View Full Version : Want to start a repair Business.

03-26-2011, 11:13 AM
I run a small landscaping business and have been building a shop for several years. I have gotten bored with the mow and blow, fert and squirt anyone who gets laid off is in the business atmosphere. I miss being creative. I would like to start a repair business because I have skills and have a creative streak. I guess I am reluctant to pull the trigger due to perceived tool deficiencies. I would like to know from the guys that run shops what else I would have to have just to open the side door. Here is a list of the main Items I have collected.

Hobart 210 Mig
Miller 180 sd tig/stick
Miller spectrum 875 Plasma cutter
Jancy mag drill
Cheap drill press
40 ton press and brake
Ellis belt sander
Horizontal liquid cooled band saw
small weld table 2.5X4'
sand blaster Kit
9" hand grinder several 4.5 grinders.
2 ton cherry picker
good air compressor

So I know I will need a torch set but will probably wait till I have to get one. So what else would I have to have? Be assured if my funds were unlimited I would not need to ask this question. I would just go by it all. But my business style is to start out with what you have to have and add the rest as you grow. So what do I need to start? Thank you in advance.

03-26-2011, 11:31 AM
Depends on what you plan on repairing.

Bob Warner
03-26-2011, 11:40 AM
You will most likely need a mobile rig for repairs as many things cannot be brought to you (easily or cheaply), that means an engine drive stick welder. They are pricey but there are used units on Craigslist all the time.

As for in house repairs you will need to establish how to deal with friends and 5 minute repairs. They will eat you alive if you let them.

As far as tools go you are in pretty good shape assuming you have all the wrenches and hand tools, grease guns, taps, tapes and a million other usual items for a shop.

Portable lights, accounting and billing method in place before starting, all the business license and tax ID stuff as well as insurance in case your repair fails and hurts someone.

The Torch setup will be a must for repairs as you often need to cut parts off or heat them up to take them apart.

You will find DAILY that you need this or that but you have the large tools covered pretty much.

How are you going to advertise? Is your shop at your house? Do you have security of any kind? Do you want people to just show up and ask you to do repairs, not so great if your shop is in your back yard.

Decide what you will not do. You will get request for some pretty outrageous stuff and you need to decide up front if you want to be part of that type of work. Some people would refuse to work on anything that goes down the road, will you?

Good luck and find a good way to advertise. One you get sales call me and tell me how to get some.


03-26-2011, 12:37 PM
If you can afford it a Lathe and a Bridgeport is "Must Have" items..
Trust me on this.
You will find yourself having to make or reshape something every single day and those 2 items are lifesavers....


03-26-2011, 12:40 PM
Initially, I think I will pass on the mobile repair. Since I only have one friend, I think I can handle Him! I have minimums and a good accounting system for current business so I think that should carry over decent. I will need to take some time figuring true costs of welding/grinding and material. Thank god for Excell.

03-26-2011, 12:45 PM
If you can afford it a Lathe and a Bridgeport is "Must Have" items..
Trust me on this.
You will find yourself having to make or reshape something every single day and those 2 items are lifesavers....


Uhh. Yea. Those are the two pieces that were the two 8000 lb gorillas in my head. I was hoping to have some revenue flowing to justify those two items. Plus no three phase available, so I will be dealing with converter expense etc.

Fat Bastard
03-26-2011, 01:47 PM
Again what are you repairing?

Small engines, heavy equipment, toasters, broken bones?

03-26-2011, 01:57 PM
Ooops didn't really title this thread right. Most interested in custom fab work in metal, wood etc. The repair aspect depends on what comes through the door. I have made mistakes on taking jobs in the past and I'm sure I will in the future.

03-26-2011, 02:44 PM
It's more a matter of expertise than it is of equipment.

Too many people try to get into the business without the proper training and experience they need. The customer is generally not interested in paying you for on the job training.

Go back and read a multitude of posts on this board. I've lost count of the number of guys who start by saying "I've been mig welding for a year now and I got my tig last week." How much do you guys charge for welding?

If you try to start out by being "the cheapest welder in town", that's what you'll always be. Develop a nitch and be the best at what you do. The customer who wants "the best" will be what keeps your doors open, not the guy who's looking for the cheapest fix.

I'd recommend you start small while still maintaining your primary source of income (lawn care). Grow the business til it can support itself. Don't get yourself in a lot of debt that the business cannot support.

03-26-2011, 04:06 PM
Listen to Sundown he knows what he's talking about. I'm a Boilermaker by trade and I've been involved in welding and fab work since I was 15. I started doing side work about 3 years ago because I constanly had people asking me to repair various aluminum items because they knew I was pretty decent on aluminum tig. I got involved with the Miller forum because I had been thinking about buying myself a Dynasty 200dx and began reading up on everything dynasty related. It was my best decision regarding my side work period. I bought exactly what I needed but I've also got the ability to use it to it's capability.It's not about having everything you need in the begining, it's more about being able to use what you already have and make the most of it. I found my niche with being able to do portable tig[mainly aluminum] because most shops don't want to fool with small jobs and it's hard to haul large boats to a shop. I also don't have much in the way of overhead but I don't under price my work because it's not fair to yourself or any competition in your area.

03-26-2011, 05:06 PM
Nope, not quitting my day job. It would be a nights and weekend job. I may also build some small products that I have made for myself. I am worried also about my experience and speed. I have ramped up my project production at the shop and practicing different processes.

03-26-2011, 05:17 PM
I'm in Northern California and business is very slow unless you have an in with larger companies (get their over flow) Trouble is it takes YEARS to get established so you
better have money to WASTE waiting for that to happen.......There are needs for welders but you will find yourself being away from home more so than not....Shop work could be non-existent depending on your area.......Good Luck

03-26-2011, 09:27 PM
You have plenty of gear to keep the punkin rollers farm equipment running as well as the home project stuff. Heck, you have a lot more than I do but I just make furniture and stuff like that.

03-26-2011, 10:18 PM
What about "SAUGAGE GRINDERS" lol