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View Full Version : Who is making their living off of their laser alone



Andy Joe
08-25-2009, 5:28 PM
We have been pushing our laser for a couple years now. We get alot of one time deals but not much in the way of repete bussiness. We have tried many difrent markets, but it seems there is a cheaper, faster way o do everything allready. It seems to me that the only people making money with laser engravers are the people suppliying the laser owner(laser manufacture, tile companies, laserbits,ect....) and not the laser owner themselfs. Im realtivly young(and not a good speller) and i cant afford to make my living only off a machine that dosent produce steady work and steady pay. So i want to know is anyone out there actually doing well with a laser engraver? I have read all these posts in here about what to try to sell and i have gone down those paths...no luck.

Dan Hintz
08-25-2009, 6:27 PM
If you're not a good salesman, you'll have a tough time selling a product no matter the market. Some it comes to naturally, others it can be learned, and still others never quite pick it up...

Mark Winlund
08-25-2009, 6:37 PM
No, the laser only provides 10 or 15 percent of the sales. Our largest percentage is from sublimation, then rotary, then laser. Routing is in there somewhere, but it is not steady.

Mark

Phil Garcia
08-25-2009, 9:09 PM
I do but that does include setup charges, graphic design and a little on shipping, handling and or delivery.

Bill Cunningham
08-25-2009, 11:00 PM
The laser is the best machine I have EVER added to my business, and now after 5 years it accounts for a good 90% of my work. I had been in business for 15 years before buying it, and now I wonder what horrible shape I would be in had I not bought it. Keeping in mind, I had a good customer base to start with. Trying to 'start' a laser business today from scratch, would be a tough row to hoe in this economy without a well though out 'specialty' market for your services. If you buy a laser to run a laser only business, and make a living, your the exception.
Remember, the laser salespeople make their living, by selling you a laser. Then, the selling is all up to you..

Tim Bateson
08-25-2009, 11:02 PM
If you're not a good salesman, you'll have a tough time selling a product no matter the market. Some it comes to naturally, others it can be learned, and still others never quite pick it up...

Thanks Dan, This was so to the point I'll repeat it..


If you're not a good salesman, you'll have a tough time selling a product no matter the market. Some it comes to naturally, others it can be learned, and still others never quite pick it up...

I'm in the mid to later part of that statement.

Randy Digby
08-26-2009, 12:37 AM
The story starts in 2003 talking my boss out of a pantograph at the plant where I worked that had not been used in ten years. Four PC driven rotary machines later, a niche market, and my wife engraving while I worked, and I retired from industry early 2007 feeling we had built the part time business enough to support the wife and I running it together full time (retiree insurance and enough retirement to make the insurance payment was a VERY important part of the decision making process). A couple of months ago we got the laser to take over the work load of three running rotary machines. The laser does about 90% of our production...but the business was there before the laser came along.

Rodne Gold
08-26-2009, 2:08 AM
I run 6 lasers.. the money is made by selling the items ther laser makes (in most cases - custom fabricated awards , trophies , signs , badges and Point of sale stuff) and very little through charging for laser "time"
I had a very good customer base and a well established computerised engraving business prior to getting lasers as well as having an extensive knowledge of my market and materials.
Without our other machinery , the lasers would be far less effective ...
What really launched our laser section was being one of the very first in our area to get them and hiring a very dynamic and knowledgable rep with top contacts to promote our products and services on a FAT commision basis.

Andy Joe
08-26-2009, 9:38 AM
so it seems like most of you making money are doing so not by laser alone, and have a preexsiting cliental. The company im running the laser for has 3 large scale metal cutting lasers, and a full machine and fab shop. They also have a sand blast booth and pain booth. I run either this 150wat engraver or im in paint and sand blast booth. They are now talking to me about me becomeing less envolved with the rest of the shop and more envolved with the laser. Since they are a job shop to begin with they have a hard time pushing the laser and im not sure what there is i can do to push it on my own(im not a good sales man-i hate people-this is why i spend my time in a booth under a air hood). So im just kinda wondering what makes the diference between succes in this feild and failure.

Scott Shepherd
08-26-2009, 9:47 AM
im not a good sales man-i hate people-this is why i spend my time in a booth under a air hood). So im just kinda wondering what makes the diference between succes in this feild and failure.

I disagree that you have to be a great salesman to make the business work. I'm a horrible salesperson and I pretty much despise sales people. I've sat across the table from important people and said "I'm not a salesman, nor do I ever hope to be one, and here's what I would suggest doing".

You'd be surprised at how effective it is telling someone you are not a salesperson. I also usually tell them, I'm the person that will actually make and/or install these items as well. It gives them comfort to know they are talking to the person that's making them.

It's been a successful way for a non-sales person to actually sell from my standpoint.

Dan Hintz
08-26-2009, 10:19 AM
I disagree that you have to be a great salesman to make the business work. I'm a horrible salesperson and I pretty much despise sales people. I've sat across the table from important people and said "I'm not a salesman, nor do I ever hope to be one, and here's what I would suggest doing".

You'd be surprised at how effective it is telling someone you are not a salesperson. I also usually tell them, I'm the person that will actually make and/or install these items as well. It gives them comfort to know they are talking to the person that's making them.

It's been a successful way for a non-sales person to actually sell from my standpoint.
Congratulations, Steve... you're a salesperson :D Whether you want to admit it to yourself or not, you are the best kind of salesman; the one who doesn't make the customer feel greasy just shaking his hand, the one who gives the customer good advice based upon his experience, the one who doesn't tell the customer what they want to hear just to make a sale. Disagree all you want, but that would be like the pot convincing the blind kettle it's not black... just because you don't see yourself as a good salesman doesn't mean you're not.

It's a waste of time blowing smoke up people's back ends if you ever intend to see most of those customers again. A desperate or uninformed customer may make an initial purchase if you're scummy, but 95% will feel that scumminess and start doing a little research... once they realize you either can't deliver or they can get a better job with someone else, they're gone, and they're gone forever. I tell people right off the bat if I would charge them a lot more than the hungry guy down the street, or if I think they could have it done more inexpensively (cheaply) than I'm willing to do it for.

Look at Hennessy (of souped up Dodge Viper fame)... the guy is a complete and utter A$$ to his customers, he outright steals money, uses parts from one customer's car on another, and on and on and on... but he's still in business making a lot of dough. Why? Because he makes such a great product (when he actually works on it) that people think it's worth the risk. I don't think many of us here would consider ourselves in the same position as Hennessy.

We need to talk straight with the customer, tell them the things they don't want to hear (but be tactful), and whenever possible give them options, even if those options aren't with you. Build up a sense of trust with customers and it will spread. I get a number of customers for my lighting business by word of mouth... they heard from their good friends that my products will be top notch, no muss, no fuss. A long-time client recommended me to a friend last year, but his order hung in my e-cart (because he tried to do something I specifically forbid, use P.O. boxes)... he was in a hurry, but I didn't get the order until a week after it was placed. He was so ticked off, he gave me about 6 hours to ship the order or he was going to reverse the charges. Frankly, the guy was a jerk and a half, to say the least, but I shipped the order same day air to make him happy. I paid more just to ship the order than he paid for the order as a whole, but he was sated. Several months later he placed a large rush order, but I was ready for it... he came back to me because I didn't just say "Sorry, better luck next time."

Uhm, what was I talking about again? :confused:

David Fairfield
08-26-2009, 10:45 AM
Right now, I'm just happy that my laser has paid for itself, plus a little extra. I don't operate it more than a couple of hours a week, so there's plenty of room to grow. It was a good investment.

Dave

Dave Johnson29
08-26-2009, 10:48 AM
because he tried to do something I specifically forbid, use P.O. boxes

Why Dan?

I ship to them all the time. Have not had a single problem in over 13 years of business.

Dan Hintz
08-26-2009, 11:45 AM
Why Dan?

I ship to them all the time. Have not had a single problem in over 13 years of business.
I'm in a segment of business that is rife with fraud, electronics, especially electronics geared towards a younger crowd... even when it's not actual fraud (like a kid using his parent's credit card to order $1k in lights for his car), P.O. boxes make it difficult to point to a specific person should something go wrong. To date, I have not been hit once with a situation that didn't turn out in my favor or was outright fraud (stolen credit cards), but this lifetime ain't over yet.

On a side note, I was lucky with the kid... I had numerous emails from him asking about the stuff, and a friend was local enough to take pictures of my stuff on his car in their driveway, once I alerted him to the problem. The parents called up and bitched me out for fraud, saying they would reverse the charges immediately, but I convinced them to hold off for a day until I could determine what happened (they knew their son had been receiving a lot of packages lately, so they were willing to wait a day). I emailed them the pictures, forwarded the emails, etc., and by the end of our second conversation, they were hoping I wouldn't sue them in return for what amounted to receiving stolen goods, credit card fraud, etc. No reversal ever appeared on my payments, but I imagine that kid got the holy livin' parental hell kicked out of him that day.

Mike Null
08-26-2009, 11:47 AM
I've had enough problems with them and try to avoid them whenever possible.

First, you can't track anything regardless of what the PO tells you.

But, I am planning another business where I will ship exclusively by mail. (at least until I have more problems than it's worth)

Dave Johnson29
08-26-2009, 1:16 PM
First, you can't track anything regardless of what the PO tells you.


How so? I ship with insurance and the lime green delivery confirmation or the bright pink signature required thing (can't remember exactly what it is called). After delivery to the PO box, I have a signature available online that the Post Office has verified by asking the recipient for ID and then signing and printing their name.

The green delivery confirmation I will admit, provides little in the way of tracking other than when it was shipped and when it was delivered to the PO box. I use that for orders under 100-bucks. Never been stiffed yet.

Scott Shepherd
08-26-2009, 1:41 PM
Congratulations, Steve... you're a salesperson :D

That'll get you a punch in the nose next time I see you :D

Victor A Dorais Jr
08-26-2009, 2:17 PM
I would say that I use my Laser Engraver about 70 - 80 percent of the time, if not greater. We do not do sublimation at all. We are pushing the eco-friendly awards, especially in the plaques. Our Customer are liking the fact that we engrave right onto the wood or glass. I would also say that 65% of the orders are previous customers. If anything happen to my Laser machine I would go out and get another on the next day, well as fast as I could.

In my eye, the laser machine is worth it.

Vic

Dave Johnson29
08-26-2009, 4:02 PM
In my eye, the laser machine is worth it.


I am sure Dan is about to address THAT statement with s suitable response, Victor... ;):D:D

Dan Hintz
08-26-2009, 4:16 PM
I am sure Dan is about to address THAT statement with s suitable response, Victor... ;):D:D
Must... bite... tongue... :p

Victor A Dorais Jr
08-26-2009, 5:02 PM
Must... bite... tongue... :p

LOL thank you for holding your tongue. It is the only Laser Unit I have used and it has not failed me yet over 2 1/2 yeasrs now.