Owning and running a welding and fabrication business can be a well-paying venture. A welding trade certificate is a requirement to operate legally, and you also need to register a business name with your county clerk’s office and obtain business permits and licenses as per your state’s regulations. While having the necessary skills certainly is an important part of running a successful welding and fabrication business, a good entrepreneur invests significant time and money in marketing.
Research and learn about your competitors. Determine any uncovered gaps in the market, and focus on how your business can fill them. What makes you stand out can be anything from exquisite customer care to unique technology such as robotic fabrication or automatic processes to your capacity to handle big projects. If you only employ people with the American Welding Society certification, use it as a marketing edge. Let your clients know that they can expect the highest level of quality workmanship.
A website enables you to reach more clients. Highlight the welding and fabrication services that set you apart from your competitors. These can include specific fabrication experience such as bridge infrastructure or having a specialist tungsten inert gas welder on your team. Also, include details about successful projects that you have completed as part of your portfolio. New clients are more likely to trust you from your project history rather than reading about what you can do for them. Investing in search-engine optimization, starting a blog about welding and fabrication, or asking people with websites to link to yours helps to increase traffic on your site.
Networking is key to any successful venture. Join the welding association in your state to develop useful business contacts. Work with other welding and fabrication businesses to complete a community project as a way of giving back and increasing your visibility. Also, use social media such as Facebook and Twitter to grow your customer base. For example, if you fabricate chassis for classic cars, update your Facebook page regularly with photos to show the work in progress. Car aficionados will check back frequently and consider using your services on their rehab projects.
Business to Business
Buy or rent a mailing list from industry marketing associations such as the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association, or FMA, to help you reach decision makers in companies that could use your services. For instance, send business proposals to procurement managers in machinery and transport equipment manufacturing companies in your state on the list. Also, advertise with the industry marketing organizations. FMA, for example, offers print and online media that you can use to increase your exposure among prospective customers. The Precision Metalforming Association also offers advertisement space through the MetalForming Magazine.
Working for your state is a good way to build your portfolio and earn clients’ trust. States such as Washington allow small welding and fabrication business owners with less than $1 million in annual revenues to bid for contracts through the Small Works Roster. Utilize the federal GovCB.com site or subscribe to receive emails whenever opportunities arise. From the site’s “opportunities” section, search for new bid notices and available contracting opportunities from the state and local government section. Also, watch for invitations to submit bids and proposals by public institutions such as colleges and universities. For instance, if you are in South Carolina, SCIWAY, or South Carolina’s Information Highway, is a good place to start.