A well-trained and experienced welder can do much worse than moving out of the shadow of their employer. Setting up your own business is a sound financial choice – business mag Forbes notes that self-employed people earning over $100,000 rose 4.9% in the last two years. Once you have the network to work with and the skills to match, it makes sense to go it alone.
A premises will be absolutely necessary for a welder. It is not feasible, nor safe, to do it from the confines of your own home – with the exception of a fully insulated and well ventilated garage. Preparing your environment for your business will put you in a great starting place; from there, you can look at managing your business.
Preparing the environment
Your welding shop needs to be fit for purpose. This means outfitting it in such a way that risks can be minimized, and in the event of an accident, mitigated. Using fireproof and durable containment mats is a great first start, as they can be laid easily to the floor, usually the first location for bouncing sparks. Concrete ceilings and walls, or those with flame retardant paint, are a necessity. Ensure you have excellent ventilation, as welding will give off noxious fumes in some cases. Insulation is important, too: in the worst case scenario of a fire starting, you should be able to slam the fire door shut to prevent the fire getting out of control.
Another important aspect is inventory management. Apart from being conducive to good business practice, keeping inventory well-measured is a matter of safety. In Milwaukee, unlabeled chemical waste caused a welding accident that nearly cost a life.
Managing a business
With premises in place and your business ready to go, you should look to management. There are lots of caveats with business that depend on shifting factors, such as revenue, your host state, and federal law. It’s not a bad idea to hire a business adviser, or at least speak to a legal professional. Making sure you’re insured is absolutely crucial, both in case of accident or spurious claims from clients; NBC have produced a list of common oversights to be adhered to. If you take on staff, ensure that you are fulfilling your obligations as an employer. Ensure your business runs smoothly by being diligent in all matters.
Growing your brand
Depending on your area of work and quality of contacts, there’s a chance your business can get off to a flying start and you’ll be running out of time. Turning down jobs never seems like a good idea, and you’ll soon be rushed off your feet. Don’t feel pressured – if your work is good, the orders will come. Grow your business slowly, and don’t neglect your own health. It can seem exciting, when the cash rolls in, to bring in staff, grow the business, and get a bigger base. This may well be the next course, but just be careful. Again, practice patience and due diligence.
Breaking out into your own business can be a great idea for experienced and ambitious welders. Don’t let yourself get dragged down by poor safety or business practice. Take it easy, take it slow, and have patience. You’ll soon have a business legacy of your own.