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Thread: welding shop

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    St. Paul Park MN


    I think if I were you I would listen to what DAD has told you. You need to get your feet wet around the welding trade for a while be fore diving in head first.

  2. #22


    [QUOTE=migman69;20536] I have a great idea in my head, I hope i can eventually turn it into reality. Id love to own my own business one day or at least half of one. But my dad doesn't seem to think The business will last more than a month. He said that with the way the economy is right now going into business for yourself is a recipe for disaster.


    Your Dad may be right..or just cautious.. If he has been in business for 30 yrs he may know a thing or three about running the show. I know you are charged up and wanna go like a fart in a tornado. But you have to take it easy big fella. I own my own business. I have a machine / fabrication shop that I started a while ago. Understand that I didn't just get a bug up my keester to pull the trigger on a new business. There was about 5+ yrs of planning and decisions before I made any moves. Understand that starting a business can be very rewarding. But also realize that unlike being an employee...all the rewards AND the PROBLEMS are YOURS. As an employee you work 8-12hrs a day and punch out..go home. As a business owner you work....till your done. That might be 18+hrs a day for a week or years. Never know. You HAVE to be a darn good and dedicated employee BEFORE you are a business owner.

    Here are some steps to think about before you risk poor decisions and subsequent bankrupt.

    Find your niche... Yes you may want a welding shop. But what will you weld? Where are your customers coming from? Why do they want YOU to do it?

    How big of a shop do you NEED? (We all want a shop as big as an aircraft hangar but can't justify it) Your work will dictate how much space you need. This is one reason you need answers to the above questions.

    What equipment will you need? A guy could go drop some serious coin on the biggest and best stuff. But understand that during your startup time you might could do with "just big enough" to get the job done. Do you need a Tig machine that can do 1/2 inch Aluminum? Hmm Dunno. But I wouldn't drop the kind of money it takes on that....unless I am sure I have jobs to make it pay. The excess money can be used for other needed equipment.

    Yes you want a welding shop...but realize that a building with a welder doesn't make a welding shop. There will be LOTS of other machinery needed to be a 'job' shop.

    How about power? How many AMPS do you NEED. Power services are expensive to modify. Electrical contractors make some serious coin. The modifications to my shop electrical ran well over $3000 bucks. I already had 240V 3ph in the shop but I needed plugs and sub panels etc installed. A new shop service could be in 5 digits for a 500A 3phase service.

    I am not trying to discourage you. Rather I want to encourage you do it right. You MUST plan. You must Ask ALL the questions. You MUST have a business plan (written)...not in your head. You must have all the financial work done BEFORE you talk to the bank. You must be PROFESSIONALLY READY. You skills will be challenged to the max by some customer paying top dollar for your BEST work. Better be ready to a PRO.

    Your Dad MAY be trying to save you from a lot of hurt. If your area is depressed it might not support another welding shop. YOU must check this out. Be honest with yourself. IF you start a shop and dump ALL your money and a couple hundred thousand from the bank ...and it crashes it can destroy your life at a tender age. Again...not telling you no....just understand that following your dreams can be wonderful. Following them blindly over a cliff is just stupid. Be careful. Talk to the business department of YOUR bank and tell them your dreams. They WILL tell you want pieces you need to prove to them it is a viable business plan. They know what will fail and what can make you money.

    For now.. Learn every thing you can about your chosen trade. Do your best to become the best. You will have to prove your the best to every customer later. Suck that school for every thing they know. Your paying for it...demand the best education they can give.

    Follow your dreams...just pick your battles wisely. A business is a big step. I love mine..and do what I have to keep it healthy. A young business is like raising kids. Things you do early in the formative years can pay off later.

    Take care....

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    So. Cal

    Lightbulb My 2 pennies....

    For what it's worth, here's some modern calculations in accordance with modern accounting.

    Assuming you have no customers or immediate cash flow you must develop an inventory of liabilities. This includes all direct and indirect cash purchases. Short term, long term and maintenance costs i.e. rents, leases, insurance utilities etc.. Learn what the annual cost of your liability is and that's how much money you need in CASH in you HAND just to start!

    About 27 years ago I side lined on the weekends and at night. This grew over time and as a result I acquired new equipment and even hired help. The key here is and please heed this info! Always do the best job you can even if you lose money and if you feel you can't to the best job, get someone that can and become friends with that person (networking). My business eventually evolved into a 7 man 3,500 Sq. Ft. shop with about 150K in equipment. This did not happen in one week, one month or even a year. Oddly, I specialize primarily in railings, gates and medical grab rails and that keeps my shop busy everyday with just that. Find your nitch, get good at it and people (your customers) will notice you, hire you and refer you.

    If welding and fab is your passion, take your time, do it right with no regrets!

    A little more than 2 cents, but it's just time
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  4. #24
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Grande Prairie, Alberta Canada


    Motorcyclemac.....Very informative & well said post. I'm impressed.

    Migman69, I would re-read Mac's post and take heed to the advice given.
    We are all here to help each other succeed... None of us wants to see another's dreams fall apart, and his/her business fail. More research & experience is required.

    Best of luck,

  5. #25


    [QUOTE=Black Wolf;20560]Motorcyclemac.....Very informative & well said post. I'm impressed.

    Migman69, I would re-read Mac's post and take heed to the advice given.

    Well, Thanks. I sorta recognized this fellow's passion. I guess I see a bit of myself in least his energy to drive on. It is a good thing but I really would hate to see him put all that drive behind the wrong set of plans. It is good to have lots of horsepower....provided you have a good hand at the wheel. I am not the end all be all book of answers for the small business owner but I only hope that my bumps and bruises from the school of hard knocks can help another guy. I have been lurking here for a while and ya'll seem like a good bunch of fellows.


  6. #26
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    New Orleans, LA


    The guys have pretty much told you all you need to know, but keep in mind that 2 years in school is just a drop in a bucket when it comes to this business. If you have to ask somebody else what kind of equipment you need you aren't ready, and that and starting out owing money is what kills most in this business.

    I didn't follow the plan Motorcyclemac posted by any means, but I grew up with a torch and stinger in my hands (dad owned the company and I had no choice) and most guys who have been at this as long as I have are retired now. There is a lot more to owning a business (welding type) than having a shop and some machines. I didn't want to own my own welding outfit, but it just worked out this way. I have been lucky and it doesn't hurt that I know what I do better than anyone around. One of my customers told my bud last week that the so called welders around here see my work and go to bartending or selling shoes. lol. Heck of a complement to me.

    Always do your best work, and be willing to back it up because word of mouth is your best advertising. I warranty all of my welds for one year (but I build everything to last twenty or more if properly cared for), and that actually gets me new customers. My old customers don't even care about the warranty.
    Lincoln: Eagle 10,000, Weld-Pak HD, Weld-Pak 155, AC-225, LN-25 wirefeeder
    Miller: Syncrowave 250DX Tigrunner
    Westinghouse: 400+ amp AC
    ThermalArc Handy wirefeeder
    1 Harris, 3 Victor O/A rigs
    Arcair gouger
    Too many other power toys to list.

    Do it right, do it once. And in all things ya get what ya pay for.

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    gate city virgina


    lots of great tip and suggestions i think i will wait till i been in the business and around it for some time before i think about opening up my own shop.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Sacramento CA

    Thumbs up

    See you're already growing and learning!! You have a great start!

  9. #29
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    gate city virgina


    thanks how significant in the industry is aws ceritification

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
    Lake of the Ozarks MO


    My approach was continue to create so much cool stuff for myself that I started my own welding biz by popular demand
    All the while working and learning the trade. Trust me that way the world will let you know when it's "your time"
    And when it happens that way you will never look back and your competition will wonder where in the heck did HE come from
    Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
    Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
    Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

    Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
    Miller 30-A Spoolgun
    Miller WC-115-A
    Miller Spectrum 300
    Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
    Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

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