Whether you are starting your business or expanding your shop floor, purchasing new equipment always involves the question of cost. But … what if you could get free money to pay for your equipment?
We often think of grants as being used for schools and students, as well as in scientific research. (If you are associated with a school, please contact OMAX for education packages.) However, that is not always the case. With a Google search, some organization and a little writing, you may be able to pay for your abrasive waterjet with grant money.
Many grants are available for individuals who need help with the startup costs of a new business (such as buying your first waterjet). Still more funding opportunities are offered for businesses that look to diversify or expand (like adding a waterjet to your machine shop floor).
Here are a few tips for finding a grant that fits your needs:
- Computerized databases, trade publications and public libraries are some of the resources available to assist you in your funding search.
- Do not limit your funding search to one source. Look for a match between your project and the grants you seek by looking for consistency between your purpose and goals and the funder's.
- Make direct contact with funders who support projects like yours. Request proposal guidelines and a list of previously funded projects.
Check out these websites for assistance:
- Grants.gov – all grants available through government agencies.
- Grantwatch.com – a paid search engine for all government and private grants. Funding opportunities are submitted by the originating source.
- Foundationcenter.org – similar to grantwatch.com but with more resources for compiling grant application materials.
Don't miss out on the potential you can find when you search local grants as well. Local governments, foundations and larger companies often give out regular funding.
These funding opportunities often come with regional or industry-specific criteria. For example, a funding opportunity may cover a small business’s startup costs up to $30,000. However, the grant may be restricted to first-time business owners who live in Louisiana. These requirements may seem daunting because they will eliminate you from consideration for a large number of funding opportunities. However, when a grant pops up that fits your specific parameters, you may be one of only a handful of eligible businesses or individuals. This significantly raises your odds of being awarded the funds.
When you move forward with a grant, it is important to understand all the guidelines for submitting your proposal application. Guidelines usually cover the following:
- Submission deadlines.
- Proposal format: award levels, forms, margins, spacing, evaluation process and restrictions on the number of pages, etc.
- Review timetable.
- Funding goals and priorities.
- Award levels.
- Evaluation process and criteria.
When you are attempting to win a grant to supplement the cost of a waterjet, which can start as low as $23,950, be sure to have the exact make and model of the waterjet you want to acquire to ensure you write your funding goals and priorities to be as specific as possible. If you need to know more about types of machines and operating costs, please contact your OMAX distributor or sales representative.
Grants may not be the answer to all your funding needs. They may cover only a small portion of your total costs – but then again, they may pay for everything.
Between 2,000 to 4,000 grants are available at any given time. That’s free money just waiting to be claimed. Yes, it may take jumping through some hoops to get it. But then again, it's free money. You never really know until you look.
Note: If grants aren’t something you are interested in pursuing, OMAX does offer financing.