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Advice on starting a side buisness

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  • Advice on starting a side buisness

    I have been welding for about 9 years if you include the 2 years in welding school. I bought a sycrowave 250 on an auction a year or so ago and tried the craft show and consignment thing with some metal crafts. I did not have much success. Now I am trying to do some small jobs repairing or building small parts. Does anyone have any advice on how to get customers? I want to mainly do aluminum and stainless. I have been stoping, handing out cards and talking with people at RV dealers, boat and dock dealers, cafes, meat shops and equipment rental places. I want to try to make some extra money that I could use to buy more equipment and build a shop, so I could do larger things. All I have now is 1 stall of my garage, my welder, a portaband saw and a grinder. If anybody had any advice on how to get started I would really appreciate it. I just would like to get a couple of custumers to give me a chance and do a good job for them so they get me more work and tell other people.

  • #2
    Hello there, I to thought about the same thing. A couple things that is keeping me from realy getting into it. The first thing is time it seems like I dont have enough time to do the things I have to do now. They say starting your own business is like working two full time jobs. The other is liability, everyone is sue happy today, make sure you cover your a....!. It sounds like you are onthe right track to get started. Good luck and keep us informed.

    Hobart 175
    craftman 240/140
    dewalt porta band


    • #3
      I have a real job and a side business as well. The problem is i get more welding work than i can do, i guess i make too many products. At one time i made 82 different products, did all the work myself, marketed the stuff at both flea markets and a store. Tried ebay but the shipping is hard on some items. I have a bunch of websites that sell well. I tried to weed out most of my products and i just pick what i want to make, its tough turning down work after all the years trying to build it up. I work out of 1/2 of a single car garage. I get alot of work from word of mouth, i quit advertising in the phone books and the newspapers, i just got too much work to do myself and i don't want to hire anyone yet anyway. Good luck...Bob
      Bob Wright


      • #4
        So you mostly make your own product? Mostly the kind of stuff you see at craft shows? Or do you do more industrial stuff as well. Are you able to sell your stuff for enough to make a good profit? I went to your railroad tracks site. You do nice work. I always thought railroad car sets were cool. Sounds like you are a pretty busy guy. I bet you have to manage your time well. Do you weld for a day job too? Thanks for your input.


        • #5

          It takes lots of time to get customers. Unless you have a ready made market. for example you make something everybody wants then thats pretty easy to sell. I started my side business about 2 years ago. Very slow getting work at first. Tried the phone book. The only colored ad in it and only got about 6 calls all year. It seems you have to find a niche. Something nobody else does. This year has been much better. First 2 months made what I made all last year. Business cards work just so so. You have to have them though. I think also people don't repair things as much as they used to. You know a disposable society. If it breaks they through it away and buy new. Seems this year has been just about all farm / construction equipment repair. Just keep poking around it will get better. Seems word of mouth is best. I put a small sign up in front yard and have got the most work from that. Good luck. Let us know how you make out.
          HMW [Heavy Metal welding]


          • #6
            It depends on the welding area that you're getting into. I started a roll cage fabrication business about 3 years ago. Talk about no mans land!!!! For good reason, it's a hard arena to get into. Word of mouth doesn't exist as everyone want's lots of experience.

            1st year was pretty sad as far as income (good thing I've got another 40 hr per week job). Had 2 cage jobs and a few fab jobs that I basically bought materials and some new equipment with. No advertising other than my website, business cards and some logo's on my personal car and the 2 cages that I built. 2nd year was better, but basically paid for more equipment (upgraded the bender, 210 MIG, TIG and a 2050 Plasma Cutter and some other equipment).

            This year has been pretty good. Started advertising in some local racing magazines, very specific websites etc. I'm still not in the black as far as my initial investment, but I'm getting there. I now have a waiting list (given it's only about 2 people long... but it's been steadily 2 people long )

            Best thing that I did was bite the bullet and do some jobs for just over the cost of materials to get some exposure. That gave me the opportunity to get some varied projects on my website (still my #1 source of advertising), get my logo in front of my target audience and started building word of mouth.

            One thing ... nothing speaks louder than the quality of your work. I'm constantly pushing myself for better welds, better designs and better product.
            Scott Rhea
            It's not WHAT you build...
            It's HOW you build it.


            • #7
              just a suggestion, but take a look at what the your local 4 wheel drive people are doing. i drive a newer jeep. and since i started driving the jeep, i have made numerous things for it to include part of the roll cage and front and rear bumpers. look for local clubs, jeep people like to go 4 wheeling with other jeep owners, free advertisement. plus a lot of the clubs have web pgs and forums. check it out. here is a link to a jeep forum that is national and might give you some ideas.