Can You Make Money By Fabricating Custom Tube Fenders?
If you spend much of your free time working to make your off-road vehicle more rugged for the trail, you may have already invested some money (and sweat) into custom tube fenders. Not only can these fenders help protect your vehicle (and your own life) upon contact with potential hazards, they'll provide the lower clearance needed to help upgrade your tire size without investing in a body lift. In some cases, friends and fellow off-road enthusiasts may have enlisted you to help with their own fender projects -- leading you to wonder whether fabricating these fenders could morph from a hobby into a profitable venture. Read on to learn more about some of the factors you'll want to consider before quitting your day job.
Can you make a profit by charging for your fender bending services?
Many factory fenders and bumpers dent easily and aren't reinforced to handle the demands of rock crawling or creek fording, making them a poor choice for sport utility vehicles and trucks designed to go off road. In addition to their relative fragility, factory fiberglass or aluminum fenders are often significantly more expensive than tube fenders, even after factoring in the labor and material costs you'll incur by fabricating these fenders yourself.
Because the popularity of tube fenders for off-road vehicles doesn't seem to be subsiding any time soon, with some careful planning you should be able to turn a reasonable profit -- even if you need to invest in a heavier-duty tube bender than your current setup. By shopping auctions or local resale websites you may be able to pick up a used hydraulic tube bender for a fraction of the cost of a new one.
Can fabricating tube fenders replace your current full-time job?
Although it's likely your venture will be profitable on a small scale, few parts of the country have enough off-road drivers to create a steady demand for new tube fenders -- and in those cities and counties that do, you may find that the market is already saturated with talented welders, tube bending companies, and other fabrication professionals, making it difficult for you to gain many inroads in the market. While you may be able to earn enough from custom tube fender fabrication to help fund your own off-roading habit, you probably won't be able to use this hobby to fully replace the salary, benefits, and work schedule you enjoy at your current job.