Does anyone do engraving or used to?


I had a customer come to me wanting some engraving. The previous owner of my business still owns engraving equipment, I didn't buy that part. I told them we could take care of it, and had the previous owner do the job. I know that they said that the cost of materials seems to have gone up since they did it full time, but I reassured them that the customer just said "do it" and didn't need a quote. Well, now the customer is still going to pay the job no problem, but they feel like it was way high priced.

The job was for (10) 18" X 12" and (12) 12" X 12" Engraved Signs that were indoor. I charged $35.00 each for the big ones, and $8 for the small ones. I only had about one site online to reference from their pricing, and I basically just used what they charged. Anyone who does this daily...are those retail prices out of line?


New Member
If you ask me, I'd say those prices were low, not high.

The material runs about $15 for a 12" x 24" sheet, that's cost. So for the large one's, it's one sheet (quarter sheet, technically speaking), but that's $15 in material. I don't know what was on it, but I could guess that you'd easily have 15 minutes each in them. So I'd say you were on the low end.

Engraving large pieces doesn't make a lot of sense. I used to do it until the light bulb came on in my head and I realized I had other tools to do the job cheaper.

Engraving large pieces can be expensive. If they were laser engraving something 12" x 18", with lots of text or a large covering of text, that could take you 45 minutes of run time.

Next time I'd offer up a less expensive route, like vinyl lettering on a substrate (that's normally what we do for large pieces like that), and if they insist on the engraving (as some applications require it), they'd know in advance it would be expensive.

The small ones, you didn't even cover the material cost on, much less the engraving.
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The machine is from the early 90's, so it's nothing extravagant, but it's done with router bits, and I know it takes time no matter what on top of materials...I just wondered if I was way out of line or what. I didn't think I could be OVER priced by any means.


New Member
I ran engravers, but was only involved in help with bidding on very large ADA sign contracts, with frames & installation... but I'd expect you would be thinking twice before offering a foot of machined plastic for less then an inkjet sticker.. if a small is 2/3 the size of the $35 one... why would it not sell for at least 2/3 of $35?


I don't know either Doug. Like I said, I just had one other online source to choose from, so I used their pricing. I have only had one other person in the last five years want engraving, so I don't hardly know squat about what the market normally is on that stuff, nor do I understand what all is involved in producing it, or how long it takes.


Active Member
we do engraving every day, for something that size we would be around $55 for the large one and $40 for the small, don't use the pricing from online retailers, much like online sign retailers, they are ridiculously low


New Member
Too many unknown variables to price it out accurately.

What material is required? Thickness? How much area is engraved per sign(text or graphics)?,radiused corners? beveld edges?, etc.


New Member
If you used 1/16 Rowmark you cleared about $275 over your material costs.
How much time did they take you to run?

We use Excel to estimate engraving jobs, but scaling for large pieces gets tricky... It is hard to be precise estimating run time on the engraver and also adjusting the price per sqin on materials depending on volume.

Obviously a 1x3 trophy plate is a different $/in than your job (3800 sqin)

My estimator shows $870.56 (incl tax) for this job. The biggest variable is run time, which depends on rotary versus laser, laser power, single or dual head, laser IPS speed, material type, material thickness, masked or not, etc..

That price was configured as:
No Tape, No Corners, No Holes, No Mask, No Bevel, Easy Clean Up (vapor residue), No Delivery/Shipping, No Packaging


The guy that did the job (previous owner) was $321.00 for the job. It was just indoor plastic material from all I can tell. He was worried it was going to cost too much to do the job, so I assume he didn't mark it up much because he wasn't ever in it to make money that I could tell.

Either way, just wanted to see what a general rule of thumb was. Maybe next time I will find the online price and add like 25%+ and see how it goes.


New Member
We do engraving of plastic signs like that all the time. Your prices are way low. For that quantity and size we would probably be around $45 for the small ones and $65 for the large ones. How did you go from $8 to $35 for adding 6 inches to the length? Normally the larger it is the less per square inch.