by Jason Becker
So we received a request via our Instagram page the other day, asking about how to pick up some side work as a welder. Honestly, once people find out that you are a decent welder/fabricator and you have a decent amount of the basic tools, you will most likely be turning work down because you are so busy with side projects.
However, if that is not the case for you, we covered a couple good tips on how to generate some additional funds through side work. The first thing we recommended was to create an Instagram profile for your side business, when you do this, keep the profile strictly business and keep all of your personal stuff off of it, you can put your personal stuff on a separate page. You want to fill this page with photos of past work and customer testimonials. Keep the page positive and follow some of the bigger influencers so you can follow their lead and gain followers on your page. Additionally, you want to make sure that you are using good, relevant hashtags so people are able to find your work with relative ease.
Now that you have a digital portfolio, print off these images so that you have a hard copy so that you can show off your work to potential customers when you meet face to face. Being prepared and having everything in hand will demonstrate attention to detail and professionalism.
One thing you want to look into that we didn't mention in the video is to get some good liability insurance for the work you plan to do. Not all types of side work will require it but if you want to be safe from litigation for work that you have done, its a small price to pay for that peace of mind. When I did side work myself, I had a Million Dollar Policy that only cost about $600 per year. The price isn't bad for the level of protection. You may also want to set yourself up as a small business but that is all up to you.
I also recommend getting some Business cards made up for yourself and having a good contact number, valid email and your instagram page. These cards are pretty cost effective and you can get them made up at your local office supply store or online company. Now when you meet with potential customers you can pass off your card, show them your portfolio and establish a report with them. I used to stop by random apartment complexes and ask to speak to their manager. Apartment complex's are goldmines for side work. They always need something repaired and usually their maintenance crew is not capable of doing the repairs. Often times they would give me more work than I was looking for but would take on the job if it was within my capabilities. to keep them as a client.
One thing you want to do is find a little niche, and stick to that, whether it is repair work, new fabrication, artwork etc. and focus on building a clientele around that. if you try to do a bit of everything, you will be spending a lot of money on specialized tools and turning work down cause you're not equipped to handle. it. Always remember that unless you want to get after it full time, keep it small. My mentor when I was running my business gave me some words to live by and he was right, "If you build a Monster, you have to feed a Monster". He was right, word got around and business for me was booming, but I only wanted something small because I was starting to teach full-time at the college and didn't want to put in the additional time needed to keep up with the side work.
As for advertising, keep it at word of mouth, your customers will recommend you to others and your work will start getting around town. This is another good reason to have business cards made up. Give a couple to your customers and let them advertise for you. Additionally, make customer service a priority and take pride in your work. I always had the mentality that I wouldn't turn over any completed work if I myself wouldn't be willing to pay for it.
That pretty much sums it up, once you learn how to weld, the side work will start showing up. Welding is a skill that very few poses but many envy those who can do it. Hopefully the video and article will help you generate some additional funds if that is your goal. Until next time, Make Every Weld Better Than Your Last.