There’s more to running your own welding and fabrication business than knowing how to weld a joint. You also need to create a marketing plan that gets you in front of construction firms, engineers and repair shops that need your services. If you specialize in a certain type of service, such as underwater or mobile welding, take a close look at your target market to help you identify similar companies that need your services.

Stand Out

Learn about the competing businesses in your area. Determine where they get their business, such as at metal shops or construction sites, and find out the types of welding projects in which they specialize. Research their pricing and marketing activities. Then, find ways to stand out from these competitors by offering something different. For example, if no one in your area offers mobile services to repair shops, set up a vehicle with metal tables, generators and welders and complete small jobs on site. If you use special software such as ArcWorks to keep notes about your clients' specific requirements let them know how this helps on the job by eliminating costly mistakes.

Introduce Yourself

Stop by appliance or auto repair shops, commercial building sites and metal shops in your area and introduce yourself to the owners or managers. If you live in a rural area, talk to farmers and ranchers who may need help with small welding jobs. Meet with larger fabrication businesses that may want to subcontract projects. Network with architects and construction managers to find about upcoming projects. Ask what types of welding jobs they require and find out when you should contact them again to bid on the project. Leave your business card or promotional item behind when you meet with people.

Create Marketing Messages

Develop marketing messages to use in a brochure and on a website to let potential customers know more about your services. Add photos to help prospects visualize the types of projects you’ve welded, and include images of the cutting and assembling you’ve done on fabrication projects as well as the final pieces. Mention any mechanical or engineering skills and specialized education you bring to your business to help further convince prospects you can handle the work.

Public Projects

Some states, such as Washington, offer welders who run small businesses that make less than $1 million annually an opportunity to bid on contracts, including welding and fabrication projects, through the Small Works Roster. South Carolina uses a website,, to list projects for which bids have been requested for all of the state’s colleges and universities. Look for more government projects on and to find welding and fabrication projects. GovCB lists available contracts from more than 60,000 government purchasing departments.