How to Start a Lucrative Welding Business & Succeed
Last Updated: March 25, 2020
Many people dream of owning their own successful company: making the income a successful business owner makes, working their own hours, and having the best team. Maybe you’re dreaming of this.
If you’re a welder, this may be the perfect option for you. The opportunities in the business climate around the world are incredible for those interested in taking the plunge, but there are some fundamental principles any aspiring company owner needs to learn first.
It’s not just about starting a welding business. That’s the easy part. It’s about how to start a company that will succeed. Read this guide to starting a lucrative welding business with a mind to embrace the principles discussed, and you’ll know the steps to take for success.
Different Kinds of Welding Businesses
Before starting a business, it’s essential to figure out what kind of company you want to run. There are plenty of different routes to take, and they each have their own pros and cons. Reading this post, Top 10 Welding & Fabrication Business Ideas To Make A Profit, will give you a thorough guide to the different options available to you. Here are some good options to consider:
- Heavy stainless steel fabricating
- Aluminum welding
- Heavy haulage trailer manufacturing
- Steel construction fabricating
- Mobile welding service
- Underwater welding service
- Breakdown welding service
When to Start a Welding Business
The first step to consider is the timing of starting a business. Welding is a booming trade worldwide, and particularly in the U.S., so it’s not a matter of when to start market-wise. I’m convinced that whatever market you start in, these principles will help you succeed.
The crucial timing is determined by several factors that will be expounded upon below. First, are you ready with the right mindset? You may be an excellent welder and have a list of clients waiting to send work your way, but unless your business approach is correct, your company won’t succeed.
You also need to have your finances managed, and you must have the support of others to help you with your endeavors. You can start a business lacking in one of these areas, and it may still have some success. However, it cannot flourish to its full potential unless all three of these areas are taken care of.
The Right Mindset
Running a successful welding business needs much more than merely working in a workshop can produce. It requires three specific mindsets that will distinguish you as an acclaimed business owner, rather than a mediocre one.
Embrace a customer-focused mindset
You must have a customer-focused mindset. You need to understand your customers and dedicate yourself to providing the most satisfactory experience for them. This will result in your being willing to own their mistakes as your own, so they come away satisfied and enriched by your service. It will provide you with stable customer relationships, and in turn, they’ll support you with ongoing contracts.
If you choose to only look after the customers who you think will provide ongoing work, while neglecting others, you may not see the immediate consequences, but it will stunt the growth of your business. You’ll never know who the ordinary person is who turns up on your doorstep, and who they could recommend you to. Looking after everyone will do wonders for your company.
Embrace an employee-sensitive mindset
As crucial as a customer-focused mindset is, it’s not enough. You must also be committed to an employee-sensitive mindset, and in doing so, instill in them a customer-focused ethos. Remember that your employees will always be your business, and likewise, you control a massive part of their livelihood. If you’re unwilling to bear that responsibility, and only want to treat them as a means for your own success, you’ll inevitably have very little success.
The best way to treat employees is to think about being in their shoes. Treat them with the encouragement and support you would appreciate. The results will be tremendous for them and for you. Establish your mindset in this before starting a business. When life becomes hectic as your company starts growing, you’ll have the right thinking in place without trying to figure it out under pressure.
Learn your strengths and weaknesses
No one person is the superhero of a business. A business is always marked by a team and by people who excel in different areas. This is what makes successful businesses thrive. Be willing to learn where your strengths lie and what your weak areas are, so you can ensure your time is primarily spent on areas you’re best at. If you try to do everything, your company will be hindered significantly.
Without trusting different people to take care of critical roles, there will always be a lack of balance in your company, and you’ll lose on many necessary fronts. Learn your strengths and weaknesses by self-examination and asking others around you before you start your business, and you’ll have a stable foundation to build your company on.
It’s essential to have strong financials before starting a business. Although a broad base of cash is helpful and sometimes necessary, your financial management is most crucial. You can start a small business with a few dollars and scale it upwards with sound financial management, but it doesn’t work the other way around. If you have a large bank account without the necessary financial systems in place, your company will only last so long before closing in on itself financially.
If you’re not so good with finances, find someone to mentor you, or employ someone who excels financially to run that side of your business. The cost of hiring them will be tiny in comparison to the return they’ll produce for you.
The Support of Others
Employees are important to a business, but so is the support of outsiders like family, friends, and other business owners. The more people involved, whether directly in the company or indirectly through their contributions to your life, the more successful your business will be.
Others may have a wide range of opinions about you starting a business. Often successful companies start with people who received lots of criticism at the start, but no business is run alone. Be open to what others have to share with you. Find some people to lean on and keep you accountable, and particularly find some successful business owners to chat with. Whether they’re welders or not makes no difference. The outworking of businesses differs among fields, but the principles remain the same.
How to Start a Welding Business
Your business mindset, financials, and support will never be perfect, but once you have established the right foundation, you’ll be ready to start building your welding business. Starting a welding business will obviously require you to have your welding certifications. Once you get some employees, it will be mandatory that they get certified too.
There will come a time where you’ll have to leave your day job and dive into business. This is almost always daunting, but the best way to begin is by gradually easing into it. Don’t just leave your day job and start your business immediately. You’ll have the most success if you start slowly by doing work on the side.
Read 6 Side Gig Jobs for Welders for ideas to start finding work on the side while you’re employed, and ramp your business up from there. Unless you have bucketloads of cash, if you jump in right away, your need to make a full-time income will cloud your view of the best steps forward into a successful welding business.
Once you have some steady work on the side, with the likely prospect of it increasing, try cutting down your hours to work part-time as an employee or contractor, and spend more time on your business. If this isn’t possible, diving full-time into your business is fine, but gradual progression is always healthy when possible.
It isn’t necessary to have all the gear right away. Just having the essentials, to begin with, is fine and often a better way to go. The companies you’ve worked for in the past might be getting a range of customers requiring specific tools. But until you’re established in your company, you won’t know whether you’ll need all the same tools.
For example, maybe your old company had a plasma cutter that was used every day on projects, but no machining equipment. You could buy a plasma cutter expecting the same outcome, but your actual customers may be better served with a small milling machine or lathe instead. Gradually buying all the gear you need will ensure money is spent in vital areas through actual knowledge.
Welding Business Plan and Key Points to Make it Successful
It’s important to have a good foundation before your business is running. Nonetheless, these following points will help ensure that, once your business is established, it flourishes.
These key points are geared towards establishing a welding business that grows and becomes highly lucrative. What you’re after depends on whether you want a small business or a large business. Regardless of your goals, if you embrace these key points, along with the previous principles, you’ll provide excellent service to your customers and make a healthy income for you and your staff.
If you only want a small business, you can simply manage its size by the amount of work and staff you take on, rather than letting it increase by continuing expansions.
Gather satisfied customers
To begin with, you need to start getting customers. Any customer who’s willing to pay a fair price for your service or product is a good customer.
On a rare occasion, you may find a customer has bad intentions, and you can’t do anything about that. Simply serve everyone the same and make sure they pay you accordingly. This will outweigh the negative effect of those few bad customers. Don’t be too particular about who you do jobs for, unless you have sound reasons.
The steps to gain your first customers and those later down the track are the same, but it will be easier when your business establishes its name. The following points will help you have a constant supply of customers.
Tell everyone you know that you’ve started a business
If people know you already, they’re far more likely to support your business than go to an unknown source. They’re also more likely at the beginning stages to choose your company over a stranger, so tell as many friends as you can.
Tell them in person, preferably. Social media pages can work too. If you don’t have social media, it will pay to join some platforms.
Put out quality signs to advertise your services
Gaining customers is all about gaining trust. The more familiar a name is to someone, the more they’ll trust you. Certainly, putting a sign outside your house will encourage a few neighbors to stop by, but the wider you spread quality and captivating signs, the more people will come to trust your business.
Call up local businesses
If there are businesses that would benefit from your fabricated product or that you could serve well with your expertise, call as many of them as you can, and make yourself known. Most companies respect a business owner or respectful representative reaching out in a personal way.
Don’t pester them if they’re not interested. They may get back in touch when the way you treated them comes to mind at a time when they need your service or product. However, if they show interest during your first call, it always helps to do a friendly follow-up and show an interest in their business.
Welding business cards
Get some quality welding business cards and hand them out to potential customers. The more often you can do this in a personal way, face to face, the better. Giving them to customers you’ve served is a great option. Going around to peoples’ houses or businesses, or handing them out at a trade show stall, are also beneficial.
It’s essential to have an online presence, unless you’re not concerned about having a successful company. Very few people go for a drive to find a welding shop to use, or some fabricated items to buy; those few who do will be a tiny proportion of the market.
It’s not difficult to get involved on social media. Starting your own website is easy, too. We recommend using WordPress to create yours. It’s free, simple, and offers the most possibilities to develop your site, along with changing it in the future. Some easy tutorials will teach you how to build a WordPress site, including this video version and this thorough article version, which includes video aspects as well.
We recommend hosting your site with Bluehost. It’s affordable, has a great user relationship with WordPress, offers dedicated support, and runs your website faster than many other hosting companies.
Reading guides like etraffic for your website, and Postplanner for your social media presence, will guide you with essential steps to growing your business by advertising your presence in the online market.
Serve your current customers well
Once you have some customers, the best thing you can do for your business is to ensure they’re served well. As Horst Schulze, the co-founder of a multi-billion-dollar company, describes, every customer wants:
- A hassle-free service or product;
- That’s available without time restraints;
- To be delivered by someone in a kind manner.
If you do your very best to provide this to every customer, your company will undoubtedly gain loyal customers who choose your service or products above anyone else’s.
Get quality staff
How do you get quality staff? There are generally plenty of people to choose from, but it’s hard to find excellent staff. You can find employees through:
- Online ads
- Opportunities through business associates
- Leads through local welding shops
- Recommendations by welding schools
- Leads through training centers
- Using hiring agencies
The best way to find quality staff is either by interviewing as many people as you can and judging their skills and character firsthand, or finding someone you trust and who knows exactly what you’re after to interview people. If you go through hiring agencies or use someone who isn’t intimately aware of your vision, you may not find the best candidates.
Once you have some customers and a good team, the kind service customers desire must come from you. It most likely won’t be you serving them, but your staff. They represent you to the customers, because they represent your company. If your employees aren’t happy with the way you treat them, they won’t treat your customers well. There may be the odd excellent employee who will do the job to the utmost regardless of how you treat them, but for the most part, employees display to the customers what you display to them.
When you go above and beyond for your staff, you’ll soon see them going above and beyond for your customers. It also helps to meet regularly with them in an engaging way they appreciate. Go through the company’s vision and personally teach them how to best serve your customers, so they’ll be equipped to do so.
Establishing a self-sustaining company
From the beginning, it is of utmost importance to aim towards a self-sustaining business. Many companies are so heavily dependent upon the few top people running the show that if one or two of them are away, the business cannot function. This is an extremely unhealthy structure.
Bring your staff up to speed with what goes on. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything, but everyone should know how to do their job excellently, and be able to take over someone else’s workload if they’re away. This includes your job. You want a business that will run smoothly, so you can go away and have a vacation or do something else.
My dad’s commercial property was leased to a man who didn’t embrace this principle. He got sick with cancer and died within a few weeks of finding it out. His business shut down immediately, leaving his entire workforce to find new jobs. This is no way to run a business. Instead, employ a self-sustaining model to ensure you have established a successful welding business.
Learn the market and fulfill its needs
Markets are always adapting, some faster than others. Without exception, markets will change in some way a few years after you start your company. Become intimately acquainted with your market. Learn what your customers want, what your competitors are doing, and how to adapt your company to grow accordingly.
If you don’t grow with your market, you’ll be surpassed by someone else. However, be aware that if you progress things too fast, your customers may not be ready for the change. This takes careful strategy, but when executed well, it produces tremendous results for your business.
This principle is not just relevant to big companies. For example, I worked in a small fabricating shop when I first started welding, and my boss didn’t have an EFTPOS machine. For years, customers either set up accounts with the company or paid cash. When EFTPOS came in, many customers expected my boss to have it. To this day, I am not sure if he does. He lost significant opportunities for more and happier customers by this small detail he could have changed easily.
Establishing a welding business is an excellent opportunity for any welder willing to do the hard work of building something amazing. Many people have started average companies that provide them with a bit more income and a small team working for them. But I hope you’re eager to go the extra mile and create a successful, lucrative business with a lasting future.
It may seem like hard work, and it is. But establishing a business properly gives you the support you need to achieve success. You’ll have a great team on your side, customers who are loyal to you and spread the word of your company, and a self-sustaining business that allows you to take vacations without it diminishing.
Feel free to leave your feedback and comments below.
Source and helpful websites:
- Different Kinds of Welding Businesses
- When to Start a Welding Business
- The Right Mindset
- Embrace a customer-focused mindset
- Embrace an employee-sensitive mindset
- Learn your strengths and weaknesses
- The Support of Others
- How to Start a Welding Business
- Welding Business Plan and Key Points to Make it Successful
- Gather satisfied customers
- Tell everyone you know that you’ve started a business
- Put out quality signs to advertise your services
- Call up local businesses
- Welding business cards
- Start a website and build social media presence
- Serve your current customers well
- Get quality staff
- Establishing a self-sustaining company
- Learn the market and fulfill its needs
- In Closing