994
9 min 51 sec

Two Friends Use Welding Skills To Keep Beer Flowing

Two Montana coworkers use their skills in welding to start a side hustle making sure brewery equipment is up to codes.
Niche Ideas Power of Observation Service Unique Ideas

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What It's About

Two friends weld their expertise to save local breweries.

Business Model
Service
Skills Required
Wielding
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

Matt has great advice for those seeking to use their skills, "Do not chase every shiny object. Not every job is within your capabilities. Act on your strengths and be honest about your abilities."

Fun Fact

Their biggest current project is building 30 pieces of unique stainless-steel kitchen surfaces for the Glacier National Park/Sperry Chalet rebuild. The Chalet was burned to the ground in 2017 with only the rock walls and the kitchen being spared from the forest fire. The Chalet was built in 1914 by the Great Northern Railway Co. and is considered a Historic National Landmark, one of two chalets in the park left. Knowing that their work will be part of something that could be installed for another 100 years makes this project all the more rewarding.

Notes from Chris

Episode 994
Like many side hustle beginnings, Matt Young and Keanan Janus had an epiphany over a beer. As professional welders, inspectors, and coworkers, both men found themselves reflecting on a recent job and realized they could have done it better. That’s when they thought about taking their welding skills and start something of their own on the side. What they needed, however, was a niche … because there were a lot of welders.

So while sipping their beer, they looked around the room … and it dawned on them that breweries could use their skills. 

Why breweries? Matt and Keanan live in Montana which has a very popular craft beer scene with an estimated 90 breweries. Many of the breweries there use stainless steel equipment, which if not properly treated, can lead to rust, and compromise the quality of the beer. So they put together a business plan that would utilize their welding skills by sipping into a niche that wasn’t crowded. In fact, no one was paying much attention to it at all. And just like that, Whitefish Heliarc was created. 

So how does the process work? Since Matt and Keanan are both still employed full-time, they utilize part of their weekends to work at various breweries in the area. Without trying to overweld you on the technical details, they assess the equipment to see what types of piping repairs or modifications are needed. What sets them apart from other welders and companies is their certification with the American Welding Society. This is one of the most sought after certifications in the welding technology sector. So not only are their brewing partners getting a team of qualified welders, they’re also getting a thorough inspection as part of the process. 

Startup costs were around $6,000, and since 2018, they’ve brought in an extra $16,000 from this weldly-popular side hustle. They charge for their services using a typical system common to any repair service. The cost includes materials and handling, as well as the labor of actually doing the job. They typically charge a per hour rate that varies depending on difficulty or project complexity.

The best part of this experience is having the opportunity to work with many different local brewers. Each brewery is unique on its own and not in competition with one another. They’ve been excited to receive referrals from one brewery to the next. And they often get tipped through refreshing pints of beer. 

In the future, they’re hoping to build their own facility so they can conduct multiple projects at one time and expand outside of the brewery niche. That expansion has already begun.

They’re now working on their biggest project with their biggest client, Glacier National Park, building 30 pieces of unique stainless-steel kitchen surfaces for a historical chalet that burned to the ground in 2017. It makes the purpose of this project even more meaningful, even without the free beer.

 
  MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Whitefish Heliarc:Check out Matt and Keanan's site to learn more about their unique services.
  SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Quote of the Day
"Start small. Don’t chase every shiny object or accept every job or client because someone asked. Accept ones that are within your strengths and capabilities."
—Matt Young #SideHustleSchool

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Chris Guillebeau