Inventables Community Forum

Tips for starting a CNC Side Business with an X-carve/CNC

I have shipped projects to the other side of the country. customer always pays full shipping in my world. I take the item to the post office with their address…the post office weighs it and gives me three shipping options. I then offer those options to the customer. I don’t ship until I’m paid in full for the item and shipping. then I send them a pic of the item with tracking number just before it ships out to them.

If they are local, I can meet them, otherwise they normally come to our place and I meet them in the driveway to make the sale.


weird thing I figured out…our ATMs here for major banks only dispense money in $20.00 denominations…so when I price things I make sure they are able to pay in 20s and for some reason things sell faster if they are $20, $40 $60 etc etc it makes a mindset of simple math and even numbers I guess


For shipping I just get on UPS or FEDEX website and you the shipping calculator. Saves me a trip to find it out. It’s never been more than a dollar or two off when I actually go to the store to ship the package.

Try $45 :wink:

Yeah, so I was supposed to meet for one of the sales today and the folks bailed at the last moment. In fact, I am not sure if I hadn’t sent my phone number if there was an issue they may have let me get there. I wish there was a little more skin in the game on FB when people say they are going to buy something.

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I think you can take payments through facebook.

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50% deposit on custom orders…if they bitch an moan about it…then I explain how the door can hit them where the good lord split them if they don’t like it…they more often than not become more agreeable after they can’t find someone else to create their project for them.


It gets worse the closer you get to Christmas. Then they start asking for expedite and faster shipping and yea…they don’t care that they waited until the last minute, they just want their order before Christmas.


We cut off new orders about a week before Christmas last year to avoid that.

The questions will come and they’ll even ask to pay for quicker shipping. People. Get. Crazy.

It’s probably worse on Amazon where I sell because of the culture of amazon.

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If you do a lot of shipping, you should look into WWW.STAMPS.COM If you click the upper corner for the radio promo code and put in “Burr” (Bill Burr the comedian advertises for them on his podcast… which is a must listen to) you will get a digital scale and some other stuff for $15 a month (my time is worth more than that for running to the post office a bunch of times…) Especially if you are going there once for the price estimate and then again to actually ship the product.


On the things I make before I have a seller, we box it up first (but not sealed), weigh it and then do shipping estimator. I always enclose a personalized thank you note inside the box. At first, we lost a dollar or two on shipping because the extra packing stuff added to the weight. That’s when we started packing it completely… ready to ship before weighing.

Stamps also provides a discount you don’t get at retail for certain shipping methods so it can definitely make it worth it.

For instance, First Class package for less than 3 oz. is $3 retail. Via Stamps, Etsy, etc. it’s $2.61.

Now, you say $0.39 isn’t enough to pay $15 a month. But if you do more than 39 shipments a month, you start saving money.

I was averaging about 400 packages a month last year and at the time, by paying the Stamps monthly fee, I calculated my savings to be $60 a month by paying out the $15/month fee…it was worth it.

This. Always make sure you weigh it with everything but the label. Also, be careful with online selling, some sites like Etsy are great in that they allow you to put in a calculated shipping value based on where the buyer is, other sites don’t and you just set a shipping amount. On those sites (Amazon), your shipping value is entirely set by you and if you misjudge it, you’ll eat shipping costs. I almost lost about $8 recently but was able to ship via FedEx or UPS and got the cost down. I’ve also gained some difference between the actual cost and the charged cost. On certain sites, that is acceptable.

Yeah they did. Dopes.

No, I will not make you something you saw on Etsy where I have to design from scratch while I have outstanding orders to fill. Get out of here with that noise.


I got 9 custom orders in about an hour. On top of a few other orders I already have. All 9 are custom, but not difficult because I’m just changing names/dates/phrases…all fonts remain the same.


That’s what I assumed that this person meant when they contacted me, which although cutting close, I would have done.

i just had someone asking about 38 signs in total. 34 the same and 4 different ones. guess i won’t take anything else on that has to be done for Christmas.


my dad walked a route in the town i grew up in and there were a lot of christmas mornings he worked. don’t know if he got paid or was just trying to be nice.

Out of curiosity (and maybe I should make this a new thread) those of you with a J-Tech Laser on your X-carve which do you make more money with the laser or the x-carve?

Personally, I prefer your resin inlaid projects better than the mono tone laser look, but I guess it would depend on the project. The laser projects would certainly be easier to produce, but maybe that’s why I prefer the look of the resin inlay. You can tell that more craftsmanship went into the project. If it’s just about making money then using a laser would be hard to beat.

If you filmed your unbelievable productivity and just threw it up on YouTube, you would be able to leverage your efforts and possibly double your revenue streams. It feels like you’re already doing this full-time :sunglasses: