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  1. #1

    Default advice on welding side business?

    Any fellow welder s have advice for a young guy trying to make money and establish a good reputation locally welding? I work as a sheet metal tig welder, attend welding school and have done 1 or 2 mig side jobs. (Round railing).trying to go on my own part time while still working, Having trouble getting the word out, pricing, talking to potential customers, and deciding on equipment/rig. ( truck VS. my SUV &trailer combo) Thanks a bunch guys!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    northern NJ
    Posts
    1,846

    Default

    First is to see what kind of work is available & then get equipment to match. You don't want to gear up for something & then find out your equipment doesn't go with the work. Do you want to go mobile only or work out of your place?
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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    South Carolina
    Posts
    570

    Default

    I'm kind of in your shoe's.

    Truck or trailer? I would think truck (SUV) and equipment to start. That is the route I am taking. Almost picked up a trailer but found a slide for my Bronco pretty cheep yesterday. So I'll get a Mig next then if things go ok I might get a trailer.

    The toughest part is having another job. Sometimes people need something done and I haven't got the time. So I keep a couple other shops numbers and refer them. Bad for me but the jobs I do get helps keep the word out.

    Securing your equipment when your not around will be important. Would you keep it in a trailer, truck or building? Loading and unloading is the pits but safer for me.

    Buying equipment for the work you'll get is hard to say. You never know what might come up but I do know I haven't the time to go buy metal and spend days fabricating things at someone's residence so I'm looking at equipment for repair mostly with limited metal on hand.

    200amp Tig and a 200amp Mig will cover that. I'll borrow an engine drive if need be.

    Yes, a trailer would be nice but if you haven't the equipment to go in it, it won't do a lot of good. Equipment at home or some you can load in a truck might be better until you can do more. For myself, the trailer will come last now but I want one really bad. LOL

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,704

    Default

    Well for starters Keep your main job.

    #2 Get some business cards made.

    #3 Dont take on risky jobs untill you have business insurance ( Safe things would be a railing job, trailer floors, equipment buckets. Risky jobs would be trailer hitches, steam pipe, water piping, front end steering componants. )

    #4 Then start learning the trade I've been in business for 25 years and doing it 4 years prior to that and I still run across things that I have to research before doing.

    #5 Dont take work that your not confident that you can do and complete, dont be a BSer.

    The importance of a nice rig. I started out with a old beat up truck with a welder in the back and customers would question my ability then over the winter when things were slow I took the bed off and made a flat bed with tank mounts, bought tawain fenders and doors and panted the truck and bed along with the beat up old welder so everything looked nice along with a small rack to haul my ladder.

    After fixing up the old truck and making it look professional no one ever doubted my abilities after that.

    Now that does'nt mean you need a $ 110,000 rig, I'm suggesting a older pick up with a rack to haul 20' lengths of steel, cable and hose hangers, a tool box and a good used Bobcat welder.

    $ 4,000.00 for a good used truck, $500.00 for a rack that you build, $ 1500.00 for the Bobcat used, $ 200.00 for a couple of ladders, and another $ 1500.00 for torches, tanks, grinders, leads and clamps.

    So for $ 7,700.00 you are in business, If you dont have the money you can do what I did, I sold any and all play toys, my car and made the truck my only means of transportation.

    Good luck Boys.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Location
    Salem, NJ
    Posts
    271

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Portable Welder View Post
    Well for starters Keep your main job.

    #2 Get some business cards made.

    #3 Dont take on risky jobs untill you have business insurance ( Safe things would be a railing job, trailer floors, equipment buckets. Risky jobs would be trailer hitches, steam pipe, water piping, front end steering componants. )

    #4 Then start learning the trade I've been in business for 25 years and doing it 4 years prior to that and I still run across things that I have to research before doing.

    #5 Dont take work that your not confident that you can do and complete, dont be a BSer.

    I'm not trying to step on anyone's toes but #3 and #5 DO NOT agree with each other.

    #5 is completely true, and it does coincide with #3, but I would state that there is NO safe job, ever, when you are starting out. No insurance = no safety net. If something does go wrong, your screwed. That is why only 1 in 7 businesses make it to the first year anniversary date.

    BUT, on the good note, and just like everyone else here, inc me, that has started their own business; you are starting with knowledge. Don't BS a job, know what you are doing, and always remember that your A** is always on the line and you will be fine. Always look at the consequences first before you take the job. If you think something will go wrong, it will! Every time! But it is how you handle it is what will grow your business.

    I personally made my own website, that was my greatest source of work besides word of mouth. Yellowpages, search engines, pay to get are all pay too much for way to little. Hitting the pavement is where it is at.

    Also this has been discussed many times, in many topics, if you search, you will find goodies.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Milan Michigan
    Posts
    1,704

    Default

    Country Metals, Your right.

    What I was trying to convey, There are some jobs out there that have a low risk factor and if they break the chances of someone getting hurt are very slim.

    Repairing cracks on an equipment bucket, welding a lamp, fixing a hand rail, a chair, exhaust, bars on windows.
    If any of the things mentioned above fail, The likely hood of being sued is very minimal.

    Things that are very risky: Welding beams in a building, overhead cranes, truck frames, hitches... These are things that can fail from operator error that you can be sued over weather you did the job right or not.

    Insurance for a welder is very expensive and when your first starting out you may have to go without insurance untill you have enouph work to justify having it, Untill then you better stick with safe jobs.

    I was'nt trying to say that its okay to do jobs that you dont have the ability or know how to do just because you have insurance.

    I hope this Clarifies things.

  7. #7

    Default

    I have an early 200s pathfinder and i drag along a 10ft utility trailer to haul metal and inatall anything large ive fabricated. Most work i do is small repair /light fab. Using a millermatic 140, want to invest in a diversion 180tig, any aluminum jobs i usually take to work in break.

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