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An Often Overlooked, Yet Lucrative Business Idea for Handymen: Starting a Welding Business

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As a handyman, you’re probably used to taking on a wide variety of tasks and challenges for your clients. At any given time you might be working on flooring, carpentry, roofing or masonry. However, there might be one area you’re overlooking if you’re looking to maximise your earnings for the year.

Welding

Compared to other common handyman roles in the UK, welding consistently comes in towards the higher end of the pay scale. And while you may believe you don’t have the necessary skills to be a quality welder, the entry requirements to the industry aren’t much different to other popular job titles like gardening or carpentry.

If you’re just starting your career, and are looking at welding apprenticeships or junior opportunities, you’ll likely need:

Requirements for UK welding apprenticeships
Intermediate Apprenticeship2-4 GCSEs, typically including English and Maths (or equivalent)
Advanced Apprenticeship5+ GCSEs (A*-C) including English and Maths

On an average day, you might do any of the following:

  • Operating welding equipment
  • Dismantling structures
  • Maintaining/cleaning tools
  • Calibrating machinery
  • Completing jobs to specification of drawings/instructions
  • Measuring dimensions/thicknesses of materials

Salary Prospects

Of course, if you’re thinking about starting your career or maybe pivoting to a new focus, you’ll be wondering if it’s going to be a lucrative move. The good news is that welding is one of the best paying trades in the UK. Here’s how it compares to a few of the other big trades.

How much do people in some of the UK’s most popular trades earn on average?
Average salaries for some of the UK’s most popular trades
TradeAverage Salary
Gardeners£20,119
Painters and Decorators£24,576
Roofers, Tilers and Slaters£24,623
Floorers and Wall Tilers£24,952
Bricklayers and Masons£26,520
Welders£27,415

As you can see, welding is comfortably more lucrative than other trades (over £7,000 more per year than the average UK gardener!). And despite 2020’s challenging economic conditions, opportunities continue to be there for quality welders—as of writing, Indeed.co.uk lists over 1,100 welding roles in the UK. While this number may change throughout the year, there’s no question the need is there.

And if you’re wondering where it’s best to work as a welder (by now the answer should be simple: anywhere!) then, like many industries, big cities seem to perform the best. PayScale Payscale estimates that London pays 22% higher than national average, and Manchester 8% higher. That being said, smaller towns and cities don’t lag too far behind—Derby, for example, is just 3% below national average.

The employment market continues to look strong heading into the future too. YouthEmployment estimates that while the welding workforce is expected to get around 10% smaller over the next 10 years, nearly 50% of the workforce will be coming to retirement age, creating around 4,500 new jobs—ample opportunity for quality welders to join the market.

What else do I need?

Hopefully by now you can see the value, and relative ease, of pursuing a career in welding. If you’re looking to get started, or have already dipped your toes and are ready to dive in, take a look at our guides to Welders insurance and Tools insurance to make sure you and your equipment are fully covered before taking on a job.

If you’re thinking of starting a career in welding as an apprentice, take a look at Youth Employment UK’s Welding career hub—it’s full of great information on qualifications, training and potential roles near you.

Here’s some more useful links.

Welding UK important links and organisations
Find an ApprenticeshipThe government website to help match apprentices and apprenticeships
Tomorrow’s EngineersEducational programme based on career prospects within Engineering
The Welding Institute (TWI)The UK’s largest institution for welding professionals

A final word, though, about insurance. You might find that welder insurance costs more than handyman insurance, due to the additional risks involved. Something to keep in mind as you consider your options.

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The guidance on this site is based on our own analysis and is meant to help you identify options and narrow down your choices. We do not advise or tell you which product to buy; undertake your own due diligence before entering into any agreement. Read our full disclosure here.