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  • Newbie

    Hi everybody,

    I'm new to this forum. I just signed up yesterday, I am 18 years old and will be graduating highschool in about 20 days, and plan to attend a welding school in a few months. After that, I plan to open my own welding shop here in Dubuque, IA. I was wondering if anyone could give me some ideas on how to get started.

  • #2
    Just remember to pace yourself.

    I don't mean to crush your hopes, but it might be a good idea to hold off on starting your own buisiness right out of trade school. Spending a little time working in the industry under experienced workers will teach you a lot more and working in various shops will show what to do and not to do when running your own shop. As well, you will have to save some money in order to start your shop, and working as a welder or fabricator would be a great way to save. Some buisiness course probably wouldn't hurt either, (because we all love math ,) there is a lot more to running a shop than laying beads all day. Enthusiam is very important, but you don't want to bite off more than you can chew in the beggining. Just a thought. Good Luck!
    Owner of Burnt Beard Fabrication & Welding Ltd.

    BigBlue 500D
    Dynasty 200DX
    Millermatic 211
    4' Box and Pan Break
    IR compressor


    • #3
      My advice

      I agree with shorerider16, get out there and gain all the experience you can at someone elses expense. Work for a few years and make a name for yourself, start off with some side jobs to get your name and abilities known.

      Starting your own business isn't as simple as buying a welder and going to work, consider all the necessary licences, insurances, tools, equipment, transportation, advertisement and marketing needed to become a businessman. Sometimes I wish that I was working for someone other than myself, with all the hassles of running the day to day operations. Sometimes you have to spread yourself pretty thin to cover all the bases, sometimes for little or no monies.

      I have a couple of guys working for me and they eat better than me most times, I'm a steak and potatoes kinda guy that has learned to eat hotdogs and baloney at times, just so I can meet expenses. I could go on for hours telling you how important it is to gain experience and a good name is this business, but I'll stop here. just my .02 worth. Dave
      If necessity is the Mother of Invention, I must be the Father of Desperation!

      sigpicJohn Blewett III 10-22-73 to 8-16-07
      Another racing great gone but not to be forgotten.


      • #4
        Yes, that is something I have already taken in account. I did forget to mention that I would work for someone out of school to get a general feeling of the welding environment and day to day processes. Also, I have been studying business in my spare time. Thx for the input.


        • #5
          Originally posted by AWSWELD View Post
          Yes, that is something I have already taken in account. I did forget to mention that I would work for someone out of school to get a general feeling of the welding environment and day to day processes. Also, I have been studying business in my spare time. Thx for the input.
          All the guys are right about working for other peope to gain experience. Your also right on target by taken some business classes. Today its hard for the small business with tax laws, business licenses and insurances etc, So learn as much as you can.. Good luck. You picked a good career!
          HMW [Heavy Metal welding]


          • #6
            Recommend working on getting a good day job and then maybe your own business on the side, a little at a time. You may also discover a niche market that you really like, are good at, and there are people/companies that will pay good money for your work.

            One thing that I have discovered over the years is that i seem to sleep a lot better at nite when I am not a$$hole deep in debt


            • #7
              Please listen to the great advice that has been provided by the guys who have responded to your post. They have been there/done that for years and the advice they are giving you is gold. Your enthusiasm is great, you are a young man with great plans and I commend you for that. Take the classes, get your certs, and take some business classes that will help you in the future. Glockdoc suggested getting all the experience that you can which will make you much more successful in the future. Please consider taking some computer classes as well, the more you know about computers the better it will be. Working for someone else and welding for yourself on the side is not a bad idea. Several guys I work with do this, and where I live our local firefighters have all kind of jobs on the side and most are very successful with their side businesses, if I had to do it all over again I would seriously consider working for the Fire Dept. Regardless, do what makes you happy-chase your dreams and enjoy your life. Best of luck to you, send another post in 10yrs and let us know where you are!!!!!


              • #8
                Doing Business

                Keep the dream, but temper it with reality. All of the previous posts have offered very good advice. What I found over the last three years is that I spent about 2 to 4 hours a week on record keeping, about 6 hours a month on monthly state, Fed. & SSI tax reporting, another 6 hours a quarter on state, Fed. & SSI quarterly filings, a few hours a month balancing the business books (checking & savings), then there is the time required to buy supplies and pick them up. After all of that non-productive time, I hope that I have the work to bill for a 40 hour week - but wait...

                If they are small cash jobs - I get paid when completed, bigger jobs are billed on a net 30.... Last but not least - my tax guy is good for a $2,000 bill at the end of the year.

                You can of course out source all of the above tasks, can you afford to when starting out - probably not?

                As mentioned by others in the thread there are the startup costs, what equipment do you need to get off the ground?

                I will echo the others - go for your dream! With proper planning it will not become a nightmare.



                • #9
                  start up

                  Yes, I know that there are a lot of things to think about when starting a business and a lot of planning. Sometimes my plans interfere with reality, that's why I came here to get other peoples perspective on this. I really appreciate all of the respones I recieved from everybody.

                  I dont know exactly which type of field I want to specialize in. I see that around here there are a lot of buildings going up that require welders and ironworkers. Also, I live in a city surrounded by farms. So maybe I could start out doing small side jobs and repair jobs for farmers to establish a name for myself.

                  I just recently got reconized by my school for being the top welder there. Hopefully, the courses I take will help break down all of the day to day things I must do to be successful. I know that when starting out, I'm probably not going to get a day off for quite some time, and I am willing to work 12 hour days at full capacity to really turn this dream into a reality.