Over 562,000 persons working in the welding, cutting, and brazing industry are daily exposed to safety hazards including eye damage, electrical shock, cuts, burns, and injuries to toes and fingers. Four in a thousand of these personnel suffer fatal injuries over a working lifetime. In 2019 alone, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded 6,030 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses and 50 fatal occupational injuries among welders, cutters, solderers, and brazers.
In view of the delicate nature of welding services, it is best to leave any welding work in your residence to trained professionals nearby who possess the relevant equipment and industry knowledge to forestall unwanted accidents. Here are a few questions to ask to determine the best welding services contractor near you to hire.
Are You a Licensed Welding Services Contractor?
Licensed welding service contractors have earned credentials that assured delivery on your job will be up to acceptable industry codes and standards. Typically, these contractors are certified by the American Welding Society (AWS), the American Petroleum Institute (API), or the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME). Certification entails passing performance-tests and similar demonstrations. In addition to this certification, some states including California, New York, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania require practicing welders to obtain a state license. Also noted that certain cities, such as Los Angeles and New York City, have their own certification and licensing process for welders working in the area.
Before you hire any welding services contractor near you, it is important you request proof of licensure. Most licensed contractors do not hesitate to provide their license on request to show that they are authorized to operate in your locality. Interested persons may verify a contractor's license by referring to the online portal provided by the National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) or contacting the professional organization, AWS, API, and ASME, that certified the contractor. License verification information may also be obtained by contacting the consumer protection office in your state.
Are You Bonded and Insured?
Welding, soldering, and brazing workers suffer over 6,000 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses every year. For example, the industry recorded 6,530 such injuries and illnesses in 2017 and 6,660 in 2018. Main contributors to these injuries and illnesses are burns, shock electrics, and exposure to loud prolonged noise, welding fume, gas, UV, and IR radiation. Consequently, professional welders always ensure they hold general liability insurance and workers compensation insurance policies. These insurance plans protect you against any liability in case an accident occurs during the welding work on your premises.
Professional welders do go further to acquire a surety bond. This is a guarantee to customers that their work will be effectively finished according to the contract. In case of a failure to complete the job, the bond providers will cover the cost to finish the job as agreed.
Professional and experienced welding service contractors are mostly willing to present their insurance and bond certificates as a way of boosting their potential clients' confidence in their services. You may call the insurer and the bond company to confirm the status of your welding service contractor's certificates. Desist from patronizing uninsured and unbonded welders near you to save yourself from unwanted expenses for the treatment of any worker injured in your residence.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
There are many types of welding, and each type requires specific skills and expertise to handle. The four most popular types of welding include the MIG - Gas Metal Arc Welding, TIG - Gas Tungsten Arc Welding, Stick-Shielded Metal Arc Welding, and Flux-Cored Arc Welding. Good knowledge of one type of welding does not guarantee that the contractor may be able to handle other types. As such, enquire about your prospective welder's specialization and determine if they are the best fit near you for your welding project.
A certified welding inspector will oblige to educate you about your welding requirements. Otherwise, you may contact your local building authority for an informed opinion on your welding needs. You may request some proof of previous contracts executed by the contractor in the same type of welding to be sure you are making the right hire.
Who Will Do the Work?
Most welding services contractors work with employed workers and apprentices to deliver a project. Endeavor to find out the exact workman your contractor will be deployed on your welding project. To protect yourself from further financial liability, it is important you determine every extra worker is insured and bonded and has a license if necessary. The cost of welding services may be influenced by the number of workers involved. If your welding project is a big one, inquire from the contractor about the intended number of workers that will be on the project and the cost implications.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
Before hiring a welding services contractor near you, make inquiries about the warranties offered by the contractor for completed works. A warranty is a common way by contractors to guarantee the quality of the job done. A typical warranty given by a welding service contractor covers wear or damages resulting from incorrect forging, cutting, rolling, or welding arising from normal use. Alterations and damages consequent upon unintended use or disasters categorized as "Acts of God" are usually exempted as conditions for a warranty.
Although warranties may be oral, written, or implied, it is best to obtain written warranties. An oral warranty may not be enough proof to take legal actions in case the contractor defaults on the terms of the warranty. Endeavor to thoroughly examine the terms of the warranty to determine the extent of coverage provided for your welding project.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) provides that a contractor must obtain a permit before commencing any kind of welding, cutting, or brazing operation on a project. This kind of permit is generally referred to as a hot work permit, certifying that the contractor fully understands the risks associated with the welding service. It seeks to ensure that the contractor implements the required operational standards and safety measures to manage the risks. The GSA also requires that every welding service operation must adhere to the requirements of the OSHA standards for operations relevant to welding services. This permit is issued for a specific job, for a specific time frame within which the job must be completed, and to a specific person. Note, any professional welder near you knows the permits required to complete your project and how to obtain them.
Will You Provide References?
References to similar projects executed by a contractor offer an insight into the contractor's track record of competence and delivery. Requesting for references is one of the steps recommended by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) when looking to hire a contractor. The provided references should be clients whose projects are in the same line with your current project and probably who live near you. Upon provision of reference, you may contact the clients and verify the contractor's credibility and performance.
Similarly, you may find independent reviews from former clients of your welding service contractor on public websites like Google Review and Yelp.
What Are Common Welding Services Problems?
Some defects are very common with welding services. While some of these defects may be caused by normal wear and tear, some others may be caused by improper welding or the use of inferior welding materials. Some of these problems include:
- Incomplete fusion
It is strongly recommended to hire a professional welding services contractor near you to handle these defects. Attempting to fix them without adequate know-how may lead to damages and injuries.
How Much Does Welding Services Installation/Replacement Cost?
The median hourly pay of welders is $20.43. In view of this, the cost of most welding jobs ranges from $121 to $458. On the average, it costs $250 to hire the services of a welder for your home. However, the cost depends on the type of project under consideration, materials, type of welding process, overhead rates, labor rates, power, and fuel.
Despite these factors, there are fixed costs that you will incur notwithstanding the type of material you used. They include the cost of joint preparation, preheating, figuring, tackling, cleanup, and inspection.
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Welding Services?
Welding services costs are estimated in one of these three ways, 1) cost per length, 2) cost per unit, and 3) cost per weight. Whatever approach is employed the final cost will be affected by the kind of welds to be performed, the required materials, and the complexity of the task. In all, labor and material requirements are the most basic factor influencing a welding service cost:
- labor: Welding services contractors charge their clients based on the time and the number of workers it takes to carry out different operations within their welding services. Some of these operations include joints preparation and assembly, preheating, tacking, positioning, actual welding, slag and splatter removals, etc. In view of these tasks, complex projects are more expensive.
- Material: The cost of the materials will be determined by the size of the project, the quality of the materials, and the brand of the materials.
What Qualifications Should Welding Services Contractors Have?
As with other construction works, expertise in welding depends more on practice and experience than on formal education. According to the U.S. Bureau of Statistics, a high school diploma or a certification from a vocational training school is the most popular entry qualification for a job in the welding industry. Generally, welders would undergo employer-specific training to get accustomed to the employer's standards. Furthermore, welders are inclined to get certified with the American Welding Society for various specializations.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Welding Services Contractor?
Welding is a delicate job that must be accomplished with specialized equipment and skill not possessed by handymen near you who are jacks of all trades working mostly on minor repairs and installations. It is recommended you hire a certified welding service contractor to ensure your metal fittings are appropriately restored to last longer. Also, in case of a welding hazard or emergency, a professional welder is trained to respond appropriately to forestall further liabilities. Note, if you live in a jurisdiction where welders are mandated to hold a specialized license to practice, you may be penalized for hiring a handyman.
What Are the Common Post-Welding Services Expenses?
One common post welding services expense is the cost of repainting the welded surface to restore the metal-work to its original outlook. Another maintenance cost to take care of after welding is Post Weld Heat Treatment (PWHT). The PWHT ensures that the material strength of the welded part is retained after the welding process. This is done by reducing and redistributing stress accumulated during the welding process. This process takes time and requires high temperature and as a result, may incur high electricity bills.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Welding Services Expenses?
Welding services expenses would not be directly covered by homeowner insurance. As defined by The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), homeowner insurance basically covers possible damages or losses caused by unforeseen events. Such events include hazards like fire outbreaks or burglary; hence why homeowner insurance is also referred to as hazard insurance. While a homeowner insurance policy would not cover a specific welding job done on your property, it will cover damages caused by hazards specified on the insurance plan. Note the specific hazards covered by your insurance provider before agreeing to the terms.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Welding Services Contractor?
Due to the numerous advantages of digital payments over the traditional methods, more and more businesses, including welding services contractors near you, are accepting electronic payments today. However, you may still need to confirm the payment method your contractor prefers. Compared to traditional payment methods such as cash or check, digital payments are faster and efficient. Digital payments also significantly help with record-keeping as electronic receipts are automatically generated.