Completed agate pendant moddelled

Refining with laser engraving

Added value for the customer, more profit for the engraver or retailers of promotional items

Now more than ever the ability to personaise products is indispensable. Unusual and original gifts, signs or trophies with a personal design are increasing in popularity. The field of engraving is diverse and with a laser machine the possibilities open to the engraver are nearly unlimited.

Laser machines are also a tool for many different applications within the advertising material industry. Thanks to high-quality laser engraving results, giveaways and simple promotional items, which are usually available from almost all suppliers, can be personalised and sold with a larger margin.


How can you make money by personalising items with your laser engraving machine?

Generally speaking, people are more willing to pay higher prices for personalised items. The price for items with an personal laser engraving is usually determined by the price per product achievable on the market. It is common for end customers to pay 5 to 10 times the standard product price once it is personalised. 

Application example: Laser-engraved ballpoint pen with surcharge for laser engraving

An example application is high quality ball point pens whith a personalised laser engraving. These are usually sold for around £15, but can be purchased for as little as £1.50 depending on their quality. Within the laser industry the costs are usually calculated at £1 per minute to cover the laser time. There are a number of factors affecting laser cost, including different graphics and the length of time to engrave the piece. These can be quickly quantified in terms of costs. 

In this example a ballpoint pen costs 25p per piece and the laser cost is 15 seconds for the laser engraving. When taking labour costs into consideration, it is very easy to see that you can make good money with personalising products. 

Laser engraving a ballpoint pen: 1 unit
Purchase price of a ballpoint pen: £1.50
Engraving duration for 1 unit: 15 seconds
Engraving costs (£1/min): £0.25
Labor costs (£40/hour): £0.11
Retail price with engraving per order at 1 unit: £15
Profit per unit: £13.14/unit
Laser engraving ballpoint pens: 150 units
Purchase price of 150 ballpoint pens: £ 225
Engraving duration for 150 units: 15 min
Engraving costs for 150 units (£1/min): £15
Labor costs (£40/hour) £10
Retail price with engraving per order at 150 units: £2,250
Profit per order at 150 units: £2,000/order at 150 units

Example applications

Product recommendation: Personalisation with Speedy flexx laser engraving machines

Trotec has the right laser machine for every application thanks to its wide range of flatbed lasers. Speedy laser engraving and cutting systems are the ideal machine for experienced users and beginners alike. All laser machines in this series are available with a CO₂ laser, a fiber laser or dual laser source (flexx) in a single laser machine. The patented flexx technology™ offers near unlimited applications.

Discover the Speedy flexx laser engraving machin series

Making money when laser engraving promotional items and products

Promotional items are often mass-produced with many suppliers or retailers of promotional items offering a wide portfolio of goods. These goods are often sourced from Asia in large quantities, and the challenge for retailers is to resell these products preferably in large quantities. Laser marking with a company name or logo is often the only added value to such products which often results in low margins. Successful suppliers of promotional items manage to stand out from the competition by specialising in innovative processing technologies. With high quality laser engraving, giveaways and simple promotional items, which are usually available from almost all suppliers, can be successfully sold with a larger margin. There are two possible approaches to pricing in order to achieve these margins.

1. Surcharge for laser engraving (high-quality finish)

The conventional approach to realising higher margins with the laser is a surcharge for the laser engraving. This method keeps the price for the unprocessed promotional items low and comparable to other suppliers while adding a corresponding surcharge for the laser engraving. Depending on the size and quantity of the items to be marker, surcharges of approx. £1 per laser engraving are feasible. This means that from approx. one hundred items per week, the purchase of a laser machine (average value - depending on size and equipment) is already made economically viable. Given that significantly higher order volumes are a reality in the promotional gift industry and no fixed costs are incurred when laser engraving, retailers of promotional items can increase the profitability of their company with laser engravings and laser markings.

2. Higher prices of mass-produced items by laser engraving

Some suppliers of promotional items offer laser engraved products at almost no extra charge compared to unprocessed products (only a few pence per unit). The idea of this is that the profit is already made in the product price and the customer feels like they are getting a high-quality engraving for almost no extra charge. As laser processing does not incur any variable costs (i.e. no additional consumables, with the exception of labor costs) and given that promotional items are almost always purchased with branding applied, the fixed costs can be included in the price of the unmarked product. Due to high quantities - such as giveaways - retailers of promotional items can generate more sales and revenue with very low acquisition costs, increasing their profitability.

Trotec product recommendation: Marking mass-produced items with high-speed galvo lasers

Alongside the the patented Speedy flexx flatbed laser engraving machines, which offer ultimate flexibility and the ability to process metals and plastics in a single machine thanks to two laser sources, Trotec also supply industrial galvo laser machines for large quantity orders. Depending on the application and the chosen product, a galvo laser machine allows companies to work approx. 10-50 times faster than a flatbed laser. With high-speed galvo industrial lasers, suppliers of promotional items can quickly and economically produce even large quantities!

More about galvo laser marking machines