Welders are in demand from both commercial and residential clients. A mobile welding business requires little more than welding equipment, a van or truck, and insurance. Bonus points if you're certified through an accredited school. Apply for your welder's license and take the exam. (View certification articles.) Contact your state license board to ensure you have the necessary documentation. If you do quality work and have strong word-of-mouth recommendations, your business can be both rewarding and lucrative.
Before you quit your day job, it is recommended that you have several months' worth of cash. It may be several months before you earn a profit, depending on how much equipment you already possess. You'll need welding equipment, tools, and safety supplies. This may include: a tig welder, mig welder, gas cylinders, stick welders, plasma cutters, fume extractor, welding helmets, respirator helmets, protective clothing, welding blankets, welding goggles, welding clamps, turntables, ground clamps, cable connectors, power tools, abrasives, and hoists. Liability insurance is essential. Industrial customers will ask to see a copy of your insurance certificate. Your insurance should cover the value of any property that you work on. A truck (and maybe a trailer) needs to be set up for efficient work. A laptop computer and wireless internet service that can travel with you are nonnegotiable.
Present a Professional Image
When you have a mobile welding business, you are your business. You'll want to design (or have someone else design) a logo. Choose your company colors. Vehicle signage is important. It should coordinate with your business cards and website (and any other printed or online marketing materials). Your business card should offer more than one way to contact you. Your website may be simple, but you DO need one. Prepare a resume or portfolio, complete with references that potential clients may call. Answer your phone every time it rings.
Growing your Business
Of course providing your clientele with high quality work is one of the best ways to ensure you stay in business. Starting a referral program and cross promoting with related contractors is helpful. Earn, ask for, and reward referrals and testimonials. Refer other local professionals (that provide quality work) to your clients.
Remember, what doesn't get measured, won't improve. You must have a business plan with clear goals. Budget your expenses and expected income. Meet with an accountant who will show you what records you need to keep. Decide if you will be full-service or specialize in something. Consider expanding your home base. How far are you willing to travel? Can you offer emergency service? Evening, weekend, and next day service demands a premium.
Join a local trade group and a local general-purpose group, like a chamber of commerce. Network with gas and water main installation teams or air conditioning engineers; they are always looking for welders to subcontract to.
Other Tips for Mobile Welders
Consider keeping a small refrigerator in your vehicle to save on beverages and meals. A large water jug is crucial. Join preferred member card clubs at local building supply stores.
By all means, please share your mobile welding tips, tricks, and success stories below.
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