If you’re a welder and are thinking about starting up your own welding business, you might not be sure which kind of business you want to create. This guide explains the main types of welding businesses that you can set up to help you develop your business plan.
One key thing to remember is that whichever welding business you decide to create, you won’t just be a welder anymore, you’ll need to think like an entrepreneur. This means you will need to focus more on things outside the technical elements of welding, such as promoting your business, accounting, certification, legal structure, and insurance. Don’t be afraid to grow into a business owner and move away from focusing on hands-on welding.
The welding business with the lowest start-up costs is being an independent contractor. As a welding contractor, you can hire yourself out to businesses that require a welder on a temporary basis. You’ll no longer have an employer, so you’ll need to sort out your own medical and insurance cover.
The plus side is that you can charge a higher hourly rate than you’d receive as an employee because you need to take care of more paperwork yourself. If you get the right contract this can make you more money and the low startup costs can see you making a profit pretty much straight away.
Being an independent contractor is a great place to start out if you want to have a bit more time to build up a mobile welding business. You don’t have high startup costs but can make a decent profit from businesses that need your services and you can pick and choose which jobs you want to take.
Mobile Welding Business
The next type of welding business you can start is a mobile welding business. A mobile welding business has higher startup costs than contract work because you need your own tools, equipment, and a vehicle to transport yourself to the job site.
Mobile welding can be quite competitive as there are already a lot of mobile welders with repeat customers in many areas. It’s often best to start out in contract work and work your way into mobile welding by building up your welding equipment over time and finding a couple of part-time clients. Alternatively, if you already know potential clients, you can buy all the equipment at once if you have the money or look at getting a business loan.
The more you spend on equipment, the longer it will take you to make a profit. For this reason, it’s worth looking at becoming a specialist in a unique area so you’re the go-to welder for that service, such as aluminum welding or TIG welding. Then when you’re more established, you can look at branching out into more areas and buying more equipment.
Finally, the most comprehensive type of welding business you can create is a fabrication shop. This is the same as a mobile welder except now you have your own shop where customers can come and bring things to you.
Usually, this comes as a progression from a mobile welding business, where you have built up a range of welding equipment and clients and want to expand your business further. Creating a full shop can take a few years to get back a profit, but can be the most secure and profitable long-term.
If you find yourself spending 40 hours a week welding and you have more job offers coming in, then having a shop could then give you the opportunity to hire an additional welding contractor to work in your shop to work alongside you and help you grow your business.
If you have the financial power to build one straight away, you can in theory set a shop up without even being a certified welder, and you can hire professional contractors from the outset. However, you will need to be very good at getting new customers through either marketing or networking.