How to earn money with a laser engraver?

Personalized and individualized products create significant added value for customers. This means that higher prices can be achieved than for items without a personal dedication. With a laser engraving machine, many products can be personalized with designs, logos and lettering. This creates unique pieces that increase the value of the product many times over the original product. Therefore, these items generate a very handsome profit.

What price can you charge for laser-engraved items?

End consumers are generally willing to pay higher prices for products with a personal touch. The price for items with an individual laser engraving is therefore often 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 for personalization.

Example: Surcharge for laser-engraved ballpoint pen 

Ballpoint pens of high-quality with unique engravings can be sold for $15. Depending on the amount purchased, these can be bought for as little as $1.50 per unit. "Laser cost" is typically caluculated at $1 per minute of laser use in the laser processing industry. Therefore, it is easy to determine costs based on various graphics and processing time. In the ballpoint pen example, if your engraving takes 15 seconds, the laser costs will equal to 25 cents per unit. Even when you consider labor costs, it is quite simple to see that laser engraving can make a large profit.

Laser engraving 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 pen: 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

Which laser-engraved products are most in demand?

Products that include a personal dedication are gaining in popularity. The field of application is very wide. The offer for end customers is as varied as the materials. Whether you’re talking about picture frames, wine glasses, gifts or ballpoint pens – a personal dedication with names, text, logos or photos make these types of items very unique. But personalized signs, stamps, medals and trophies, data plates or various types of contract engraving of components can also be a lucrative business for companies, both as individual pieces or in mass production.

Trophy with personal dedication

Champagne glasses with name

Laser-engraved door signs

Personalized picture frames

Unique items for customers create higher profits for the supplier

Unique, individual and personal - nowadays, customers are placing greater value on the qualitative and quantitative value of handicraft work and prefer creative individual items. For example, individually designed jewelery, creative artwork or decorative accessories for interior design are among the most popular customer requests. Practically any design can be implemented with the laser. With individuality and attention to detail, products or artwork can be easily and quickly created and upgraded with a laser. Whether you are working with wood, glass, acrylic, leather or paper, contactless material processing with a laser also saves time and money. The effort for these unique items is manageable. Due to the high prices that can be achieved for creative individual pieces, the profit is very handsome.

Laser-engraved violin

Laser-cut wooden lamp

Laser-cut image on paper

Customized leather book

Laser technology also makes personalization efficient for high-volume production

It’s not just the personalization of individual items or small batches that can be implemented cost-effectively with a laser machine. Larger orders of personalized products can also be economically produced using a laser, so even more money can be earned. Templates are an extremely useful tool for larger orders, allowing you to engrave multiple pieces in one operation and save time. The output is maximized when the template is adapted to the work area of the laser machine.

We will illustrate this using the example of a ballpoint pen. Engraving a single pen takes approx. 15 seconds. Engraving 150 ballpoint pens using one template over the entire work area takes approx. 15 minutes. All of the ballpoint pens are engraved in one go. Time-consuming handling due to individual placement and removal is eliminated. Click here to find out how to easily create the right template for your workpieces:

Create templates

Profitable product mix: Specialization versus wide product portfolio

Basically, a variety of materials can be processed with a laser and thus many customer requests can be realized. To begin with, a wide range of laser-engraved products is certainly a great way to find out which items appeal to the market and which products can be used to earn good money. Whether a specialization in certain products and materials takes place over time or a deliberately broad portfolio is offered, is a strategic decision for every company. This decision is significantly influenced by the competitive situation in the region in which you operate: Are you the sole provider of laser services? Or is there already a specialist for e.g. glass engraving or wedding decorations around the corner?
As an entrepreneur, you should carefully consider your business model and weigh the advantages and disadvantages for yourself.

In terms of specialization, the workload and output can be optimized as best as possible, as the applications are always similar and you develop into a true specialist. Thus, set-up times are minimized and profit maximized. From a broad product portfolio through to individual customer projects and individual pieces, however, although you’re not a specialist in a certain area, customers for custom-made items are willing to pay more, which in turn leads to higher margins.

Check out the Speedy laser engraver series

The Speedy laser engraving and cutting systems are the perfect choice for first-time users as well as established laser users. All platform sizes from 610 × 305 mm to 1016 × 610 mm are available with a CO₂ laser, a fiber laser or also both laser sources in a single laser system. The patented flexx technology™ allows endless applications.

Click here to find out all details about the Speedy series

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