Welding Trailer Vs Truck
This article will cover the benefits of both welding trailers vs trucks. In the mobile welding industry, there are two main choices when it comes to rigs. You can setup a trailer rig with everything you need, or you can convert a pickup truck into your own welding rig. This guide will help you choose which one will fit your needs best.
There are endless possibilities when it comes to setting up your first rig, and there’s a lot of trial and error involved. The next guys favorite setup may not work for you, it all comes down to personal preference.
Trailer rigs definitely have their place for rig welders. They are highly customizable, and can be parked and stored when you aren’t planning on welding that day. They allow your main vehicle to be used for other things besides welding, which is a huge plus. When I don’t have any welding jobs coming up, I can detach the trailer and go about my day.
Trailers are great for welders who are only part time, or maybe they just do odd jobs for some side money. You don’t have to dedicate your daily driver to your business. This means you’ll have your vehicle ready for errands, camping trips, and family outings.
Trailers can also make great backup rigs if your main machine/truck breaks down. They can be towed by most vehicles, and the smaller sized trailers are pretty lightweight. Lots of welding companies will have a trailer rig ready incase one of their main trucks breaks down.
Cons Of Trailers
The downside to welding trailers is that they add a ton of length to your setup. I have had jobs that have very limited parking – and trying to get a trailer on the site can be a real hassle. Even a 4×8′ trailer is 12′ long with the tongue included, and this can cause serious logistical issues on job sites. Adding 12′ to a 15′ SUV can be troublesome, and this is good to think about when deciding where most of your jobs will be located.
If you are doing farm work or repairs on open land, this isn’t much of an issue. However, I have had jobs in the city that made it nearly impossible to park my setup. Having a trailer can add some serious stress to your work day if you live in a highly populated area.
Rig trucks are the most common way to go about this business. Pipeliners are required to have trucks because trailers are too much of a liability, and can cause issues on busy job sites. Working out of a truck is a lot simpler, because everything you need is always attached to your vehicle. The length of your overall setup is also much shorter this way.
Any pickup truck can be turned into a welding rig. Using your regular bed and adding your machine, leads, cylinders and tools is what is called a “tub rig”. You can build a simple skid out of steel, which sits in the bed. You can then mount your welding machine and all of your essentials to the skid. The benefit of this is that you can remove the setup with a forklift, and then you have a perfectly empty truck bed ready for other activities.
For welders who want a fully dedicated welding truck, the flatbed is the way to go. There are multiple manufacturers who build flatbeds, and many of them offer services where they remove your stock bed, and install the new flatbed. However, a lot of rig welders have the fabrication skills to just build their own bed from scratch. If you have this knowledge, it is the cheaper way to go. Jacob Schofield has multiple videos on these builds, and he is an expert at it.
One benefit of having a flatbed is that there is way more room for your tools. You don’t have to reach over the sides of a normal bed, and you don’t have to ever climb over it to grab something. It makes for an easier work flow throughout the day.
Cons Of Welding Trucks
The downsides of having a welding truck is that it won’t be used for much else besides work. It is dedicated to your business and you’ll be using it just about everyday. We did mention that a skid can be removed from a tub rig, but it can be a pain if you’re constantly taking it out of your truck to be able to do other activities.
Another downside is the issue of people stealing your gear. Everywhere you drive, thieves will see that you have tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear on your truck. Many criminals will linger around pipeline sites just waiting to grab your stuff. Most welders won’t have to deal with this, but it is something to think about if you are welding in an area with higher crime rates.
I put my trailer in a garage at night, so I don’t worry about this possibility of theft quite as much. Welders owning rig trucks should research premium insurance policies in the case of theft.
One issue worth noting is that if your welding truck breaks down, you’re out of work until it can be fixed. Transferring your gear to another truck can be a huge pain. So, you’ll need to have a good mechanic that can get you back on the road asap. If you can’t get to the job site, your truck wont be making you any money. Many busy welders prefer to buy newer trucks because they are more reliable long term.
We hope this article helped outline the features of both welding trailers and trucks. Every welder has different needs and different sets of tools/machines. We think both of these are great options, and we have had good success with both rigs on many job sites.
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