Do you want to start a CNC machine shop in your garage? If YES, here is a 6-step guide on how to start a CNC machine business with no money or experience. Many products that businesses use and sell are made through a highly precise process called computer numerical control (CNC) machining.

CNC machining businesses specialize in this type of manufacturing, which leverages computer-controlled machines to make products with a high degree of accuracy. CNC machines do not in any way come cheap. Lathes alone can cost anywhere from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands, and many shops have several pieces of equipment.

Nevertheless, there are ways business owners keep their start-up costs relatively low – and it’s possible to start a CNC machining business for very little. There are some business owners who start out working from their garage and grow as their income and customers expand. This eliminates the need to lease a workspace until there’s regular work.

What is a CNC Machine?

CNC machining involves loading materials into machines, programming machines, and letting the machines run. Depending on the work being done and type of machine, it may be pertinent to manually operate the machine or manipulate the parts at certain times.

Note that when not working directly with machines, garage shop owners take customer orders, order additional supplies and ship completed orders. In addition, there is usually a designated person who schedules the machining work. This person may be the business owner or an employee.

To efficiently start and run a CNC machine business from your garage, you must first know how to operate CNC machines, which is more complex than using non-computerized equipment. Most of these owners have previous experience working as a CNC machinist for other businesses, and those who aren’t already familiar with these machines are advised to spend some time working for someone before opening their own shop.

Also note that anyone looking to start this business, even in a garage, can take CNC machining classes. Vocational schools, technical schools, and community colleges sometimes offer such courses, and there are also online programs. Tooling University and SME are two organizations that offer online courses.

The ongoing expenses for a CNC machining business can be substantial. They include raw material costs, utilities, equipment maintenance costs, lease payments, and employee salaries. Most CNC machining businesses serve other businesses, although a few make products that are directly marketed to individuals.

6 Steps on How to Start a CNC Machine Shop in Your Garage

Just like any business, starting your CNC Machine shop, even in your garage, can be challenging. But if you feel the time is right for you to own your own machine shop, it is best you do it. But start small and grow as demand grows. You will need money, resources and most of all you need to find customers which is the most challenging part. Here are the most essential steps needed to own your CNC machine shop from the comfort of your garage.

1. Know the risks

Since you are starting this business from your home garage, it is advisable you know the risks involved. You need to know whether you have what it takes to mitigate those risks or to survive the perils. A certain statistic notes that most businesses fail in their first year of operation. More so, manufacturing in the US is not such an easy industry to penetrate due to competition. So, before you convert your garage into this business, analyze the risks because there might not be a way back.

2. Put together a detailed business plan

After you must have analyzed the risks of converting your home garage into a CNC machine shop, write a business plan and make sure it incorporates all the risks. In your business plan, focus on the factors likely to affect your business such as competition among other threats. In addition, plan on your sales and marketing strategies, because even garage businesses have to attract customers. At the same time, determine the rate in the market so you can know how to price your products or services.

3. Since its garage based, start every other thing small

After you must have put together your business plan and everything under control, start small. Note that it is normal to want to have a large shop because you think people are more attracted to businesses that look established. However, it is not advisable to do that since you have no idea how the market is.

Since you are already starting small by starting in your garage, also consider starting your business with a used machine before buying a new one. In that way, you will know how to use the tool efficiently before you buy a new one. Nonetheless, it is not a must you buy a used one especially if you already know how to use the machine. But, don’t rush to expand without understanding the market.

4. Establish partnerships

When looking to start this business from your garage, it can be very tricky finding customers. So, it is very important to create connections whether by having your friends help get clients or by partnering with other businesses. Make sure you have good relationships and nurture them even after your shop expands.

Note that the type of manufacturing you do or what you are looking to produce plays a major role in obtaining customers. Hence, you can create partners by targeting segments in your marketplace. For instance, develop connections with people who buy your products at a good rate or those who are in most need of your products.

5. Structure your business

Have it in mind that starting any scale or size of business can be costly and so, it is expected that you will try to cut cost as much as possible. Howbeit, as much as you want to cut cost, remember that you cannot work by yourself. You cannot control sales, control finance and at the same time produce goods. So, structure your business in a way that you have the best team available.


A lot of CNC machine shops started from the scratch and some from their basement and garage. You too can, and then grow as your customer base expands. CNC machining businesses can increase their profitability and diversify their revenue by slowly expanding the services they offer.

Shops can do this without taking on too much risk if they only expand when a contract for a different type of work becomes available. If a contract will pay for a new piece of equipment, then taking on that creates an easy way to afford new machinery.

Solomon. O'Chucks