Although it’s not always a popular career choice, being an ironworker is a high-demand specialty that not many people consider. Ironworkers can work in many different facets of the construction industry or outside of it. If you are looking for a way to make your ironworking skills, experience, and education really pay off, you might want to consider being your own boss and opening an ironworking business – where you get to call the shots and keep the profits.
Just like any other business owner or entrepreneur, an ironworker who wants to start their own company from the ground up has to be tenacious, see a need in the market to fill, and have the right personality to make it happen. Since it might be necessary for you to diversify and work in many different capacities, you also have to be innovative, creative, and have the ability to adapt to a changing environment.
What is the best type of business: a one-person mobile welding operation or a metal fabrication shop?
There are various ways that you can work in the iron welding industry. You can go from site to site making repairs, or you can own an established metal fabrication shop where you make a specific product or showcase your artistic welding skills. Choosing the right business to start can be tricky in any industry. The right one for you will depend on the type of welder you are, what you want to invest, and what your specialized skills are.
What is a one-person mobile welding operation?
When you choose the one-person mobile welding operation, it means that you make yourself available to go from one worksite to the next when things need to be repaired or built. The start-up cost for a one-person welding operation is smaller upfront, which means that you start turning a profit pretty quickly. To operate a one-person mobile welding operation, you will need to have a vast number of welder certifications that give you experience in many different types of metal work. To be successful, you will also have to have the minimum of a 4G welding certification.
Although it takes a lot of education, you have to consider that when you are in the field as a one-man operation, there is no one to rely on if problems arise that you didn’t anticipate or if you aren’t trained for them. The only way to truly run a successful welding business is to be prepared by knowing all the skills necessary in any situation.
What is a shop that fabricates metal?
If you choose to open a shop that fabricates metal, then the opening costs are going to be higher to get it off of the ground. At first, you might not have as much freedom as you would if you were just one person running the show. To start it, however, you only need to have a 3MIG and stick certification. If you own a shop, then you can hire other professionals to work for you, and you can get the help you need so you don’t have to know it all. Unlike the one-person operation, you will need to have the managerial and scheduling skills and abilities necessary to motivate and inspire engagement of employees. You will also be responsible for overhead costs like workers’ compensation and other insurance that will cost more than if you are running a business alone.
You will also have to know how to hire qualified people to support you. You would be surprised how hard it is to find people who care about your business as much as you do. So, unless you are really ready to be a business owner/manager/boss, then you might want to earn the extra certifications and start out on your own with a portable welding venture. There is always time to build a metal fabrication shop once you have established yourself and your reputation.
If you want a lucrative career that affords you control over the amount of money you earn and the opportunity to be your own boss, then becoming an ironworker might be your ticket to financial freedom and to a really awesome career path.
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