10 Things You Should Know Before Starting a Welding Business

If you haven't had a chance to listen to our podcast on 6/25/21, you should listen if you have an interest in starting a welding business or if you are just starting out. (I'll share the link at the bottom)

Bob Higginbotham (Higg) is one of our co-hosts at Weld.com and owns a small business in Tampa, Florida. Here are 10 things that he wishes he knew before starting his business, Franken-Fab LLC. In the podcast, he provided a lot of insight and advice. If anyone has any questions for Bob, find him on Instagram @frankenfab813 and also head over to our Weld.com forum where you can post questions and get advice! Just make a free member profile here: www.weld.com/forum

Franken-Fab LLC

So, let's get into these 10 key things you should know before starting a welding business.

  1. Priorities - This has to be #1, only because you are going to have to decide what are the most important activities each and every day. You need to get work, prepare for jobs (what materials do you need, how long will it take to get them), do the work (gain experience quoting approximate times to finish jobs), managing a calendar for jobs and quotes, manage your books, and follow-up with customers to keep repeat business and of course grow your business.

  2. It can't always be about profit in the beginning, you need experience and to provide work that earns you respect.

  3. Managing Cash Flow! This was such a huge point that Bob made. It is absolutely NOT necessary to go buy a brand new truck and have the latest and greatest welding equipment when you first get started. He shared that when he got started, he had a truck that he had paid off and he found used equipment off of places like marketplace and craigslist. As he made money, he bought more used equipment as he needed it. He explained how crucial this is when you own a business... DON'T CARRY A HUGE AMOUNT OF DEBT! It's just going to stress you out and you are going to feel like you can't keep your head above water. Build as you work, invest your money back into your business and grow with it.

  4. It's hard work, but that's ok. This won't be all fun and games in the beginning. Just because you have some welding certs doesn't mean work is just going to fall in your lap. You are going to have to get out there and work hard to get moving!

  5. It's tiresome and requires long hours. Try to do your most important tasks first, early in the morning before you get caught up in the day.

  6. Activity does equal growth without strategy. If you just keep taking the same work, the same amount of work and charging the same prices day in and day out, you are going to plateau. You have to realize your worth once you do have the skillset and experience and learn to grow your business. This might mean hiring one person and then expanding to a team.

  7. Pay attention to what you enjoy doing and what parts make you happy and do more of that! You don't have to take every single job when you get to a certain part. Things you don't enjoy doing and things too advanced that you just aren't ready to take on. It's ok to take risks and that is necessary but know your limits!

  8. Optimize, outsource or automate anything you can. You may need someone to help maintain your books, someone to prepare quotes, follow-up on quotes and you can set-up auto replies with your phone number on social media or a message saying you will be with them shortly.

  9. Engage with your social media audience, even more important, actually USE social media! This part of the industry is only going to keep advancing when it comes to technology. We all have our phones not too far from us and most scroll social media at least a few times a day. Make sure you have a business page and an Instagram at the LEAST to share pictures of your work and reviews from customers!

  10. It's ok to have FUN! Listen, when you show up to work and just dread every minute of it, maybe you are doing the wrong thing. You should enjoy at least some aspect of what you do. When Bob was talking about his crew and how he knows all of them and hangs out with all of them and takes pride in not just being a boss, but being there for them, I think that is a great characteristic to have. You should care about your employees and your customers. You should want to have those playful moments and share positive things to help aspiring welders!

At the end of the day, how many articles have we seen that talk about the shortage of welders? They are posted almost daily. The point of our podcast and the Weld.com community is to help welders of all levels. We want to help encourage those who are considering entering the trade, help those who are in school and might need help passing their certification tests, those who are looking to build their skillset and learn new processes and new industry segments and even engage those who have the highest level of expertise. Together, as a COMMUNITY, we can all help each other to make the welding industry a place that the younger generation and those looking to make career changes want to join!

Listen to our podcast here: https://anchor.fm/welddotcom/episodes/EP-7-Bob-from-Franken-Fab-e13akbj

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