3 Tips for Finding the Right Custom Sheet Metal Shop

Oval duct fittings

There are any number of reasons you might be looking for a good sheet metal shop. Industries ranging HVAC installation and maintenance, to auto repair, to construction and building maintenance — not to mention uncountable others — utilize sheet metal shops for custom fabrication to get their jobs done.


It isn’t just a small deal to make sure you find a reliable sheet metal shop. Your project is only as strong as the sheet metal that it is made of. Even the slightest flaw in the custom fabrication of your oval ducts (for example) could throw the entire project into chaos. We don’t want your project to crumble in chaos, so we’ve put together a list of things to look for in a sheet metal shop.

  1. Look for experience in your industry.

    Here’s the thing about sheet metal fabricators. They are in the business to make money. They are going to take your business even if they are not equipped to do so. You don’t want to find out the hard way that the metal fabricator doesn’t really know your industry.


    Before entrusting your metal needs in the hand of a new metal fabrication shop, make sure you ask about the shop’s experience with similar clientele. If possible, ask for a couple references for other companies in your industry. Contact your peers and get a feel for whether or not the metal fabricator understands your industry’s specific needs and challenges. If you find a fabrication shop that has experience in your industry and a good reputation with your peers, it will help ensure quality control on your project.
  2. Years in the biz holds a lot of weight.

    The thing about sheet metal fabrication is that no two jobs are alike. There’s no such thing as figuring out how to make a particular product and then just pressing “copy + paste” over and over. Each custom metal fabrication job is as unique as a snowflake… and comes with its own possibilities for problems. If your metal fabrication shop hasn’t been in the business long, every problem that arises has the potential to be a showstopper.

    If you use a metal fabricator who has been doing it for a long time, they’ve seen it all. Although your project might be a one-of-a-kind sort of thing, they’ve likely created similar items and will have an idea of the most efficient and cost effective approach. They’ll also have a better idea of how to overcome any hurdles that might arise. This could save you a ton of time, money, and headache in the long run.


    Even if the metal shop is fairly new, what matters is the level of experience of the people who actually do the job. Make sure to ask about the experience of the staff when choosing a metal shop.


  3. Make sure to check out how modern the equipment is.

    Even though you want to look for a metal fabricator who has been in the biz for a few decades, you don’t want to go with a shop that uses equipment that is decades old. Many advances in metal fabrication have occurred in recent years. If you use a metal fabrication shop that does not embrace modern technology, you could be missing out on huge time and money efficiencies. Before selecting a metal fabrication shop, make sure to inquire about the age of equipment in the shop.


    However, just because equipment is new doesn’t mean it is best for the job. There is a term in the biz, being on the “bleeding edge.” All new technology takes some trial by fire to work out the kinks. The first generation or so of a new piece of equipment has bugs that have to be worked out. That might impact the quality of your part. It might delay turn around times. It might cost you more money. The point is, you don’t necessarily want
    to use a fabricator who has the latest and greatest gizmo. There’s a delicate balance to look for while choosing a metal fabrication company.

We want to hear from you. Have you ever chosen a custom metal fabricator? If so, what factors did you consider when selecting the right one? Please share in the comment section below.

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