According to the bureau of labor statistics, the American economy will add around 15,000 welding jobs. This may not seem much compared to other sectors, but it proves that the trend here is positive. It is indeed, a growing sector. No matter how automated the world may get, there will always a need for a skillful welder. The recent facts prove that.
But the demand for a permanent welder is not that much. Everybody wants to outsource for a cost-effective operation. Moreover, business operators would have to keep them on the payroll even if their services were not needed. Companies are more interested in hiring a welder on a freelance basis.
And the job done by a freelancer welder is as good as an in-house welder, even if not better. They are always active, therefore, experienced. Since they work on diverse projects and situations their capability is up to the standard as well.
On the other hand, freelancing welding means the welder is his boss. They get to pick the area or neighborhood they operate in. They can establish their code of conduct. They do not have to worry about other company regulations as long as they work according to government instructions.
This enables welders to perform better and bag more revenue. If a welder is somehow able to establish his/her reputation, he can even reach six figures yearly. The fact that you are reading this article means you are looking to get into this business. Well, you are in the right place as we will give you all the guidance and tips necessary to break through in this sector.
To offer better and quick service, we suggest going mobile with your welding business. For that, you are going to need a vehicle. We will cover this area and much more in the later parts of the article.
First, make sure you are not of faint heart. You need to be ready for this painstaking job. The job asks for hard work, focus, and the dedication to serve anytime and anywhere. Ask yourself if you can bring this to your work. If you are sure, then only get into this business. Otherwise, we recommend looking elsewhere.
The work that you do is very sensitive. If your job fails, people’s lives could be lost. You will be held liable for the damages. These damages could leave you bankrupt. The accidents caused by your incompetence could be fatal.
Why you should get into the welding business
People often need welding services. Whether they are making a new house, renovating the old one, or for any household work, they need these services. It does not matter where you live – there’s always work needed for welding purposes.
Another potential benefit of being a successful welder is that you can quickly move into other hardware-related businesses. By nature, welders are a hard-working bunch. They harness clinical and technical skills.
Therefore, they can manage any factory or production line. There is a massive potential for welding personal in the automobile industry. The more you gain experience, the higher your pay will be.
How to start a mobile welding business
Before telling you the first step of how to start a mobile welding business, let’s put on a little emphasis on the word mobile.
It means you do not need an actual office or an organized setting like a traditional firm. It keeps the cost down. Therefore, you just need a little assembly. As this is a mobile operation, you need to have a truck that will act as your office to be on the move consistently.
If possible, try to do the first two steps simultaneously. If not possible, follow the specified order here.
1st step: setting up the finances
Try to save as much money as you can. Try to save 2-3 times your estimated cost. We advise having strong financial backing to start with.
Try to have at least six months’ worth of an emergency fund. At first, there will be others with much more credibility than you. Try to prepare for the worst possible scenario.
You theoretically could ask for a loan from any financial institution, but that can be a lengthy hassle. Even if you get a loan by any chance, you will struggle to pay the down payments. Initially, your revenue stream will be dry.
Do not quit your first job until you have built a steady customer base. After making sure you have a future in the business, only after that quit. Not before.
2nd step: getting the required education and knowledge
Get yourself admitted to a well-reputed welding school. You will find various courses. Try to enroll in one where you can properly manage your own time and be compatible with your current job.
Without completing your course, you cannot get a certificate. Without a diploma from an accredited school, you cannot apply for a license. Therefore, you must complete your education.
Try finding out which school is best for you and how much tuition fees you need. Try the school where you can learn the most. Try to be as skillful as you can. The handwork you do here will pay off in the future as you will be the master in your craft.
3rd step: getting the license and permit
To operate your welding business legally, you will need a license issued by your state’s relevant authorities. You cannot just ask for it and take it.
You are going to have to prove your credentials to the licensing authorities. They are going to examine your certificate from your welding school. You will sit for a municipality permit test as well.
Hopefully, if you pass both tests, you will get the necessary papers to operate. Congratulations are due when you pass these tests. You just managed to get through a colossal bureaucrat mass and lots of red tapes.
4th step: setting up your shop
For you to smoothly discharge your duties, you need to be equipped with the right tools. Remember, these are your inventory. The quality of your work will depend upon this equipment.
So, you are going to be picky with your set up. Try not to pick unnecessary tools. Pick only the bare essentials as you will be consistently on the move. The tools that you choose – make sure they are top-notch and maintain them.
You will need a welding helmet, Welding magnets, Sheet metal gauge, Welding clamps, Welding gloves, Metal brush, Meg pliers, Soapstone, Angle grinder, Oxy-Acetylene set-up, Speed square, etc.
5th step: buying a van/truck
You are going to need a van or a truck. Make sure your van is reliable and does not break down when you need it the most. Whenever any potential client calls, you need to be prepared to be on the spot as quickly as possible. It would be best if you had the automobile in top condition. Just make sure that your van/truck has the capacity for the load that you are hauling.
6th step: devise a business strategy and plan
As a new welder looking for jobs, you need to have a clear plan and vision in place. You need to have the ability to adapt to heavy equipment repairs as well as residential work. You need to have adequate knowledge about the welding market in your area too.
Study the markets in and around the sub-urbs of your local town. As someone new, we suggest taking on small projects like fixing a gate, someone’s car, and shelving units. At first, the pay will not be as grand as you had hoped.
You can spread your reputation in the neighborhood if your patrons are satisfied with your work. Thus, you will get more jobs, and a steady stream of revenue will begin.
Try to expand your boundaries. Do not waste time chatting with the same people that are in your own business. Stop complaining and keep your eyes peeled for a potential client.
Roam around the local area looking for people and businesses that are looking for your service. Just labeling your vehicle with the business name and number will not do the trick.
It’s easy to spot the businesses that are going to need welders at some point. Go around and talk to them. Cut them some slack. Make them feel like you are offering a sweet deal. Try to make your initial paycheck small to get a right foot holding in the future market.
7th step: breaking through in the market
In this phase, you are building your client base. If you show commitment and dedication to your craft, you will be recommended for many jobs. The sheer number of small projects will numb the little pay you will be getting per project.
One market that is easy to break into and has no red tapes is equipment maintenance. You will need any further permits from any governmental body. You will be expected to repair giant machines like excavators and such devices.
Another allusive market is structural welding. These welding jobs pay the highest but they come with a catch. They are high-risk work. If your structure fails, you will be held liable.
Pipe welding is another potential market for you to get into. Here the rules and regulations are a bit less strict. You don’t have to pay high fees to get the certification required.
8th step: marketing, branding, and promotion
Try to compile a list of businesses in your area that often needs welding services. After that, try to visit them personally. Try to introduce yourself. Talk to them. Be gentle and humble. Do not let them feel like they are wasting their time. Give them a reason to seek your service.
Have a business card ready. List your business in Google business. Print out advertisements in local newspapers and local cable networks.
9th step: Start a website and build a social media presence
Build your own social media pages. Frequently post about promotional discounts there. Launch write-up blogs and run a personal website. Make sure the website has all the relevant contact information.
Launch a YouTube channel and show off your work. There, try to post videos, showing others how to do welding. Make videos about quick tips and tricks to the welders even though you are new.
The total cost of starting a welding business
If you already own a truck or a van, the cost will come way down. If you have a car or business ready, you will at least need 5,000 USD.
You will need this much to buy a basic welding setup, some much-needed tools, and marketing expenses.
Cost of a welder
You will get a basic welder for under 3000 USD. It can vary from one location to another.
As previously mentioned, there are some other essential tools you need to operate the business. Those will set you back about a further 2,000 USD.
Buying a truck or van
You can buy a brand-new truck which will be reliable enough, but that can be a bit expensive. You can get a 2nd hand truck, which will be cost-effective. A brand new one may cost 10-15 thousand USD. Old will be half of that.
Payment of your work
There are two ways to collect a paycheck. One way is getting paid per job, and another is at an hourly rate. For a beginner, the rate can be 20 dollars. As you gain experience, it will reach 60 dollars. If you are well established in your area, you can make north of at least 60,000 USD per year. Depending on your expertise, it can even go high as six figures.
Things to be aware of before getting into the welding business
Remember, getting into the welding business will be no easy walk in the park. You always need to be at the top of your game. You have to finish your work clinically. If your welding business breaks, then you might go bankrupt because of the damages.
There are a lot of cons to this job as well. The big government authorities often like to intervene by tweaking regulatory policies. They are long delays in getting paid too. You can possibly endure a lot of physical injuries while performing your job. There is that medical side to it as well.
You will be liable to pay all the money for any unexpected incident. Furthermore, such an incident will mean your career in this field is nearly over. You are going to have to look for a new job elsewhere.
After getting your company certified, you will find that there are long delays in structural work. Yes, the money is more generous, but you have to wait for long periods as well. For a single project’s work, you will deal with a more significant number of people than you were used to. There is going to be a great demand for these structural jobs. Once you breakthrough, hopefully, you do not have to look back.
This is one possible path for success. After a couple of years of experience breakthrough into structural welds, that is starting from small household jobs. There are other ways for success too. It is up to the individual but he/she must maintain the highest standard always.
Always try to develop a cozy relationship with contractors in the area. Try to maintain a network. Your vendors will pay you more if you are going to provide service at their location. You are going to make more compared to in-house welders.
Using the information we mentioned in this article, you can launch and subsequently sustain a successful business in this industry. We covered the steps chronologically, the total costs you had to bear, your payment of the work, and things to be aware of. We hope that you have gained knowledge and insight that will guide you towards the path you desire.