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  • Business Questions?

    Hey Guys,

    I am 21, Live in PA. I worked for a welding company for 4 years, starting in High School. At 19 (seriously) I was given the opportnity to be a welding Foreman. About 7 - 8 months later 90% of the campany was layed off, soon after the company went out of business. I come from a family of a Construction background. My father and Uncle were and are Union Carpenters, both are General Foreman. My father left the Union in the Mid 1990's. He started his own general contracting business. I never brag, or try to sound cocky, but he is very sucessfull, Now he owns multiple construction companys, that he built. I am currently starting my own welding business. "Everyone says talk to your dad for advice" I do, but theres alot of things different from the Carpentry and Welding World. Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. How to get work? Job Bidding? What jobs you dont want to get involved with? How to access jobs? Any advice or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks Don.

  • #2
    Convince me this is a good idea.

    Where do you plan to borrow the seed money?

    How many years can you afford to draw no pay whilst you build the bussiness?

    What do you have to offer potential clients?

    Need more info.
    Nothing welded, Nothing gained

    Miller Dynasty700DX
    3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
    Miller Dynasty200DX
    ThermalArc 400 GTSW
    MillerMatic350P
    MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
    MKCobraMig260
    Lincoln SP-170T
    Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
    Hypertherm 1250
    Hypertherm 800
    PlasmaCam CNC cutter
    Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
    SiberHegner CNC Mill
    2 ea. Bridgeport
    LeBlond 15" Lathe
    Haberle 18" Cold Saw
    Doringer 14" Cold Saw
    6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

    Comment


    • #3
      Your dad should know the in's & out's of accounting, state and local taxes, and other common business paper work. Talk to him about all of that.

      Were you will vary greatly is insurance. Set down and talk with a few Independent insurance brokers, tell them exactly what you will be doing so they can get you the best quote possible for your needs.

      Do you want to do mobile welding, job shop/mfg or both?

      As far as getting jobs I'm not sure I should be the one giving advise but....
      You should have some business cards printed and go door to door handing them out. Quarries, cement plants, equipment dealers/renters, excavation contractors, plumbing contractors, etc.... Anywhere you see a lot of steel stop and hand out a card. Most large companies and/or contractors will require you to be on there Vendor's list. You will basically have to be "invited'' to be add to the list. You will have to submit a W-9 & cert of insurance. You will them sign a service agreement, that will spell out all of the details.

      A yellow page add is well worth the time and money as well.

      Almost any company large or small will require a w-9 and cert of insurance before they'll pay you.


      Personally, If I was in PA I would be going after all of the drillers & producers in PA.

      good luck,
      tim
      '08 F-350
      Vantage 400
      SA-250
      SA-200
      Invertec V350Pro
      Invertec V205T-AC/DC

      Miller 12VS suitcase
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      Pipe beveler's
      Track torch

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by shovelon View Post
        Convince me this is a good idea.

        Where do you plan to borrow the seed money?

        How many years can you afford to draw no pay whilst you build the bussiness?

        What do you have to offer potential clients?

        Need more info.
        A little background on my buisness so far. Last august I did a big job, proffited a decent amount of money. But since then its been just little jobs here and there. Im not gonna lie, I live at home still, I just have Truck payment and cell phone, and insurance basically. All my welders and tools I own. I payed for them up front. Other than a Truck, Welder, and insurance What else do I need? Other tools Like Transits, Jackhammers... I have access to.

        I have 500 business cards, I handed probably 200 of them out. Going to Excavator dealers and shops, Scrap yards, also I know a few local Gas stations all the contractors go to in the morning, I left a handfull there, I have the truck lettered. I would like to do Maintance/Repair work, A contractor calls me we need a welder for 4 days, I would sign on for a few days... But my dream is to get into Bridges. I would offer, Professional work, Stand behind my work, good people skills, Dont rip anyone off, I always think of the time, I was working with my dad, an older lady called him, her handrail pulled out of the concrete, when we got there we could tell she didnt have alot of money, we went over and repaired it. "She said how much does she owe you", "he smiled and said dont worry about it". 2 weeks later her son called my dad and wanted a huge adda-level and addition on his house. Things like that always stuck with me. Up here in the marcellus Shale where all the drilling is going on, there still about 3-4hrs away, But there making there way closer to me, Slowly.

        Comment


        • #5
          Ok, you are 21. I started my biz when I was 23, am 55, and it has been a rollercoaster. Never been or wanted to be a one man show, so I own a fab shop with skilled labor.

          Pounding the pavement is the best way. Small listing in the yellow pages is OK, but a web presence is better. All you young guys use the net off you phone, and I will soon. First guy that shows up on google wins.

          If you don't have some qualifications, get some. Yah,Yah will cost time and bucks, but people look for them. You don't have a college degree, so at least offer the test results.

          Might be a good idea to get a call service. I don't have one because I have a full time receptionist for that. But if I was a loner I would. The highest paid people I contract with have them.

          I agree about the insurance policy. My general liability policy costs $7k, and is worth every penny. Never thought I would make a claim, but just did.

          Last thing about working for yourself that I prescribe to is this. You work twice as hard for half as much. You wear many hats, like boss, employee, book-keeper, all around fire putter outer.

          Good luck and have fun.
          Nothing welded, Nothing gained

          Miller Dynasty700DX
          3 ea. Miller Dynasty350DX
          Miller Dynasty200DX
          ThermalArc 400 GTSW
          MillerMatic350P
          MillerMatic200 with spoolgun
          MKCobraMig260
          Lincoln SP-170T
          Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
          Hypertherm 1250
          Hypertherm 800
          PlasmaCam CNC cutter
          Fadal Toolroom CNC Mill
          SiberHegner CNC Mill
          2 ea. Bridgeport
          LeBlond 15" Lathe
          Haberle 18" Cold Saw
          Doringer 14" Cold Saw
          6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

          Comment


          • #6
            Thanks Guys I really appreciate it. Its nice to hear some POSITIVE feedback. When I talk to a Welder who owns his own business in person, I cant tell you how many say, Your out of your mind, Get away from me I dont got time, You got to be stupid to want to do what I do. Last thing you ever want to do is own your own business. But thanks for the advice, and helping a young guy starting out. I really appreciate it.

            Thanks Don.

            Comment


            • #7
              I also started my business when i was 23, only 28 now. June marked 5 years for me and I love it. I started my first 2 years working full time for a steel yard and working at nights and weekends getting my name out. I can tell you that the first 7 years are going to be **** in a viewpoint, even with a good economy. You will, as your dad probably has said, work as the worker, secretary, bookie, boss, guy who gets yelled at by the customer, grunt man, ect. But you will learn the most by yourself. I look like I am still 15 being 28, that hurts my business viewpoint a lot. But when I started as a railing/ornamental welder, I would show up in my truck in the picture and they would see my tailgate (avatar) and see my skill before my age. Great selling point there.

              Here are the biggest "little" things that I wish I knew when I started out.

              Hit the pavement, but don't be too aggressive. I like the once a month curtesy small mail flyer. They might not need something now, but they will remember it, I guarantee it. It gets expensive but it is up to you if it pays off because the flyer gets you in, you make or break it.

              Websites are a must. Keep it updated, do not put too much information on it. Basic is better, Pictures are even better! (www.countrymetalsonline.com) I think I put a little too much info on my Industrial page.

              Welders have a very broad insurance range. You have to watch what you are insured for. It is cheaper to build stairs and giant platforms then it is to build little railings.

              Your name means everything. If you have a customer complaint, unless he/she is a complete ***, do whatever it takes to make it right.


              Edit: Make sure you get your customers OK before you get pictures. You can be sued and many more bad things if they think you are sharing their ideas to the world.

              Edit 2: DO NOT STOP LEARNING, the business owner who think they are fine where they are, are currently looking for a job since you can not claim unemployment being self employed.

              There is a lot more information, but you need to learn them for yourself. It is a hard process and remember, only 1 in 7 businesses make it to their 1 year anniversary, 10% of them make it 5 years!
              Last edited by Country Metals; 07-03-2011, 08:30 AM.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Country Metals View Post
                I also started my business when i was 23, only 28 now. June marked 5 years for me and I love it. I started my first 2 years working full time for a steel yard and working at nights and weekends getting my name out. I can tell you that the first 7 years are going to be **** in a viewpoint, even with a good economy. You will, as your dad probably has said, work as the worker, secretary, bookie, boss, guy who gets yelled at by the customer, grunt man, ect. But you will learn the most by yourself. I look like I am still 15 being 28, that hurts my business viewpoint a lot. But when I started as a railing/ornamental welder, I would show up in my truck in the picture and they would see my tailgate (avatar) and see my skill before my age. Great selling point there.

                Here are the biggest "little" things that I wish I knew when I started out.

                Hit the pavement, but don't be too aggressive. I like the once a month curtesy small mail flyer. They might not need something now, but they will remember it, I guarantee it. It gets expensive but it is up to you if it pays off because the flyer gets you in, you make or break it.

                Websites are a must. Keep it updated, do not put too much information on it. Basic is better, Pictures are even better! (www.countrymetalsonline.com) I think I put a little too much info on my Industrial page.

                Welders have a very broad insurance range. You have to watch what you are insured for. It is cheaper to build stairs and giant platforms then it is to build little railings.

                Your name means everything. If you have a customer complaint, unless he/she is a complete ***, do whatever it takes to make it right.


                Edit: Make sure you get your customers OK before you get pictures. You can be sued and many more bad things if they think you are sharing their ideas to the world.

                Edit 2: DO NOT STOP LEARNING, the business owner who think they are fine where they are, are currently looking for a job since you can not claim unemployment being self employed.

                There is a lot more information, but you need to learn them for yourself. It is a hard process and remember, only 1 in 7 businesses make it to their 1 year anniversary, 10% of them make it 5 years!

                Thanks Guys, I am gonna hit the pavement again this week, John I checked out your website, I really like your operation. Nice work.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Is there a tradesman certification process in your state?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Theres welding certs welders take, but until a couple years ago, Contractors didnt even have to be licensed. My father is licensed in Jersey cause he does alot of work in New Jersey. Only some counties require licenses. Where I live is the mountains, Building inspectors get out of there truck, look at the job, and alright looks good, sign off and leave. Its not strict around here, Now New Jersey you need a permit to fart in that state.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Country Metals View Post
                      I also started my business when i was 23, only 28 now. June marked 5 years for me and I love it. I started my first 2 years working full time for a steel yard and working at nights and weekends getting my name out. I can tell you that the first 7 years are going to be **** in a viewpoint, even with a good economy. You will, as your dad probably has said, work as the worker, secretary, bookie, boss, guy who gets yelled at by the customer, grunt man, ect. But you will learn the most by yourself. I look like I am still 15 being 28, that hurts my business viewpoint a lot. But when I started as a railing/ornamental welder, I would show up in my truck in the picture and they would see my tailgate (avatar) and see my skill before my age. Great selling point there.

                      Here are the biggest "little" things that I wish I knew when I started out.

                      Hit the pavement, but don't be too aggressive. I like the once a month curtesy small mail flyer. They might not need something now, but they will remember it, I guarantee it. It gets expensive but it is up to you if it pays off because the flyer gets you in, you make or break it.

                      Websites are a must. Keep it updated, do not put too much information on it. Basic is better, Pictures are even better! (www.countrymetalsonline.com) I think I put a little too much info on my Industrial page.

                      Welders have a very broad insurance range. You have to watch what you are insured for. It is cheaper to build stairs and giant platforms then it is to build little railings.

                      Your name means everything. If you have a customer complaint, unless he/she is a complete ***, do whatever it takes to make it right.


                      Edit: Make sure you get your customers OK before you get pictures. You can be sued and many more bad things if they think you are sharing their ideas to the world.

                      Edit 2: DO NOT STOP LEARNING, the business owner who think they are fine where they are, are currently looking for a job since you can not claim unemployment being self employed.

                      There is a lot more information, but you need to learn them for yourself. It is a hard process and remember, only 1 in 7 businesses make it to their 1 year anniversary, 10% of them make it 5 years!
                      really good work you do there i like that gazeba been wanting to make something to cover my hottube.

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