Considerations for Self-Employed Welders

self employed welder

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Have you always wanted to be self-employed? It’s an option when you complete your welding program and get some experience. An estimated 7 percent of the welding workforce is self-employed. Running your own business—even if it’s a one-person operation—comes with responsibilities welding employees typically wouldn’t have to deal with.

What Is a Self-Employed Welder?

Self-employed welders often work as independent contractors. They are hired on a job-by-job basis and compensated only for the work they were contracted to perform. Unlike employees, they are responsible for their own expenses and do not receive benefits like health insurance or legal protections. In fact, self-employed welders must pay for their own health insurance, social security, workers’ compensation, taxes, unemployment taxes, and other benefits. 1

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Responsibilities of a Self-Employed Welder

Here are some considerations if you want to set up your own welding shop.

  • Business Plan: How will you run your business? What resources do you need? How much can you spend in the first month compared to five months down the road? A plan can help you map out how you’ll successfully run your business. 2 3
  • Financing: What type of funding do you need to start your business? While a one-person operation might cost about a thousand dollars to get up and running, a mobile welding business or fabrication shop requires equipment and employees that could cost more. 4
  • Licenses and Permits: One of the first steps of starting your own welding business will be acquiring the proper occupational and business licenses and permits from local, state, and federal government agencies.
  • Taxes: As a self-employed welder, you’ll have to pay taxes at the end of the year. Some of your business expenses might qualify to be deducted from your total tax bill. You’ll want to speak with a tax professional to determine which welder tax deductions you’re eligible for and then track those expenses throughout the year.
  • Marketing: How are you going to get customers? Do you have good communication and networking skills? Do you know how to market your services so people find you and become customers? Finding customers will keep your business afloat. 5
  • Customer Service: Customer service is an important skill when you’re out in your community representing your business. While welders may not have to deal with the public often, business owners usually do. 6
  • Time Management: Setting your own schedule is a big responsibility. How will you ensure you’re spending enough time working to cover the costs of your business? This may mean working longer hours than if you were just a regular employee. 7

Becoming Your Own Boss

When considering whether you want to own a business, there are many considerations to take into account. This article doesn’t cover every responsibility you could face as a self-employed welder, but it does list some of the important ones. Starting your own business is a big decision. Proper planning can help ensure it’s also a promising one.

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