Start an Engraving Business

By Eric Hammer

Starting an engraving business is not nearly as difficult as you might at first imagine it would be. You don't need to be an artist and you don't need to have any appreciation of art. All you need is to buy the equipment and be able to trace a stencil. The machines do everything else.
Don't like the idea of handling a stencil? Increasingly, there are machines used for the engraving business which are based on computers.

You simply type in the name that you want engraved and then use a mouse to choose the picture. Place the object inside the machine and click "OK." It will do everything else, leaving you with a perfect engraving every time without the need to handle a stencil by hand.

Engraving is also becoming popular with a lot of people as a way to personalize various objects. Most people who start an engraving business these days use lasers which can cut into almost anything so that engraving on a piece of stone is just as easy as engraving on a piece of glass, plastic or metal. The laser depth can be set automatically so that you don't burn through to the other side either.

How Much Can You Make?

As with any business that you are going to start, it's impossible to quantify numbers since so much depends on your own initiative. However, to give you some idea, simple engravings on things like plaques (for example for the door) can cost a few dollars while engravings on stones can cost several hundred dollars.

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Remember to keep your designs fresh when you are running an engraving business. It's not enough to simply keep a set of stencils that the company sent you. You should always be looking to purchase additional materials. You should also be looking for new things that can be engraved. While pretty much anything with enough thickness can get engravings on it, having more examples means getting more impulse purchases.

For example, when people come in to have a plaque engraved, if they see a mug with engravings they may decide it would make a perfect gift. Speaking of that, it goes without saying that you should offer to do engraving both on the customer's own materials and on materials that you supply. This way, you can take a huge markup on the cost of simple products such as plastic plaques and the aforementioned mugs.

Qualifications / Requirements

You'll need a steady hand to handle some kinds of engraving equipment, however increasingly you don't even need that. New engraving equipment which is computer controlled means that almost anyone can start an engraving business without having to know anything else about how the equipment is handled.

First Steps

Start by visiting the shops of some of your potential competitors. See the kind of work they do and the kind of equipment they use. Pay special attention to unusual objects they do engravings on so you can mimic them. Then, buy the equipment, set up shop and start your own engraving business.


Check out these helpful resources to learn more about starting an engraving business:

SCM System - A company that supplies engraving equipment in a pseudo franchise (they don't do actual franchises, but they do offer support and equipment. They just don't have exclusive "territories" like traditional franchises have).

Small CNC Milling Machine: How to Start a Small Laser Engraving Business - Another introduction which focuses on a specific type of laser for engraving.

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Every Way to Make Money | Start an Engraving Business