How to Start a Granite Fabrication Shop

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Granite has become a popular material used by the residential construction and remodeling markets. In most residential environments, granite is used for kitchen countertops or bath vanities. In the commercial market, granite has seen increased use in hotels and office buildings. Many airports also use granite for floors throughout the facility. Because granite work involves custom fabrication to accommodate walls, counter shapes, and other dimensions, an experienced fabricator is necessary to ensure a safe production process and a quality result.

Build your business structure. Design your business with the aid of a certified public accountant familiar with industrial clients. Next, meet with a commercial insurance agent who understands the risks inherent in fabrication work, and the necessary coverage to manage those risks. Visit your city or county clerk’s office for a business license. Finally, obtain any necessary certifications to own and operate your commercial fabrication and transport equipment.

Construct your granite fabrication facility. First, decide on the size and scope of your fabrication building. This decision will be largely dictated by the dimensions of the cutting and polishing equipment you use, and by the inside storage space required by granite stock you want to keep under cover. To save yourself time and money, consider the purchase of a specially sized metal building. Design the interior layout to satisfy your own requirements. Refer to a United States metal building directory for a dealer near you.

Purchase your granite fabrication machinery. Although each shop may be configured differently, there are some standard pieces of equipment that will be needed in all fabrication facilities--at least one slab table to hold the long, heavy granite slabs while measuring and cutting them, and a saw assembly with the appropriate blades and tracks.

Along with fabrication machinery, order tools for cutting, grinding, edging and polishing the granite. For workers’ safety, purchase safety equipment such as containment suits and respirators. Finally, invest in a forklift or other heavy equipment to safely transport the heavy granite slabs and countertops throughout your facility.

Order your granite slabs. By design, your fabrication business will be capable of custom-cutting granite blanks to customers’ needs. To obtain granite slabs in your choice of colors, Slab Market, a United States supplier with worldwide quarry connections, provides an expedited purchase and customs process.

Once ordered, the granite slabs are packaged in a container in one of two ways. If ordered from overseas, all slabs packaged in one container must be from the same quarry. As another option, slabs ordered from a Slab Market U.S. warehouse can include different colors (and sources) within one container. You can pick up the slabs using your own transport service, or Slab Market will arrange container transport for you.

Hire experienced fabrication staff. Because granite fabrication work involves heavy equipment and very sharp cutting tools, there can be high injury potential for an inexperienced operator. Hire fabricators with at least three years of experience on equipment similar to yours. Finally, minimize risk of injury by following all safety precautions and procedures.

Market your services to customers. First, focus on local cabinet design and construction facilities. Although the shops may have their own fabrication shops, you may win some business through favorable pricing or better selection. Next, contact general contractors on large office building or commercial projects. Offer to negotiate volume pricing in return for a large portion (or all) of the fabrication work.

Finally, list your fabrication shop in the North American Fabricator Directory. This directory breaks down into state-by-state listings, and then listings by city within each state. There is a brief description of each fabrication facility.



About the Author

Based in North Carolina, Felicia Greene has written professionally since 1986. Greene edited sailing-related newsletters and designed marketing programs for the New Bern, N.C. "Sun Journal" and New Bern Habitat ReStore. She earned a Bachelor of Science in business administration from the University of Baltimore.

Photo Credits

  • Modern elegant kitchen image by MAXFX from