With the swift increase in usage of laser cutting and engraving by creative outlets, top laser cutters are engineered to perform better and provide more value than ever before. There are so many laser cutters on the market, but the ideal choice is the one that serves both your current and future growth needs as a small business owner. Every business owner investing in laser technology should have a clear formula for how to maximize the return on investment of a laser cutter and engraver. That formula building starts well before the laser machine arrives at your door. Let’s take a look at some different elements that can help maximize the return on investment of a laser cutter. We’ll review options for both the hobbyist that is trying to make money as a side business and the small business owner who is looking to turn a profit with a full-time operation.
If you plan on using a laser cutter for a hobby, you may be less concerned with bringing in money right away. It is still important to consider how much you’re willing to spend on a piece of machinery. Most laser cutters can be upgraded post-purchase with accessories that allow you to expand the capabilities, like a rotary to be able to engrave on yeti cups or other curved objects. For the hobbyist, a great starting point is to invest in a high-quality, reliable entry-level machine to start, like our Muse Core and Muse 3D. These machines are built to last and as your hobby laser needs grow, their capabilities can grow with you, offering the ability to purchase upgrades later and spread your investment over time for as long as you need.
If you’re a small business owner, you may be more concerned with calculating the initial investment and subsequent monthly expenses for a laser cutter and engraver machine. This step seems obvious, but is crucial in making sure that your small business lasts beyond the critical two year startup period. A smart laser investment isn’t about choosing the lowest price model. Pay close attention to the included features, the software, the quality parts, the technical support provided. It really depends on your business needs and access to resources. This means having an honest conversation with yourself - do you need to explore laser machine financing options to possibly get a better quality laser machine? Making monthly payments on a laser cutter and engraver can be a great way to give yourself wiggle room for the other investments that come as a small business owner, like materials and other assets. Many US-based reputable laser cutting manufacturers offer in-house financing options or third party financing (ie: bank or credit union) that could offer a lower interest rate.
Maximize your Tax Deductions: Write Your Laser Cutter Off
If you are an established small business with an LLC or EIN letter, you might be able to deduct the purchase of equipment up to $1,050,000 million on your taxes in the United States. This is a huge breakthrough for aspiring business owners and another way you might be able to maximize the ROI on a laser cutter. If you finance or buy outright, you might be able to file for the full price of your laser cutter under Section 179 of the U.S. tax code. IRS Section 179 was meant to help small business owners in the United States and can be the perfect way to jumpstart your effort to maximize the return on investment of a laser cutter and engraver machine. Most laser machines, even the industrial-scale systems, come in well below that $1 million threshold, so it’s likely that these laser systems fall within the tax deduction limit.
Keep in mind that everyone’s tax situation is different and this tax benefit is complex. If you are looking to take advantage of section 179 for a laser investment, it’s important that you talk with a tax expert prior to making any investment in a laser cutter machine and utilizing this tax code. This will help confirm that you qualify for this valuable tax benefit.
Know Your Market
It’s important to know your niche before you plan on starting a business with a laser. A great way to start is by looking at the demographics in your area: do you live in a college town where people might like to buy custom apparel? Do you live in a tourist town where people might like a laser engraved photo as a keepsake? The biggest question to consider is the momentum of interest. Is there a target market with a strong enough demand for the products you plan to offer?
High quality CO2 laser machines can reliably handle a diverse range of projects. This can help maximize the return on investment of a laser cutter by improving uptime and reducing the potential for costly replacements. It is possible to make money customizing glassware for local restaurants at the same time that you’re supplying logo engraving for a retailer. In fact, top laser manufacturers even offer free project files that you can run or even modify while you get started trying to establish an online presence. You can use these to bring attention to your business and test the market demand for a specific type of product. If you notice a style or color is earning more interest, you can duplicate this in the software and crank out projects to build a specialized product line. As we noted above, top CO2 laser cutting machines have very diverse capabilities and can be programmed to run virtually any file on a wide range of materials. However some applications might require a different type of laser technology like a Fiber Galvo or UV. Watch our video “Finding the Right Laser Engraver, Cutter or Marking Machine for You” to get a good overview of laser options available based on the top categories of interest.
Get Started Today
The first step in your effort to maximize the return on investment of a laser cutter is to decide what you want to do with your laser machine and on what materials? Once you answer these questions, review our blog post “What to know before buying a laser cutter and engraver” to dig deeper into research if a laser is right for you.
At Full Spectrum Laser we have advisors ready to assist you in making the right decision for your unique needs. Please contact us with any questions and we’d be happy to guide you in the right direction and help you to maximize the return on investment on a laser cutter.