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Refining with laser engraving

Making promotional items more valuable for the customer, and more profitable for engravers and retailers

Nowadays, it is increasingly favorable to add individualization and originality to your belongings. You can add unique personal dedications to gifts, signs or trophies of many kinds. The best way to support an engraver's varied field of application is with laser technology.

Additionally, the advertising material industry benefits greatly from the various applications done with a laser. Nearly all suppliers provide giveaways and simple promotional items. These items can be sold with a higher profitability margin if they have high-quality laser engravings


How can you make money with personalized engraving?

When you add that personal touch to a product, customers are typically inclined to pay more . As a result, the cost of merchandise with an individual laser engraving can be calcuated according to the market's price per product achievable. It is not uncommon for personalized items to cost 5 to 10 times the basic item cost.

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

Trotec product recommendation: Personalization with Speedy flexx lasers

Whether you are an entrepreneur new to laser engraving or a seasoned veteran, Trotec's versatile line of CO2 and fiber flatbed laser engraving systems can help you grow business and boost profits. Available in bed sizes ranging from 24 × 12 in. to 39 × 24 in., and with several power options, Speedy laser engraving and cutting systems provide broad system capabilities, the fastest, most precise processing results available on the market, and a patented low-maintenance, high-efficiency design.

More about Speedy flexx Laser Engravers

How can you make money with the laser engraving of promotional items?

Promotional products are typically made in large quantities. Additionally, promotional item suppliers and retailers often offer a wide variety of goods. Many of these goods are sourced in large quantities from Asia. Promotional item suppliers and retailers have the challenge of reselling these items - ideally in large quantities. The sole added value for these products may simply be a company name or logo, making margins comparatively low. In order to strongly stand out from the competition, retailers must utilize innovative processing technologies. Giveaways and simple promotional items can be sold with a higher profitability margin if they have high-quality laser engravings. When it comes to realizing these margins, there are two ways to determine pricing.

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

Adding a surcharge for the laser engraving is one approach to attaining higher profit margins. Using this system, the unprocessed promotional item is comparable to other suppliers, and is offered at a lower price point. Adding an engraving, therefore, results in a surcharge. It is reasonable to apply roughly 1 dollar/laser engraving, depending on quantity and size. Meaning that the purchase of a laser system (average value - depending on size and equipment) is already economically viable with roughly one hundred items per week. With greater order volumes a viable possibility in the line of promotional items, as well as no fixed costs being aquired in laser processing, promotional item suppliers and retailers can boost 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 markings at almost no extra charge (only a few cents per unit). The idea is that the profit is already made in the product price and the customer feels like they are getting a high-quality engraving for virtually nothing. Since laser processing does not bring about any variable costs (i.e. no consumables are required, with the exception of labor costs) and given that promotional items are never actually purchased without branding, the fixed costs can be included in the price of the unmarked product. Due to high quantities - e.g. with giveaways - retailers of promotional items can generate more sales and revenue with very low acquisition costs, and thus also increase profitability.

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

In addition to the patented Speedy flexx laser engravers, which allow incomparable flexibility and the ability to get started in marking metals and plastics thanks to two laser sources in one machine, Trotec also offers galvo laser workstations for orders with large quantities. Depending on the application and the product, suppliers of promotional items can work approximately 10-50 times faster with a galvo laser than with a flatbed laser. With high-speed galvo lasers, suppliers of promotional items can quickly and economically realize even large quantities!

More about galvo lasers