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How to start an engraving headstone business

Updated April 17, 2017

Engraving headstones is a serious business. It takes not only skill, but also sensitivity and determination to make sure the family's wishes for the headstone of their loved one is fulfilled. But starting an engraving headstone business can also bring not only income but also the satisfaction of helping families in their time of deepest grief.

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Study engraving. Before starting an engraving headstone business, you need to know how to engrave unless you plan on hiring engravers to actually do the work. If you want to run your own business and start small, you will need to learn how to engrave headstones. You can start by asking to work with an engraver already in the business. You can also take classes in basic engraving.

Learn the different types of engraving. When considering your engraving headstone business, you may have visions of chisels and hammers and carving text into the headstone by hand. If this is your passion, then follow your passion with practical experience. You need to learn different fonts such as those with serifs and those without, fonts such as the beautiful Old English or more modern fonts such as Times New Roman. But a business of engraving headstones is more than hand carving, especially these days with new technology available.

Work with engraving machines. Before opening your own engraving headstone business, learn about and work with engraving machines. These include sandblaster and laser machines that both make the task of engraving less hands-on intensive and offer the ability to add colour and pictures to the headstones. Before deciding what you want for your business, work with a headstone business that uses these machines to learn what they can and cannot do, and how these machines can enhance your headstone engraving business.

Count the cost. Before starting an engraving headstone business, you need to sit down and work out what it will take financially to start an engraving headstone business. Consider what you need in space, tools, machines, advertising and employees. A way to cut costs is to work with a headstone business in your area as a freelance engraver. You provide the expertise and equipment and they provide the headstones and work area. Working as a freelance engraver means you do not need to pay a rental fee for a high street shop. It also means you can work with more than one headstone business.

Check with your local council and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs. All businesses are regulated in one way or another. As a business owner of an engraving business, you will need to check what forms to fill out and what fees you will need to pay in order to start your business. Pick a business name. You will need a name when you fill out the forms to register for VAT.

Plan your time. Once your have your own engraving headstone business, keep a planner handy so you can keep track of what jobs you've taken and when they need to be completed. Your engraving headstone business is a vital part of providing grieving families with closure, so make sure you give them good value and deliver on time.

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About the Author

Carolyn Scheidies has been writing professionally since 1994. She writes a column for the “Kearney Hub” and her latest book is “From the Ashes.” She holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the University of Nebraska at Kearney, where she has also lectured in the media department.

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