Refining with laser engraving

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

In this day and age personalization and thus individualization is indispensable. Unusual and original gifts, signs or trophies with a personal dedication are becoming increasingly popular. An engraver’s field of application is very diverse and is best supported by laser technology. Furthermore, the laser is a tool for many applications in the advertising material industry. With the 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.

How can you make money with personalized engraving?

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: Laser-engraved ballpoint pen with surcharge for laser engraving

For example, high-quality ballpoint pens with individual engraving are sold for €15, these can be purchased for as little as €1.50 per unit depending on the purchase quantity. In the laser processing industry, “laser costs” are usually calculated at €1 per minute to cover the laser time. Thus, different graphics or the duration of the engraving can be quickly quantified in terms of costs. Using the example of the ballpoint pen, this is 25 cents per unit in laser costs for an engraving duration of 15 seconds. Taking labor costs into consideration, it is nevertheless very easy to see that laser engraving can make good money.

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

Possible applications

Trotec product recommendation: Personalization with Speedy flexx lasers

Thanks to the widest range of flatbed lasers, Trotec offers the right machine for every application. 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 1000 × 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.

More about Speedy flexx Laser Engravers

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

Promotional items are often mass-produced. At the same time, there are many suppliers or retailers of promotional items with a very wide range of goods. These goods are often sourced from Asia in large quantities. The challenge for retailers of promotional items is to resell these products - preferably in large quantities. The marking with a company name or logo is often the only added value. This means that margins are rather low. Successful suppliers of promotional items manage to stand out from the competition by specializing in innovative processing technologies. With the 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 realize these margins.

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

The “conventional” approach to realizing higher margins with the laser is a surcharge for the laser engraving. With this method, the price for the unprocessed promotional item is low (and comparable to other suppliers), but a corresponding surcharge is charged for the engraving. Depending on the size and quantity, surcharges of approx. 1 EUR/laser engraving are feasible. This means that from approx. one hundred items per week, the purchase of a laser system (average value - depending on size and equipment) is already economically viable. Given that significantly higher order volumes are realistic in the field of promotional items and no fixed costs are incurred in laser processing, 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 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 almost nothing. As laser processing does not incur 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 approx. 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

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