Many people dream of owning their own successful company: earning the income of a successful business owner, organizing their own working hours, and having the best team. Maybe you have that dream too.
If you are a welder, this could be the perfect choice for you. There are incredible opportunities in business environments around the world for those interested in taking the plunge, but there are some basic principles that any aspiring company owner needs to learn first.
It’s not just about learning how to start a welding business. That’s the easy part. Rather, it’s how to build a company that can succeed. Read this guide on how to start a lucrative welding business, master the principles discussed, and you’ll know the steps to success.
Different Kinds of Welding Businesses
Before starting a business, it’s essential to figure out what kind of company you want to run. There are plenty of different routes to take, and they each have their own pros and cons. Here are some good options to consider:
- Heavy stainless steel fabricating
- Aluminum welding
- Heavy haulage trailer manufacturing
- Steel construction fabricating
- Mobile welding service
- Underwater welding service
- Breakdown welding service
When to Start a Welding Business
The first thing to consider is the timing of starting your business. Welding is a booming industry globally, especially in the U.S., so it’s not a question of when to start from a market perspective. I believe these principles will help you succeed no matter what market you start in.
The critical timing depends on several factors. Firstly, are you prepared with the right mindset? You may be an excellent welder and may have a lot of clients waiting for you to work on them, but your company won’t be successful unless you run it the right way.
You also need to manage your finances and you must have the support of others to help you with your business. If your business is lacking in any of these areas, then it is still possible for it to have some success. However, unless all three areas are taken care of, it is unlikely to reach its full potential.
The right mindset
Running a successful welding business requires much more than simply working in a shop. It requires three specific mindsets that will make you a highly regarded business owner, not a mediocre one.
Embrace a customer-centric mindset
You must have a customer-centric mindset. You need to know your customers and be committed to providing them with the most satisfying experience possible. The result of this is that you are willing to see your clients’ mistakes as your own so that they will be satisfied and enriched with your services. This will provide you with stable customer relationships and in turn, they will support you with ongoing contracts.
If you choose to look after only those clients who you think will provide ongoing work and ignore the rest, you may not see the immediate consequences, but it will hinder the growth of your business. You never know who the average person is who shows up on your doorstep or who they would recommend you to. Taking care of everyone will do wonders for your company.
Embrace Employee Sensitive Thinking
A customer-centric mindset is important, but it’s not enough. You must also commit to developing an employee-sensitive mindset and instil a customer-centric ethos in them in the process. Remember, your employees will always be your business, and likewise, you control a large part of their livelihood. If you are unwilling to take on this responsibility and only want to use them as a means to your own success, then you will inevitably achieve very little.
The best way to treat your employees is to put yourself in their shoes. Treat them with encouragement and support. This will be hugely rewarding for them and for you. Before you start your business, develop this mindset. When your company starts to grow and life gets busy, you’ll be in the right mindset and not mulling it over under pressure.
Know your strengths and weaknesses
No one person is a superhero of a business. A business is always marked by a team and people who excel in different areas. This is why successful businesses thrive. Be willing to learn where your strengths are and where your weaknesses are so that you can ensure that you spend your time primarily in the areas that you are best at. If you try to do everything, your company will be greatly hindered.
Without trusting different people to take on key roles, your company will always lack balance and you will lose in many necessary ways. By understanding your strengths and weaknesses through self-examination and asking those around you before you start your business, you will be able to build a stable foundation for your company to grow.
Before starting a business, it is crucial to have strong finances. While having plenty of cash is beneficial and sometimes even necessary, financial management is the key. You can start a small business with a few dollars and scale it up with sound financial management, but the reverse is not true. If you have a large bank account but don’t have the necessary financial systems in place, your company will only last for a short time before you get into financial trouble.
If you’re not very good at finances, get someone to mentor you or hire someone with excellent financial skills to run your business. The cost of hiring them is minuscule compared to what they can bring you in return.
Support from others
Employees are important to your business, but the support of outsiders such as family, friends and other business owners is just as important. The more people involved, either directly in the company or indirectly through their contributions to your life, the more successful your business will be.
Other people may have a variety of opinions about you starting your own business. Often, successful companies are criticised by many people at the start, but no business is run alone. Be open to the opinions of others. Find people you can rely on to hold you accountable, especially talk to successful business owners. Whether they are welders or not, it makes no difference. Businesses in different fields operate differently, but the principles are the same.
How to Start a Welding Business
Your business mindset, finances and support will never be perfect, but once you’ve established the right foundation, you’re ready to start a welding business. Starting a welding business will obviously require you to be certified in welding. Once you have some employees, they will have to be certified as well.
There will come a time when you will have to let go of your day job and devote yourself to your business. This is almost always daunting, but the best way to get started is to gradually ease into it. Don’t drop your day job and start your business right away. You will have the most success if you start slowly with a part-time job.
Find out how to start looking for part-time jobs while you’re employed and start boosting your business from there. Unless you have a large sum of cash, your need to earn a full-time income will cloud your vision of the best steps to take to launch a successful welding business if you get to work right away.
Once you have some steady part-time work and the potential to increase your income, try working fewer hours, working part-time as an employee or contractor, and spending more time on your business. If you can’t do this, it’s not a bad idea to devote yourself to the business full time, but it’s always good for your health to make gradual steps where possible.
There is no need to have all the equipment immediately. Just having the essentials at first is fine, and often the better way to go. The companies you’ve worked for in the past may have a range of clients who need specific tools. But you won’t know if you need all the same tools until your company is established.
For example, maybe your former company had a plasma cutter that was used every day on projects, but no machining equipment. You could buy a plasma cutter and expect the same results, but your actual customers might need a small mill or lathe more. Buying all the equipment you need in a step-by-step manner will ensure that you spend your money where it counts through practical knowledge.
Welding Business Plan and Key Points to Make it Successful
It’s important to lay the foundations before your business is up and running. However, the following points will help to ensure that your business thrives once it is established.
These points are aimed at building a growing and profitable welding business. Your goals depend on whether you want to start a small business or a large one. Whatever your goals are, once you have mastered these pointers and the principles that precede them, you will be able to provide excellent service to your customers and generate a healthy income for you and your employees.
If you only want to run a small business, you’ll only need to manage the size of your business by the amount of work and the number of employees you have, rather than increasing the size of your business by constantly expanding.
Collecting satisfied customers
Firstly, you need to start getting customers. Any customer who is willing to pay a reasonable price for your services or products is a good customer.
On rare occasions, you may find a customer with bad intentions, but there is nothing you can do about it. Simply treat everyone equally and make sure they pay you accordingly. This will offset the negative impact of a few bad customers. Don’t be too concerned about who you work for unless you have a good reason to be.
The steps to get your first customers are the same as those that come later, but it’s much easier once your business has established its name. The following points will help you have a steady stream of customers.
Tell everyone you know that you’ve started a business
If people already know you, they are more likely to support your business rather than going to someone they don’t know. They’re also more likely to choose your company over a stranger in the beginning stages, so tell as many friends as you can.
Better yet, tell them in person. Social media pages can also be useful. If you don’t have a social media presence, it pays to join some platforms.
Put up a quality sign to advertise your services
Winning customers means winning trust. The more familiar people are with your name, the more they will trust you. Sure, putting a sign outside your home will attract a few neighbours to stop by, but the more widely you spread the word about quality, attractive signs, the more people will trust your business.
Reach out to local businesses
If there are businesses that could benefit from your products or that you could serve well with your expertise, then call as many of them as possible and let them know about you. Most companies respect business owners or respected representatives who are contacted on a personal basis.
If they are not interested, don’t pester them. They may remember the way you treated them when they need your services or products and contact you again. However, if they show interest on the first call, it always helps to follow up in a friendly way and show interest in their business.
Welding Business Cards
Get some quality welding business cards and hand them out to potential clients. The more the better in a face-to-face personal way. It’s also a good idea to give business cards to clients you’ve worked for before. Visiting someone’s home or business, or handing out business cards at trade show booths is also beneficial.
Create a website and build a social media presence
Unless you don’t care about the success of your company, having an online website is essential. Very few people are going to drive to a welding shop or buy some fabricated items; these people make up a very small percentage of the market.
Participating in social media isn’t hard. Creating your own website is easy too. We recommend using WordPress to create your own website. It’s free, easy, and offers the greatest possibilities for developing your website and changing it in the future. Some simple tutorials will teach you how to create a WordPress website, including this video version and this detailed article version, which also includes a video aspect.
We recommend that you host your website with Bluehost. It’s affordable, has a good user relationship with WordPress, offers dedicated support, and the site runs faster than many other hosting companies.
Reading guides such as Etraffic about Websites and Postplanner about social media will provide you with important guidance to help you grow your business by promoting your presence in the online marketplace.
Serve your existing clients well
Once you have some customers, the best thing you can do for your business is to make sure they are well served. As Horst Schulze, co-founder of a multi-billion dollar company, describes it, every customer wants it:
- A hassle-free service or product;
- That’s available without time restraints;
- To be delivered by someone in a kind manner.
If you do your best to provide this kind of service to each and every one of your customers, your company will undoubtedly gain loyal customers who will choose your services or products over those of others.
Getting Quality Employees
How do you get highly qualified employees? In general, there are many people to choose from, but it can be difficult to find good employees. You can find employees in the following ways:
- Online ads
- Opportunities through business associates
- Leads through local welding shops
- Recommendations by welding schools
- Leads through training centers
- Using hiring agencies
The best way to find quality staff is to interview as many people as possible and judge their skills and character for yourself, or find someone you trust who knows your requirements inside out. If you go through a recruitment agency or use someone who doesn’t know much about your vision, you may not find the best person for the job.
Once you have some clients and a great team, the service they desire has to come from you. It’s likely not you who will serve them, but your employees. They represent you to your customers because they represent your company. If your employees aren’t happy with the way you treat them, they won’t treat your customers well either. There may be individual good employees who will do their job to the best of their ability no matter how you treat them, but for the most part, employees will behave towards customers just as you behave towards them.
As you do better and better for your employees, you will soon see them do better and better for your customers. Meeting with them on a regular basis and communicating in a way they enjoy will also help. Introduce them to your company’s vision and teach them personally how to provide the best service to your customers so they can be prepared.
Establishing a self-sustaining company
From the outset, the most important thing is to aim for a self-sustaining business. Many companies rely heavily on a handful of top executives, and if one or two of them are not there, the business cannot function. This is an extremely unhealthy structure.
Keep your employees up to date. Everyone doesn’t need to know everything, but everyone should know how to do their job well and be able to pick up where others leave off in their absence. This includes your job as well. You want the business to run smoothly so you can go away on holiday or do other things.
My father’s commercial property was rented to someone who did not adhere to this principle. He had cancer and died within weeks of finding out. His company shut down immediately and all the employees had to find new jobs. This is not the way to run a business. Instead, a self-sustaining model is used to ensure that you build a successful welding business.
Understand the Market and Meet the Needs
The market is always changing, some changes faster than others. A few years after you start your company, the market will invariably change in some way. Familiarise yourself with your market. Know what your customers want, what your competitors are doing, and how you can adapt your company to grow accordingly.
If you don’t evolve with your market, you’ll be passed by others. But beware, if you progress too quickly, your customers may not be ready for the change. This requires a careful strategy, but when executed properly, it can be very profitable for your business.
This principle doesn’t just apply to large companies. For example, when I first started out in welding I worked for a small fabrication shop before my employer had an EFTPOS machine. For years, customers either had to set up an account with the company or pay cash. When EFTPOS came along, many customers wanted my boss to have it. To this day, I’m not sure he does. Because of this small detail that he could have easily changed, he lost an important opportunity to win more and happier customers.
How to Start a Welding Business: In Closing
Learning how to start a welding business is a great opportunity for any welder who is willing to put in the hard work to produce amazing results. Many have started average companies that provide them with more income and a small team of people working for them. But I hope you’re eager to build on that success and create a successful, lucrative business with a lasting future.
It may seem like hard work, and it is. But building your business right can provide you with the support you need to succeed. You’ll have a great team, customers who are loyal and spread the word about your company, and a self-sufficient business that won’t cut into your income while you’re on holiday.