It is without question a good way to start a fledging business - provided you have the workspace and can separate work from home when necessary. A spare bedroom or extra space in the garage or basement will do, provided there is adequate ventilation, good lighting and an area that is both comfortable and safe. An overly crowded space can be an accident waiting to happen, so give extra care when planning the layout of motorized equipment or shears and cutting tools.
If you plan to expand quickly you must allow for space for both inventory and finished goods - at least until the customer can make a pick-up or you can deliver.
If you plan to invite potential customers to your home, allocate a space for meeting your clients. This may be in your work area where some samples can be displayed or it may be in your living room or dining area. Keep a neat operation and make your guests feel comfortable. Keep in mind that if you meet the requirements of the IRS, you may be able to take advantage of a home-based office deduction.
If you plan to establish yourself in an existing building or office and can afford to create an efficient workspace by moving walls, etc., make plans for a quiet space, a production area and your retail displays. In most cases, the production area will take up 75% of the total space. Make sure you have plenty of room for storage of supplies and inventory. Allow yourself an office for the bookkeeping chores and room to meet with vendors and clients. Having a quiet space to take a phone call is also important.
Make sure you have adequate electrical power and outlets. Dedicated lines are a wise choice for engraving equipment especially if you suspect that the local power can be affected by the neighbor's use. Fluctuations in line voltage or occasional brown outs can cause some computer problems.
A utility sink for rinsing products can be invaluable if you plan to oxidize trophy and plaque plates or engrave glassware. (We will discuss more about these processes later in the manual).
Before you throw everything together, give some thought to your real production requirements. Here's a list of ideas you should consider:
Here are two different possible floor plan recommendations for both a small (Figure 1.2) and a larger engraving shop (Figure 1.3). There are no right answers here - you'll have to organize your own work area based on the amount of space you have available. Ask yourself these questions before setting up your operation:
Regardless of the expense, take the time to create a floor plan. This will help you get a mental picture of the requirements and may save you some unnecessary rearranging later.