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How to Launch a Metal Working Business
Everyone has a dream of getting paid to do the one thing they love the most. If you have always dreamed of owning your own machine shop, working every day with your hands, and building a lifestyle business that is guaranteed to always be in demand, opening your own metal working shop may be intensely rewarding. Depending on your interests, there are a variety of ways to make money from creating metal products. Many hobbyists are able to start metal working business shops that sell their metal artwork locally, custom machine parts for international customers, or sell parts at trade shows or even on the Internet. Opening a successful metal working shop depends on how well you market yourself and provide enough value to your customers that they want to tell all their friends, family and colleagues. Here is your guide to launching a metal working business.
What You'll Need Upfront
When starting any business, regardless of the industry, it is important to keep costs low when you are a new business in town. It can be tempting to buy state of the art equipment, lease a work space, or otherwise spend a lot of money at first, but often purposefully keeping costs low helps you learn to be resourceful, an important skill for any business owner to have. At the minimum, you will need a space, cutting tools and machines, and marketing materials and venues.
When just starting out you can keep costs low by performing all metal working operations in your garage, and investing most of your start up money in tools and cutting machines in order to produce the highest quality components. While it is important to have a full cadre of hand tools for carving, cutting, and shaping metal, these tools should primarily be considered for intricate detail work. For mass-producing custom parts, you will need tools that cut, drill, carve, or shape materials quickly, precisely, and repeatedly. This will be essential once you start to collect clients, or the demand for your products exceeds your working capacity.
Pros and Cons
As with starting any business, there are always a few key pros and cons of which you should be aware. Many aspiring metal workers quickly launch themselves into a new career without any advance planning. Before you quit your day job, be aware that starting a business can be risky, but with careful planning you can minimize that risk and grow your business slowly and steadily until it can withstand even the worst economic climate.
How to Market Yourself
If you are resourceful enough, marketing can be as simple and inexpensive as printing business cards and visiting your local commerce organization meetings. Today, building a website and driving traffic to it can be incredibly inexpensive if you are willing to invest your time and energy to build it. One of the biggest marketing moves you can make, particularly in the beginning, is offering free samples of your work. Not only does this provide a clear example of the kind of products and services you can provide to build your portfolio, but it also provides you with references that can attest to the quality of your work. Once you have cash flow from your metal working business you can start experimenting with paid forms of marketing and advertising.