Do you want to start a laser cutting business? Great idea ! You are going to be your own boss, be able to wake up when you want, and live off your passion.
But it is not that simple. In this article, we tell you about 6 things we would have liked to know before investing in our laser cutter. You will see that the machine is not everything, and that you will first of all have to become an entrepreneur who must make choices and concessions.
1- You need a room or a workshop to install your laser cutter
It makes sense to us, but it may not be the case for everyone.
You cannot create a professional activity with a laser cutter / engraver if you live on the 8th floor of an apartment (and you cannot rent a room).
Or, you’ll have to be ingenious, picking out a mini-machine, and getting your neighbors drunk with your exhaust air.
This machine makes noise and gives off more or less toxic fumes
The inside of a laser cutter must be washed regularly (personally, the grease stains on the parquet, I find that it does not do too much)
It can be bulky (to work on a mini A4-size work surface, count a machine of 80 cm * 50 cm)
You need a stock of raw materials and tools like a circular saw to cut them
A relatively constant temperature is the best
If you really want to install the machine in an apartment, be sure to find out about the models.
2- It takes time to make a laser cutting and engraving machine profitable
… Even if you have chosen an inexpensive machine.
Because, as with any business start-up, building a profitable laser cutting business takes time to:
- Learn to use the machine, but also the software
- Improve your laser cutter if you choose the low cost option
- Understand which raw materials you like and how to machine them
- Find suppliers who offer attractive prices
- Arrange your workspace to be as practical as possible
- Find out what types of products or services you are going to offer to your customers
- Find your first customers and retain them
3- You must have a technical profile … but also have the shoulders of an entrepreneur
- Determine what to sell and to whom (and therefore do some kind of market analysis)
- Find out how to sell: sell on the internet AND at festivals
- Implement solutions to be visible on the internet (website, YouTube channel, blog, social networks)
- Upload product sheets (take photos, write descriptions)
- Invest in equipment for the markets (barnum, parasol, tables, vehicle)
- Evaluate which price to set based on profitability
- Manage the flow of orders: close / open the store according to demand
- Find automated solutions
- Respond to tons of emails, sometimes from reluctant customers
4- A laser cutter can break down
A machine is just a tool, and that it can fail, especially when it is needed most.
The moral is that it is essential to have spare components to create a laser cutting business that runs: CO2 tube, lenses, mirrors, stepper motor, belts, etc.
5- We will have to make choices (sometimes say NO)
“Maude, I have a great idea. Can you make wooden postcards with Barcelona design? I buy them from you and take them to my brother who is going to sell them in Spain. That way we all make some money ”.
“Can you make me an inexpensive Steampunk clock?” I think this is a great idea and it will sell well on Etsy! ”
“Can you make me a personalized locker to store my shoes in my van?” This is something that sure would work with customizable storage, you should think about it. ”
⇒ When people around you understand the value of a laser cutter (because at first half of them ask if it’s the same as a 3D printer…), then they will have some great ideas for you.
They will suggest you what may and may not work. Some will even insist.
But, when you start a business, you have to choose.
Spreading out is the best way not to be successful.
It was so busy that it was impossible to know what we were selling: engraved photos, Zen decorations, children’s lamps, door signs with a name, photo frames, etc.
To choose is to renounce
But choosing is also specializing and succeeding!
So, what to choose as a product when starting a laser cutting business (knowing that there are tons of things you can do)? :
Products that you personally like and that are useful to you:
it is easier to sell gamer products if you are yourself, or sports trophies if you spend your Sundays at the stadium. If you choose to sell online, you will have no trouble finding the benefits of your products and talking passionately about them in a blog or YouTube channel.
Products that are already selling well:
in marketing, they say that if you have strong competition, it is a good sign: the demand exists!
the more you specialize, the more likely you are to be seen: you will be an expert in your field. This is especially valid on the internet, but it can work in the markets.
6- Your laser cutting business won’t work without rock-solid motivation (and a bit of strategy!)
Work at home? To be your own boss?
On paper, that’s pretty cool!
You take vacations whenever you want.
You have time for your family.
You get up when you want.
I don’t know about you, but I rub shoulders with many micro-entrepreneurs who live more on social minima than on the fruit of their labor.
It is for this reason that we have decided to work methodically and strategically:
- How to save time in order management?
- What are the low added value recurring tasks that can be delegated?
- What are the most profitable products?
- Is it possible to increase the prices?
Starting a laser cutting business is not for everyone
You have understood it: between myth and reality, there is a world.
The secret ? Don’t give up, believe it, and think strategically.