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Thread: Top 10 Tried and True Money Makers

  1. #1

    Top 10 Tried and True Money Makers

    Hey Ya'll,
    We have had our laser for about 3 months now, our web store is up and running, we have taken the show "on the road" to let the area know we are here, given free examples to many (we did a free memorial for some young boys we know who had lost their Mother).
    We have sent out mailers to churches, business etc.

    Basically we have done everything we could possibly do to generate revenue with this machine.

    I think we are producing very good quality work, particularly given the short time we have had the machine.

    What are your tried and true money makers?
    We are not trying to get rich by any means, (my other animation business is doing quite well) but I am trying to get this producing so my Wife and sons can earn some income with it.

    Maybe a list of your suggestions.
    Thanks in advance for your assistance.

    David
    PLS 3.60, CorelDraw X4, Full Adobe Maser Suite (oh yeah), 3ds Max, 6 Dell 690 Work Stations (and a host of other hardware).

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    2,564
    Name tags - particularly for locations that have a lot of turnover (hotels, restaurants, etc.) - logo possibilities are only as endless as the companies you can contact
    Desk name plates - for all types of offices: scales of justice for lawyers, caduceus for medical profession, company logo
    Key tags (from 1/8" birch) and bookmarks (from 1/32" Finnish birch ply) for schools and team booster clubs--use the mascot (usually available on-line)
    Self-stick veneer logos - we make these for several furniture manufacturers - from 10mil pressure-sensitive-adhesive veneer
    Business cards - from 1/32" Finnish birch ply (by the way - we've lasered text on this material down to 5 point, and it is very readable - and people love them; they are an attention-getter and people remember the wooden business card
    Last edited by Nancy Laird; 11-20-2008 at 7:30 PM.
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2003
    Location
    Hayes, Virginia
    Posts
    10,373
    David,

    I tried just about every type of material and every type of engraving project when I first purchased my laser engraver. I made a little money but I didn't invest in an expensive machine to make just a little money. Signs turned out to be the best fit for me and my shop, probably because I really enjoy making signs which makes it easier to put your heart and soul into the business. There also seems to be a higher perceived value in commercial signs than any other area I have tried.

    It is much easier to market and sell the kinds of projects you enjoy making. If you study the pictures and read through our archives you will notice that people who are successful in any given area seem to be enthusiastic about that particular type of project and they excell in that area. Name badges are very popular with some people here and they do very well in that area. Their design expertise shows that they have spent some time and effort learning not just design but in marketing their badges.

    I enjoy the large contract type of sign work, mostly large commercial buildings.
    .

  4. #4
    Name tags are number one followed by various labels, signs and plaques.
    Mike Null

    St. Louis Laser, Inc.

    Trotec Speedy 300 Newing Hall 350 Hot Stamping
    Woodworking shop CLTT and Laser Sublimation Sand Carving Graphtec CE5000-60
    Evolis Card Printer
    CorelDraw X5 , Engravlab

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    The Jersey Shore
    Posts
    379
    Quote Originally Posted by Nancy Laird View Post
    Name tags - particularly for locations that have a lot of turnover (hotels, restaurants, etc.) - logo possibilities are only as endless as the companies you can contact
    Desk name plates - for all types of offices: scales of justice for lawyers, caduceus for medical profession, company logo
    Key tags (from 1/8" birch) and bookmarks (from 1/32" Finnish birch ply) for schools and team booster clubs--use the mascot (usually available on-line)
    Self-stick veneer logos - we make these for several furniture manufacturers - from 10mil pressure-sensitive-adhesive veneer
    Business cards - from 1/32" Finnish birch ply (by the way - we've lasered text on this material down to 5 point, and it is very readable - and people love them; they are an attention-getter and people remember the wooden business card
    Hi Nancy! A couple of questions. First - About the business cards. I've been doing them for myself and include them with a customers purchase. I've gotten some requests for them, but there are pretty expensive price wise (>$1 per card.) Did you find a way to optimize the laser time?

    Second - Key tags. I've done these as well but out of acrylic. I'm been thinking the wood won't be durable enough when attaching the key ring. Do they hold up?

    Ed
    Epilog 35W Mini24, Corel X6


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio
    Posts
    1,349
    You may very well as others have said float amongst specialties until you find your niche or your niche finds you. Until then try about anything to expand your experience and knowledge base.
    Last year I sold a lot of dog tags - they're hard to mess up. In the last two weeks I've done so much marble I 'm now ordering it in bulk.
    Tim
    There are Big Brain people & Small Brain people. I'm one of the Big Brains - with a lot of empty space.- me
    Epilog Mini 24 35watt / Ricoh SG3110DN
    - Liberty Laser LLC

  7. #7
    I will 2nd the question to Nancy about the wood business cards. I also thought these were a great idea and have made some up for me, but I wonder if they are worth the time offering as a product. Considering material cost, shipping, prepping the stock for engraving...just that much is difficult to justify at $1 per card which is a pretty steep price to pay even for someone that loves them. This is all to say nothing of the initial design/setup and anything for run time. What is a realistic achievable price per card on these

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    2,564
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed Maloney View Post
    Hi Nancy! A couple of questions. First - About the business cards. I've been doing them for myself and include them with a customers purchase. I've gotten some requests for them, but there are pretty expensive price wise (>$1 per card.) Did you find a way to optimize the laser time?

    Second - Key tags. I've done these as well but out of acrylic. I'm been thinking the wood won't be durable enough when attaching the key ring. Do they hold up?

    Ed
    Ed, I charge $1.00 per card when I make the business cards (but half-price for SMC members), with a $35.00/hr design/set-up charge. They cost me about $.11 each in materials, and I'd say that each takes about 1 minute to run (I run 30 at a time on a 12x24 sheet of ply). I know that doesn't "compute", but I don't price most of my jobs based on a per-minute charge (I guess I should, but I don't think my market would bear it). I feel like I'm making money when I can get 240 business cards from a 48x48" sheet of material that costs $26.50 per sheet.

    As far as the key tags are concerned, I also make luggage tags from the same material, and use plastic "worms" to attach them to luggage. I made two sets for my former boss, and he put them on the luggage he uses each summer to fly away on vacation--they've made it three summers through the airlines without mishap. I've seen only one of the key tags that has blown out, and I think it was done purposely. That 1/8" BB ply is pretty darned sturdy.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Coble View Post
    I will 2nd the question to Nancy about the wood business cards. I also thought these were a great idea and have made some up for me, but I wonder if they are worth the time offering as a product. Considering material cost, shipping, prepping the stock for engraving...just that much is difficult to justify at $1 per card which is a pretty steep price to pay even for someone that loves them. This is all to say nothing of the initial design/setup and anything for run time. What is a realistic achievable price per card on these
    Dave, see my response above to Ed. Hubby preps the stock (cuts it into 12x24 sheets and sprays the lacquer in our shop).

    I have to explain that we are not in this business to make a lot of money nor to support ourselves. We have three other sources of income at present, and the money we are making with our laser business is "gravy" or playing money. We didn't go into this business for it to be a source of income--we went into it to provide a service and have fun--which is what we are doing. I think that our price point of $1.00 per card is realistic---for us.
    Nancy Laird
    Owner - D&N Specialties, Rio Rancho, New Mexico
    Woodworker, turner, laser engraver; RETIRED!
    Lasers - ULS M-20 (20W) & M-360 (40W), Corel X4 and X3
    SMC is user supported. http://www.sawmillcreek.org/donate.php
    ___________________________
    It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.

  9. #9
    You might want to look into Laserbuzz items. They sell good here and do mostly wholesale. I also do some shows and sell retail there. www.laserbuzz.com I also have done memorial rocks, pet rocks with pictures lasered on them. I try to think our of the box so to speak, be creative and do the unexpected. We also so pens, glass, badges, knifes, and let people know we will take on just about anything they can think of. Listen to your customers and people you meet you will get some good ideas. Hope this helped.

    Ray Uebner
    Trotec Speedy 300 45w, Xenetch 1313, Signature 8080 Plus, Baby Lock EM6

  10. #10
    Thanks for the info, Nancy. My costs per card are a bit higher because i'm ordering in lower quantity and not cutting, but I also don't have a lot of room to store extra stock. Do you charge the same setup fee if someone brings there current business card and says Make this in wood please" or does your fee include actual design if starting from scratch?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    185
    I've made money on all the above but I also do a lot glasses for weddings, wine clubs and cocktail lounges. For the weddings I am now doing the ribbon. I'm charging $1.00 a foot and no one has complained about the cost. I run the ribbon underneath the rule bars left and right so I can keep them on the spools. Anyway, just another idea for you.
    SR Engraving
    Irving, TX
    Epilog 35W, Corel X3 AND "How about those COWBOYS"...this will be the year???

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Phil Garcia View Post
    For the weddings I am now doing the ribbon.
    Hi Phil,

    Not having been to a Wedding for looong time, do you have a pic or two of what you mean. On whom or where are the ribbons used? I have to get out more.

    Thanks
    Dave J
    Forums: Where all too often, logic is the first casualty.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    185
    Sure Dave, this is a pic of the table center pieces, I did the glass and if you zoom into the ribbon you will see the engraving. Also, the bride put the ribbon around the garter that was thrown so that the person that caught it would remember from which wedding he caught it from years later.
    I just tried upload but the file is to large. I will PM it to you. If anyone else wants the pic's just PM me and I will send them.
    SR Engraving
    Irving, TX
    Epilog 35W, Corel X3 AND "How about those COWBOYS"...this will be the year???

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    185
    I reduced it. Here it is.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    SR Engraving
    Irving, TX
    Epilog 35W, Corel X3 AND "How about those COWBOYS"...this will be the year???

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Irving, TX
    Posts
    185
    Closer view
    Attached Images Attached Images
    SR Engraving
    Irving, TX
    Epilog 35W, Corel X3 AND "How about those COWBOYS"...this will be the year???

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