September 27, 2021

How to start a CNC Machine Shop

Starting a cnc machine shop

Are you wondering How to start a CNC Machine Shop? Start with planning. Draw a plan looking at costs, target market, and a business name. Register for taxes and form a legal entity that protects your company if you get sued. Open a business bank account to protect your assets and set up business accounting to record your expenses and sources of income. 

Get the required licenses and permits to operate legally. Get business insurance for safety and strengthen your brand to keep customers coming. Create a business website and set up your business phone system. Familiarise yourself with what happens in a CNC machining business and get some skills and experience. That comes with training and time. With this, strive for growth.

What is a CNC machine shop?

A CNC machine shop is a business entity that makes and sells machines through computer numerical machining. A CNC machine is a precise machine controlled by computers, making products highly accurate. 

Learning how to start your CNC machining business is a process that requires knowledge and equipment. The starting point is the business idea, and the next step is what is in this article. 

Below are the steps to follow for a successful CNC machining business. You should also see How to Make Money with a CNC Machine. At the end of this presentation, you should be able to plan your business well, register legally, and be good to go.


Plan your business

Planning your business makes the process clear and gives you a chance to draw out the specifics of your business. Some concepts are better on paper, and that is how you discover the potential of your business. 

As you plan to build your plan, some topics guide you. Look at the startup and the ongoing costs. Know your target market so you will not keep finished goods for years without selling them. 

What tells you the target market is the community you live in. Know what they want, what is lacking, and what sells better. Looking at your products, know how much you will charge customers. Giving a name to your business matters. It provides the first impression to the customers. I will explain these pointers below for clarity. 


Calculate the costs involved when you want to open a CNC machining business. Capital is not enough, and the CNC machines are in a reasonable price range, depending on your budget. As you gather your costs, it does not mean they have to be high. 

They are ways to keep them minimal. These include: buying a low-budget CNC machine and working from your workshop or garage. You will not need a lease for the workspace; you can only have it when business boots. 

Use the available equipment. You may even start with a lathe and upgrade later. Ongoing expenses include raw materials, maintenance costs of your equipment, and salaries. Your business has to serve other business projects. 

However, there are products marketed to individuals. There are job and product shops, and job shops make specific items for specific clients. Product shops make their products and sell them to businesses. 

You should know if your shop will be making orders in bulk or selling as single items. You know what is good for your business, and the type of orders you sell determines how much you will charge a customer. 

Calculate your monthly and annual profit and make ways to increase profits and diversify your revenue by expanding the machining services. Look for ways that machinery is affordable. The right name for your business is challenging, but it sells on its own. Brainstorm till you have one. Make use of social media as you look for a name. 

Make a legal entity

There are business structures you need to research to make the right decision in choosing yours. A business entity such as a corporation protects you from being the only partner responsible when the company gets sued. There are partnerships, corporations, and limited liability companies. 

Register for taxes

Register for state and federal taxes before you officially open the business. The tax you will pay depends on the business structure you choose. Apply for an EIN, and it is free. Learn how to get an EIN.

Open a business bank account and credit card

Open a business bank account and a credit card. It helps you protect your assets. Whenever you set up a business, your assets are at risk. These include your house, car, and other valuables. Your business can get sued anytime. 

A business bank account separates your assets from the business. Accounting and tax filing are made more accessible. Open net-30 accounts. It is a business credit arrangement that pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services. 

It creates a business relationship with the vendors, and you instantly qualify for credit cards. Get a business card to separate business and personal expenses. It builds the company’s history. 

Set up business accounting

It keeps your business records of expenses and sources of income. You become aware of the company’s financial performance. The information is as accurate and detailed as it simplifies your annual tax filing. 

Get necessary permits and licenses

Learn about sales tax and how it affects your business. Permits and licenses prevent fines, and when it comes to the worst, your business will shut down. These state the requirements from the state. 

Check with the town clerk. You would also protect your rights to your products and designs, and you will be protecting your rights as a CNC machine shop owner as you register for necessary trademarks and copyrights. 

Get business insurance

Business insurance protects your business in case of accidents, ensures lawful operations, and keeps your company’s well-being in place in case of loss. You should compare multiple insurances, and General liability insurance can be a starting point if you have limited information. 

Define your brand

Your brand refers to what the company represents, giving the public’s perception of your business. A strong brand is worth keeping as it stands out from competitors. Check on how to make the best logo. 

Marketing plays allow you to reach potential clients. Networking makes your company popular and attracts clients. Use platforms that reach a wider audience. Keep customers coming back. 

Create your business website

A business website reaches a broader audience, making your business legitimate online. You may have social media platforms, but a website is a must-have. It takes hours to master a website. Use website building guides till satisfied. 

Set up your business phone system

Get a phone system for your business to keep your personal and business life separate. It makes the business legitimate and makes contact with clients easy. 

Safety rules and regulations 

  • Wear appropriate clothing, such as safety shoes, glasses, and ear protection. 
  • Stay healthy.
  • Know the machinery. Only qualified machinists should be allowed to use machinery. 
  • Keep the shop clean since dirty floors can cause slippage.
  • Avoid distractions such as headphones and phones.
  • Do not leave machines unattended.
  • Safe storage for equipment.  
  • Mark exits clearly.

Final stage

There are questions you should ask yourself before you commit yourself to the business. There is a sign that the CNC business is right for you. Enjoy making the parts using a CNC machine. As much as minimal physical effort is required, you should be able to operate the machine. 

Familiarise yourself with day-to-day activities at the workshop. These include landing stock. Programming machines and running them too. The ability to schedule machining works maximizes efficiency. 

Gather some skills and experience for business growth. The complexity of the CNC machine has to be simplified by knowledge. Take online courses and training. You determine if you want the business to grow or remain small. 

David D. Hughes

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