that you can sell and make a huge profit.
As you keep reading, you will learn about the laser engraved items that sell.
Plus, engraved items and gifts give a personal touch which makes it memorable and leaves a long-lasting impression.
These are almost the best-selling laser-cut products.
Here are some laser engraving product ideas that you can refer to when you’re stuck thinking about how to make money with a laser engraver:
1. Charcuterie Board
Thanks to the rise in awareness of healthy and conscious living, most people prefer to prepare their food at home as it means fewer preservatives and fresher ingredients are used.
A personalized charcuterie board will not only make for a thoughtful gift, but also a rustic addition to dinner parties and family gatherings
One of the ways to express love is by giving a piece of personalized jewellery.
3. Leather Wallet
Other than wood and metal, laser machines work well on leather surfaces, too.
One of the things that you can engrave and sell for a profit is a leather wallet, an essential piece of accessories.
You might think that compasses are not commonly used, but outdoor enthusiasts find them especially useful on hiking and boating trips.
An engraved compass is a wonderful memento for avid adventurers and is an excellent product idea.
5. Wedding Ring Box
What’s a wedding ring without its specially engraved box?
An engraved ring box adds significance to a couple’s wedding day, which makes it even more special.
The past year has seen the highest increase in the percentage of printed books sold in the US, making bookends a necessity in every home.
What’s better than a plain old bookend? A personalized one, of course! Here are some of the ideas that you can build on — engraved letter bookends, exquisite marble bookends and even movie-themed bookends.
Another product that is minimal but can turn a huge profit is coasters.
They are practical, long-lasting and help keep houses clean from coffee mug stains.
Tumblers are conveniently mobile, lightweight and keep drinks warm in the winter.
Engraved pens are timeless gifts that never go out of style.
Other than names, you can engrave a person’s profession, passion and minute details which makes it more personable.
Plaques are one of the first things that comes to mind answering the question of how to make money with laser engraving.
11. Leather Portfolio
An engraved portfolio is perfect for securing notepads and journals, making it one of the best products that you can engrave.
A pair of engraved cufflinks adds an extra suave for the wearer (and their suit, too).
This is why they are one of the profitable products that you can engrave.
13. Engraved Photo
With an engraved photo, you can help customers memorialize their most treasured moments.
15. Beer/Wine Glass
Who says that alcohol glasses cannot be personalized?
These engraved maracas are a (baby) crowd-pleaser.
An engraved lighter is a handy companion for outdoor activities. You’ll never know when you’ll need them, so it’s another awesome product to include.
19. Dog Tag
Keep fellow pups protected with custom dog tags, complete with important details to help them get home safe.
20. Rubber Stamp
An engraved rubber stamp is not only for professionals but is also a cool craft tool, which is why it is a profitable product that you can sell.
When learning how to make money with a laser engraver, engraved clocks are one of the best products that can yield a high profit.
You can customize the clock to display either Roman numerals, making them look like old-school clocks, or you can engrave important dates which can be given as a foolproof gift.
Where To Sell Your Engraving Products
Now that you know how to make money with a laser engraver and have a wide range of laser engraving project ideas, it’s time to decide where to sell your profitable engraved products.
Etsy is an amazing platform for creative small businesses to showcase their products.
2. Your Website
If you prefer to sell through your website, that’s possible too. Some businesses prefer to have their own website to fortify their brand and offer a one-of-a-kind shopping experience for users.
3. Social Media
One of the easiest ways to sell your products is through social media.
You’re already familiar with the signup process, which makes it a lot easier. Additionally, Facebook Marketplace and Instagram Shopping have user-friendly features to promote a smooth and easy shopping experience.
Wood VS Steel Engraving
Plenty of online businesses sell wood and steel engraved products. So why do these two materials stand out more than the others such as leather, acrylic and glass?
Generally, both wood and steel are widely available and are highly versatile, especially when doing business or DIY projects.
But if you were to choose between the two; which one would you pick? Wood, or steel?
|Price||Cheaper as it is more widely available||Steel is more expensive is it is low in supply has high demand|
|Easy to Engrave?||Wood is easier to engrave as it has a softer surface and it is an easily modified material||Not easy to engrave compared to wood as it is more solid than wood|
|Durability||Not very durable||Highly durable|
How Much Does It Costs To Run A Laser Engraver?
One of the main concerns that people have when they think about making money with a laser engraver are the initial costs involved.
But before we talk about costs, let’s take a look at what it is and the types of lasers available in the market.
A laser engraver (or laser cutter, marker, etcher) is a man-operated machine that functions by removing a part of a material (such as wood, metal, acrylic and leather) to create a specific pattern.
These brilliant patterns can be created by using particular laser machines which are material-specific. The machines have distinctive functions, so you need to make sure that it’s suitable for your chosen surfaces.
Types Of Lasers For Engraving
The two types of engraving lasers are a:
- fiber laser and
- CO2 laser
You may also notice other types of lasers such as a UV laser and green laser, which are commonly used for marking or cutting.
This type of laser is highly versatile, as it can be used on different types of surfaces, including metals, plastics and coated metals.
The light beams of fiber lasers are directed through a fiber-optic cable, which produces first-rate results at a much faster speed.
In addition, fiber lasers are a budget friendly option.
With lower electrical consumption and efficient power usage, operating the machine will be easier on your pocket (and bills).
Apart from engraving, fiber lasers can also be used for laser marking and cutting, which is a plus point if you’re planning on expanding your business in the future.
With that said, fiber lasers are more suited and accurate when engraving thinner objects. Plus, the technology for fiber lasers has yet to accommodate its efficiency for other materials.
A CO2 laser is specially designed for non-metal surfaces such as acrylic, wood, glass, paper, plastic as well as textiles and fabrics. Contrary to a laser fiber, the CO2 laser uses heat to help shape patterns and create images on the targeted surface.
Price-wise, it is among the most affordable laser types in the market. However, the energy consumption of a CO2 laser is nearly double compared to a fiber laser.
Additionally, when it comes to metal surfaces, the metal has to first be treated prior to contact with the laser as it may not produce a desired and precise outcome otherwise.
What To Consider When Buying A Laser Machine?
Consider these 3 things when making your initial investment so that you can decide on the best laser engraver for small business:
- Material – Different lasers interact individually on various surfaces and materials, so you must plan the surfaces that you’ll be working on before buying a laser machine
- Market – If you are looking to target clients in the corporate market, a bigger budget is needed to fulfil the demands. On the other hand, a smaller, niched down market such as gifts will require a smaller budget
- Durability – Even though laser machines are built to last, there’s no harm in doing a double-take before you seal the deal on your ideal machine.
- Support – Operating an upscale, valuable machine involving lasers with complex functions comes with a set of struggles. That’s why having reliable customer support at arm’s length can be very helpful in navigating through them.
Now that you have an idea on how to choose a laser engraver, back to the real question.
To put it simply, the cost of running a laser machine depends on the type of machine.
This is because different machines consume different amounts of power, which also influences their efficiency. A 20-watt laser machine is more efficient in energy consumption compared to a 60-watt laser machine.
For example, if the electricity rate is 25 cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), the estimated rate of using a laser machine at 100 watts for five hours would only cost you 12.5 cents.
If this is the case, the estimated cost per month is $3.80 and $45.66 per year!
(Rate is calculated using RapidTables)
Is Laser Engraving/Cutting Business Profitable?
In 2019, the market for personalized gifts was valued at $26.3 billion, and the number is expected to increase.
This is proof that the laser engraving business is highly profitable, as there is a high demand for personalized gifts.
Laser Engraving Business Plan
Starting a laser engraving business may seem daunting at first, but with anything else in life, having a plan helps you to build a solid foundation for your business and set you up for success.
Here are steps you can take to start your own laser engraving business:
- Start by researching the different types of tools needed. I would recommend this book written by a highly experienced laser engraving business owner.
- Sign up for a laser engraving course. Online learning platforms such as SkillShare and Udemy offer beginner-friendly courses on laser engraving.
- Invest in a laser engraver of your choice (and engraving software).
- Start engraving and selling!
Examples Of Laser Engraving Businesses
A quick scroll through Etsy would show you a lot of laser engraving businesses with hundreds and thousands of sales per month, which is living proof that a laser engraving business is profitable.
Check out these Etsy shops for inspiration and motivation:
What Is The Difference Between Laser Engraving And Etching?
Are you confused about the difference between laser engraving and etching? That’s fine because I have got you covered!
The 2 processes are different in terms of how it is done. But the beauty is that the end result is the same.
Etching is the process where chemicals are used to create marks on the metal.
Laser engraving will cut the metal and produce a design or a word.
Hence, this is why the result is the same between the two.
How Much Does It Cost To Start A Laser Cutting Business?
You must be prepared for some start-up costs to begin your own laser-cutting business.
Here is a quick summary of your expected expenses:
- Laser Engraving Machine (one-time between $200 to $1000)
- Laser Engraving Software (one-time between $0 to $200)
- Website Hosting ($5 per month)
- Etsy Listing Fee and Sales Commission (if you use Etsy for e-commerce)
Here is a summary of the free tools you can use for your business
- ConvertKit is free for the first 1000 subscribers
What Is The Best Laser Engraving Machine?
One of the most important considerations of this business is to determine the best laser engraving machine for yourself.
Here are the factors you must consider before purchasing your machine:
- Software Ease of Use and compatibility with your machine
- Machine size – do you have enough space for it in your home?
- How well can the machine be used with your computer? (I.e. Apple or Microsoft may have different strengths)
This is one of the best Laser Engraver Machines with a high 4.5-star rating! It is also one of the best laser cutters for small businesses.
Do take note that if you are looking to make serious money and treat this endeavor like a business, it is wiser to invest in a quality machine that is easy to use!
No matter what laser engraver ideas you have, most machines should be able to handle it!
What Laser Engraving Software Do You Need?
There are many laser engraving software applications available for the ultimate laser engraver projects.
You must do your due diligence and compare factors such as price, and compatibility.
Here is a quick summary of the best software you can consider:
What Is The Best Wood For Laser Engraving?
The best wood for laser engraving to fulfill your wood engraving ideas are:
- Hard Maple
Having said that, each has its own set of characteristics and you need to assess some factors such as:
- How easy is it to work with?
- Cost of the wood?
- What is your laser engraving ideas to sell?
- Is it difficult to get from your location?
- Can it be worked with easily in your weather location?
- How does it appear after it has been cut? (The color tends to change)
- How heavy or light is it depending on what you are making?
What Can I Make To Sell With A Laser Engraver?
You can make numerous items to sell with a laser engraver such as
- Engraved Tumblers
- Personalized Jewelry
- Engraved Photos
- Engraved Wine Glasses
- Customed Engraved Cutlery
- Engraved Charcuterie Board
- Animal Name Tags
- Decorative Art Pieces with Personalized Names or Phrases
- And many more!
These are amongst the most profitable laser engraved products.
How Much Do You Make For Laser Engraving?
Based on the survey by ZipRecruiter, the average hourly rate is $14 and the average yearly rate is $29,201.
This is just an average. Your income can either increase or decrease depending on the following:
- How much effort do you put into publicizing your store?
- How well do you treat your customers?
- Will they want to come back and buy more as gifts?
- How professional your service is?
- How good your product quality is?
- How fast you can ship the goods to your customers?
- How much do you try to sell per week or month?
- How clear you are about delivering the work that your customer has requested?
While your first impression may be thinking that you need to just price your items highly to earn more. This is not always the case.
You can start by pricing yourself lower to gain some market share and introduce yourself to your customers.
Once you start upskilling and delivering goods faster or of better quality, you can slowly start to increase your rate.
Additionally, you can also increase it by improving on the considerations which I shared above. All these will slowly help you increase your overall earnings.
Eventually, you can get a laser engraving business profit!
How Much Should I Charge For Laser Engraving?
If you are wondering how much you charge for laser engraving, here are some of the industry’s best practices.
Usually, customers tend to pay 5 to 10 times the standard product price if they opt for customization.
However, you should not just look at the industry standard first! Your business reflects your own choices and you should be comfortable with the pricing.
Here is the approach I took with pricing my services:
- When I first started in the blogging and freelance writing industry, I priced myself very lowly
- This was to gain experience and customers
- This was also to highlight my track record and the work that I had accomplished.
- I made sure to deliver work on time and of high-quality
- I slowly upskilled myself so that I could provide more value to my clients at a faster rate
- I then negotiated price increases and highlighted specific reasons as to why I was doing so
- I repeated this process every time I learned a new skill which enabled me to provide more value to my customers
While mine is blogging related, the same can be applied to you.
- As yours involve the physical costs of setting up your business such as your machine and software, you should collate all your expenses first.
- Start with making one or two types of laser-engraved products to display as samples of your high quality
- Price your products a bit lower to attract customers to try you out.
- Share videos of your behind-the-scenes work to highlight your expertise.
- Start making sales and getting customer reviews and testimonials.
- Slowly increase the price of your goods once you increase your skill set and assortment of products.
While I am advising you to start by pricing low, please do not purposely operate at a loss first!
While every business is loss-making at the start because they need to slowly recoup funds to break even with their start-up expenses.
You should not be pricing yourself so low that you cannot make some money to add to your income.
This is mainly referring to the cost of goods sold, such as your wood, electricity, and labor expenses. For example:
- Wood – $10
- Electricity – $3
- Labour – $10
The estimated cost of goods sold is $23. Please do not price yourself below $23. At the very least, you should recover the cost of goods sold.
Profits to recoup the bigger expenses such as software and machine can be slowly recovered over several sales.
How To Start A Profitable Laser Engraving Business?
Start your profitable laser engraving business by following these steps:
- Pick your laser engraver
- Pick your laser software
- Learn how to use your laser engraver and software
- Think of good laser cutting ideas
- Do your market research and try to identify gaps in the type of products sold
- Go to forums to see what are customers looking for or complaining about with regards to laser engraving business.
- Make a plan on potential best selling laser engraved products
- Buy raw materials such as wood.
- Create one or two samples of the item you wish to sell.
- Create a website to share your skill sets and products.
- Promote your website on your social networks.
- Make your first sale!
- Get customer testimonials or referrals.
- Keep it going!
What Is The Hourly Rate For Laser Etching?
Based on research conducted by Salary.Com, laser engravers tend to earn an average hourly rate of $71.
How Do I Promote My Engraving Business?
Here is a list of ideas to help you get started in promoting your laser ideas business from within
- Wall and window displays on your property or vehicle
- Create sample boards digitally and physically
- Have a work binder with your work samples to share with potential clients either digitally or physically.
- Create labels that you can give at shows, fairs, markets, or other busy hot spots where they can see what you do.
- Promote your customer testimonials on your website and sales page.
- Offer discounts (not at a cost though) for returning customers
- Share behind-the-scenes videos of yourself making the customized product.
How Long Does It Take To Make Money With A Laser Engraving Business?
It really depends on how seriously you take your business and follow the steps that I shared above.
Some people can make a sale within the first few weeks if they properly promote their shop and skills.
Additionally, if they have priced their product well and show good quality, it is likely to lead to a higher sale conversion.
Eventually, you will have laser projects that sell.
How Many Hours Does A Laser Engraver Last?
Different laser engravers have different shelf lives, but the standard is that it will last between 1200 and 2000 hours. The hours refer to how many hours the laser is used at a rate of 8 hours a day, for 5 days a week at 50 weeks a year!
Is Etching Cheaper Than Engraving?
You need to consider several factors such as:
- Etching is better for high-volume orders as it is more cost-effective
- Smaller-volume orders are fine for engraving because it will not wear out your machine and is actually more cost-effective then.
How To Make Money With A Laser Engraver has never been easier!
To sum up, knowing how to make money with a laser engraver is a golden opportunity for you to start your own profitable business.
I hope you are filled with plenty of laser engrave ideas.
From choosing the fitting laser machine to selecting your niche market and selling your services, you’ll be covering your initial investments in no time.
What’s more, planning ahead and learning from experts is an excellent way to keep yourself on track in building a profitable business.
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