Welding is really big and important business! If you just take a second and look around yourself, you will notice how many things are actually created by being welded together. Meaning, that there are loads of opportunities for a person who knows how to weld.
But welding itself is not easy. It is an acquired skill and something that could take months, if not years, to develop. A person with loads of experience in welding trade can create more than lucrative opportunities for oneself, especially if they know how to use different types of welding. Welding is a niche market and pays more than enough.
So if you are contemplating the idea of becoming a welder there are a few things that you should know first.
Let’s go over them together…
Where Do You Start?
Welding is not something that you can just pick up and start right away. It is manual work and it does require a lot of practice before you get good at it. Finding the right welding equipment is a part of it but not the greatest. The first step should be finding a good course on welding or enrolling in a school.
There are actually a lot of welding schools that provide introductory courses to welding. The best ones even offer to find you jobs once you finish. But the best way for a beginner to start is to do some research and pick one that will enable you to learn the basics.
If you are young enough, you can also start as an apprentice. Certain welding companies do offer apprenticeships on hand. Once you start understanding all the safety aspects and the actual mechanics of the job you will be well on your way on starting your welding business.
But don’t forget – practice makes perfect! You have to do a lot of welding projects, practice runs even before you can get serious about a welding career.
How to Become a Certified Welder?
Becoming a certified welder will greatly help you establish a business. But acquiring a certificate requires one completing a series of tests on welding procedures.
First of all, welders have to be both physically and mentally fit for this type of a job. Concentration and hand-eye coordination are important traits to have. You can’t be a clumsy welder as you are not going to be good at it. Welders need to work long and repetitive hours in different weather conditions.
So if you want this to be your career, having a certificate will look really well on your business card.
Which Industries Need Welders?
As mentioned at the beginning of the article, there are welded pieces all around us. From the coffee table near you to a power plant that power’s the grid in your state. So a lot of industries depend on making good welds and require good and experienced workers.
Let’s mention some of the most important ones.
The construction industry greatly depends on welders. You can find plenty of opportunities there if you are good enough. One can either work on commercial or residential buildings. But the point is that many of the structures that we have today surrounding us literally wouldn’t be able to exist without welders.
In construction, welders can also be employed for working on:
- Utility plants
- Laying pipes
As you can determine by yourself, this is not easy work. More often than not, these types of jobs require risky work. You may need to work in high places or in cramp spots. So you have to be prepared and mentally ready for that.
Almost similar things apply to the manufacturing industry as in construction. There are various welded projects where a welder is needed, paramount in fact. Basically, all products made from metal will require some kind of welding work.
The most prominent examples are:
- Automobile building
- Aircraft building
- Mining industry
But the process of making certain products also requires a lot of machines. A machine can break from time to time so it obviously requires someone to fix it and weld it together. Additionally. welders directly work in building certain products which is most apparent in shipbuilding, automobile manufacturing, and aircraft building.
It used to be the best place for low to medium-skilled welders but this one has been taken over by the welding robots in the past 20 years. Less room for an average welder but those robots need a human hand too so it can be a good job opportunity for different kinds of welding technicians…
Oil & Gas Companies
The oil and gas industry employes a lot of welders. It is a very important industry for the world and certainly one that is valued in the USA. But it is also a bit of dangerous work. One may need to travel all over the world for certain types of jobs. You may end up working on an oil rig and be dispatched there for a few months. Alos, ceratin types of welding jobs, particularly underwater welding, can be both hard and dangerous.
The most basic type of welding project in this industry is welding, taking care of, and fixing pipes. The pipelines need to be impeccable so one has to make sure that they are put together well.
But with the danger and exhaustion that comes in this type of industry comes more money.
Welders are actually employed in some areas that people rarely think of. Besides metal cutting and stick welding, there are plenty of other opportunities for contract welders to work on a welding job.
The military also needs welders. They actually hire them to work on-site on bases. They can maintain gear, vehicles, and facilities.
Industrial plants require maintenance from time to time. Certain fixes will require welds to be made. This will ensure that the plant is up and running for longer periods with regular maintenance.
The motorsports industry is a highly lucrative one for projects on welding. Every team has a welder in their pit crew. They can perform MIG welding or do work on sheet metal or basically repair the parts of a car.
Cruise ships also bring welders as part of their crew. You can’t stop an entire ship in a harbor just for repairs so welders are needed on board to make the necessary fixes or simply to maintain the equipment.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of ways one can earn money from welding. It can even be a source of side income in some cases.
How to Make Money Welding in Your Garage
So now that you know how lucrative and important welding can actually be, you might want to consider creating your own welding business. Some people have even successfully left their day jobs and made a career just from projects for welding out of their garage.
But still, you can’t just jump into it and start offering arc welding to passers-by. You need to have an exact and carefully thought out plan first.
Let’s go over some of the steps you will need to take.
Open Your Garage for Jobbing Work
The first and most basic step is the overhaul your garage into your workspace. Install a welding table and add in a side table and you will be good to go. Put up a sign and make yourself known. You never know when a person just down the street from you will need some repairs that require welding.
But be visible on the web as well. Take the advantage of social media and create accounts that you or your wife can manage for you. It is no doubt the best place to get free advertisements. Create a marketing plan so you can reach more people.
In the beginning, you might get some odd jobs here and there. But fixing up a wheelchair ramp or a bike chain on a mountain bike should not be beneath you. You can even throw in some pro bono work. Once you are out there business will start flowing in.
Here is a great idea for a professional DIY welding table build from “Metalist” on youtube.
Build & Repair Trailers
Believe it or not, building or repairing existing trailers is a great way for a welder to start. You can either buy an old one and fix it up a bit by investing in added material or do it from scratch. But since the former is much harder to do than the latter, you can focus on refurbishing an old one.
You can easily find old trailers for low amounts of cash. Put on your welding helmet and get to work. Fix up everything that you can and refurbish it the best that you can. Once you are done you can advertise it to customers on your website or through free ads.
Enter the Housing Industry
Look around your neighborhood and you might notice that there are a lot of fences and gates sounding your neighbor’s houses. Think of those as work options.
Most of them are made of steel or stainless steel, aluminum, or a variety of other metal material. So you may offer your services and make fixes at home or on-site.
This particular work may require doing more fieldwork than doing it in your home shop. So you have to be prepared for that. This means that you will need a good, lightweight machine for stick welding or MIG welding that you can easily care with you.
Also, your arsenal of equipment should include a lot of power cords and extension cords.
This sounds like a perfect side hustle as people often need to work around their home. You may have more customers than you can handle at some point but it is a delightful problem to have.
A Metal Trellis
Gardening is a bigger hobby than you might think. People who are serious about it do require someone who can make a metal trellis for them. But keep in mind that this type of work does include more clamping than actual welding. In some cases, three times as much. Nevertheless, these are still good options for earning something on the side.
Making a sign holder from wrought iron does not seem like that much work. But small businesses do need them as they can advertise themselves and stand out apart from the others.
Smaller ones can bring up to $150 while bigger signs will earn you up to $600. Think about these numbers next time when you are offered this kind of job.
Being safe and protecting yourself while welding is a highly important part of the job. As mentioned, this can be dangerous work so one has to keep safe.
It does not matter if you are using a plasma cutter, a stick welder, or are doing gas tungsten arc welding, you have to take all precautions to preserve your health.
The most important part is protecting your eyes. A good welding helmet is a way to go. It will protect you from welding business and protect your eyesight in the long run.
Other protective equipment includes welding gloves or wearing long sleeves so a welder can keep safe from burns.
How many welders die each year?
Based on the findings of Industrial Safety & Hygiene News, 1 in every 250 die from welding-related injuries.
Average Salary of a Welder
There are many factors that influence the amount of money a welder is able to earn. Firstly, it depends on the state or country you are planning to work in. There are also some specialized areas that have high levels of risk, underwater welding or military welders, that are paid more than others. Finally, the pay rate will also depend on whether a welder travels or not.
Currently, the average salary for a welder is somewhere around $18 per hour, which amounts to $38,000 a year. Entry-level workers are going to be paid less than professionals, of course. Those who travel arguably receive the most money. Since they are usually dispatched somewhere dangerous for work it is quite normal that they get paid the big bucks. Their earnings could go up to some $160,000 a year.
If you start your welding business or metal cutting job as a freelancer your earnings will depend on the amount of work you are doing. Taking on as much work as possible in the beginning is always a good idea.
Frequently Asked Questions
There you have it! Basically these would be all the ins and outs of becoming a good welder and developing your business. Following the advice we talked about here will send you on your way of becoming good at it and also being able to provide these types of services to others. Ultimately your business will no doubt start to strive in no time.
- Welders, Cutters, Solderers, and Brazers at US Bureau of Labor Statistics
- Top 4 Industries for Welders by Oanh Nguyen at Tulsa Welding School
- The Welding Industry: A National Perspective on Workforce Trends and Challenges by the Aguirre Division of JBS International
- How to start, establish, and grow a welding or manufacturing business by Vicki Bell at thefabricator.com
- Where Do You Start?
- Which Industries Need Welders?
- How to Make Money Welding in Your Garage
- Welding Protection
- Average Salary of a Welder
- Frequently Asked Questions