Welding Business Guide!
Starting A Welding Business:
The business of welding, in which you are going to invest money, is not about just doing it, but also thinking about it. Whenever a person is about to start any business, whether it is a small venture or big, they need a lot of preparation.
You need to melt your different thoughts just as you are going to melt metals. Various stats show that the welding and fabrication industry is a very fast growing business and it will become popular in about 7-8 years from now on.
So when you are going to start your own welding and fabrication business you must know your business will be a business of tomorrow and a business of an emerging world. As far this business here are a few tips to help you get started:
The Welding and Fabrication Industry:
The Welding and Fabrication industry is a unique industry and for anyone keen on getting started in this business, it is absolutely essential to gain a good knowledge of all the aspects of the business. Being a good businessman is not enough for this industry. It is important that as a businessman, you understand the details of the welding and fabrication process. In short, you must be an expert in the field of welding and fabrication.
The main stipulation to starting a welding business is that you must have a welding trade certificate. With this certification, then you are on your way to your own welding shop or business. You cannot transfer welding certifications (in rare cases you can), they are only good while you are employed by the person or organization who go you certified.
To become accredited, you can the test at a place that is AWS accredited, and can remain certified if you have kept up your certifications. Usually you will do this by submitting paperwork, paying a premium or a fee, and you will do this for around six months (to AWS). Make sure you keep a record accounting for this certification.
You can keep your certificate valid if you have taken your tests where you do welds in various conditions and using a specific welding technique (procedure), and if you do it under the required codes that are provided to pass this test, then you will be able to keep up the validity of your certificate.
Type Of Business:
You can have a welding shop or you can be a mobile welding business. The decision will be yours to make before you begin your planning on what you will need in licensing, insurance and equipment. Being mobile gives you far more advantages and if you so desire, you can eventually have a shop. Always in any business, check your market and see what your competition is. Check the internet or the Yellow Pages to see just how many there are in your area.
When you go with a fixed shop then people will come to you, but you may not be able to reach out to those people who don't even know who you are. They may need welders, or you can try both the options.
Financing Your Business:
Possibly, you have saved and put away some money to start your business. And then again, you may be subject to having to get a bank loan to buy equipment that you need to begin your business.
In order to obtain this loan, you should devise and formulate plan, otherwise known as a business plan. If you are unfamiliar with the aspects of a 'business plan', most cities have people who help new people get started. There are local SCORE or Small Business Association chapters in many cities in the United States who can give you an outline for a business plan and discuss your ideas with you. You can also go on the internet and view various business plans and follow their step-by-step instructions.
It has long been agreed that if you do your research and get hands on experience as a business owner, eventually you will get a good feel for your business and business in general, and you'll make better decisions as you go along. There is no substitute for getting experience through learning from your mistakes and successes. You will need pricing for welding equipment that you are going to need, a list of prospects (potential clients), what amount of monies you expect to make, and how you expect to make it.
To get a broad view of how much you can possibly earn, call your prospects and get them to reveal what they anticipate spending on any projects related to welding in the next two or three quarters.
If you are going to borrow money, don't just borrow enough to purchase welding equipment. Also remember that it will take money for you to maintain a standard of living, which you probably won't be making for the first two to three months.
Check out your competition. Call around to other welding business as if you were a customer and see what they charge for services that you are going to offer. If you are going to have an office with a location, then you will also have to include office equipment along with the welding equipment.
It might be advisable to hire an account, get a consultation with a business attorney, and also, an insurance agent to discuss any liability insurance you may be required to have. These will all have to be figured into your costs.
Marketing Your Welding Business:
Marketing your welding business is the most important aspect of any business. Marketing is what brings in new customers, keeps current customers wanting more services, and builds value to your business.
Sometimes people may find out about your welding and fabrication business via word of mouth. But word of mouth alone isn't enough to get your business in the public eye. Advertising your business in the local community in general is a great idea for your business. You can use traditional advertisement methods by placing an ad in a newspaper or even on TV.
Or, you could distribute flyers, send free brochures to perspective clients, and advertise on the internet. If you're not entirely sure about how to better market your business, you can always hire a professional to help you out.
You should always assess your market. If there is more demand, then make your cost lower for a certain period of time and promote better than your competitors.
You should have a business card with a phone number, website, and your E-mail. Aim you welding services at various business by sending them an introductory note and even some sort of magnetic card that they can attach to their desk, etc.
Check the industry and make a list by perusing the Yellow Pages for business such as farms, trucking companies, shipping business and even general contractors. Make sure when you send out your letter that it appears personal to your client.
Yellow Pages is a bit expensive, but if you get a listing in this Business Bible, it may pay off. Perhaps at the present time, you can only afford your phone number - do it. If you have more available funds, an ad is a great way to promote yourself. Many yellow pages incorporate your ad into their internet sites which will be invaluable for you.
Get a website built. If you are good on the computer, there are many sites that instruct you step-by-step on how to promote your business, text to use to create a web site, pictures, etc. A lead generation website is a website that obtains customer information to generate business for you. Offer something to the customer that will entice them to want to fill out your customer contact form.
Perhaps there is a free estimate, a guide or some type of report. Provide them with telephone numbers and e-mail addresses that they can contact you readily. And remember - - always get back promptly to these people because that is a key in business. No customer wants to be put on the back burner.
Advertise on television on your public networks by providing a demonstration of your services.
Find machine shops that are just small one to two man operations. Introduce yourself by going in, dropping off a business card and perhaps a sample weld.
Various business need different marketing techniques to entice them to your business. If you have a portfolio of jobs that you have accomplished along the way with pictures of welds, etc., take it around to customers. It is a necessity that you be proactive in your business if you are going to make it last. Always allot money for advertising in your business at different points of the year.
New business owners should look into their Chamber of Commerce and join organizations that aim at the business you are trying to generate. In so doing, you will gain publicity for yourself and make new contacts. This will also help give you an idea into the resources you have available to you.
Join the U.S. Microscopic Welding Association. This is a great way to network, see what marketing ideas other people use and give you an idea in which direction you need to go to build a successful business.
You probably will have to determine rates before you get a banking loan because this will show what you believe your expected income will be. You will need to determine what type of billing process you will want to establish also.
Rates depend on what type of billing system you are going to use. You can charge per the job, and make sure if you determine it is an estimate that you have a clause on your estimate sheet if the job goes over a certain amount. You could also charge by the hour.
A range is anywhere between $40.00 and hour up to $70.00 depending on the classification of the job you are conducting.
Make sure you set a minimum fee. This way, if it is a small job, perhaps 15 minutes to a half hour, you do not get side-swiped into a "cheap job" when you had to drive to the job.
Another factor is what you will charge for welding materials. Some welders make more of a profit on the materials than they do on the labor, marking their materials up by almost 50%. Some places such as small machine shops will provide the materials and you can just estimate the job on labor alone. These jobs are more financially feasible because you will not be spending your money on materials and then waiting to get paid for the job.
You also will charge for the type of job. Tig welding will be X-amount of dollars and mig welding the price can be somewhat lower. You have to figure your material type and fixtures. You may have to use certain type of steel that may require gas and this will be an additional cost for the job which needs to be figured into your rates. Again, this is where you need to check your competition and see what they are charging.
When you first start out, you will probably undercut the other business a bit so that you can get your name out and promote your own business. Then gradually when you are established, you can bring your prices up to fair market value and have occasional promotions for your regular customers.
Running Your Business - In General:
Your customers are the key to your success. Always make sure you meet your deadlines and the commitments you made.
- Do a meticulous job and not a rush job and do not overcharge a customer.
- Let customers know they are appreciated. A followup call to see that everything is in ship-shape order can go a long way towards furthering the success of your business.
- Keep your business as organized as possible. If you are not the typically organized person, then hire a person to do it for you.
- Keep your facility or your mobile unit clean and neat. This appearance reflects to your customers the type of work you will do for them.
- Always keep business cards on you at all times. You never know where or when you will be when someone talks about a particular point of their business that may require your services.
- If you have a bank loan, make sure you pay your loan payment on time. You may run into a situation where you will need more money or an opportunity to expand your business. Prompt payments insure the bank that you are a safe risk for them to loan additional monies to.
- Keep up with the current trends and technology. If you have to take a few courses on a new type of weld, new equipment or new techniques, keep up so you are "state of the art".
- When you are first starting, you don't have to have the best, newest equipment. You can always find great deals on E-Bay, used equipment or even leasing equipment. Find out what is the best, efficient way to handle this aspect of your business.
- Don't over-order your products. This will keep your costs down.
- Safety is a very important aspect of any business. One should always ensure that proper precautions have been taken for any business. In this business electric arc, heavy leather, and proactive long sleeve jackets can be used to avoid heat and flames.
- Keep good records of all your transactions. This is essential. Again if you feel you are not the best of record keepers, find someone who is.
- Get customer feedback. It will help you to do a better job, to better your work culture. Here computer will be very handy. Always keep the phone numbers of your clients and let them have yours. Tele-communication will be another important part of your business.
- You need to have a insurance policy for your company. Accidents may happened anytime but if you don't have insurance then it will hurt you more.
- In every business Goodwill is great factor. Sometime it has been compared with capital. But goodwill never comes suddenly. It comes after years of being a successful business. You need to build your business on the pillar of genuine ethics and this legal recognition will give you that.
- It's true that you are going to start a business of your own but it's not always possible that you will have the biggest amount of clients. Sometimes you may face some difficulties. Be flexible in all aspects, timing, material handling, etc.
- Samples are important: To expand your business and to show your credibility instantly you need to make samples of your work. One must make always make the best possible samples. These are the gate passes that guarantee your entry into the client's world. Samples must make a very good impression and force the client to give you the contract.
Expansion of Your Welding Business Network:
To expand your business you need to expand your business network. You need to visit various companies with your samples and give them your. You need to have patience. It’s quiet natural that they may reject your proposal; but as a businessman you need to have confidence about your business and yourself and not take it personally. You must simply move on to the next client and make a brand new pitch.
Policy making is very important for any business and to stick to that policy is more important. Here you can even take suggestions from your welders because sometimes they know the little factors such as rates, better than you and this could make the real difference to your business. Here even your competitors will show the way. Their way of charging will give you a very good lesson on what to charge and how to still remain competitive in the business.
Often we come across people who view this business as a part time job. They think that if someone with a few skills related to this business is handed a welding machine, the business is set. In fact, many even hoped to run it as a side business in addition to their other business ventures.
But today the perspective about a welding and fabrication business is completely different. It definitely needs people with proper skills and qualifications, but if done right, it can be a very successful industry to be in. It's definitely a really challenging business and you must be prepared to work hard and your workers should be dedicated to hard work as well.