How to Make Money With a Welding Route

Using basic techniques, you can perform regular welding chores for several customers on a welding route.

| January/February 1975

Up in Maine last summer I started a welding route and made a pocketful of money. The trade was easy‚ quickly learned and much in demand . . . every other home seemed to have a couple of articles for me to put back into service. Now‚ while I spend the winter at my teaching job in New York State‚ I’m waiting eagerly for next summer and another season of my new sideline.

I acquired this skill in the first place because I couldn’t get an old wheel hoe welded . . . and decided to stop looking for service and do the repair myself. For $39.95 I bought a UL-approved Solidox welding set sold by Montgomery Ward for use on small home articles. After some practice with scraps‚ I brazed the hoe frame with no trouble at all.

My introduction to the money end of welding came later‚ when I bought a can of flux at a coastal hardware store. “Don’t know who you are‚” spoke up Mr. Lewis‚ the owner‚ “but if you’re interested‚ I have some small boat chains and other things out back that need welding.” I accepted the offer and in three days had the items back in good repair (except for a pulley and a bracket to a washing machine motor‚ both too much for the Solidox to handle).

Since it turned out that Mr. Lewis was already accepting lawn mowers and saws to be held for a mechanic who came by once a week‚ I asked him to collect damaged metal items for me in the same way. “People around here need something like this‚” he agreed‚ and his store became my first “drop”.

I knew‚ of course‚ that my little home welder wouldn't be adequate for commercial work. Since the money possibilities of this trade looked so good, I decided to go all the way with equipment and training.

Accordingly‚ I began spending afternoons (at $10.00 a session) with a Mr. Warner who owned a shop near Bangor. He started me off checking flames‚ testing metals and controlling torch pressures . . . and I soon found out why welding may not be for everyone. It’s necessary to study and practice for many hours to get the right flames‚ to avoid burning thin metals and warping thick pieces. And not only the quality of the work but its neat appearance is important in getting return jobs.

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