View Full Version : ? About making a little $$$ with welding equipment.
05-10-2004, 11:44 AM
Does anyone have any suggestions for making a little money using your welding and shop equipment? I'm talking about a few hundred dollars a month, I'm not looking to start a business, I like to tinker in the shop and I'm just looking for a method to be able to tinker and pay for it's self.
Also is there a niche market that isn't competing with established fab or weld shops but maybe compliments it. I know in a lot of trades there are jobs and projects that get turned down because they don't make money for a shop.
05-10-2004, 12:42 PM
Sure, just doing local stuff that is too small for established shops that have to make payroll consistantly. I dont advertise and keep my number out of the book just to avoid a lot of that but for a guy tinkering that could stop what he is doing to take care of stuff as it comes in it could be done. When I get walk in stuff if at all possible I do it right then so I dont get a backlog of little jobs sitting around that I have to agonize over and customers love it when they ask when? If you can say "right now is good" they love it.
Check out the craft fairs and flea markets-anything you can make? Plant hangers always look popular...
05-10-2004, 06:18 PM
What you describe is competing with real welding businesses. And no, there isn't a mysterious type of work that real welding businesses don't want! Every shop on the planet has a guy that just does the walk in, can you fix this, type jobs.
Several hundred a month, to a shop that is already paying the overhead, is several hundred a month almost pure profit, in the owners pocket. Don't think that they won't take you serious because you are working out of your garage.
There are a lot of authorities that established, legit businesses can send your way, from the local zoning board to the IRS, with about several dozen in between : (
None of this may apply to you, but I've seen little guys, trying to make some extra money in the back yard (as well as real businesses trying to run under the radar), really hurt by real businesses with no sense of humor. It's business my man, and can be a harsh world where those paying the heavy tariff to be legit, don't like to see the black market part timers survive.
05-10-2004, 07:59 PM
Try and walk in the shop where I work with a lawnmower handle that needs repair, and you'll likely wish you hadn't.
There's tons of shops that won't take certain kinds of jobs. Typically, if a shop will take in jobs like lawnmower decks from individuals, I know it's not my kind of shop. If this is the kind of work they take, they can't afford me.
Shade Tree Welder
05-10-2004, 09:50 PM
Hey I wish you all the luck in the world. I started just the way you are looking to. I live in the country and I started fixing ag equipment for farmers; planting and harvest I have a busy time with them. It is all word of mouth. The fab shops in the my area usually do not want to deal with the farmers and will charge anywhere from $75 to $200 minimum weld charge to discourage farm business. I charge $20 min. and $75 an hour. I don't get too many complaints with those rates and most of my ag business repeats. I also do all the welding for two local tractor/implement dealers again repeat business. Local building contractors, landscapers, etc. are always in need of welding repairs in a timely manner. The best advertising is word of mouth and always have a business card at hand.
Although JTMcC is negative in his veiw (I think he got burned once) he does bring up a few good points you need to investigate. One always report your income. You can run your business as a sole proprietorship and claim you income on you regular 1040 and minimize paperwork. Zoning is a local issue, I am zoned A-1 so no problem with my county as long as I don't post a sign on my property (local laws can be a bit strange) yours, I am sure, are different. I do have a few neighbors in the general area they may hear me if I am working late. I have done a few 10 minute jobs for them for free just to keep them happy. Unless you have employees setting up a corporation adds no security (contrary to popular belief, lawyers and accountants recommend it because they can charge you more) only paperwork and cost. If you have employees you are far beyond a couple hundred a week.
The most important thing you need to consider is liabilty insurance. Whether you are fixing a lawn mower handle or making decorative planters is if it breaks will they come after you? I carry $1,000,000 liabilty and it costs ~$900 a year. I do not do bridgework, catwalks or other overhead work. I have been in business 5 years and so far (knock on wood) not been sued yet. And I have declined questionable potential customers / work. I just claimed I was too busy or I didn't do that kind of work. Be cautious. Also, if you get into bigger jobs and quoting fab work, some of the best advise I got was from a carpenter. You never want to get much more that 2/3 of what you quote. If you do, you are giving away the value of your skills.
I do have the occasional customer that think's I am too high and that is fine. Sometimes I do tell them that I don't need practice welding, there is some of the joy of owning your own business.
Again I wish you the best of luck, but do a little research in your town/county/state and don't piss off you neighbor's.
05-10-2004, 11:07 PM
"What you describe is competing with real welding businesses. And no, there isn't a mysterious type of work that real welding businesses don't want! Every shop on the planet has a guy that just does the walk in, can you fix this, type jobs.
Several hundred a month, to a shop that is already paying the overhead, is several hundred a month almost pure profit, in the owners pocket. Don't think that they won't take you serious because you are working out of your garage"
I specifically said that I'm not looking to compete, but yet you made the assumption that I wanted to take work away from a established business. Your making alot of assumptions that just aren't true. I believe in small businesses being able to pay a journeymans wages, I'm also pro union. That's why I specifically asked if there is a niche market that doesn't compete with established shops. I'm not looking to hang a shingle out in front of the house, I just want to know if there is away to earn a few hundred dollars a month to offset the cost of enjoying my hobby.
JTMcC I probably share alot of the same views as you and that's why I asked the question. For example is there a niche for welding batches of do- hickeys for a fab or weld shop. Something not cost effective to tie up a fabricator but needed.
05-10-2004, 11:19 PM
ShadeTree thanks for the advice, and I valued JTMcC's advice (after I put my flame suit on).
05-10-2004, 11:30 PM
JT & Shade Tree are both right, I've seen guys set up to be hurt by competition they didn't even know existed, and I've seen guys with small businesses screwed to the wall by IRS with the aid of one of their own customers.
It ain't an easy world out there for a new guy trying to find a market. Unfilled niches are probably unfilled for good reason, be it cost effectiveness, or insurance costs.
A lot depends on the area you're located in too. Factor in manufacturers who see benefit in selling units thru box stores, because anybody can be a weldor if they just buy our crap, and you have a whole new set of problems to deal with. If you read the Ag Boards it seems like every farmer is convinced he can weld a CAT drawbar with a 120 volt machine from Home Desperate.
Probably one of the best ways to break in would be to talk to your welding supplier. There just might be a shop he serves that is looking to farm some work out.
The contractor market is a definite danger to your existance, most of them have a toumbstone sitting in the shop and think they can weld anything with it. They will only go outside after they have the job totally screwed up, and they will generally stiff you for the money.
Another pain in the *** is Master Card, nobody seems to carry cash any more, so you either have to take plastic, or pass the work. At least if you take plastic you are somewhat assured of getting paid.
It ain't easy, but if you keep your eyes and ears open, an opportunity will present itself. Just be sure you price the work right, and you don't wind up running a charity.
Shade Tree Welder
05-10-2004, 11:49 PM
Ahh Franz isn't it amazing I bet we could trade stories over the pathetice jobs we have seen people attemp and then bring over. I especially like the Cat drawbar comment!!!!! I have heard of the contractor horror stories but I have not been burn yet, maybe I have just been lucky (or maybe the local have heard I'm a good shot with the rifle, lololol.) I have not done the plastic route yet, cash and checks have worked for me so far.
05-11-2004, 12:24 AM
Engloid I'm pretty sure you work in a manufacturing plant, not a neighborhood welding shop.
Shade Tree Welder I've never been burned, I've been in business for about 12 years, legitimately, and I've watched a lot of part time, back yard start ups come and go. Every comment I make is based on personal observation, no speculation.
mason there was no evil intent, just my observation, based on experience. There is no welding job that some local welding shop is unwilling to do. If you venture into this you are better served to have heard a few of the pitfalls that regularly jump up and bite others who have done the same thing.
I guess I could just give you a RAH! RAH! GOGETUM! pep talk but that wouldn't prepare you for what you might encounter, my comments did shed a little light on what you might expect.
05-11-2004, 11:54 AM
Seeing how your intention is to make money, you ought to consider starting a legit business. Zoning would be the wild card. If your area is zoned so's you can run a business then all of your welding related expenses become deductable, home office expenses, ect, ect.
The IRS has serious rules in effect to try and stop folks from calling their hobby a business, but you said you intended to make some money, which pulls you out of hobby land.
You don't have to be full time, or big time to be in business.
Anyway, you might want to look into it, for the tax advantages if nothing else.
05-11-2004, 12:00 PM
That explains why I'm not getting rich in construction....
I'm actually paying my subs..... Silly me. :rolleyes: :D
I also have looked into welding for pay, but I think I'll stick to wood for now. I do get the occasional repair job, including a mower deck once, and a roto-tiller handle last week. These jobs are usually from friends or neighbors, and as such I refuse payment ( I do weld for dessert, though :D). Welding is still a hobby I do for fun, and it will quickly cease to be that once I start looking for cash.
05-11-2004, 07:53 PM
Sometimes turning down a small job such as a lawnmower handle, yard chair, or even a lamp could turn around and bite you .
I say this because I didn't turn one of those jobs down & it turned out that I now have had alot of good jobs because that customer that had the small job also owned alot of apartments that needed the raillings replaced. You never know who might be that next little customer.
If some of the established shops don't want the job then you have a new customer if they come to you & you aren't stepping on anyones toes or trying to undercut anyone if someone else didn't want the job.
05-11-2004, 11:43 PM
Yup, I say knock yourself out. Put 50 bucks in your pocket from your garage every chance you get. Its a great idea.
05-13-2004, 02:26 AM
try mobil welding and cutting. especialy cutting. i used to build large custom homes and frequently had severe problems with steal pipes and beams. if i ordered them an inch or two too long i had no way to cut them. i once had an I beam hanging out of a 12000 sq foot house until it was finished because i had no way to cut it. when i finally found some one who could cut it it burnt the finished exterior badly. i had no knowledge of steal at the time. i tried cuting it with a sawzall -rrrrdrdrdrdrdrdrrdddind. but no luck. if the ecoomy is good in your area look to large custom home builders.
05-13-2004, 09:10 AM
Nope, I say stay away from those guys, it isnt worth it. You will be asked to fix every screw up from every guy that cant read a tape or spell steel. You will get called then treated like its all your fault while they run around in a panic. Stay in your garage with all your stuff, life will be a lot easier and you will be able to figure out who is suposed to pay.
05-14-2004, 06:29 AM
The next morning after I put my two cents worth in on this thread I got a call from a guy needing something fixed. When he told me it was the wheels on a lawnmower for his neighbor & an old tractor seat stool for his dad I thought I was still asleep having a nightmare about this site. I'll admit that it wasn't the kind of job that I wanted to hear about the first thing in the morning,but I set him up an appointment to have the stuff fixed. After it was all over with he asked me if I might be able to cut some angle iron off of something at his house. I did that yesterday with nothing but a grinder & hammer. Charged for a service call & I was gone.
Since I haven't hit the big lottery jackpot or anything else like that, the small jobs that these larger welding shops turn down put some money in my pocket & most of the time the people really appreciate you taking the time to fix the small stuff.
I have done alot of work for custom home builders & have no problems with it since I deal with the builder themselves. They pay me directly. I'm not talking about the so called custom homes built 10 at a time. Maybe 4 is the most I have ever seen any of the guys I have done work for build at one time & they are spread way out at different finish stages. All kinds of good work from them especially if the owner will be building a pool or doing some type of fencing later on.
05-16-2004, 12:08 AM
I agree totally with JtMCc, You should definitely see about starting the business by first checking out your zoning.
In my shop I don't consider my walkins as what floats my business at all, for how can I charge a little old man who needs a walker fixed, or older lady who needs a little weld on her yard art, or the old man who's mower shute is busted. When St Vincent shows up and needs a little part made, all these people don't make my business go, I usually charge nothing for a little walkin, if they ask what do I need, I say nothing if they push I'll say a case of Coca Cola or if they drop a 20.00 fine. I usually say take your part, go home and have a good day, for I have to think that the service I give them may very well be passed along someday by word of mouth to someone in a field which will have a need for my services.
05-16-2004, 12:43 PM
I have a industrial power washer that gets borrowed all the time. Never charged a dime to use it, I had it go from one person to the next and not seen it for months. I won't power wash anyone elses stuff because of the liability but they're welcome to borrow it. I also have a OBDII scan tool that gets used, the dealers charge to pull codes but I have no problem lending or helping pull codes. that way when they go in to have it looked at they know if they're being scammed or not.
05-23-2004, 03:23 PM
zoning and pesty neighbors, and lets not forget deadbeat customers, aside from that you can do pretty well.
i have been burned two times and im sure that there will be more down the road but such is life........
be picky for the work that you chose and the people that you chose to work for !!!
i had to get nasty one time when a contractor tried to stiff me,
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