What did it take? (to start your own business)
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    16

    What did it take? (to start your own business)

    What did it take to start your own business? What steps did you take to get set up? What licenses do you need, Insurance etc.... Basically what was the process from A to B. I'm thinking of starting my own welding business once I become more proficient in welding. I like the Idea of working for my self.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    Hopefully there will be some actual business owners chime in here, but until they do here is what I know. In my state, you are required to have a business license (pretty cheap and provided through the county) and in some states you may be required to be licensed as a weldor and pay an occupational tax on top of that. I don't think that covers welding in GA, because I don't think weldors are licensed by the state or required to be certified to weld for the public, but if the state licenses weldors then it would usually be required.

    Often folks in service and repair businesses are bonded, which means they purchase an insurance policy that insures the customer (or you) against your doing a bad job and the damage they might cause as a result. Generally, you hear of bonds for $1 million. It's sort of like malpractice insurance. In georgia I dont think weldors are required to be bonded, but I am not 100% sure about that. This can and does differ by state, but you probably want to be bonded if you dont want risk it all on every job.

    You dont say where you are thinking about starting the business but something that many people do not think of when they decide to start a home-based business is zoning. Zoning has a way of sneeking up on folks, and differs by jurisdiction. It also has a tendency to change unexpectedly. Those little zoning notices in the local paper have a funny way of slipping by while you are making other plans for your property. Your business has to conform to zoning or obtain a variance. Otherwise, your neighbors and the jurisdictions you live in might decide to shut you down or worse, you could be fined. Zoning laws have also undergone some changes recently. Use to be in a lot of places, if you had a piece of property that was zoned commercial you could use it for residential...or if it was zoned agricultural you could use it for light commercial (selling produce). In some areas that has changed and become much more strict.

    Most states regulate business activity throught the secretary of the state's office. Often they will have a quick checklist of what to do to start a business. See
    http://www.sos.state.ga.us/firststop/
    for GA as an example.

    That will get you started on the path, but like I said, hopefully someone with real-life experience will step in here and fill in the actual details.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Georgia on the GA/AL line
    Posts
    2,136
    Smithboy gave you some good info, and like smithboy, I am from Ga also, but first off you need to have a good idea of exactly what you want to do, as in what services you will provide. You will need to figure out what your expenses will be so that you can figure what you can charge to make sure you are going to come out on top. In the welding business here you do not need to be certified, that is depending on what type of work you will be doing. I offer fabrication, repair and machine work out of my shop and In the 10 years I have been doing this I can think of 3 times that I was asked if certified, and only once they had someone else do the work because the company would not guarantee the machine if the pipe was not welded by a cert. welder. However if you are going to be working in fields like pipe work, plant shutdowns, etc... then you will need certification to work those types of jobs alot of times. The main thing you need to know before you start a business is make sure that you have enough work that you will be able to stay busy. Its pointless to go into business with not knowing where your work will come from. I will mention this, I have found that when trying to get business you will basically have to steal it from someone else alot of times, and if you start out trying to cut under everyone elses price alot of times you will wind up not making what you need to survive. Start by charging as low as you can and still come out on top with a good margin, and try to beat everyone else with service. I don't know how much work I have gotten over the years just becasue I was willing to say "I can't do that, but I Know someone who can, and I will be glad to have it done for you." The little extra things like that are what keeps people happy. Even thought I could not do the work myself, they always came back when they had another job. Another thing is insurance, most companies that you do work for if you are working on there premises will want to see workers comp insurance, and general liability insurance. From what i have seen a 2 million dollar policy seems to be the standard. Also you need to sit down and make out a business plan, and a financial statement. If you will be borrowing money to start up those two things will be a requirement. I am sure different areas of the country have different requirements and ways about going about starting a business so I won't go into that, but you should be able to locate any info on that from your state website. I will add this, don't think that going to work for yourself is going to be a walk in the park. It is atleast twice the work to own your on business than it is to work for someone else. Also Your azz is on the line with everything your business does, and You will not have near the free time as you will when working for someone else because you can't always go home at 5:00 and kick back. You will always have business that needs to be attended to so think it out well before you head in that path. Good luck, and I Hope some of this help you out. ~Jackson
    I'm a Lover, Fighter, Wild horse Rider, and a pretty good welding man......

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    16
    Hey thanks for the advice. I'm still debating weather I want to do shop work or field work. My plan in any case is to do it part time mainly to supplement my income. Doing odd welding jobs here and there. I'm working on getting the city of Los Angeles structural steel certification. I hear that is recognized world wide. I may possibly move to TX in 2 or 3 years, so that's also something that I need to consider.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Location
    Spalding, MI. 49886
    Posts
    142
    Look for the SBA in your area they were a big help in getting started. Also contact a Lawyer (I know bad word but) the first consultation should be free, they know what the law in the area require you to do and have to get started. Check and see what your competition is going to be locally. Check into you local advertising, ie; newspapers, local radio, phone books ect. The best advertisement is still word of mouth. Check and see how long down the road you can eat hotdogs and mac & cheese. It takes a few years for the business to get going well enough to support its self and put $ in your pocket if your only doing this after normal job. Hope this helps put some more insight to what it will take, that wasn't already stated.
    Brett
    B & B Fabrication and Welding Inc.
    Spalding, MI.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Carrollton GA
    Posts
    2,329
    brett's right,
    I totally forgot about small business development centers and associations. Some places have lots of um, in local colleges, votech schools and chambers of commerce and as part of state and local government. They are great resources for folks in your situation. Sometimes they might even be called business "incubators" if they focus on hi-tech kinds of small business. Some of these centers have lawyers on staff or available for group training sessions where you can ask questions. Usually the largest state university in a state houses a state-level development center, but they always have info on local ones throughout the state.
    Smithboy...
    if it ain't broke, you ain't tryin'.

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