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How to Start a Welding Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Welding Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$16,550 - $48,100

Revenue potential

$125,000 - $600,000p.a.

Time to build

3-6 months

Profit potential

$110,000 - $240,000 p.a.

Industry trend

Growing

Commitment

Flexible

Welding is a huge industry, valued at over $20 billion globally. If you are a welder or want to learn to be a welder, you can start your own welding business and get a share of that market. Welding involves making or repairing things made out of metal such as machinery for businesses, or metal fencing for consumers. Welding takes a high level of skill and can be used in a wide variety of applications.

Starting a welding business has challenges and will require hard work and knowledge to become successful. This step-by-step guide has all the information that you need to put you on your way to creating a lucrative welding business.

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a welding business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s the right path for you.

Pros

  • High Demand – Welding services have many applications
  • Satisfying Work – Welding is a creative and valuable craft
  • Flexibility – Mobile welders can work from home

Cons

  • High Startup Costs – Welding education and equipment are expensive
  • Evolving Technology – Robots are now able to perform some welding applications

Welding industry trends

Industry size and growth

welding industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

welding industry Trends and Challenges

Some trends in the welding industry include:

  • Many manufacturers are replacing welders with robots due to a shortage of over 2 million welders reported by the American Welding Society (AWS). This shortage, however, presents an opportunity for small welding companies to do business with customers that cannot afford robotic technology, since little competition in welding exists.
  • Advances in tools in the industry have broadened the market due to a widened applications scope. 

Some challenges in the industry also exist which include:

  • As technology advances robotic welding processes may become more affordable, decreasing the demand for human welders.
  • Supply chain challenges are having an impact on the industry due to difficulty obtaining necessary parts.

What kind of people work in welding?

welding industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a welding business?

Startup costs for a welding business range from $16,000 to nearly $50,000. The low end assumes that you are already a certified welder and will run a mobile welding service from your home. The high end includes welding education and certification, which costs between $7,000 and $9,000, and renting a fabrication shop. You can find information on courses and certification from the AWS

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your welding business. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • Welding machines
  • Fume extractor
  • Respirator
  • Plasma
  • Air cutters
  • Welding helmet
  • Hoists
  • Welding pads
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corportation$150 - $200$175
Licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100 - $300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Welding education and certification$0 - $9,000$4,500
Welding equipment$15,000 - $30,000$22,500
Rent a fabrication shop and workspace - security deposit$0 - $5,000$2,500
Total$16,550 - $48,100$32,325

How much can you earn from a welding business?

Welding business earnings forecast

Welding services are generally paid for by the hour, from between $65 to $125 for an average of $95 per hour. Your profit margin should be about 90% since your customers will pay for the parts needed. 

In your first year or two, you could work from home as a mobile service and work 25 hours a week, bringing in nearly $125,000 in annual revenue. This would mean over $110,000 in profit, assuming that 90% margin. As your brand gains recognition, sales could climb to jobs that require 120 hours per week. 

At this stage, you would be renting a fabrication shop and have staff including other welders, reducing your profit margin to around 40%. With expected annual revenue of nearly $600,000, you would make almost $240,000.

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a welding business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • You need education and certification and must be highly skilled
  • Welding equipment requires an upfront investment

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a welding business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research welding businesses in your area to examine their services, price points, and customer reviews. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the local market is missing a mobile welding service.

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry such as welding for consumers rather than businesses.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your services

Your services will be based on your skill level and experience. You may offer only basic welding services, or more advanced welding services to do things like build machinery.

How much should you charge for welding services?

Welding businesses charge between $65 and $125 per hour for welding services. If you are a mobile service, your costs will be limited to fuel and tool maintenance, so you should aim for a profit margin of about 90%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price point. Remember, the price you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

You may target consumers, but you’ll get more business targeting manufacturers and other companies. You can find them on business-related sites like LinkedIn.

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you’ll likely need to hire workers for various roles and will need to rent out a fabrication shop space. Find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
Welding business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Welding Company Name

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “welding” or “welding service”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “Jim’s Welding” over “Jim’s Mobile Welding”
  • A location-based name can help establish a strong connection with your local community and help with the SEO but might hinder future expansion

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Welding Business Plan

Here are the key components of a business plan:

what to include in a business plan
  • Executive Summary: Outline your welding business’s mission to provide high-quality, professional welding services for various industrial, commercial, and residential projects.
  • Business Overview: Describe your business’s focus on offering specialized welding services, including metal fabrication, repair work, and custom welding projects.
  • Product and Services: Detail the types of welding services offered, such as MIG, TIG, and stick welding, for various materials like steel, aluminum, and stainless steel.
  • Market Analysis: Assess the demand for welding services in your area, considering factors like local construction activity, industrial needs, and custom metalwork demand.
  • Competitive Analysis: Compare your services to other welding businesses, focusing on your strengths like technical expertise, equipment quality, or flexible service options.
  • Sales and Marketing: Outline your strategy for attracting clients, using tactics like local advertising, building relationships with contractors, and maintaining an online presence.
  • Management Team: Highlight the experience and qualifications of your team, especially in areas like certified welding, project management, and customer service.
  • Operations Plan: Describe the operational process, including client consultations, project planning, welding execution, and quality control.
  • Financial Plan: Provide an overview of financial aspects, covering startup costs, pricing strategy, and projected revenue.
  • Appendix: Include supplementary documents such as certifications, client testimonials, or detailed market research to support your business plan.

If you’ve never created a business plan yourself before, it can be an intimidating task. Consider hiring an experienced business plan writer to create a professional business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you are planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to welding businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your welding business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

types of business structures
  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you are completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

types of business financing
  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

An SBA or bank loan may be your best bet for financing. You’ll need a rock solid business plan and a good credit history to get one.

Step 8: Apply for Welding Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a welding business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments. You’ll need to get a welding certification, and you can find information on how to do this from the AWS. You will also probably need to get a welding license from your state, which is a type of specialty contractor’s license. Check with your state for requirements.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as, health license and permit from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level licenses and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements. 

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

For peace of mind and to save time, we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state, and provide them to you to make sure you’re fully compliant.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account. Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your welding business as a sole proprietorship. 

Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

types of business insurance
  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of any of the above insurance types.

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks.  

You can use industry-specific software, such as CEI, Octopuspro, or WeldEye, to manage your leads, bookings, quality management, invoicing, and payments.

Accounting

  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial.

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google.

Marketing

Here are some powerful marketing strategies for your future business:

  • Local Partnerships: Forge alliances with local construction companies, metal suppliers, or home improvement stores to establish a steady stream of referrals and collaborative projects.
  • Community Outreach: Attend local events, sponsor sports teams, or offer free welding workshops to raise awareness about your business within the community.
  • Social Media Showcase: Utilize platforms like Instagram and Facebook to showcase your welding projects visually, engaging potential clients and highlighting your skills and craftsmanship.
  • Specialized Services: Identify niche markets such as custom art installations, metal furniture, or unique welding applications to differentiate your business and attract specific customer segments.
  • Referral Programs: Implement a referral program where satisfied clients receive discounts or incentives for recommending your services, leveraging word-of-mouth marketing.
  • Mobile Welding Services: Offer on-site welding services to reach customers who may have difficulty transporting large or heavy metal items, providing convenience and expanding your client base.
  • Quality Assurance Certifications: Obtain relevant certifications to demonstrate the high quality and reliability of your welding services, instilling confidence in potential clients.
  • Educational Content: Create informative content, such as blog posts or video tutorials, showcasing your expertise in welding techniques and safety, positioning yourself as an authority in the field.
  • Customer Testimonials: Encourage satisfied customers to leave positive reviews on online platforms, enhancing your online reputation and influencing potential clients.
  • Seasonal Promotions: Introduce seasonal promotions or discounts during slower business periods to stimulate demand and attract new customers.

Focus on USPs

unique selling proposition

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that sets it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your welding business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your welding business could be:

  • Mobile welding – we bring the tools to you
  • 24/7 on-call mobile welding services
  • Iron railings, fences, and more for your home

Networking

You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a welding business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in welding for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in welding. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a welding business would include:

  • Welders – perform welding services
  • General manager – staff management, accounting
  • Front Desk Clerk – schedule appointments, greet customers, take payments

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Welding Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

A shortage of welders exists in the US which means that welders are in demand. Welding is a huge global industry valued at over $20 billion and growing, and starting your own welding business is a great opportunity to get a share of that market. 

If you are already a welder, you’re ahead of the game and just need to get all the tools that you need. You have all the relevant knowledge you need now, so you’re ready to start fabricating your entrepreneurial story and build a successful welding company!

Welding Business FAQs

How profitable is a welding business?

Welding businesses charge high prices due to the demand for services and the skill involved. Prices range from $65 to $125 per hour, so if you stay busy you can make a healthy profit.

Where can I learn to be a welder?

The American Welding Society offers many resources to learn where to get welder education, and they also provide certification once your training is complete and you pass a certification test. 

How do I get customers for welding?

To get customers for welding, you can advertise your services online through social media platforms or classified websites, create a website to showcase your work and experience,and network with construction and fabrication companies in your area.

Where is the highest demand for welders?

The highest demand for welders is typically in industries such as construction, manufacturing, oil and gas, and transportation. The demand for welders can vary depending on location, as some areas may have a higher concentration of these industries than others.

What type of welding makes the most money?

Welding types that make the most money typically require specialized skills and expertise, such as underwater welding or aerospace welding. However, the amount of money you can earn as a welder also depends on factors such as your experience, location, and the demand for your specific welding skills.

What is the easiest welding to learn?

MIG (Metal Inert Gas) welding is considered one of the easiest types of welding to learn for beginners. This is because it uses a wire electrode and shielding gas to protect the weld from the atmosphere, which makes it more forgiving compared to other welding techniques.

What is the typical turnaround time for completing welding projects?

The turnaround time for completing welding projects can vary widely depending on the scope and complexity of the project, as well as the availability of the necessary materials and equipment. It is best to discuss the expected completion time with the customer before starting the project to avoid any misunderstandings or delays.

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How to Start a Welding Business