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  • Opening up shop

    Hello everyone I'm in school for combination welding right now and I started school in October and will be finished in September and he will be teaching fabrication on the weekends and help me get a mig machine to start fabrication because he is trying help me build my business because he says I have the potential. I have a two car garage that can be a full time welding shop and he has been welding over 40 years in a lot of different states and knows a lot of tricks to improve your welding skills and I weld at my job which is mig so I know how to use a mig machine so should I take this on after school is done and I am goig to be certified in gmaw, gtaw and smaw and i have applied for a tax I'd and soon will be getting a llc soon I just would like some else's advice about starting there own welding shop aand soon will go mobile also any advice would be good positive and negatives about running one ?

  • #2
    Opening up shop

    get good liability insurances...
    tools+++ get good quality ones
    and keep an excellent customer service!

    keep all bills ,expenses ...ALL

    if you hire people, make sure they fit what niche your in!

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    • #3
      I may be a downer here, but operating your own business WITHOUT a great deal of actual prior welding experience is going to be your down fall. Its a bit of a nightmare running a business, without that major working knowledge, and ALOT of capital to back you.

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      • #4
        Its good to get certified and when you say your getting your lic. I assume your talking about your drivers lic because there is not a welders lic. that I'm aware of.

        Here is my recommendation, Get your business started out of your parents garage, Its the best place to start because that's where the rent is the cheapest, Keep your day job, save money, start out welding on things your confident with which might be mower decks, ornamental things, floor pans etc. ( Stay away from High liability thing such as trailer hitches )

        Trust me when I say being the best welder around doesn't mean your good, welding is about 30% of what you need to know, maybe even less than that.

        Do you know all the techniques required to weld cast iron or dirty aluminum.

        Then there's the part of fabrication, knowing how to brace, reinforce and construct is maybe 30% of what you need to know.

        Then there's the safety aspect of welding, Welding around flammable things such as diesel, gasoline and many other things that can easily kill you.

        Now you run across a truck with a prentice loader that has to be taken off to do a frame repair ( Did you know that you have to use all new bolts which cost $ 700.00 to reinstall it ) Its tons of stupid little things like that, That you need to know when quoting jobs.

        Now your out on a structural job and you need to weld on a bar joist, there's things like panel points that you need to know where to put the member and where the weld goes.

        Or maybe you have a broken boom on a excavator, do you just weld up the crack and weld a nice square fish plate over the repaired area. No there's tons a stuff that you'll never learn in school.

        Another good one is piping, Just because you passed a 6 G cert does not qualify you to go out and start doing your own piping jobs.

        Start off slow, get a job in a welding shop and start building knowledge from experience from senior guys and do your own thing on the side.

        Good luck to you.

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        • #5
          Downer #2. I recommend that someone wishing to start a business work for someone else for awhile. The reason for this is you get real world experience on someone else's money. You can watch & learn a lot about how a business actually runs or should be run. You can learn if there is even a market for what you want to do. All the while you are working for someone else you can be buying equipment for when you are ready to open up on your own. Finding good used deals when they come along saves a lot of money. If you decide to go into business right away you will either be lacking some equipment or you will be in debt by having to buy it all at once.

          It is very hard, especially in the beginning to stay busy with billable hours. Running a business has lots of non-billable hours. You do need deep pockets to be able to survive the slow times & most of all you should know the tax laws. You don't need to be an expert but a basic understanding is essential in my opinion.

          Good luck whatever you decide. Also use the search feature on this forum as there are many threads about business.
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          • #6
            Some more Great advise from MMW, some things I forgot to mention.

            I don't want to be a Downer, I just want you to understand that there are a lot of obstacles in front of you.

            I started working out of my Dads drive way at the age of 16, by the time I went full time for myself I was 21 or 22 and then I had to starve for the first 4 years because I didn't have the knowledge or confidence to take on the big better paying jobs.
            __________________________________________________ ________________

            There is a saying that says ( Better to try and fail then to never have tried. )

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            • #7
              he is gettig a llc, limited liability corporation, its a business thing, nothing to do with a licence.i have one, it was highly recomended by my attorney, if i did not get the llc, his bottlm line would of been much smaller. having a llc is sold as a wall between you and the person who is suing you, the wall has many big holes in it, my opinion of a llc is that it shows the public that you are taking your business very seriously. using it for protection is no hurdle at all to any trial lawyer, get top quality insurance, and it aint cheap. its a must

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              • #8
                Kevin, I'm assuming your talking about a business Lic., I call it a tax ID #, What I was getting at is there's not a license for a welder like a Builder, Plumber, Electrician or a Hvac company has to have to be in business.

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                • #9
                  No, p.w. If i read him correctly, he stated "llc", my business is a llc, it is run by me, owned by me. And operated on my property. I am a member of the llc, limited liability corporation, since it only has one member my ss number is allowed, if there were 2 members, then a tax id# is required. When i set up shop a few years back, i thought it was a good idea, mayby it is, i dont really know. It is just a layer of paper work that sits between the llc and plaintiff if god forbid, some thing bad happens. Any good trial lawyer can cut thru it like a hot torch on aluminum foil

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                  • #10
                    I agree with the others abut getting more on the job training .if your a beginner fabricator and welder there is no way you will be able to quote jobs correctly. if I was you I would get a job in someones shop and work there for a few years . keep track of what work you do and how long it takes you to do it that's where you'll learn how to bid on a job. I see lots of guys show up on the job sites that are fresh out of vo-tec and they soon find out that welding in a class room setting and welding in the real world are totally different things.when fabricating stuff if you know all the tricks it can be done fast good and easy but if your a beginner it will go slow sloppy and hard.

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                    • #11
                      Again not to be a downer. It amazes me how many guys tell me their buying a mig welder and are going to start a welding business. How bout the other 200k worth of equipment that goes with it. Plasma cutter, torches, grinders, about 30 c clamps worth about 2k, 30 pairs of vice grips.Drills, saws,about 5k worth of chains and comealongs and chainfalls. Oh yea tube benders, metal brake, and iron worker. Go buy 3 mag drills of all different sizes because 1 doesn't work for every job. Then build a welding table and spend 2k plus on material for that 4x8x1 inch table. Wait need a drill press. Another grand for something worth anything. Then being a fabricator, better get a lathe and milling machine. Plus you'll be gabbing railings, so a good notcher. Get the biggest tool box you can buy because when a customer drops a machine off to fix you take it apart, fix it then reassemble it, so 1 inch impacts and sockets. Oh yea a forklift or bobcat for handling material deliveries. Anyone can do this, it just takes some years to figure it out. You accumulate as you go. You pick a lot up along they way at auctions, eBay and craigslist. I'd bet most guys don't decide to be a fabrication shop one day and open one the next.

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                      • #12
                        Yup i have a few hundred grand invested and still not enough toys...Bob
                        Bob Wright

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                        • #13
                          Yup i have a few hundred grand invested and still not enough toys...Bob
                          Bob Wright

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                          • #14
                            You can't operate a business like that in a garage, if you don't have neighbors and thier consent anyways. Even then you'll need allota coverage in case you burn the place down. If you live on a farm or large acreage, thats one thin, though you'd still need power brought in. So you'll need a shop with really good 3 phase power. Thats another high dollar expense.

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                            • #15
                              It's sorta like this....
                              Imagine just getting out of medical school, then wanting to open your own practice.
                              Would you send your family to that doctors office if you knew that?

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