Home  /  A Guide to Business Growth for Metal Fabrication Shops

A Guide to Business Growth for Metal Fabrication Shops

Every HVAC and metal fabrication business has unique needs and requirements to remain functional and profitable. Whether your shop is large or small, making smart strategic decisions focused around business growth is essential for the longevity of your company.

The start of a new year is a great time to set up business goals for the next 12 months. Here are a few key areas to consider:

  • Customer retention / acquisition strategies
  • Staffing / Recruitment & Onboarding
  • Process review & improvements
  • Key Insights from the market
  • Financial planning
  • Production Capacity
  • Equipment Maintenance / Replacement

All of the above are essential for your business to excel in 2023. Process improvement, financial planning, machinery considerations, industry trends and market insights are where we can step in to help you make the best decisions for your goals in 2023.

Metal Fabrication and HVAC Market Insights

Doing your research before making any business decision is always a good idea. If you’re a fab shop considering the purchase of a new machine, expanding your end-use product mix, or considering expansion into a new geographical area, thorough market research will help you make an informed decision. Here’s a brief checklist of the must-knows for every shop:

  • Competitor size, proximity, and product / service offerings.
  • Metal Fab / HVAC / Roofing market size in Canada (and the USA if applicable)
  • A clear definition of your target audience, including their location, pain points, and the value your business provides them.
    • Bonus if you have audience personas available.
  • A clear definition of your high-value customer. These high-value customers are the most valuable and profitable for your business, and you can have more than one. You need to identify these customers to start building a closer relationship that will last for years to come.

This is a high-level summary of the type of market research you should conduct for your shop when re-evaluating your business and revenue goals. By acquiring this information, every decision you make will become strategic.

We know you’re busy enough running the day-to-day operations of your business, and it can be difficult to keep up to date with this type of research. We help customers identify important market information that should be taken into consideration for all business decisions.

Financial Planning: How to Calculate Return on Investment

Have you been considering the purchase of a new machine but aren’t quite sure it’s the correct decision? That’s where we come in. We know there’s a great deal of research that goes into deciding between the purchase or lease of a Press Brake or Plasma Table, for example. In addition to basic criteria such as material and size considerations, software and controller insights, and machine-specific features, there’s more to consider before you commit to a purchase.

Return on investment (ROI) is one of the most important aspects of making a purchase for any business to help maximize profits and minimize risks. Calculating the ROI of a specific machine is essential for determining the actual profitability of the investment. To calculate ROI, compare the incremental revenue associated with implementing this machine onto your shop floor against the initial costs to acquire the equipment. Accurately forecasting the amount of additional revenue gained by purchasing the machine can be tricky, and so we suggest using conservative estimates when needed to minimize the inherent risk.

In addition to ROI, the efficiency of new equipment should also be considered. A new piece of equipment will improve your business capacity, eliminate mundane tasks, and free up resources to make your workflow more efficient.

For some shops, this might sound overwhelming. After guiding hundreds of customers through their purchase decisions, we’ve enabled countless shops to improve their operations and productivity – in part by highlighting the importance of ROI.

There are several more aspects to financial planning shops should understand to help make long-term decisions. We take the time to understand each of our customer’s unique situation and work together to help inform financial decisions. Here are some examples:

  • Determining whether a shop should purchase a slightly more expensive machine with higher capacity now to avoid having to buy another piece two years from now.
  • Planning out the capital costs required to fund the necessary equipment to expand into a new market segment
  • Determining if buying quality used equipment to help mitigate up-front costs is the best option for a shop.

The purchase of a deburring machine is a great example of how one new machine can vastly improve your operations. There are two major downsides to running your shop without a deburring machine:

  • Manually deburring plasma or laser cut parts creates challengers with consistency and efficiency.
  • Running an angle grinder to deburr parts manually is ergonomically challenging and could lead to carpal tunnel syndrome and operator fatigue.

There are three major benefits to using a deburring machine that will exponentially improve the operations of your shop:

  • Depending on the size of the part, a deburring machine allows you to process more than one part at a time.
  • A deburring machine will improve consistency for all parts.
  • A deburring machine can provide the optimal finish on parts that need to be powder coated or painted.
  • A deburring machine will remove the hard work of using an angle grinder to deburr parts and free up your staff to take on higher value and engaging work.

We’re always available to help our customers consider the pros and cons of large financial decisions.

Staying up to Date with Industry Trends and Strategies

Another crucial step for business growth is staying up to date with the latest industry advancements, news, and trends. With over 30 years of industry experience and team members who’ve logged countless hours on maintenance calls to various shops, we’ve learned a thing or two.

Thanks to the commitment and dedication of our service team, we’ve seen what works and what doesn’t time and time again on shop floors. With these unmatched insights, we’re able to learn about your shop’s specific goals, workflow, and challenges to offer tailored advice. If you don’t have time to stay up to date on the latest shop floor layout strategy that’s sweeping the industry, we have you covered. If you have questions about a specific strategy or machine recommendations you read about on The Fabricator, we can help verify if these ideas will work well for your specific situation.

There are several resources on our Blog designed to help shops with industry and machine-specific research:

Lease to Own Equipment… Is It Right for Your Business?

Top 3 Considerations for Metal Fabrication Shop Floor Layout in 2022

Cross-Breaking vs Duct Beading. What’s the difference?

Metal forming machinery you need to elevate your sheet metal shop’s production game

Empire Machinery: Equipment Supplier and Business Partner

We know every metal fab, HVAC, and roofing shop is unique. No matter what your challenges or goals are, we’re committed to helping all of our customers with business improvements and growth. We can help you see the full picture of your business, from shop floor layout to machine considerations to calculating profit margins.

It costs money to invest in a business. We can help make sure the profits will outweigh the investment. Get in touch with our team today!


Monthly Newsletter