It’s hard for most small welding operations to match the prices for many products sold in box stores that have been mass-produced for a low price overseas. However, there are some welders who have figured out how to compete by mass-producing custom products that need to be strong and built to really specific specs. The more you produce at one time the better, as you can save on material costs and focus on your work in productive batches.
Here’s a run-down of some in-demand welding projects that you can mass-produce in order to maximize your profit in the long run without stock-piling a garage full of products that no one will buy:
Custom Tractor Forks
Construction companies and manufacturers are looking for ways to cut costs by making their vehicles more versatile and useful. Welders can make good money by helping them make custom changes to their trucks and factory vehicles. One welder created hundreds of tractor forks that double as a clamp-on receiver hitch holder.
The project calls for cutting with a plasma cutter and some MIG welding, but the finished product is quite simple and functional. The forks have been custom-made since he’s close to his client and able make modifications right on site as each tractor needs them.
One welder found that he could turn a good profit by custom welding a series of 50 architectural brackets. Using 3/8″ steel, he cut and tacked the brackets together and cut holes suited for ½” bolts. While lighter-duty brackets may be available for cheaper prices, designers and builders looking for something solid and reliable will no doubt want to use these sturdy brackets for their next projects since they’ll be hard pressed to find anything better or cheaper.
Custom Welding Art
It’s not enough to weld a work of high quality art. It also needs to be completely unique. If you list it on Craig’s List, you’ll most likely get messages from buyers who want you to slash your price. However, if you weld pieces of art, preferably in larger quantities, you may find success among art gallery owners, local artisan stores, or other higher end retailers.
Keep in mind that people are visiting flea markets, yard sales, and Craig’s List in search of a bargain. So if you want to make the most of your time and turn a profit, you need to create your welding art in larger quantities and sell your work in places where people will pay a more respectable price.
If you’re welding a custom product, you can still add personal touches and flourishes that will help it stand out. For instance, railings, fences, and handrails can all be mass-produced by welders, but a homeowner may need a particular decoration, addition, or height in particular areas. While your quantities will be lower than products for a factory or local business, there is good money to be made in custom construction welding projects. You just need to get in touch with the right contractors who can open doors for you.
Go Small with Your Welding Projects
While it may be appealing to produce big ticket items with your welding machine, you may still be able to make decent money over the long haul with smaller welding projects such as lamps or key chains if you can figure out ways to market them to specific sub-groups. For instance, you can integrate decorations or found materials into your projects in order to make them more appealing to a wider group of buyers.
When Should You Avoid Mass-Production?
Obviously every welder is different, but a good rule of thumb when taking on any welding project should be whether you can make a good hourly rate. For instance, welding a custom sign for a business is an ideal way that welders can make a solid wage for their time without using a ton of materials. Most businesses won’t be able to hire a welder from overseas who can give them a discount on their sign!