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  • experience and payscale

    Hi everyone, I'm looking for some advice on a welder's experience and payscale. It's nearing my two year mark at my company and I feel like I should ask for a raise- one reason being, of course I could use more money and the second being I don't want to fall behind as being one of the lowest paid in the shop when I out rank on seniority. But since I don't know too many welders, I'm not sure what the reality is for payscale out there.

    My role is the sole welder of a high end furniture fabrication shop. I primarily TIG weld, though I have the ability for stick, Mig, and flux-core. I am certified for torch use of flammable gases. I am not officially certified for welding, but I am educated with a BFA degree in Sculpture. Most of my work is with steel and stainless steel, though I have the ability to work with aluminum and bronze as well. Along with all metal fabrication, I am also responsible for metal finishing including sanding, patination, and clearcoating. I am responsible for most sourcing, researching, and troubleshooting when it comes to anything metal and along with routine maintenance and upgrades in the metal shop. I'm not an expert at everything, I only have 2 years of professional experience, but I mean, I kick *** at pumping out this work primarily independently.
    What's your opinion on how much a welder like me should earn?

    Thanks for your help!

  • #2
    Sometimes it doesn't matter what you are worth but how much the company can afford to pay. Do they make a lot of money on the stuff you do or does it have a small profit margin & they run with high overhead?

    Another thing to think about is how easily can you be replaced. Not necessarily somebody with your exact skills but somebody who can do just enough to get the job done. You mention all the stuff you can do but it sounds like a lot of it isn't needed to do the job.

    Having said that, pay scale depends on so many things that I can't give you an answer. Location is a huge part of it, if you are in NY city you will make a lot more than Florida. Is there a lot of welders unemployed in your area or are there none? Can someone be easily trained to do what you do? Does the company love you? In my area which is northern NJ you would probably get $14-18 an hour. Of course there are exceptions but I watch the help wanted ads pretty regularly & that seems to be the going rate.
    MM250
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    • #3
      In my area the going rate is about $15 per hour. Right out of school is $10 per hour. So I think you are on the right track.

      If you want to certify in tig, you could do it personally at your job if they let you use their tig machine clocked out. What I do is purchase a copy of AWS D17.1. Find the section for welder qualification, buy some sheet metal sheared to size, and do a full penetration groove weld. Right now for 1/8' I think the size is a coupon 8" x 8". Make sure the metal is clean as can be, produce a coupon with melt thru on bottom, and crowning on top. Be sure the plates are in line and not bowed. Then sand off the top and bottom and look for holes. If you are happy send them off for x-ray per AWS d17.1 inspection. I believe a groove weld in that thickness range qualifies for both groove and fillet.
      Nothing welded, Nothing gained

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      Linde UCC305 (sold 2011)
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      6 foot x 12 foot Mojave granite

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      • #4
        Hi Tine
        Some shops don't give a raise just because you've been there a certain amount of time, does the company have a specific policy concerning pay raise? Perhaps not since you're asking the question.

        MMW has some good advice. If you've been working hard as you say then maybe its time to ask.

        shovelon, wouldn't this test have to be observed by a qualified official, then sent in for testing?
        Richard
        West coast of Florida

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ltbadd View Post
          Hi Tine
          Some shops don't give a raise just because you've been there a certain amount of time, does the company have a specific policy concerning pay raise? Perhaps not since you're asking the question.

          MMW has some good advice. If you've been working hard as you say then maybe its time to ask.

          shovelon, wouldn't this test have to be observed by a qualified official, then sent in for testing?
          Not from my experience. I write a PWPS and joint configuration sketch, weld the test plate, grind it down, and send it in. My inspection house does the penetrant and radiograph, then produces the results on the lab report, then if I wish they will document the lab #, weldor name, ID, and positions with thickness. I ask them to use the old Mil-STD-1595A form. My inspection house will sign at the bottom with their inspection level, and date.

          Just to be clear, all welding then must be done in the shop and controlled environment where the coupon was produced. No field weld allowed(but I do get waivers in time sensitive situations).
          Last edited by shovelon; 02-17-2016, 01:29 PM.
          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 everyone, you've given me a lot to think about. The thing is though not all my abilities are used at all times, what we do at our shop is pretty sculptural and custom when it comes to the furniture making. We are making designs for people who don't know the nature of the material. The past couple weeks we've tried outsourcing some designs due to our schedule being so clogged, only to have them turned down based on "it's too difficult without a CNC" or "it's impossible to patina stainless steel." ... But here I am... doing it. And doing it faster than anyone expected. I asked myself, can just anybody do this job instead of me? But it seems that the company really relies on my adaptability, patience, and artistic skill. Part of my stress over my pay is that I don't want to be the underpaid woman of the shop. I don't want let myself slip into that trend if I can help it. And more money would mean I could totally adopt a dog without financial guilt!

            Great idea about getting certified by mailing in my weld sample, I think I'd like to do it just to prove to myself I can even if I don't need it for my job.

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            • #7
              Everyone is replaceable.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
                Everyone is replaceable.
                ...and others just won't go away!!
                Richard
                West coast of Florida

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                • #9
                  Schedule a time with your boss when he has an opening in his schedule, and tell him all the work you have been doing as you noted here, and that you would like a raise. The worst he is likely to do is say no. If you think you can get more money (usually you can once you have demonstrated experience and reliability) then update your resume with your experience and skills and send it out to companies you would want to work for. Your other option is go into business for yourself, you could even compete with your old company.

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                  • #10
                    Tine wrote -- Great idea about getting certified by mailing in my weld sample, I think I'd like to do it just to prove to myself I can even if I don't need it for my job.

                    ------

                    This to me is a waste of money. Do you really need someone else to tell you if you can pass a test that won't get you anything at this point but self satisfaction? If you really want to see if you can do it then read up on the various tests & just do it yourself. Judging by the work you do you must have a way to cut it & bend it so you would essentially be self testing.

                    Good advice on sitting down with your employer & discussing it. Do not come off as having an attitude though. Just explain what you bring to the company & how everything you do makes them money (if it does). Then the "ball is in their court". If they don't come through then maybe it is time to move on but make sure wherever you go is better than where you are at now. Money isn't everything, work environment, co-workers, length of commute & flexibility are also factors in a job.
                    MM250
                    Trailblazer 250g
                    22a feeder
                    Lincoln ac/dc 225
                    Victor O/A
                    MM200 black face
                    Whitney 30 ton hydraulic punch
                    Lown 1/8x 36" power roller
                    Arco roto-phase model M
                    Vectrax 7x12 band saw
                    Miller spectrum 875
                    30a spoolgun w/wc-24
                    Syncrowave 250
                    RCCS-14

                    Comment

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