Managing the costs of mobile work is an issue for any trade, and welding/fabrication is no exception. It’s so difficult that you don’t usually see big companies doing it on the scale we do, and you don’t see many small companies that say they’ve done it for 30 years. If a company that does this kind of work manages to beat the odds and grow, they typically develop connections with customers that are big enough to keep the work inside the shop, or they expand into the construction industry, or both. By providing scalable “anywhere” service, Amerivet Services has established itself as a reliable, durable resource in an niche that’s mostly guys that are making a few bucks on the side for whatever reason. The casualty rate of companies in this business is very high, because it’s an expensive and labor-intensive service to provide.
If a company is providing a reasonably well-equipped service, they’ll set up a truck, welder, and other tools that amount to $100,000 or more rolling down the road. 90% of that $100,000 investment will wear out every 5 years if you’re working it hard enough to stay alive. That’s $18,000 a year in equipment costs with no investment for growth calculated in. Last year I spent more than $12,000 on fuel. Add in insurance, equipment maintenance, office expenses, telephone/internet expenses, and marketing costs, and and you’ll see why I take issue with people thinking they should only pay a fabrication company $20 an hour. Trust me, it adds up way too quick, and usually at times when it’s inconvenient.
To manage these costs means looking forward an entire year. It means learning the cycles of business activity, what drives customer needs (or doesn’t), and spending as much time planning as making money. It means working another 4-6 hours after you’ve already put in a 12 hour day, every day, year round…with the possible exception of Christmas.
I always work hard to find the happy medium between keeping things economical for customers and keeping food on my table. Like everyone else I’d like to be rich someday, but I don’t have to get there all in one job. For now I’m happy to see growth in the company, and am grateful for the growth we’ve seen this year even with the health challenges we’ve had in the family. I’m thankful for the customers we have, and am always pleased when they call back or refer a friend. It means we did a good job and provided good value, and that’s why I’m in business in the first place.