How did you find out about AP Lazer?
We are a five-generation monument business located in Westport, MA. We were outsourcing all of our black monument orders and laser photo to other companies. After looking over what we were giving away financially I thought that we should look into what options were available to us to purchase our own laser engraving equipment and do the work in-house.
I did a few online searches and found AP Lazer. After some research and a trip to Nashville for Lasercon, we decided to purchase.
How did you pay for your laser engraver?
We went back and forth with on whether to lease or purchase the laser. In the end, we found it best for us to purchase it outright.
What was the biggest selling point of our laser?
I think the biggest selling point for us was the customer service. Right from the get-go all of our questions were answered with ease and any concerns were addressed quickly and professionally.
How difficult is it to run the AP Lazer?
The laser is pretty easy to run. Once you get the laser out of the box and the power hooked up, your good to go. The 24-hour tech support and in-house training make it relatively easy to start turning out products within hours of owning it.
What have you used AP Lazer tech support for and how was your experience?
I have used tech support a handful of times for help with photos, the CorelDraw program, PhotoGrav and have had nothing but positive results. I called one time and hung up without leaving a message because I actually figured out the problem before they answered, and they still called me back.
What do you like about the AP Lazer family?
Support, Support, Support. From Tong Li to the small laser owners that are just using the machine for fun. Everyone is willing to help in whatever way they can. It doesn’t matter if you call tech support or post a question on the Facebook page, someone will answer the question or put you in contact with that the person who can very quickly.
Did you start your business when you purchased the AP Lazer or did you purchase it to diversify your business?
We purchased the laser so that we could do our own lasering on black monuments and photo inserts for our business, Albanese Monuments, instead of outsourcing them. With the ease of the AP Lazer and all of the other capabilities of the machine, we are branching out to other areas such as fundraising, polar cups, signs, etc., for our other business JA Laser. While we started with the intention of using it for our existing business, we’ve ended up diversifying because there were so many opportunities to do so.
What is your business and how would you describe it?
We are a fifth-generation monument business that has been providing memorial stone products since 1954. We presently have three generations working on site on a daily basis and will continue to offer the best services to meet our customers’ needs.
Specializing in gravestones, our master craftsmen can prepare a dignified, unique monument that beautifully memorializes loved ones.
In addition, we offer a range of commercial and residential stone products and design services, including landscape and address rocks, monuments and markers, laser etchings, garden and cemetery benches.
We have the area’s largest selection of monuments to choose from and unsurpassed expertise. Using state-of-the-art graphic design programs and equipment, we are able to engrave photos, designs or drawings.
Family-owned and operated, our motto is, “Our Work is Written in Stone.”
How would you describe the impact owning a laser has had on your business?
It has allowed us to do the work in house rather than outsource it. By doing that we are able to turn the product over to the customer and cemeteries within hours or days rather than weeks or months.
How have you marketed your laser business and products?
Mainly through word of mouth, Facebook, Instagram, and our website. We have a large customer base that we have helped through many generations of family.
Do you have a website, do you think it’s necessary?
Yes, we have a website. For us, we have been in business for a long time and our customers know us. But the younger generations tend to look online for information first before they contact us in person.
How do you target your customers?
As far as the monument part of the business as stated earlier, we have been in business for a long time and have many generations of family come to us. Since buying the AP Lazer we have branched off into other areas, those contacts have often been through common contacts. For instance, I’m an avid golfer so I reach out to our local pros and tournament committees and let them know what I can do for them. Also, reach out to friends whose children are getting married or are having children and offer gift ideas. There are so many options and avenues to go.
Where do you source your blanks from?
Most of our granite is provided from our contacts in Vermont. Cups, glasses, etc. mainly from JDS or Webstaurant or Dollar store, etc.
How do you determine price for your products?
Mainly go along with the market, customer input and what we think is a fair price. I reach out to other laser owners and see what they charge. We typically try to stay with what I would pay for the product if I were buying.
When you first started out with a laser what products did you start with?
I started out with pint glasses and polar cups, which are relatively cheap. Then I moved on to granite photos and grave markers.
What products would you recommend a new owner start with?
I would say glasses; they are cheap and they help build your confidence in the machine and the software.
What is your favorite part of the laser?
That there are so many options and products that you laser engrave. You are able to create things large and small and still show such incredible detail. The creative options are endless.
What ways do you see yourself using the laser in the future that you haven’t tried yet?
I hope to become better at photo-etching. I want to be able to show better contrast and detail in photos. I want them to look sharper and cleaner especially when I put them on granite.
What is the most creative unusual object you have engraved?
Not that unusual but I have lasered contact information onto my golf clubs. I also have an order to laser someone’s late cousins’ signature onto a door sill of a vintage MG car. He is restoring the MG that belonged to his cousin. So being able to add something unique and special and in that persons own handwriting is pretty cool.
Being in the monument business we have the opportunity to design unique one-of-a-kind memorials for loved ones. Our designs will be a part of history forever. To me, that is the most creative.