It’s tough to compete with products from overseas. This is especially true when you’re welding as a hobby or in a small fabrication shop. However, there are lots of welders out there who are creating products for committed customers. While remaining wary of lower cost competitors at big box stores, there is a local market for high quality, American welding projects that you can fabricate right in your shop.
Like any small business, there are plenty of ways you can keep costs low and target specific customers with your welding projects. Before you strike your arc or start distributing business cards, here are some tips for creating welding projects that you can sell for cash:
Small Welding Projects
If you have a lot of scrap metal around, you can turn today’s trash into tomorrow’s cash by fabricating a series of small welding projects from bookends to candle holders to small shelves. The key here is to simplify your workflow and to get your materials for as close to free as possible.
Some welders have also managed to put together fireplace grills and fire pit boxes that have unique designs or sizes based on the needs of their customers. A simple coffee table or desk made from found materials could also sell well if you can make strong welds and give it a fresh coat of paint.
Niche Welding Projects
The best place to start with a niche welding project will be with a specific group of people, such as sports fans, people who share a common hobby (such as auto-racing or horse riding), or even other welders. For instance, you could design your own welding table and sell it directly to welders who want a table design that offers a bit more functionality than what the major brands offer.
People who enjoy horse riding may enjoy artwork or shelving units that incorporate horseshoes. While most people can pick up a cheap mailbox at the local box store, you could use a plasma cutter to cut out a silhouette of a horse and weld it onto a specially designed mailbox.
If you targeted people who enjoy working on cars or auto-racing, a trip to the local junk yard may give you everything you need to start your next welding project. So long as you can keep your costs low for materials, you stand a chance at turning a profit from your niche projects. There’s really no limit to what you can do if you start to think of unique items that people in a particular niche would want.
Custom Welding Projects
Welders have made a solid living for themselves by tapping into customized welding projects, with the most common type of project being a sign that is welded together and then designed with a plasma cutter. A welding project like that will take a lot of practice and artistic ability, but it could work if you’re willing to work as an installer alongside someone with more experience in cutting.
Homeowners will need custom-designed metal work from time to time, and so you may be able to create a series of welding projects that can be customized depending on the location. For instance, a factory may need specially designed shelving units that fit into a tight space or a homeowner may need a fence that is welded to his specifications.
High End Welding Projects
If you want to get in on higher end welding projects, you could weld desks, tables, mirror frames, or light fixtures for homeowners. In addition, coat racks, wine racks, and letter holders for higher end homes, and welders can create these projects based on each homeowner’s needs.
Having connections with building contractors and a series of samples will help you pick up new clients and referrals, but once you place a couple of high end projects for homeowners, the word of mouth will help grow your side business.
If you plan on diving into any welding projects and need gear and supplies, check out what we have to offer here.