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Thread: Business Owners

  1. #76
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Rochester, WA
    Posts
    219

    Re: Business Owners

    Time for an update, as I stated before I put a truck together but basically kept my day job until I saw a pretty fail safe opportunity. I left my job and have been on my own a couple of months now and business has been very good so far. (Knock on wood). The first month and a half I would say were the scariest, until the checks started to come in. I didnt take out any loans, all of my equipment is paid for etc. Also I have been buying new equipment as the budget allows. Initially I thought I would be doing mostly welding, but honestly I probably fab 90% of the time most days with the remainder welding. Insurance runs around 6k a year for the company and is a must. I didnt take a day off for the first three months and pulled several all nighters to get projects done, but overall I am very satisfied. Dealing with customers is probably my least favorite part of the work, some people are great to do work for , but it is the other 30% that have totally unrealistic expectations that you have to watch out for. I also recommend getting signatures for everything.
    2011 Dodge 3500 diesel dually
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    LN-25's
    Lincoln Idealarc R3R
    Miller Trailblazer 302

  2. #77
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    Philly
    Posts
    161

    Re: Business Owners

    I have owned a custom architectural and structural metal work company for about 18 years.

    There have been ups and downs but these days it is worse then it has ever been. We make stuff for custom homes and buildings on the high end. Jobs started falling off in about 2009, haven't gotten paid for a lot of stuff and there is a sickening amount of money in collection.Lost a couple of real good customers when they went out of business. One went into his basement and came out toes up. Sad.

    Its also getting worse cause while there is still some construction going on; the builders and even the home owners only want cheap. The builders are just not getting as much mark up as they used to so they seem to have cut out all the frill. Where a custom single stringer stair might have gone there is only a reg prefab wood stair now.

    Im not crushed, though trying to hang on has drained the bank account. Its time to quit sell off some of the machines and get a job.

    Im hoping to find something local so I can hang on to some kind of small shop for doing side jobs.

    Sorry for the gloom and doom story.

    Hope everyone else is doing OK, its tough out there. Lets hope for better days.

  3. #78
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Minnesota
    Posts
    3

    Re: Business Owners

    Hi My name is Ted im 25 and I own Gpwelding in MN

    I just started my own welding shop about 4 months ago. I still work a full time welding job 3rd shift so its safe to say I sleep about 4 hours a day.

    I went out got a new Miller Dynasty 200 DX, Miller Axcess 300, Millermatic 211 with spoolmate 100, Millermatic 200 old, Hypertherm Powermax 65 Machine Torch 25' Plasma Cutter, 4x4 Tracker CNC Plasma Table, Evolution Metal Cutting Chop Saws, and a 1'' Machined and Taped holes.

    I have mostly been cutting out Art stuff with the plasma table just to pay the bills but hoping to land a few contracts so I can quit my other full time job. It takes Time.....

    Wondering what people are charging hourly and or inches of weld?? Mig/tig and Aluminum,steel,and stainless steel???

    Thanks Ted
    www.gp-welding.com

  4. #79
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Vandalia, Ohio near Dayton
    Posts
    2,486

    Re: Business Owners

    I've cross posted this essay on the subject of pricing a number of times, because I believe it's the best advice on the subject I've ever come across. Read it, and tell us what you think once you've mulled it over.

    Pricing, Estimating, And Success

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    One of the most challenging aspects of running a contracting business is estimating jobs. For someone with little experience, estimating can be a rather scary endeavor (it can also be scary for someone with tons of experience). After all, the accuracy of the estimate will have a huge impact on the contractor’s success.

    This, I believe, is the primary reason we see so many questions asking what to charge for a job. But such questions are misdirected, because what I (or anyone else) would charge is completely irrelevant and doesn’t address the real issues.

    The price of a job is comprised of 4 basic components: labor costs, material costs, overhead, and profit. Estimating is the process of identifying the labor and material costs. We add our overhead and profit to those costs to obtain our price.

    Overhead—advertising, rent, insurance, utilities, phone, owner’s salary, etc.— is completely unique to each company. Without knowing these numbers, it is impossible to properly price a job.

    Profit goals are also unique to each company. Again, without knowing the specific profit goals for a company, it is impossible to properly price a job.

    Consequently, any attempt to answer a pricing question in the absence of these two key numbers is essentially meaningless. More to the point, pricing questions ignore the fact that a large percentage (often more than 50%) of the job’s price should be comprised of overhead and profit. (My suspicion is that those who pose such questions don’t know their overhead, and mistake gross profit for net profit. But that’s a different issue.)

    As I said, estimating is the process of identifying the labor and material costs for the job. Labor costs are determined by the type of work being performed, the production rates of the company’s workers (the time required to perform each task), and pay rates. As with overhead and profit, these numbers will be unique to each company. Material costs are determined by the type of materials required, the quantity required, and their purchase price.

    For example, let us say that a painting contractor knows that his painters can prepare and paint a certain style of door in 30 minutes. He looks at a job that has 10 of these doors. He knows that his painters can prep and paint these doors in 5 hours. He can also calculate the materials required by the spread rate of the product he will use. The contractor can now determine what his costs will be for the job. By adding his overhead and profit to these costs he will have his price for this job.

    While the above example is simple and uses a painting project, the same principle applies to every contracting job—large or small, simple or complex—regardless of trade.

    What should I charge for X? really means: what is the total of my labor costs, material costs, overhead, and profit? And the answer to that question requires a substantial amount of additional information. Providing an answer without that information is simply a guess.

    Accurately pricing a job is not rocket science, but it shouldn’t be based on conjecture, blind guesses, or another company’s numbers either. Certainly accurate estimating takes effort, but owning a successful business isn’t easy. Asking what to charge for a job is asking for a short cut, but there are no short cuts to success.

    Such questions about prices for a job are inappropriate, because they ignore the many factors that determine the price. Providing a price in response to such questions is also inappropriate, for the same reasons.

    It is a documented fact that 90% of small businesses fail within 5 years. Of those that make it 5 years, another 90% will fail within the next five years. Which means, 99% of small businesses fail within 10 years. One of the primary reasons for failure is not charging enough. Contractors are as guilty of this as anyone.

    There seems to be no shortage of hacks willing to work for dirt cheap prices. Nor does there seem to be a shortage of replacements when they inevitably fail. One of the most effective means for avoiding failure is to know your numbers. Asking what to charge for a job is simply an admission that you don’t know your numbers.

    I hasten to add that there is nothing wrong or inappropriate with asking how to price a job. But how to price is different from what price to give. Learning the process is a good thing. Looking for an easy way out isn’t.

    Putting paint on the wall is a trade skill. Pricing a job is a business skill. A skilled craftsman does not necessarily make a good businessman, because different skills are required. The owner of a contracting company does not necessarily need to have trade skills, but it is imperative that he have business skills if he is to succeed. The longer you wait to obtain those skills, the closer you move to joining those 99%.

    Brian Phillips


    http://www.contractortalk.com/f16/pr...success-27899/
    Benson's Mobile Welding at your worksite or place of business. Serving Dayton, Ohio and the surrounding metro areas.
    AWS Certified Welding Inspector (#XXX10731) and Certified Welding Educator (#XXX1008E)

  5. #80
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Hamlin NY
    Posts
    7,303

    Insurance explained to me.

    I had to take some courses to open my last business in 2004.

    I learned there not to go to your state farm insurance to get business. Go to a BROKER not an AGENT.

    Broker represents many companies.
    Agent represents ONE.

    READ and compare policies. What you are really getting for your money and what you are not covered for. Find out about complete operations. By the time you go through 3 quotes, you will know a lot more.

    David
    Real world weldin.

    When I grow up I want to be a tig weldor.

  6. #81
    Join Date
    Nov 2010
    Posts
    277

    Re: Business Owners

    I'm Sean I started a business a year ago Murphy Welding. I am full time youth pastor and a part time welder. My Dad sold welding supplies and he passed away in 1994. He became good friends with Kerry Sabo at Lincoln Electric and from that friendship I was awarded a scholarship to Lincoln's welding school. The regional Miller office in Birmingham, AL even chipped in for my living expenses. My Dad sold Lincoln and Miller for 20 plus years. I worked mostly in structural steel and for a small family machine / ag shop. I hated welding for a living! Welding allowed me to put myself through college. I worked during the day and took a lot of night classes, and sometimes I went to class straight from work; you can imagine how I looked and smelled!

    Long story short about two years ago I bought a Millermatic 211 and built a BBQ Smoker. When I was in graduate school I took a strengths / gifts test. I had gotten to a bad place mentally and spiritually; I was in a funk that I could not get out of. Through this test I learned that I needed to be creative, learn new things, achieve, and fix problems. I also valued hard work. The more I welded the more I began to come back around. I bought some equipment and a Northern Tool trailer and started welding in graduate school.

    A year ago we moved to Amory, MS. so work has been a little slow, but I do have a couple of customers that use me. I've been growing as I can, and trying to become fully legit. I'm working on insurance, license, and tax i.d. I've done mostly small stuff within my means. I've been thinking about going full time, but I'm not quite ready yet. I just ordered my first engine drive a Lincoln Eagle from Welding Mart. I did finance this machine since I have a full time job. I have a few pieces of equipment that I plan to add after I get this welder paid off. My plan is to pay it off within a year. I plant to add a 300amp mig welder, cold saw, 3/4 ton truck (very used! $2,000.00 range), and a small iron worker. I plan to re-invest everything I make over the next year or so. My goal is to take $15,000.00 from my welding work and put it towards equipment.

    Maybe within 2 years I will be ready to go on my own full time. It's a risk that's pretty scary. I'm going to be debt free before I make this kind of move! So far it's been good, I've learned a lot. I'm almost as good as I use to be, and getting better each week. My Dad was smart in setting me up to learn a trade, and I was dumb by almost letting it go. I'm glad I have a college degree, but having a trade gives me more security in today's crazy world/economy.

  7. #82
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    249

    Re: Business Owners

    Ive spent most of my working life either melting steel together or shifting earth, last nine years has been a combination of both working in a quarry as a machine operator, truck driver, blaster, and also doing a lot of maintenance welding and construction of new plant.

    Anyway I also like 4wdriving and tinkering with my 4b, so I made a set of rock sliders a couple of years ago and posted some pics on another forum I am a member off. Lots of people started to ask me when I would make them a set, so I had a little side line hobby. That hobby has got a bit out of hand and now I have a part time business to go with my full time job and something has to give!

    So at the end of the year I plan on giving up full time work and seeing if my Hobbby / part time business can be a full time gig, at this stage I think my biggest issue will be keeping up with demand, seems the more I make the more I sell and I never manage to get less than about 8 weeks behind in my orders, which after all is a good problem to have.

    Cheers Andrew

  8. #83
    Join Date
    Sep 2012
    Location
    WV
    Posts
    87

    Re: Business Owners

    Hello. Im am the owner of B&C MOBILE WELDING LLC in WV. B&C offers a mobile welding service(stick and TIG). We are insured and certified (1-6gr in both stick and tig /SMAW, GTAW. After years of working on the road doing shut downs as a boilermaker/tube welder I decided to try to work for my self. Threw the years I would buy a tools here and there. Then next thing you know I own everything I need (not want) to work for my self. I did not jump right into it . I would weld for my self on the side between jobs. When the economy took a crap and the boilermakers were not getting any work I started up my welding business. I still work for other comps as a welder if the job is near. The reason I started the business was so I could work near the house. Working on the road is hard on the family and you miss alot while your out there. owning a business is feast or famine.
    www.bancwelding.webs.com

  9. #84
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Gilbert,AZ
    Posts
    82

    Re: Business Owners

    Hi All...

    Been a member of Welding Web for a while now...

    Here's what we do..
    http://www.cmgangways.com/
    http://www.cmgangways.com/gallery.html
    http://www.trailerworx.com/gallery.htm


  10. #85
    Join Date
    Oct 2011
    Location
    Marinette, WI
    Posts
    14

    Re: Business Owners

    My name is Jesse and I own J. Brown Welding in Schertz, TX. My business is part-time and I work full-time for a large energy corporation. I'm scared that if I quit my full-time job to concentrate on my business, I might fail. As it is, the welding is up and down. I do steel, aluminum, and stainless using mig, tig, and stick. I've slowly built up my arsenal of equipment with money I've made on welding jobs. I've got a Miller 211, Miller 252, Miller Syncrowave 350 LX, Miller Bobcat 250 NT, and a Hypertherm PowerMax 1250. I've also got a decent drill press, bandsaw, etc. I'm thankful that I don't have to pay a second mortgage worth of payments on my stuff and it's mine but I really need to figure out if I should walk away from my good paying day job that I don't like to pursue an unknown paying job in a field that I like. I do find that often times when I'm at my shop people will randomly show up needing something small welded. I like the walk-in jobs because 10 minutes of work might net me $20-$50. My question to the other business owners out there is how do you market or how "did" you market yourself when you first started off? I currently get most of my new customers from Craigslist and that doesn't always keep me busy.

  11. #86
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Davidsonville, MD
    Posts
    125

    Re: Business Owners

    Adam Beck; Owner of Beck's Welding and Fabrication, Inc. I am a third generation steel fabricator and erector.

  12. #87
    Join Date
    May 2013
    Location
    Moible AL
    Posts
    328

    Re: Business Owners

    Well I have been a lurker on here for a while and took the plunge a few months ago and got my business license. I am the owner of you guessed it Kinetic Welding Service a mobile setup because city code prohibits working from home.....I still do just quitely and discretely. I Harley Dolby am 30 years old have a wife and three kids and work full time for a steel mill and work here and there on my off days. I currently loaded up my 97 F350 with my ranger 250, torch set up, hand full of grinders, hand tools in a small top box, 180' of 2/0 all pack in a monster steel tool box behind the cab. Everything might not be purdy but it is all payed for and not chinese junk either.
    I actually had my first real on site job the other day a hand rail repair job on stairs going to the second floor of apartments. Until now it has been all utility trailer repairs,weed eater rack building, tail gate repair and building and that sorta thing. My hopes are # 1 to keep learning and get certified ( gives customers that warm fuzzy feelin wether you can weld or not) # 2 add more equipment to the truck # 3 over the years work my way out of the mill and into my own full time employment. So far on my first job I learned her is a huge difference in the industrial hand rails I see everyday and the paper thin rusted 25 year old stuff at apartments. Got it done though and I am here to learn.
    Ranger 250 thick stuff
    Hobart Handler 140 not thick stuff
    the pane and oxy setup

  13. #88
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Farson, Wyoming
    Posts
    54

    Re: Business Owners

    I guess I'll take my turn.
    Welded in high school (like everyone) and loved it. Started in a sheet metal shop in 1978 where I learned to read a tape measure and fit. Worked single hand for about 20 years where I learned to really weld, then started my portable rig business and broke out as an oilfield pipe welder and have been at it ever since. Love my job by the way. I specialize in well hookups, latteral fab and hot tie ins. It's not for everyone ( gets a little tense at times). I do just enough pipeline to get my fill.
    Ricks Welding Inc.
    Farson, Wyoming
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    Tooled up...
    Watch it, that's hot...

  14. #89
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    ...Shoulder of Orion...
    Posts
    3,517

    Re: Business Owners

    @ tbone550 - excellent input. Your "10 Points" are illuminating. In the midst of launching a startup and your brutal facts were helpful.

    @ ADwd - learned a lot studying your cross thread on the subject of pricing, estimating, and success. Thanks!
    Last edited by ManoKai; 01-01-2014 at 03:39 PM.
    "Discovery is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought" - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

  15. #90
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Forks,WA
    Posts
    60

    Re: Business Owners

    Wow, really like this thread.
    I've been a member of this forum for a while now, but this has been the best read yet!
    I've been self employed for over a year, there's been hard times, and feast times. I've welded in the pouring rain in the middle of the night, just to get up early and do it again.
    I've managed to keep my dept down by paying for equipment as I grow. Sometimes it's hard but that's this be expected.
    I have a Miller trailblazer on my truck and work it hard.
    I have to give some of you guys a piece of advice though. You have to find a niche, when you do, you won't have any trouble finding work. It will find you!
    I specialize in field service welding on logging equipment. Not saying I don't fix a lamp every once in a while, but when I do I can afford to work cheap. Gotta have demand or it won't work.
    Hickory

  16. #91
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    ...Shoulder of Orion...
    Posts
    3,517

    Re: Business Owners

    "Discovery is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought" - Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

  17. #92
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    94

    Re: Business Owners

    I own a auto body, auto repair shop, do a lot of welding on body repairs, and specialize in custom exhaust. Just started my 5th year, it's been tough, but I'm still here. Things seem to be getting better, I'm very blessed for sure. Word of mouth is the best advertising that you get, and always network, be personable. I also learned that being the cheap guy isn't best, you just work yourself in the ground for nothing. I charge a fair shop rate and in turn they get a quality product. Anyway the name of my shop is Busted Knuckle Body Shop. And yes I bust-em on a regular basis, just shake it off and go on. Enjoy this site a lot, always learning.
    Quality work is never Cheap, and Cheap work is never Quality!!

    If it's broke, and you're not, we can fix it!!


    Lincoln Idealarc sp200
    Century 230amp ac/dc
    Smith O/A Torches
    Huth Hyd. Pipe Bender
    other misc "cool" tools

  18. #93
    Join Date
    Dec 2013
    Location
    Ga. USA
    Posts
    172

    Business Owners

    My name is skip, I'm 42, retired Army, married to the same women for the past 20 years, have 5 kids and a pick-up truck!
    CEO and Co-owner of OIM. Ind. My company was started by grandfather in 1970 from his garage, he had a stick welder and a lathe. He was a mill wright looking to make some extra money. His company grew to a 30x30 shop in 1973, and now our facility is 75 x 250. We specialize in CNC machining, large rigging operations, government and large corporation contracts and industrial machining. My position was handed down to me by my father when I turned 18, when I left for collage then the army, it was taken back over by him. When I returned home from hell in the Middle East, I assumed my position. I had four other siblings, they had no interest in this line of work and went on to get real jobs. I know one is a doctor, one is a professor, and the other two are teachers. We have 24 employees, 9 trucks, around 25,000 electrodes in supply and a good shop dog.
    Just like everyone else, we've had our high and lows in business. When the housing market crashed it really affected us. I did what i could to keep our employees and maintain their paychecks.
    We have a lot of work over seas. We don't do much small work, but I'll bring in the occasional trailer hitch or broken bicycle, just to keep the guys entertained. Hahaha





    Sent from my iPhone, while hiding from my wife!
    Last edited by BuzzBox; 06-02-2014 at 01:30 AM.
    Proverbs 4:23

    My company welds.

  19. #94
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Posts
    28

    Re: Business Owners

    Hello All,

    I have opened a on call/ drag in welding business in a very rural/farm country. I have been able to do Alum, steel and cast iron when it appears. I work by myself and I also work from a wheelchair. I use an A-frame to position heavy stuff, but still have to think about how to do things better. I opened this with $10k in the working bank and the lights are still on. I compete with every stud thta goes through the local high school that has a shop program. They don't seem to last long. I get about two of them each year

    Thanks for america that allows its people to go to work when they want.!!!!

    Get at it and get it done

    WWoW

  20. #95
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Pike County PA / Appalachia.
    Posts
    660

    Re: Business Owners

    Names Don.

    Im 26 years old. Started Welding at 14 in High School. Worked for a Company for 3 years as a Journeymen Welder starting my Senior year until they went out of business. Looked for Welding work and couldnt find any within 75 miles at the time. I threw my first Engine Drive (Weldanpower 225) in the back of my F350 and started advertising. Family friend of mine who owns a Plumbing Business threw me some work on a few Boilers. I quickly realized I didnt want to go back to work for someone. Started getting more serious about being self-employed. Started slowly aquiring more equiptment and machines, plus a newer truck. Got into advertising and getting my name out there...

    Did a ton of Residential work in the suburbs of NJ, Mostly Decorative Railings and Staircases. Occasionally got a service call on a piece of equiptment and general fabrication. With the risk and or reward of being self employed I only buy my equiptment and machines. Everything is paid for up front, machines, tools, trucks... So when work slows down its not a all out panic making ends meet.

    Lately I really have been targeting the commercial side of the business. I'd like to get back into Structural work and working with heavy plate and being in the field. This whole working alone everyday takes its toll, I talk to myself alot.

    I also currently serve on the Welding Board where I went to High-School and have been Proctoring the N.O.C.T.I test for graduating Seniors for the past 8 years.


    In the future I hope to lease to buy or rent a commercial shop a few miles from me, (I know the owner) and hopefully get busy enough to hire a person full time.

    In the end I just wanna make beautiful welds and call it a living.
    Some Blue , Some Red & Some Grey

    Proverbs 16:2-3.
    2 "All a person’s ways seem pure to them, but motives are weighed by the Lord. 3 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans."

  21. #96
    Join Date
    Jun 2012
    Location
    Ct
    Posts
    2,233

    Re: Business Owners

    My Name is Phil, I'm 26 and I'm in Central CT. My business is aptly named Phil's Welding

    I started welding as a hobby, I was 21 at the time, and had a promising career in drywall working with a guy who did multi-million dollar homes in places like fishers island NY and watch hill in Rhode island. I found a job at a small fab shop in 2011, worked there for 1 year. I got into a fight with my boss, the resulting culmination of months of miscommunication and unreasonableness, and I quit.

    Soon after that people started calling me and my own business took off slowly but surely. Here I am 4 years later, and I'm finally starting to catch on.

    I love what i do, mostly railings gates and fencing, I don't want to hire anyone, but would like to remain working by myself. Hopefully one day I'll have a son that i could teach, and give the business to.

    Business has been growing steadily and I moved into a nicer shop space earlier this year. as of now (10-16) I have work lined up until the end of the year

    I don't think I will ever be someone's employee ever again.

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