Start a welding business by following these 9 steps:
You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your welding business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.
Check out our How to Start a Business page.
STEP 1: Plan your business
A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:
- What are the startup and ongoing costs?
- Who is your target market?
- How much can you charge customers?
- What will you name your business?
Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.
What are the costs involved in opening a welding business?
Startup costs sit around $10,000 to $50,000. These costs include a metal fabrication shop, which has a rent of about $3,000 per month. These costs also account for insurance, tools, electronics, mobile service options, and personal protection equipment. Minor equipment can be purchased for as little as $1,000, but you’ll need to expand your inventory as more projects are approached.
Read our welding business purchasing guide to learn about the materials and equipment you'll need to start a welding business, how much to budget, and where to make purchases.
What are the ongoing expenses for a welding business?
Employees will be paid between $45 and $65 per hour. Additionally, raw material will need to be purchased. Typically, this raw material will be marked up by about 50 percent when it’s used.
Who is the target market?
The best clients and customers are those with ongoing welding needs. While you can conduct single projects, you’re better off engaging clients who manage commercial machinery. Among your many clients, several will be incredibly profitable. The best jobs a welding business scan undertake are mega yacht repair, marine equipment fabrication, architectural iron modification, aircraft repair and remanufacturing, cruise ship service, and restaurant equipment repair.
Because commercial providers need to meet certain industry standards, they’re incredibly profitable. Welding clients can extend to farm equipment owners, other welding shops, silo tank providers, and even steel dairy equipment providers.
How does a welding business make money?
Most welding businesses make money by performing small projects. They can, however, make a lot of money by engaging long-term projects. Because a welding company’s best providers are normally marine equipment providers, a lot of service is needed to prevent rusting and water damage.
A welding company also makes money by making metal modifications and repairs. If a company’s machinery breaks, a welding business will be called to examine the surrounding problems. It may also contact a separate repair team—taking charge with metal repairs and needed fabrications, itself.
How much can you charge customers?
Welding services can be charged in two ways. First, they can be charged on a per-job basis. They can also be charged at an hourly rate. Typically, per-hour rates are between $30 and $70 per hour. A well-established welding company may offer higher prices for special jobs and work needs.
How much profit can a welding business make?
A well-established welding service provider can gain yearly profits of about $70,000. A highly successful welding business, meanwhile, can make six figures easily.
How can you make your business more profitable?
Every period of work time should be budgeted. A poorly drawn business plan is believed to be the number-one cause of welding business failure. Know what you can afford, and prioritize your customers. Don’t buy personal toys—welding equipment—before you need it. Focus on getting the business in the door, and find the best customers who need your services. From start-up independent jobs to multi billion-dollar contracts, you’ll need to be a good face-to-face negotiator.
What will you name your business?
Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Welding Business Name Generator
When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:
- Your state's business records
- Federal and state trademark records
- Social media platforms
- Web domain availability.
It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.
STEP 2: Form a legal entity
Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your welding business is sued.
Form Your LLC
Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC
Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.
STEP 3: Register for taxes
You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.
In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!
You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).
You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:
There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.
STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card
Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.
When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.
Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.
Open a business bank account
- This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
- It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.
Get a business credit card
- This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
- It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.
STEP 5: Set up business accounting
Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.
STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses
Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.
Federal Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a welding business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a welding business business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.
For information about local licenses and permits:
- Check with your town, city or county clerk’s office
- Get assistance from one of the local associations listed in US Small Business Associations directory of local business resources.
In business where services are provided on an extended basis, a services contract is often put in place outlining terms and conditions of service.
Welding businesses should require clients to sign a services agreement before starting a new project. This agreement should clarify client expectations and minimize risk of legal disputes by setting out payment terms and conditions, and service level expectations. An example of a service contract can be found here.
Labor safety requirements
It is important to comply with all Occupational Safety and Health Administration requirements.
Relevant requirements include:
- Employee injury report
- Safety signage
Certificate of Occupancy
Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.
- If you plan to lease a location:
- It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
- Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a welding business
- After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
- If you plan to purchase or build a location:
- You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
- Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your welding business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.
STEP 7: Get business insurance
Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.
There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.
Learn more about General Liability Insurance.
Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.
STEP 8: Define your brand
Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.
If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.
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Use a Premium Logo Maker
How to promote & market a welding business
Market directly to businesses. While cold-calling tactics are difficult to pull off, you’ll need to become good at them to find high-quality clients. Market to any business related to marine services, and try to get hired by big companies. If they’re part of a business network, fish for opportunities there.
How to keep customers coming back
Hiring an ongoing welding service provider is a long-term commitment. For this reason, customer retention can be difficult to obtain but easy to maintain. Your best retention tool is to ensure high-quality, quick services. As with any contracting job, companies will stick to providers which ensure reliable services.
STEP 9: Create your business website
After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.
While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.
Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:
- All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
- Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
- Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.
Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.
Start A Welding Business In Your State
Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.
Is this Business Right For You?
A welding business should be run by individuals who’re experienced in metalworking, welding, and fabrication. It’s a solid business plan for workers who love excavating projects, fixing mechanical items, and performing general maintenance. A lot of welding projects are custom, giving project managers a lot of control over the services performed. A high degree of investment takes place, too, making it a good business for individuals who enjoy completing ongoing repairs, installations, and upgrades.
Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?
Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!
What happens during a typical day at a welding business?
A welding business owner must perform a number of activities. Among the many responsibilities a welding business owner has, understanding local laws, sales needs, and self-starting requirements is important. Welders assist with dump truck box repair, aluminum tank restoration, blade welding, lift welding, silver brazing, and fabrication projects. Other activities include ongoing research, metal repair, plasma cutting, and machine maintenance.
As an owner, you’ll need to conduct research on local market needs, effective sales strategies, management, and finance. You’ll similarly need to protect your team’s tools from damage, maintaining a healthy supply of metal-cutting tools to ensure high-quality services.
What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful welding business?
The skills a welding business provider must have are numerous. First, you’ll need to be able to read blueprints quickly and easily. You’ll also need an awareness of safety standards. Concentration, customer service skills, a detail-oriented work ethic, good eyesight, knowledge of metallurgy, tool knowledge, dexterity, and in-depth knowledge of different welding techniques are also important.
A successful welding business can service a wide array of projects. They handle jobs quickly, and they’re capable of meeting a high variety of client needs. Lasting welding businesses are committed to their work, ensure all aspects are completed correctly and have a sharp eye for new potential.
What is the growth potential for a welding business?
Welding businesses have a lot of potential. They can either be a niche welding business or a general welding shop. Understandably, niche welding businesses have a tight market area. They’re able to grow quicker, as there is less competition.
General welding shops, meanwhile, face a lot of competition. However, they do have a lot of services available. If a general welding shop advertises correctly, it can offer fabrication services for most jobs, though it will need to advertise across multiple industries and have a wide range of services and equipment.
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Take the Next Step
Find a business mentor
One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.
Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.
Resources to Help Women in Business
There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:
If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.
What are some insider tips for jump starting a welding business?
Develop a business plan quickly. A lot of welders think business plans are a time-sink, but a solid business plan can help you map out your business’s needs and expenses.
How and when to build a team
Once you’re spending over 40 hours a week fabricating and welding, you’ll need to hire more employees. Working this much is a good sign, as it proves you’re becoming a successful business. As a business owner, however, you’ll need to manage between three and five additional workers with care. They depend on you for their financial survival, and they’re typically paid more than average employees.
Read our welding business hiring guide to learn about the different roles a welding business typically fills, how much to budget for employee salaries, and how to build your team exactly how you want it.