Did you know that you could make money with a laser engraving home business? Laser engraving has been a constantly churning business in the shadows. Not many people talk about it, yet there are laser-engraved products all around us. Think trophies, jewelry, DIY crafts, mugs, license plates – and lots more.
What's great about starting a laser engraving business from home is that you don't need that much material to get started personalizing items and gifts for others – even though the laser machine itself can be quite an investment.
But luckily the demand for such customized products is increasing, too. In fact, personalized laser etched jewelry is one of the most sought-out products on online marketplaces like Etsy.
In this guide, you'll learn how to get started making money with a laser engraving business. So whether you want to work from home or simply take charge of your own finances while doing something creative, you can do that with laser engraving.
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How To Make Money With A Laser Engraving Home Business
Before starting out laser engraving, there are a few things to consider. First off, what's the difference between laser engraving vs laser etching vs laser marking?
Laser engraving is similar to laser etching in that both techniques remove a bit of the object. The difference lies in how deep the laser goes to remove a part of the surface area of the product. Laser marking, instead, is a technique that can be best described as discoloring an area of the item.
Next, when you want to start a laser business from home, the first thing you will need is to do research. Particularly on:
- How to find the best laser engraver to fit your budget
- Where you will set up your home office
- What designs you wish to do (freestyle or pre-made templates)
- Which products you want to engrave on
- How you will market and sell your final product
Before you go buying a laser engraver, which can cost anywhere from $200 up to and beyond $20,000, you should consider which products you sell. Not all laser cutters can work with any type of product, which is why it's important to know exactly what you need to buy before you invest.
In the below video, The Garage Vlog explains how to make money laser engraving leather with a CNC laser cutter. This is a popular choice for engraving DIY products, crafts, leather goods, clothing, and more.
How To Choose A Laser Cutter For Beginners
When starting out your research for the best laser engraver, there are 5 things to consider:
- Software compatibility
- Material compatibility
- Connectivity options
As briefly mentioned above, the price for laser cutters varies widely. That's because each will have various features and functions which will vary in power, bed engraving size (maximum printing area), cycle time, speed, etc.
One of the best all-around laser cutters for beginners is the Snapmaker 3-in-1 Engraver and Printer. It has 200mw of power, 125 x 125mm bed size, and costs around $800.
Laser cutters either come with or without pre-installed software. With pre-installed software, your creative options may be limited in that you can only use a specific set of designs and fonts. The alternative is to find a laser engraver that can work with your software, so you can send your custom designs, etc, straight from programs like Adobe to your engraver machine.
You will see “bed size” often when searching for laser engravers. That refers to the maximum bed area – or printing area – where you can engrave any one object. If you are working from home with products like jewelry and DIY crafts, you won't need anything bigger than what can fit on your desk.
For industrial purposes (i.e. business signs, large plaques, etc), you will need something much larger that would need to be stored in a garage or shed.
One of the most important aspects to consider before buying a laser engraver is what products or materials it can work with. There are several types, notably:
- Fiber-based engravers – metal, plastic, aluminum
- Hybrid machines – mostly for organic metals and materials
- CO2 laser engravers – jewelry, stainless steel plates, rubber stamps, wood, paper
- Green laser cutters – silver, gold, plastics, glass, ceramic, copper
How you will connect your laser engraver to your computer, printer, etc is another important deciding factor. Most engravers come with USB ports and smartphone Bluetooth connectivity, but be sure to double-check before you go all in.
Laser Engraver Product Ideas
So, it's fairly clear that plain products increase in value whenever they are personalized with laser engraving. Actually, by about 400%.
That means the market opportunity is huge and you can quickly churn a profit after investing in your equipment. In many cases, business owners – small and large – see a huge return-on-investment within the first 1-6 months after investing in a laser engraver for their business.
Here are a few ideas of products you could engrave to make money:
- Ballpoint pens
- Picture frames
- Dog tags
- Plaques, trophies
- Wood signs
- Stainless steel plates
- Jewelry (i.e. rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings)
- Wedding gifts
- Ceramic goods
- Bamboo kitchen utensils
- Rocks, crystals
- Wine glasses
- Leather goods (i.e. notebooks, jewelry, clothing)
- Paper cut-outs
And much more! You can almost laser engrave any type of material – whether they're organic, thermoplastic, metals, etc.
Where To Sell Laser Engraved Products
Once you know what you want to create with a laser engraver, the next step is to plan how you will market and sell your products.
The most popular way to sell engraved products is online via marketplaces such as Etsy and its alternatives like Amazon Handmade, Aftcra, Hyena Cart – even eBay.
In many cases, your ideal customer is already shopping on these websites so you don't have to worry about building your own brand. The downside of selling on such marketplaces, however, is that most will take a commission fee in exchange for hosting your product listings.
You could start your own blog or sell your products through an e-Commerce store like Shopify to maximize your profits. However, the challenge with this option is marketing and building a reputable, trustworthy brand.
Wholesale is another option if you want to sell items in bulk to retailers. With this sales channel, you would ideally split 50% of the profits but benefit from their marketing and audience as well. Win-win.
If you choose to go with one of the two above routes, don't forget about selling products in person!
You could also double down your efforts and sell your goods at local stores and craft markets or simply sell via word-to-mouth in your community. Pop-ups are a great way to make quick money.
If you are a beginner, it would be wise to first learn the ropes of processing orders, shipment, customer service, etc, by first selling online via somewhere like Etsy.
Then, if your online shop takes off and you begin to build a strong customer base, you could consider starting your own website and selling from there.
How Much Money Can You Make Laser Engraving?
How much you can make laser engraving will all depend on your product's wholesale cost, profit margin, and how much you manage to sell.
To ensure you can indeed turn a profit, you might consider selling the most profitable laser-engraved products, which are typically jewelry, wood products, acrylic gifts, and plastic signs, tags, and labels.
That doesn't mean you can't still make money laser engraving other products that are less known or popular.
For example, Matt & Sara, YouTubers and creators behind Homestead Engraving, share how they earn nearly $3,000 just from engraving one product – coasters!
That said, you could feasibly earn the equivalent of a part-time to a full-time job just by laser engraving products and selling them online or locally.
In many ways, laser engraving is like flipping furniture – buy the product for fairly cheap, make it better, and upsell it. There are many people doing projects like this full-time.
Examples of Laser Engraving Businesses
To give you an idea of how you can make a business out of laser engraving products, here are a few examples of shop owners selling laser-engraved wood, tumblers, tags, and more on Etsy.com.
Example 1: Laser Engraved Wood
WearhouseIndustries – Randy, and Laura are the creators behind WearhouseIndustries. Their shop has over 1,700+ reviews and currently over 4213 sales. They primarily sell custom laser engraved wooden pine tags, but they also sell signs, buttons, and cork coasters. Most of their items are priced between $12 – $24.
Example 2: Laser Engraved Tumblers
EngraveMyMemories – This Arizona-based Etsy shop specializes in laser engraving for all types of gifts. However, their most popular product is by far their laser engraved personalized tumblers that sell for $9.57 – $15.95. They currently have an astounding 131,000+ sales with over 21,000+ shop reviews.
Example 3: Laser Engraved Dog Tags & Collars
TagPup – With over 43,378 sales and counting, TagPup is one of the best-selling Etsy shops for personalized laser engraved dog collars, tags, and accessories. They currently have over 7300 shop reviews with an average 5-star rating. The collars feature cool and whimsical designs with laser engraved metal buckles. These sell for $22.9 (size S) up to $36.99 (size XL).
Laser engraving is only going to continue to rise in popularity as a lucrative business, especially as more people are shopping online for all types of products and gifts.
Once you have done your research around laser engravers, namely which type you need for the product you want to make, then the next step is taking action.
That said, it's even if you are completely new to laser engraving, with a bit of practice you can begin making great money within the first few months of your home business.
Take advantage of existing audiences on marketplaces like Etsy but also dabble in your own marketing efforts by starting a blog or social account.
As we are seeing now, many small business owners who make creative art (like laser engraving products) are “blowing up” on platforms such as TikTok and selling out of their inventory overnight whenever a video goes mini-viral.
If you are keen to start your own laser engraving business, there's never been a better time to start than right now.