Starting Your Own Welding Business

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Did you know that you could make a comfortable living running your own welding business? When most people think of welders, they think of this dirty person that "couldn't make it elsewhere" getting an OK hourly wage. However, there are people that need welding done; and good welders are in short supply. Even in a bad economy, welders can find themselves with job security and making comfortable money.

Obtain your welding certification. Access Certified Welding Technologies Inc.'s Website or contact it at (502) 396-8686. If you're unsure about the skills you need for certification; ask for training so that you'll have the basic welding skills needed for the welding industry. When you're ready to get your welding certification, call to schedule a test. Know that it'll test you at a site and time that's convenient to you.

Get a business license and register your welding business with your state. Normally you'll be a sole proprietor. If you live in a city, apply for a business license with your commissioner of the revenue. If you're living in a county, register with your county clerk's office. Inventory your shop for every item you'll be using in your welding business; this includes welding-related equipment, shop phone, table and chair. Know that your state needs this information to determine what kinds of taxes you'll pay.

Create welding samples that you could distribute to prospective clients. Distribute them with your business card. Find material that's abundant and can be welded together (see tips below). Weld soda cans or razor blades together to demonstrate your skills; the more creative you are, the better chances you have of being in your prospect's mind if they need a welder.

Proceed to machine and welder shops in your area to drop off both your business card and welding samples (see resources below). Know that machinists do welding as part of their job, but they're not welding experts. Ask the welder shops if they need someone to do collateral welding-type work in case the employed welders are overwhelmed and need someone to clear minor welding jobs.

Establish a minimum hourly rate for your welding job. Apply this minimum rate to any welding project that falls under an hour; for example, if you do a three-minute welding job and you work for $20 an hour, charge the client $20 for that three-minute job. Contact other welders running businesses to get an idea of what welders in your area are charging. Know that even if they're your competitors, they want to do their part in keeping compensation for their work high.

Tips & Warnings

  • Not every welding business owner creates small welding samples for distribution with their business cards. They don't want to devote time and material to do so. This is a mistake; one that you can work to your disadvantage. Remember, good welders are in short supply, and your clients had to deal with bad welding jobs. They don't know if the other welders are worth a shot; including you. If you leave a welding sample with them, they know what you're capable of doing. They don't know what kind of work quality your competitors have. You want to make samples that are challenging to make while using readily available materials like aluminum cans. To make sure they call you, and not the other welder, use materials that you can engrave on. If you engrave your name and phone number on these samples, your prospects would be able to call you.
  • If you can't weld aluminum cans or razor blades together, you don't have the skills needed to be a successful welding business owner. Some welding projects are similar to welding aluminum cans together; you display lack of experience if you're unable to do these kinds of projects. Your prospects want to hire someone with plenty of experience.

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