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Launching your own laser engraving company is a good way to capitalise on the rising demand for personalised products. Keep reading to find out the key steps involved in opening your own venture.
A laser engraving business specialises in personalising products with laser marking or laser cutting. Popular products for laser engraving include laptop and phone covers, photo frames and jewellery.
Follow these steps to get started:
A laser engraver needs to have a creative eye and an artistic mind to produce beautiful pieces of work. Without these attributes, you may find it difficult to produce engraved pieces that can be sold to the public. You will also need graphic design skills, good hand-eye coordination and a careful approach to your work.
Aside from your design skills, you'll also need to have good customer service and business skills. In the initial stages, this includes establishing a business plan, sorting out the legal paperwork and marketing your services to your target market. Later on, you'll also need to consider human resources and tax management.
You don't need formal training to run an engraving business. However, you'll need to know how to use graphic design software such as Adobe Illustrator and be familiar with using laser engraving machines. If you don't already know how to operate a laser engraving machine, you can do practical courses in your local area. Alternatively, you can teach yourself by using YouTube videos or similar resources.
A few key skills you'll need to know before you start your business include:
Buying all of the necessary equipment and tools to open your engraving business will be one of your biggest investments.
Here's a quick checklist of some items you might need:
In addition, you may need:
Before you're ready to take the plunge and open your engraving business, you'll first need to register for an Australian Business Number (ABN) and decide on your business structure. This will determine how you pay your tax and who has control over the business. For an engraving business, you can choose between a Sole Trader, Partnership or Company.
Here's a quick run-through of what each type of business structure can offer you:
When you register as a Sole Trader, you'll be solely responsible for the business. This includes making key decisions for the business and being liable for any financial wins or losses.
If you want to open up your laser engraving business with a friend or family member, then you'll need to register as a Partnership. In this case, both partners will share responsibility for the business's key decisions and financial implications.
If you're planning on growing your business and getting external investors involved, you may want to register as a Company. Companies are more complicated and expensive to set up, and are controlled by a group of shareholders.
It's important to get your legal documents right so you're protected. Key documents for a laser engraving business might include:
You might also need to speak to a lawyer to make sure your business is legally compliant. The types of lawyers you might need include:
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
If you're selling laser engraved products, you can sell directly on your website. This will involve building a professional website and you can use it to showcase your skill and products.
In order to grow your business, you may need to work with third party platforms such as Etsy. The advantage of using these platforms is that they are targeted at design-conscious customers who are looking for unique products. However, you will need to pay Etsy a fee to use the platform.
Social media is also a great way to get your brand and services out there. Joining community groups on Facebook, as well as setting up your own pages, will get you a good way of securing your first customers.
Once you get some traction with your business, you can invest more time and money into your marketing, and explore options such as influencer marketing and search engine ads.
Pricing is very important for any business – you don't want to put customers off due to high prices or run your business at a loss. Pricing your engraved items will depend on the materials you use, your overheads and how long it takes to complete the piece.
As well as taking your own costs into account, it's crucial to scope out your competitors to check out what they're offering and how much they're charging customers.
Some laser engraving machines cost at least $13,000, but on Amazon you can also get affordable laser engravers for less than $700. The cost of a laser engraving machine will depend on the size of your work surface, power output and efficiency.
While engraving and etching may achieve similar results, they process materials differently. Engraving is a physical process whereby the engraver uses a sharp tool to cut into a surface. An etcher, on the other hand, uses acid and other chemicals to burn lines into a surface.
Laser engraving is a great way to add value to a simple product. In order to be profitable and bring down your startup costs, you could consider purchasing an inexpensive laser engraver.
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