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Weld shop round 2

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  • Weld shop round 2

    It's been nearly a year since I last posted questions on this subject so I want to ask you folks how you started. In short, 15 year Millwright, lost job at Ford due to plant closing. Bought grandpa's farm shop, 5000sqft, 3 phase, full shop overhead crane, 400sqft office. For welding equip: 3 phase hobart mig, miller dynasty 350, hypertherm 1000 plasma. Great facility and equipment but no work. Put a nice sign out front and I thought the work would come. Did you folks hit up local businesses to try to get work?? I advertised in a local paper for 14 weeks and got 1 job. I am currently working for local 1393 millwrights and piledrivers and hate it! Driving 150 miles a day sucks when I could be pulling my own work right across the street. What's my next move???
    Thanks Shane
    Modern Metalworking

  • #2
    Where are you located?
    I live in Indiana and have more than I am comfortable with. I need you shop, I am building a small one.
    As someone on this sight once said, the equipment alone doesn;t make a weld shop, the work does.
    Knock on doors, take samples of you tig, mig on steel, aluminum, whatever your capabilities are. No one is going to beat down you door if no one knows what you can do.
    Good luck, and keep the faith.


    • #3
      Weld shop

      I opened my shop in Dec. 2004 and spent the winter sweeping the floor and playing Solitare on the computer.

      Then I decided to put lettering on my truck (both sides and rear of the bed shell), giving the name and cell phone number of my business. Shortly after, I actually got a job from someone who was behind me on the highway and called me on my cell phone. I can't even count the number of people who have called, saying they had seen my truck around town.

      Next, I printed business cards and brochures, and mailed those to local businesses that were obvious prospects (construction companies, etc.)

      But the biggest result came from placing an ad in the yellow pages. The one drawback is that it only comes out once a year. The first year I just used one line. After seeing the increase in business, I am now at 1/4 page and the increased cost has paid for itself many times over.

      Hnag in there. Once you get repeat customers and word of mouth, that 150 mile drive may look pretty easy!
      Last edited by mikeswelding; 12-07-2007, 10:49 AM.


      • #4
        Weld shop again

        One other thing I forgot that has been very successful. I invested in a ball cap, work shirt, and light-weight jacket and had a local embroidery shop put the name of the business on them. As a result, I have actually gotten jobs while standing in line at the grocery store!


        • #5
          Located in Blissfield MI. 15 miles North of Toledo, OH. I had the sign and business cards done professionally with my cell as a business number. Should I get a hard phone line in so I will have a fax and in the phone book? Would the results be better if I went personally to business instead of sending a card? I will set out on the next rain or bad weather day (building a ethanol in Fostoria Oh). Thanks for the replies and will post results. I have met with a few businesses that said they would send me some work but did not. The bad part is I'm not much of a salesman, just love to weld and fab so I have been very reluctant to go door to door. I have always had the impression that you had to be a good B.S.'er to be successful which that is a trait I don't possess. I'm to honest.
          Modern Metalworking L.L.C.


          • #6
            not that i own my own business .. or know anything about it by any means.. but my uncle who does his own electrical contracting.. had a really bad stretch for a while a year or so ago.. he got cought up with a fella that can laser print logos on **** near anything... he bought a stockpile of pocket knives off tv and blank pens.. got them logo'ed with info on them..and handed them out like candy... and it worked picked up niceley.. he also logo'd his truck as much as possible.. and handed out packets of cards to everywhere and everything he could think of... all of this turned out well in his favor.. word of mouth is also really really good too!

            as a receiver of the gifts.. where i work we constantly get vendors in with free goodies like that..and every time i think i need a part or service i always remember the guy that came in and gave me that really cool pen...

            and a guy walking around with a shirt or jacket with his name and logo on it looks more "profesional" then joe shmo walking around with a flanal jacket and tattered burned levi's...


            • #7
              I have heard that it is a good idea to have a useful trinket made up with your name & number on it to hand out. Something that they will keep around such as a magnetic clip to hold papers, paper weight, etc.

              Yes, go out & visit in person. Dress nice, not some ripped, dirty work clothes. Appearence does matter. Try construction co., supermarkets (shopping carts), motorcycle repair places (especially if you do aluminum). Just try to think of anyone who might need occasional welding but not enough to invest in equipment. Good luck.
              Last edited by MMW; 12-08-2007, 06:39 AM.


              • #8
                Even if you visited them once don't be to proud to go visit again. Sometimes they lose your number or maybe someone else was just there & they will remember the last guy who visited & hopefully it will be you.


                • #9
                  Lot of good advice in the posts above, much of it I would heed.

                  I started a business a few years back and most thought I would never make it as there was too much competition. I started a business in a major US metro area and went from # none to # 1 in a short time. I used many of the recommendations above and I did a few other things.

                  1) Get yourself a website. All you need is one page with a few fotos of you and your shop. Short intro of your businesses capabilities and specialties. Address, directions, map, fone and fax and a e mail. You can do this for only a few $ a month. check:

                  Check out my site on $10 per month:

                  2) You have a computer so pick up a Vonage account or other VOIP account. Use this as a fax number and outgoing land line if you need to. check:

                  3) Hats and shirts...GREAT idea I wore them everyday.

                  4) Go see you local newspaper about doing a mailer. I bought the client list and traded services for envelopes and printing and I paid for the postage. I sent out 3,000 mailers that had a ONE page intro about me and my business abilities and a coupon on the bottom good for a discount on service or parts. I also included a business card in every envelope.

                  5) Get you a flyer (flyer is the same as intro letter) with you info on it and a box of business cards and stop by some target businesses that might be customers. If they are too busy and don't have time to talk to you, fine, just lay it on the desk/counter say thanks.

                  6) Stop in and see all of your competition, introduce yourself, drop off the flyer and bus card, tell them you are new and trying to give it a go. Ask them for any overflow work they may have or any time sensitive jobs you can help out on and do it cheap just to show them your work. Be sure to tell them you are a one man show and if you get a big job would they be interested in sharing with you.

                  7) Do not waste your time sitting in the shop waiting on work to show up. Stop off at coffee shops, bars n such and meet some folks, pass out business cards. Stop off at the local welding and steel supply, get to know them, give them you card, tell them you are looking for new work. Ask if they have a bulletin board where you can post a flyer and business cards.

                  8) Lets us know how you are doing, ask us for help and advice...again.

                  9) After a few years I sold my business to my competition, retired and moved to Scottsdale, AZ, you can too.


                  • #10
                    Final note, price? It's been a year since I posted this also and had some crazy results with $90/hour being the lowest? If I go looking for work and they ask what I charge what would be a reasonable amount. Take into consideration that I am working along way from home during the week so I won't readily available to go to their facility to look at a job. I was thinking around $60/hr. or should I just bid the job instead of time and materials? I was thinking about hitting the retail stores but am reluctant because I don't yet have a Trailblazer, but I am experienced at dock repair/installation, but the shopping cart repair is a good one I have not thought of. Everyones replies have been very helpful and I plan on going out on the next time we get sent home because of weather.
                    Thanks, Shane Wyman
                    Modern Metalworking L.L.C.


                    • #11

                      What do other shops charge per hour in your area? Also, what is the difference in shop time vs. onsite? I charge $65 for shop time and $95 + for onsite, depending on the conditions.

                      I do bids, estimates, and T & M, depending on the job. You just have to kind of feel your way on this one. For example, if I'm asked for a price for anything that involves a remodel or demolition, it's strickly T & M.

                      I only bid jobs that I have very tight contol of, like knowing the exact amount of material required. Don't hesitiate to note on a bid or estimate that any changes will be billed at normal shop rate. Make sure the customer understands the bid is ONLY for the job requirements he has submitted.

                      Estimates? Some of the worst situations I have encountered have been when I let myself get suckered in by someone asking for a "ballpark number" and saying they won't hold me to it. This is especially true when it's over the phone and I don't have a chance to look at the actual job. BS!

                      Finally, I NEVER take down dimensions for even the smallest job over the phone. I tell the customer to draw up the specs and fax it to me or bring it by in person.

                      Hope this helps.


                      • #12
                        American Flag Vinyl Wrap

                        Originally posted by shott8283 View Post
                        he also logo'd his truck as much as possible.. a
                        Had a customer go crazy with this. Has worked out VERY well for him in the NYC area. When this truck shows up on the job... there's no mistaking who it is!

                        P.S. This is NOT a photoshopped picture, everyone thinks it is. Just his "publicity shot" with the background removed.


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