3D Software

The Top 5 Mistakes Every 3D Printing Service Makes in Their First Few Years of Business

The Top 5 Mistakes Every 3D Printing Service Makes in Their First Few Years of Business

By Mike Moceri

Over the past several years, I’ve spoken to hundreds of Additive Manufacturing business owners about how they manage their business. In doing so, I’ve noticed five key mistakes that every 3D printing business makes in their first few years of operation:

  1. Underpricing their services
  2. Failure to collect all relevant information before preparing a quote
  3. Not providing a client portal for their clients
  4. Not tracking key metrics (or if they are, not using that data)
  5. Consumed with administrative tasks, instead of making

Typically, I find that AM businesses are underpricing their services. It’s a really easy thing to do, and something I’ve done in the past as well. Their pricing is based solely on the volume of the CAD model or print time. They rely on the print output time and material usage numbers provided by the slicing program and fail to account for the actual print time and materials used. They aren’t accounting for the complexity of a model and scope of the project, with very complex models and large jobs requiring long print times and having higher failure rates. They don’t factor in staff time, machine usage time, and depreciation. They neglect to include prep time, software, and facility costs.

They also aren’t capturing key metrics, like the number of completed orders, the average time spent on each project, and the number of parts produced. They even neglect to track how many clients are repeat customers. And even if they are capturing these metrics, they’re probably not taking action on them. That’s a big mistake. They should be using that data to see where they can streamline operations to save time. They could also be looking at what tools or software are being underutilized and can be cut to save costs. And they definitely should look into how they can harness that data to help retain more clients.

Lastly, 3D printing business owners get so caught up in managing the administrative and daily tasks of running their business, that they lose sight of the why they got into the business in the first place: the unabashed joy of making. They’ve lost their motivation to make.

That’s a tough pill to swallow. I know, because I’ve been there myself. I was so swamped with all the work that went into running my 3D printing service bureaus in Chicago and Detroit that I had little time for anything else. I searched in vain for an application that could consolidate these multitudes of tasks and alleviate some of the pain behind managing my business. That led me to develop a comprehensive solution, which quickly became a company. That company is MakerOS.

MakerOS is the operating system for professional makers. It addresses these common mistakes with our collaboration platform built for 3D printing services. The MakerOS platform helps a 3D printing business owner stay on top of client communication, track and document the status of projects, and you can organize it all in the MakerOS platform. With MakerOS, you can spend more time on production and less time managing your business.

Remember, you’re not in the business of providing quotes, you’re in the business of building projects with clients. Let our Autoquoter handle that. It doesn’t just quote, it integrates the quote into your workflow, enabling your business and your clients to create more and with less hassle.

Our Client Portal connects your clients to you and your team through the MakerOS platform. Clients can access their projects, files, invoices, and send messages to your team, from a desktop, tablet or phone. It consolidates everything related to the project in one place, making it easily accessible for them and you to sync up, ensuring better time and resource management. And it has really helped our users streamline their businesses. 

Contact us for a free consultation and demo of the MakerOS platform. We have gained a tremendous amount of industry best practices that we’re excited to share with you. If you’d like to make sure you’re pricing correctly, or how to improve your 3D printing business, we can talk about that as well, we’re always happy to talk shop.

About the Author, Mike Moceri

Mike Moceri has deep experience in manufacturing, design, and software. In 2013, he co-founded the world’s first 3D printing retail service bureau in Chicago. In 2014 he founded Manulith, a 3D printing and product design agency, where his clientele included Fortune 500 companies within the aerospace, automotive, and medical industries. Mike is also a mentor at Stanley+Techstars Additive Manufacturing Accelerator, a mentor at WeWork Labs in NYC, and formerly a mentor at TechTown Detroit. He’s previously been featured on MSN, Make Magazine, NBC, and the Encyclopedia Britannica. D-Business Magazine called him the “Face of 3D printing.” Mike is currently the founder and CEO of MakerOS, an all-in-one collaboration platform for additive manufacturing services to efficiently work with clients throughout the entire lifecycle of a project.