For many professional welders and fabricators, the idea of a fabrication shop start up is becoming a popular option. Self-employment provides more freedom in terms of work hours, the kind of projects to take on, and proper work distribution over a time period to meet the deadline. However, while most fabricators have technical expertise, many still lack knowledge on the business front. Like any other enterprise, starting a fabrication shop requires time, research, resources, and a good location. This blog provides information on the same.
Preliminary Steps to Start a Metal Fabrication Business
The preliminary steps involved in starting a metal fabrication business are similar to other business startups. You can proceed using the following steps:
- Create a Business Plan: It is impossible for your metal fabrication unit to succeed without a business plan. Accuracy and eye for detailing are the two main requisites for an effective business plan.
- Evaluate the Competition: Prior to launching a sheet fabrication business, you need to evaluate the competition in your area. You can search online directories to get information about metal fabricators in your area. This will help you understand the competition, the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, and allow you to decide how you can position the new business against established firms.
- Learn from others in the Business: It is beneficial to learn the trade from people in your business. You can talk to some fabricators who serve outside your community or locality. You can approach them as a customer to understand their approach towards your requirement.
- Decide on Customers: As you know, metal fabrication is a broad segment in itself. The scope of your setup depends on the size of your space and equipment capacity. Many established and large metal fabricators can handle more than 120,000 steel sheets in a month or so. However, that may not be easy for you in the initial years. So, you need to decide whether you want to cater to commercial or household clients, or wish to serve both together.
Setting up your Fabrication Shop
To ensure that fabricators have the knowledge to start out on their own, here are the steps to set up a fabrication shop. However, we are not focusing on financial investment in this post.
- Decide on your Fabrication Services: There are a variety of services that come under fabrication. These include welding, cutting, grinding, shaping, repair, or renovation. The kind of tools you require will depend on the type of work you will take on. So look at your strengths, and get the equipment for those fabrication services.
- Find a Suitable Location: It goes without saying that you need a place to work. After assessing your services, look for a location that will be large enough to fit your tools, and give you space to move around. Ensure that there is enough ventilation. If you are doing a lot of welding and grinding work, you will need to ensure that the fumes will be expelled from the shop.
- Get the Tools: Depending on the services you will provide, you can buy different types of equipment. Since we are talking about fabrication shop startups, given below is the basic list of tools and equipment you will need:
- Welding machine
- Measuring device
- Heavy welding gloves
- Light working gloves
- Table with a metal surface
- Soap stone for marking metal
- Welding helmet with dark shade
- Grinder for cleaning up the metal
- Ball peen hammer, or any metal working hammer
- A level to ensure that your metal is straight and flat
- Soft sandpaper pads, and cutoff wheels for the grinder
- Take the Appropriate Insurance: This is one of the major requirements, if you are starting your own metal fabrication business. As you or your workmen will deal with dangerous equipment, tools, and materials on the regular basis, there are chances of injuries and accidents occurring at the workplace. The medical expenses can be expensive in such situations. You can avoid big medical expenses by taking the right insurance. You can check with all major insurance service providers in your area or receive quotes online.
- Get the Accreditations: There are certain legal papers that need to be acquired before you start taking on projects. These include a business license, Employer Identification Number (EIN), and a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) Number. Depending on the state you live in, you may also require special permits to do your work. Visit the local government offices to find out more on the documents needed to start your shop.
- Decide on Number of Employees: Not everyone can be jack of all trades. You will need to bring in specialists who know how to perform certain jobs well. One of the most important people to bring in are welders. They require special certifications to do their jobs. People who have experiencing in smithing are also ideal for fabrication projects. If you decide to bring a laser cutting machine, then you will need an operator for the same.
A Few Final Tips
Ensure that your shop has all the safety equipment and first aid medical supplies in case of an accident. Train all your employees in terms of work and first aid. Buy quality equipment as that will only ensure quality results.
Marketing your business is important as well. You can figure out whether you want to promote your business through local classifieds or social media for a better outreach.
By taking all these steps, you will soon have a successful fabrication business. Start off with small projects and work your way up. The better the results, the more your business will grow.
These various tips can help you set up your fabrication shop in a short amount of time, and with little hassle. Interested in buying fabrication tools? Woodward Fab can provide you the products and tools you need to turn your shop into a major success. We provide simple, powerful, and easy-to-use equipment. Download our free catalogue now. Woodward Fab products are also featured on well-known automotive and fabrication shows. These include Two Guys Garage, Truck’s TV Segment, Stacey David – Tool Tech. Need more information? Give a call to Darren O’Brien, Manager at Woodward Fab.