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Thread: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

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    Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    As a person looking to get a mobile repair business off the ground I am looking at options for my welding machine. I have looked for a cheap engine drive like an SA200 near my area and they are either want too much for them or they are too far away for me to drive to go and get. Is there any Miller, ESAB or other welding machine that I can get for a reasonable price that can run DC stick welding with enough amps and voltage to run 6010 and some of the thicker rods to do general Structural work and Hard facing on some heavy equipment that I might have to repair.

    What is going to be my best bet for a DC stick welder that can do at least 180 amps at the minimum and run 6010 and still be affordable. Im not looking to cheap out but i need something that is affordable on a small budget of about $1500.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    You find almost all you due welding for do not the difference from a Amazon Friday special and a Lincoln welder.

    You also find today Flux core is replacing stick welding for field welding.

    You may find a good generator with a good 240 volt portable welder will do a great job.

    The days of stick welding is slowing down and flux core is on the way up.

    Dave

    FYI most welding I did was stick welding but and I enjoyed the smooth running of a stick rod. But times are changing

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    As a person looking to get a mobile repair business off the ground I am looking at options for my welding machine. I have looked for a cheap engine drive like an SA200 near my area and they are either want too much for them or they are too far away for me to drive to go and get. Is there any Miller, ESAB or other welding machine that I can get for a reasonable price that can run DC stick welding with enough amps and voltage to run 6010 and some of the thicker rods to do general Structural work and Hard facing on some heavy equipment that I might have to repair.

    What is going to be my best bet for a DC stick welder that can do at least 180 amps at the minimum and run 6010 and still be affordable. Im not looking to cheap out but i need something that is affordable on a small budget of about $1500.
    Last edited by smithdoor; 01-28-2022 at 10:42 AM.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    what size generator do I need running watt wise.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    I would look at 9,000 or larger
    You could start with 4,000

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    what size generator do I need running watt wise.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    MIller Bobcats (225A) or Trailblazer (302 A or 325A) would do the trick. Used Bobcat can be found for About 1000 bucks. Lincoln has similar machines. For mobile work an engine drive would be my choice - can run suitcase wire feeder, TIG or even a HF TIG if needed. Plus it has generator that will run a smaller wire feeder if you wanted to.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Check into leasing a machine that will meet your needs. Appearance matters, especially when you are starting out and have no reputation. Look at what your competition is running. In my area, the pipeliners run Lincolns almost exclusively, the railroads run miller Trailblazers, the service people run Miller Bobcats.
    Last edited by Teachu2; 01-28-2022 at 02:53 PM.
    Miller 250P, MM210, Bobcat 250
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    Titanium Easy Flux 125

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    ...enough amps and voltage to run 6010 and some of the thicker rods to do general Structural work and Hard facing on some heavy equipment that I might have to repair.

    What is going to be my best bet for a DC stick welder that can do at least 180 amps at the minimum and run 6010 and still be affordable. Im not looking to cheap out but i need something that is affordable on a small budget of about $1500.
    You aren't going to have much need for 6010 on heavy equipment; it's just a crack waiting to happen. You're going to want to use xx18 rods mostly, and on certain buckets you'll be using High Alloy rods or even 309's. I disagree with the ideas above of trying to run a small welder off a 4KW generator. That's not enough oomph to do anything useful with. It's true that if you can find a generator that will run it at full output, you can find something like a used Miller XMT-304 for around $1,000 which would be all the power source you'd need for awhile and would let you run suitcase feeders or stick. I've run an XMT-304 off of my Trailblazer 325's (TB325's) while also welding off the TB, so I know a 12KW generator will handle it although I wasn't at full output.

    What you need to look at with these small electric welders and with the smaller air-cooled machines like the older Bobcats is the duty cycle. At what amperage output can you weld 100% of the time? That's duty cycle.

    For example, if talking stick only, I'd not consider a welder that couldn't run 220A at 100%, because I want to be able to run 7018 3/16" rod if I want to under any condition. Also, there's no free lunch when it comes to deposition rate -- those wires mentioned above do allow you to put down some poundage in an hour, but they need a lot of amperage to do so correctly. I regularly run my TB325's at 280A with .045 Dual Shield, and that's with the feeder's "trigger hold" function set and running 22' seams at a time without stopping, just shuffling backwards on my knees as I go. That's running at 500 ipm and almost 10 lb/hr, for reference. With 3/16" 7024 Jet Rod, I can run close to the same deposition rate, maybe 10% less, but I'm spending time changing rods too and am back up there in the 270A range at over 90% duty cycle.

    Welding on heavy equipment, especially when it comes to hard-facing, is ALL about deposition rate. Wire is the way to do it *if* your machine can handle them. You need lots of amperage to get that deposition rate, so if you're wanting a standalone machine, you're looking at the bigger 300A air-cooled machines or if you're needing to go cheaper, you're stepping back in time to something like (gulp) the liquid-cooled Miller Big 40 series which you should be able to pick up in the $1500 neighborhood because frankly they are a great machine when you just need amperage. But then you're stuck buying multiple gals of gas an hour for that thirsty F-163 Continental engine.

    All of this post is spent assuming you're working on standard construction-site-sized equipment like backhoes, track loaders, excavators, dozers, etc. If you're planning to get into quarry or mining machinery work, you'll be needing a 400-500A machine so you don't get laughed off the site. But back to what you're more likely to be doing.

    I would personally try to find a used Trailblazer 302, not the EFI model and not the diesel, just a regular carb'd 302 is new enough that you can still get parts and it looks respectable. Don't get one of the old air-cooled Millers that has the engine out in the open -- that just looks bad. My second choice would be (gulp again) an old Big 40 *or* a Lincoln SAE-300 or -400 but then you're getting into that fuel use issue again and the Lincolns aren't cheap. If you go this route, paint the machine and put a decal set on it, it'll look modern enough for your average customer when you're starting out. A "Big" or SAE machine will weigh more than twice what a TB302 will; you're up well over 1,000 lbs for the big old liquid-cooled units, plus they take 2-3x the footprint in your truck.

    My third choice would be a generator powering an electric welder. It just doesn't look professional to me. It says, "I was too cheap to buy an engine drive power source, so I cobbled this together." If it was really a good idea, everybody would be doing it. Instead, nobody's doing it except for a very vocal few. No offense meant, just the facts as I see them.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Small footprint machine is certainly less to cart around. Its cheaper to operate and has AC power. Sa 200 has its place but has some drawbacks too especially for general work. If I was going to be a real rod burner a larger machine is about a must but a Bobcat will run 5/32 lohy as fast as you can shove them in a stinger.
    I have a couple SA and another engine drive but that little junker red one is my fave. Its noisey, single cyl, 6KW gen will start a 5 hp motor and not blink. I like the way it welds. Got a baby fuel tank which is both good and bad. Really has the power though.
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    Last edited by Sberry; 01-29-2022 at 09:10 PM.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    How is the hunt doing.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    what size generator do I need running watt wise.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    How is the hunt doing.

    Dave
    its going pretty well I found a listing for a miller trailblazer 275 for about $4000 and you can pretty much find what you need to get up and running on marketplace. I have to get my welding truck fixed up but you gave me some solid advice for choosing a welding machine and I will go with a miller.

    also any tips on buying used equipment.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Miller is good brand I have a lot Miller and they all work great 👍

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    its going pretty well I found a listing for a miller trailblazer 275 for about $4000 and you can pretty much find what you need to get up and running on marketplace. I have to get my welding truck fixed up but you gave me some solid advice for choosing a welding machine and I will go with a miller.

    also any tips on buying used equipment.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    4 large for a used machine is kind of stiff for a sprout. Normally I would advocate newer smaller more moderm machi9nes but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, you need to shop yet. I paid 700 for the one you see hanging and had another one came with 200 ft heavy leads for 650.
    Last edited by Sberry; 01-31-2022 at 09:19 AM.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Mobile welding does not must shop where go is shop.
    I agree sometimes a garage shop can be handy.
    They downside to formal shop is the over head.
    Mobile welding you are using someone else shop and overhead.
    Your truck becomes your shop on wheels.

    Where most Mobile welders just have a set bottles and big old red and want to burn rod all day.

    Mobile welding repair witch is 98% of but having a small lathe , arbor press, drill press, small hoist, bandsaw and air compressurer. Odds are most time you will be welding but if a part needs form, turn or drill you do that work on the spot and keeps you welding in the field .

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by Sberry View Post
    4 large for a used machine is kind of stiff for a sprout. Normally I would advocate newer smaller more moderm machi9nes but,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, you need to shop yet. I paid 700 for the one you see hanging and had another one came with 200 ft heavy leads for 650.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    Mobile welding does not must shop where go is shop.
    I agree sometimes a garage shop can be handy.
    They downside to formal shop is the over head.
    Mobile welding you are using someone else shop and overhead.
    Your truck becomes your shop on wheels.

    Where most Mobile welders just have a set bottles and big old red and want to burn rod all day.

    Mobile welding repair witch is 98% of but having a small lathe , arbor press, drill press, small hoist, bandsaw and air compressurer. Odds are most time you will be welding but if a part needs form, turn or drill you do that work on the spot and keeps you welding in the field .

    Dave
    It took me half a day to figure half of your post out. I was thinking, "Why did you start talking about shops? The question has nothing to do with shops."

    Then I realized you saw where sberry said, "You need to shop yet," and you thought he was saying that the OP still needed to have a shop.

    Sberry meant that the OP needed to keep shopping, it means, keep looking for a better price on a welder. He wasn't talking about a shop.


    Now that that's over.

    I think the 275 came out around the same time the 325 did, and was kind of the 'budget' model Trailblazer. I don't know anything about it other than that, nor can I comment on present values since everything has gone nuts. I just checked, a new TB325 with EFI and Excel is $9200 list. Just four years ago they were $6,000 -- I know because I bought one in '18.

    I think you're heading in the right direction with the money, and I think you're going to spend north of $3k to get something that looks professional and that can go on industrial jobsites without getting commented on behind your back. Just my opinion. But consider this. If I bill $85/hr and I work 50 billable hours a week, a workload which is doable for me probably half of the year, I make $4250 gross a week. Even after taking all of my expenses out, I can cash-flow a nice used modern-looking machine with 3 weeks' to a month's worth of steady work. So even if I borrowed that money, I pay maybe one month's worth of interest on it before I pay the note off completely. Now a startup is different, and I realize that, but if you can't scrape together enough work to pay a $3k welder off in a couple months, or if you don't have that money saved up already (and more), there are more serious problems on the horizon for the business.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by tbone550 View Post
    ...

    But consider this. If I bill $85/hr and I work 50 billable hours a week, a workload which is doable for me probably half of the year, I make $4250 gross a week. Even after taking all of my expenses out, I can cash-flow a nice used modern-looking machine with 3 weeks' to a month's worth of steady work. So even if I borrowed that money, I pay maybe one month's worth of interest on it before I pay the note off completely. Now a startup is different, and I realize that, but if you can't scrape together enough work to pay a $3k welder off in a couple months, or if you don't have that money saved up already (and more), there are more serious problems on the horizon for the business.

    This is the more important point^^^ Hopefully the OP has a budget for a welder and another for operating expenses, because if you do a $1000 job and then don't get paid, or make a mistake and don't get paid or just plain lose money on a job, you still need to go to the next job and try again (and have the $$$ to go.) There is no quit.

    I don't know the OP's money situation...and I'm not one to borrow money lightly...but I might put a new welder on a CC and make payments over time...trying to pay it off asap as tbone says above.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    The good news is the customer do not know the difference in welders

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by jamscal View Post
    This is the more important point^^^ Hopefully the OP has a budget for a welder and another for operating expenses, because if you do a $1000 job and then don't get paid, or make a mistake and don't get paid or just plain lose money on a job, you still need to go to the next job and try again (and have the $$$ to go.) There is no quit.

    I don't know the OP's money situation...and I'm not one to borrow money lightly...but I might put a new welder on a CC and make payments over time...trying to pay it off asap as tbone says above.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by smithdoor View Post
    The good news is the customer do not know the difference in welders

    Dave
    Bad news is some have heard lincoln or miller. Some will judge based on rig.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Good news is many customers do not know about welding. Having a nice rig might land you a job or 2, while you learn to weld or somebody else comes behind you to fix it.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Good news is many customers do not know about welding. Having a nice rig might land you a job or 2, while you learn to weld or somebody else comes behind you to fix it.
    Like implementing a job creation program on his own.....without even going into politics.


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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Ok can of red paint and a Lincoln label 🏷

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by tapwelder View Post
    Bad news is some have heard lincoln or miller. Some will judge based on rig.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    My Money Situation is that I am kinda broke. I have a part time job and I get extra money in from doing manual labor jobs. Right now I am working on the first part of my mobile welding repair business the Welding Rig itself. I bought a 2000 dodge ram 2500 4x4 that with a little fixing up should be a decent welding rig for me. I don't look to having this started up any time soon but at least by the end of fall or December maybe I could start to see this come together. I am going to be doing some more looking around while I am getting my truck fixed and saving up some money for my welding machine because its the root of the business. But I appreciate all the insight y'all have given me to look at and I really do appreciate all of the responses that you have given me as they have given me a lot to look at. but for now i have more different question to ask y'all.

    what other equipment am I going to need for my repair business. the only real piece of equipment I have is my Victor Journeyman Set I got from cyber weld by pay in 4 from paypal. and my Vulcan Commander 225/150 Stick Welder That I Practice on. I am in the market for a new hood as the harbor freight on that I had broke on me a few days ago.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    A stick welder you will need a 9,000 generator.
    But can get small jobs by using customer power and work your way up.
    I hope you have a set of bottles for the torch.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    My Money Situation is that I am kinda broke. I have a part time job and I get extra money in from doing manual labor jobs. Right now I am working on the first part of my mobile welding repair business the Welding Rig itself. I bought a 2000 dodge ram 2500 4x4 that with a little fixing up should be a decent welding rig for me. I don't look to having this started up any time soon but at least by the end of fall or December maybe I could start to see this come together. I am going to be doing some more looking around while I am getting my truck fixed and saving up some money for my welding machine because its the root of the business. But I appreciate all the insight y'all have given me to look at and I really do appreciate all of the responses that you have given me as they have given me a lot to look at. but for now i have more different question to ask y'all.

    what other equipment am I going to need for my repair business. the only real piece of equipment I have is my Victor Journeyman Set I got from cyber weld by pay in 4 from paypal. and my Vulcan Commander 225/150 Stick Welder That I Practice on. I am in the market for a new hood as the harbor freight on that I had broke on me a few days ago.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    When I got my torch set we had about 3 of each oxygen and acetylene and I traded them in for two big sets so we could get the full cutting power of the journman sized torch. But I'm thinking about trading back out for two sets to go on the Welding rig.

    My Vulcan welder Weighs about 145lbs and if we ever had to move it again we would have to load it by tractor. So it isn't the most portable thing in the world but I do have a 3 phase generator that I can borrow from my dad dont know how many watts it is though it still needs to be fixed.

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    My Money Situation is that I am kinda broke. I have a part time job and I get extra money in from doing manual labor jobs. Right now I am working on the first part of my mobile welding repair business the Welding Rig itself. I bought a 2000 dodge ram 2500 4x4 that with a little fixing up should be a decent welding rig for me. I don't look to having this started up any time soon but at least by the end of fall or December maybe I could start to see this come together. I am going to be doing some more looking around while I am getting my truck fixed and saving up some money for my welding machine because its the root of the business. But I appreciate all the insight y'all have given me to look at and I really do appreciate all of the responses that you have given me as they have given me a lot to look at. but for now i have more different question to ask y'all.

    what other equipment am I going to need for my repair business. the only real piece of equipment I have is my Victor Journeyman Set I got from cyber weld by pay in 4 from paypal. and my Vulcan Commander 225/150 Stick Welder That I Practice on. I am in the market for a new hood as the harbor freight on that I had broke on me a few days ago.
    Just a couple of things to consider buying, grinders with wheels and flap discs, extension cords, pipe stands to support material, ladder, compressor, air arc or learn how to scarf with a torch, welding blanket, clamps, vise, levels. If you are going to fix equipment you might want to get an extra oxygen tank. Nice to have is needle scaler, 5# sledge, squares, various air tools. Might be able to find a lot of these items on marketplace and pawn shops.
    Miller 350 Dynasty
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    Miller 625 Plasma
    Died and needs a new circuit board so its an expensive boat anchor now
    Lincoln Power MIG
    Victor oxy/acetylene
    Hyperthem 85

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    Re: Looking to Start a mobile welding repair busisness

    It sounds like you are on your way.
    To me 145 pounds is very portable.
    My welders where over 300 pounds each.

    It is start and you work with have today Newer and lighter welders and tools will come later as you gain more work.

    Dave

    Quote Originally Posted by ryancrowe92 View Post
    When I got my torch set we had about 3 of each oxygen and acetylene and I traded them in for two big sets so we could get the full cutting power of the journman sized torch. But I'm thinking about trading back out for two sets to go on the Welding rig.

    My Vulcan welder Weighs about 145lbs and if we ever had to move it again we would have to load it by tractor. So it isn't the most portable thing in the world but I do have a 3 phase generator that I can borrow from my dad dont know how many watts it is though it still needs to be fixed.

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