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  • #16
    Thank you all for the replies and advice. No disrespect taken MMW. I've been through my local community college welding programs(about 5 years ago) and have been "hobby" welding on my own projects and the occasional small job. In my spare time I work with my dad to do mechanical and electrical restorations on Beatles and Broncos. I have another business making and selling ceramics, it just isn't going to cut it long term. From everyone's advice, thoughts, and criticisms I have a much better idea of what machines I should be looking at for what I want to do and how to get there.

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    • #17
      I've been watching this unfold, and honestly 16 posts in all I am certain of is you're a young man who attended a welding program in Jr College someplace who throws clay and helps restore old vehicles.

      You want, dream, desire to own and operate a welding shop with a mobil rig and presumable turn sufficient profit from that venture to fund your eating and housing needs into the future. You also appear to have minimal years of working as a weldor.

      First & foremost, you'll need about $125,000 + a good truck. The days of rolling out with a SA 200 and pair of tanks and making meal money are long gone. I really recommend a grill on the truck so you can cook on the job for survival. Given your lack of documented experience figure on $25,000 of the startup money going into an Insurance Agent's hand, IF you find one who will write you. BTW, that $25,000 is only a deposit, the carrier will audit your books at the end of the year and let you know how much more they want based on your gross income. You'll also NEED to up your vehicle insurance to minimally 5 Million of liability. Depending on where you are the State may mandate you carry Workman Comp as well. Premiums on that are a percentage of payroll, and of course there is a minimum up front cost.

      Next, lets look at SAFETY costs. You do have a Safety Card, don't you? You ain't getting on many jobs without one. Extinguishers and training in their use? First Aid Kit & of course certification of training. I always like to have a wet gel burn blanket on the truck too, but that isn't often mandated. Clothing; You are covered neck to foot in Nomex, aren't you?

      You'll probably want a card reader hooked into your phone too, it'll pay for itself in bringing money in the door faster.

      Promotion- nobody in a Maintenance Manager job has ever sat at their desk and thought I should really have a welding service I can call when Fred can't get the job done with the buzbox and whatever welding rod we have in stock, so you can pretty well figure on 8 weeks of ZERO income while you ride around introducing yourself and passing out line cards of welding you can do, and explaining how your service is more cost beneficial than in house welding. Ask for a plant walkthru at this point, and be prepared to show your insurance paperwork if you hope to get any work. You'll often get a walkthru by explaining you want your rig fully prepared when it arrives to minimize time on the job for customer convenience. Offer to show the potential customer your rig too and point out you don't charge premium for nights and weekends so he can get his welding done when the plant isn't in production and minimize exposure of employees to arc flashes and plant explosions. Be sure to point out the FIRE protection equipment and inventory of consumables on the truck at this point too.

      While you're out being seen you can also stop at all local suppliers you might need and find out what's available in their rental fleet, and can they accomodate your needs at 4am Sundays.

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      • #18
        Franz this is all very true if he wants to weld in Industrial plants but it sounds more like he is going after farmer work. As for the insurance you really need to shop around and find someone that specializes in welding. I think I pay around 3 grand a year, maybe less
        www.silvercreekwelding.com

        Miller Trailblazer 325 efi
        Miller extreme 12vs
        Thermal arc 186 ac/dc
        Lincoln power wave 455m/stt with 10m dual feeder

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        • #19
          First, thank you all for your advice and thoughts. Second, I've been called out by a few of you, and quite fairly and needed. No disrespect taken, it was a needed check on me. I had gotten the cart ahead of the horse here. I don't have a solid business plan, and I need to do more research on what business and people around need in a mobile welder. I'm already signed up for a SBA class on writing business plans and got taken in with looking at welders.

          That being said, I can weld. I've been doing so for 7-8 years. Its been mostly for friends and for my own personal use on cars, tractors, trailers, and small fab projects. I currently have my metal tools tucked into my wood/clay workshop and a few over in the garage with the cars. To go further with the metalworking I need a metal only shop. I'll have plenty of power to work with coming off a 240V line with a 200A breaker.

          Again, thank you for the advice and the caution. I'll be sticking around.

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          • #20
            You're going to do great things, Walker! Your super attitude is pretty scarce these days. Sure glad you're sticking around!

            Comment


            • #21
              I am going to disagree with a little here. Find something you can do well. For real hard core field work a guy needs to be a real good all position stick welder teaching in buttholes, under ****, a lot of it ain't easy.
              Second,, if I was starting today might consider a small Maxstar or similar and a cheaper portable genset when you absolutely can't plug in. It has about retired my engine drives, I did a repair to a forklift the other day,, all 120v and small electrodes where I had to run a second pass on 6 or 8 inches, 3 or 4 extra rods and under 5 minutes more, didn't have to listen to 20 hp for 2 hours for 20 minutes of small weld and 10$ in fuel.
              . While that sounds contrary it really isnt. You don't got to do everything for everyone. My bud did auto,,, he finally did more simple work and a customer with a difficult drive problem he sent to the dealer once came back for all the brake and axel work.
              A good customer that uses you most of the time isn't going to quit cause he hires a specialist once in a lifetime that requires a million dollar investment.
              only reason to buy more is if there is return.
              No point in working just to pay bills. Doesn't matter how much you do its what is left in the end. I was going to take a job recently but didn't really want to buy new truck just to break even driving around the state.
              It takes a long time to put 100 real hours on an engine drive for a hobby/part timer. If I was starting again today would do it economically till it looked like there was real potential before I tote an engine drive everywhere.

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              • #22
                I have a little maxstar 150sth that I've used on many portable jobs, it's an excellent machine and probably my single best purchase yet for portable and onsite work. I've welded on everything from hanging upside down in a commercial dish washer at Outback Steakhouse tig welding a stainless bracket back on to welding in heavy flip-up hook things on the frame rails of some roll on rolloff dumpster trucks at waste management. Good little machine. Not cheap. Worth every penny.

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                • #23
                  I'm so thankful I didn't have this forum to talk me out of going into the welding business when I didn't know what I was getting into.
                  I could weld good. I had people who wanted me to come to their place. Then I went from there

                  www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                  Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                  MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                  Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                  Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                  Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                  Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                  Miller WC-115-A
                  Miller Spectrum 300
                  Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                  Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                    I'm so thankful I didn't have this forum to talk me out of going into the welding business when I didn't know what I was getting into.
                    I could weld good. I had people who wanted me to come to their place. Then I went from there
                    It's really hard to discuss such things on a forum, there's so much missing from a "text only" communication
                    Richard

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      I hope he takes it as constructive advice on the pitfalls to watch out for and not discouragement.

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Originally posted by ryanjones2150 View Post
                        I hope he takes it as constructive advice on the pitfalls to watch out for and not discouragement.
                        The business world is ever changing and usually a cruel environment. Learning facts and having realistic expectations before you jump into the pool and find out you can't swim beats drowning 10/1 in my book.
                        I've known and seen many very talented weldors jump in and drown because they had plenty of welding skill and no business knowledge.

                        Financing is in and of itself a whole other nightmare. No shortage of bankers waiting to stick their hand in your pocket, and you'll find no warmth in any of their hearts. Bankers all have friends who will help you write a business plan, for a fee, and then you MIGHT be able to borrow money. If all else fails because the plan is pie in the sky, there is always SBA and other government help. Success ratio on those deals is about 5%.

                        Then there is the reality of competition. Throat cutting is just part of doing business, and reality is less completion equals more profit for existing business. I've spent a bit of money sending men to schools and developing them into fine craftsmen, and a few thanked me by becoming my competitor. Fine, that's business. When they hit a wall I was there to push them into it harder, and when they went in the deep water I tossed them a manhole cover. That's also just business.

                        There is also the reality of nonpaying customers. They range from a guy named Fred to General Motors and include all sizes between. Some send Bankruptcy notices, in 2019 most just move down the road and re-play in a new town. You still don't get your money due, and if you borrowed money to do the job you're really SCREWED, cause the banker will get his $$$ back, even if he kills your business and takes your parents paid off house to get it.

                        Toss in you're a 1 man show. WHAT is the plan for the eventuality you get hurt or sick? Will you be able to come back and will your customers be waiting for you? Do you owe a banker?

                        Nature and evolution will lead a man to be cautious. Look where your foot is going to land before you step off is natural. Want and desire are products of salesmanship. I've been around a while, met many salesmen, and have yet to meet one who had my best interest first in his daily plan.
                        Al Newhart (the man who built USA Today) says failure is natural and to be expected in business. He failed miserably in his first effort. He also says if you must fail do it before you ate 40 so you have a chance to recover.

                        The last business I built became an employee owned operation 4 days before my heart was carved on. It was a profitable business at the time, and because I survived I collected payments. Two years later the business was bought by some smart young men with bank financing with my blessing. They had a business plan, financing, dreams and over 18 months no more need for the people who built and operated the business. That is just how things run. A year later the bankers wanted to sell it back to the sellers for 5 cents on the Dollar borrowed.

                        You alone will choose to read that as discouraging or instructional.
                        Either way, it won't change my bottom line one cent.

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          I've seen great welders who were poor business men. They stayed poor
                          I've seen pitiful welders who were great business men. They do ok sometimes. Until they get in over their heads.
                          There are too many segments/niches in the welding world to give universal advice.
                          I do strictly marine aluminum.
                          But starting out I welded on tractors, bulldozers, chairs, a helicopter, race cars, new construction, handrails etc.
                          Steel, aluminum, cast iron and stainless.
                          I was a machinist in the Army and had two automotive machine shops, a muffler shop and an auto parts store. Some at one time and others at the same time.
                          But NOTHING had the profit margins that the tig aluminum welding had. It took me to heights that quite frankly I never expected. I leave in a seasonal area. I have learned to create a backlog of work and keep people wanting and waiting. At times we are over 6 months behind. Yet we know how to line up work according to what the traffic will bear. If a guy brings in a broken chair he can wait a few days for it. If a guy brings a boat across 2 states and it's 6 weeks worth of work, he understands he will have to wait a good while. We have to do many more hours of wrenching, riveting, hauling etc. than welding. But it's all about the welding/fabricating.
                          Finding your specialty/niche is the main key to success if you can manage your money at the same time.

                          www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                          Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                          MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                          Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                          Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                          Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                          Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                          Miller WC-115-A
                          Miller Spectrum 300
                          Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                          Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            Originally posted by FusionKing View Post
                            I've seen great welders who were poor business men. They stayed poor
                            I've seen pitiful welders who were great business men. They do ok sometimes. Until they get in over their heads.
                            There are too many segments/niches in the welding world to give universal advice.
                            I do strictly marine aluminum.
                            But starting out I welded on tractors, bulldozers, chairs, a helicopter, race cars, new construction, handrails etc.
                            Steel, aluminum, cast iron and stainless.
                            I was a machinist in the Army and had two automotive machine shops, a muffler shop and an auto parts store. Some at one time and others at the same time.
                            But NOTHING had the profit margins that the tig aluminum welding had. It took me to heights that quite frankly I never expected. I leave in a seasonal area. I have learned to create a backlog of work and keep people wanting and waiting. At times we are over 6 months behind. Yet we know how to line up work according to what the traffic will bear. If a guy brings in a broken chair he can wait a few days for it. If a guy brings a boat across 2 states and it's 6 weeks worth of work, he understands he will have to wait a good while. We have to do many more hours of wrenching, riveting, hauling etc. than welding. But it's all about the welding/fabricating.
                            Finding your specialty/niche is the main key to success if you can manage your money at the same time.
                            What a great post, and back story. Thanks for that
                            Richard

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Plus tig welding aluminum is more fun anyway. Especially when you can do it as good as you can, makes it that much more enjoyable.

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by Ltbadd View Post

                                What a great post, and back story. Thanks for that
                                Thanks.
                                I felt I needed to say something to go along with all our warnings about the struggle.
                                There's not much chance of me being able to stand a normal job. Not once you learn how to manage free will

                                www.facebook.com/outbackaluminumwelding
                                Miller Dynasty 700...OH YEA BABY!!
                                MM 350P...PULSE SPRAYIN' MONSTER
                                Miller Dynasty 280 with AC independent expansion card
                                Miller Dynasty 200 DX "Blue Lightning"

                                Miller Bobcat 225 NT (what I began my present Biz with!)
                                Miller 30-A Spoolgun
                                Miller WC-115-A
                                Miller Spectrum 300
                                Miller 225 Thunderbolt (my first machine bought new 1980)
                                Miller Digital Elite Titanium 9400

                                Comment

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