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Old 02-09-2020, 11:57 AM
Expected-Outcome Expected-Outcome is offline
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Default Seeking advice on welding lead pay

Hello all! I'm seeking advice and experience to figure out where I stand on the pay scale in the fabrication world. After searching everywhere I've seen numbers all over the place so wanted to give my specific scenario and see what others might counsel.

I'm currently a welding lead in a small metal shop in Orlando, Florida that builds mostly structural frames. All mild steel, usually MIG and rarely stick. I am an Army veteran with an AA taking a break from pursuing more college. I started this job a couple years ago not knowing how to weld, no certification, quickly picked up the trade, and became the supervisor of the certified welders within 6 months.

I am now in charge of managing the production workflow of 5 guys, welding all crucial one-off projects, inspecting fabrications/welds, solving every problem that arises, troubleshooting machines, inventory of parts and materials, etc. One of the biggest parts of my job has been taking my own initiative to design and make jigs to replicate all the components and frames we weld in the shop. It has saved an uncountable amount of time and money for the company. Now and in the long run. I'm fluent in CAD and 3D modeling software and communicate with the engineer on staff about changes we make and ideas that I have. This is not a code shop, and our tolerance for parts being off is far too large, but we are able to make it work for what we do.

I'm making $18/hr. I feel I should be making far more. The money I've saved the company, designs and ideas I've had, and supervisory role alone dictate something closer to $30 an hour.
What do you guys think? What do welding/fabrication leads usually make and what can I do to further my progression?
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Old 02-09-2020, 12:52 PM
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Sberry Sberry is offline
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Don't show up Monday morning,,, wait for the phone calls. I had a bud that did that, the men liked him which was a real help. They had a mgt change to an all idiot format and started fuggin with him, he just left and it came to a grinding stop in a week. He didn't even have to ask, they gave him a big raise and terms that he was not to be messed with.
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Old 02-09-2020, 03:11 PM
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I’m a little confused, are YOU a certified weldor now? If so that’s a little different than just working as a weldor.

As an employee, the only bargaining chip you have is whether you stay or leave. If you’re not prepared to leave, than it’s tough to negotiate with a company. If you ask for a raise and they say no, there’s not much you can do about it. If they say yes than it’s a win. However, if you’re willing to walk and they don’t want to lose you, that’s a different story.

Myself, as a tradesman, I wouldn’t start my truck to go work in the trade I’m in for $18/hour.


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Old 02-09-2020, 03:34 PM
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This is a topic sure to bring in many different pieces of advice. Part of it is depending on your location. Are there many others in your area that could take your spot? Are jobs plentiful, or scarce.

Are you getting any other benefits, like vacation pay, holiday sick days, Insurance is real big cost, if you want it.

I am sure that you are in typical workforce, that good employees are hard to find. Almost as bad as good bosses.

I worked for a small job shop for many years, and was in similar pay when I left. I managed to get a little better pay, although it was about a year into the job when I had another considerable offer on the table, but the boss managed to keep me. Best part, is I found a great company to work for. The bosses are great, and most of the coworkers are decent to work with.

I could probably complain about the amount of money I make, but I also have to think that I want the company to be there 20 years from now, and hope that the boss will do his best to make that happen. I try my best to do my part to make sure the company is profitable to make that happen.

I guess the best thing I have as an employee, is I don’t have the ultimate stress of make sure the business is running as it should. My check is always paid on Friday, and it is good. ( had issues with that at previous job). That counts for a lot.




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Old 02-09-2020, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Expected-Outcome View Post
I'm currently a welding lead in a small metal shop in Orlando, Florida that builds mostly structural frames.
How Small is small?
$18 is what you are getting but what is it costing them? they likely look at it closer to $25
what happens when you take a vacation?
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:06 PM
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LKeithR LKeithR is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by greywynd View Post
...As an employee, the only bargaining chip you have is whether you stay or leave. If you’re not prepared to leave, than it’s tough to negotiate with a company. If you ask for a raise and they say no, there’s not much you can do about it. If they say yes than it’s a win. However, if you’re willing to walk and they don’t want to lose you, that’s a different story...
I think this statement sums it up nicely but the question you have to ask is: What is a good wage for a good employee in my area? If the average wage being paid for similar work in your area is twenty bucks an hour you're gonna have to work to convince somebody you're worth thirty. On the other hand, if the average wage is thirty dollars an hour then you should be--assuming you are as good as you say you are--paid close to or over that figure.

I would do some serious research and find out what other shops are paying and, perhaps more importantly, what other jobs are available right now. If wages are higher and there are lots of jobs then it's a no-brainer, you sit down with your boss, explain your situation and ask for a raise. If wages at other shops are higher but there are no other jobs available right now then you have decide how badly you need your current job.

The question of job qualification versus wages has been going on as long as I've been in the workforce (50+ years) so it's nothing new. In the end you have to decide what you're worth and how much you want to stay where you are...
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Old 02-09-2020, 04:13 PM
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midmosandblasting midmosandblasting is online now
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Kieth is right .It is all what is comparable in your area . With 3 months left till retirement I am not looking but about any place around would be a 3-4 dollar raise over present wage .I have had the jobs with the pay ,but had 24 hour call out and a lot of 16-24 hour days . I will take my 30k over the head ache and other issues that came with the 80 k .Most of the coworkers from there never made retirement in good health .
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:28 PM
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Benefits like vacation, insurance, 401K or other benefits make a difference. As does your location and cost of living there.

Offhand, I'd say you should get at least $5-$6 more per hour.

Edit: Stick around on this forum for 13 years like I have and you can learn a few things. It's a great resource with good people.
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Last edited by USMCPOP; 02-09-2020 at 05:54 PM.
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Old 02-09-2020, 05:54 PM
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Shade Tree Welder Shade Tree Welder is offline
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Here is the problem with pay. What pays $18 in FL could be $35 in NYC but
they guy in FL might be better off as the cost of living in NYC is stupid.

The other way to look at it is your shop mostly MIG welds low carbon steel,
it does not get much easier than that. The bosses are looking for welders
who are good enough. I would expect that they can replace you easy enough.

The problem is they need low value welders/employees and while you may
have more value to someone else; you will never have that same value to
them because they simply don't need it.

So look around and find a better job, once you have an offer on the table
go to your current employer and tender your resignation. Never quit one
job without another offer on the table.

I know a guy that was working for a company that would only give raises
if you were quitting. So this guy was a shitty employee and so he thought
he's game the system and resign, he did this just to get a raise and did not
have a back up job to take. They accepted his resignation and said buh bye.
I never heard where he went, but he is not in my industry any more.

So tread carefully, they might just say bye. How bad do you need the income?

In general, good employees are worth more than that... But I have high
standards.
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Old 02-09-2020, 06:07 PM
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I worked a few weeks last summer as a weldor’s helper, as he said to me, you have skills and value way beyond what he could pay. I said that’s fine, I’m helping you and know that you can’t pay me more. He also knew that it was a temporary thing for both of us.

However, at the time, flexible hours, easy to schedule a half day or day off for appts etc was also worth it.

I left that job to take the one I have now. More than double the money, plus OT at times, downside is it’s 6 hours away from home and I have to rent accomodations.


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