Guys & Gals, I'm a pipeline/structural welder foreman thats been working in the gulf for approx 18 years both out of a truck working off of pipe jacks, slopping thru mud, the rain, the cold, the heat, the rain etc. Ive also worked out of fab shops with a good concrete floor with overhead hoist's & 2 helpers per welder to do or run & get you whatever you need. The Latter part of those days are gone. Now its get your _ss out there, make the welds as quick as you can (withought screwing the welders behind you), etc. All of this I really dont mind to a certain point but what really botheres me is that although the've taken all or some of those things away depending where you go. The wages are still the same since about 8 years ago Ive noticed. I work both single hand & also have a rig. As far as making a living rig welding for private people thats a dead end. You quote them a reasonable price & there jaw hits the ground! It sets a wildfire in my _ss when they say "why so much"? or better yet they want to trade you a horse, or "a case of beer. etc." So I actually take the time to inform them of my insurance policy, $$$$$$$$, the cost of diesel, If my machine goes down the price is right about a $100.00 a hour for something major otherwise of course you keep tools & spare parts & keep the ol girl firing, my consumables which include gas's. rods of whatever sort, wire for your wirefeeder welding aluminum, fluxcore, etc. Thats the private person! Lets move on to business's. Even though you go in with a stack of certifications that woud make a pentacostal feel ashamed, they want you to weld from anywhere from $14.00 to like $23.50 & to get that you have to be able to weld most process's & be able & willing to fit also. Its fun sometimes when I open email offers I get to go weld for there company to belittle them for the rates that they offer. I get some very intresting emails answering back why they are paying so low from the economy, to where you need to come in & start from this point & work your way back up, etc. I blame illegal immagration for the best part of it. "Illegal Immagration" isnt nothing but another form of slavery where your getting your work done for practically nothing & evading taxs & the tax laws. Also companys like to hire the young broncs fresh out of trade school(which I have nothing against, but you need to seperate the bulls from the heifers) most only know how to strike a arc. They cant carry iron, if there machine is messing up they have to have the foreman come over & get them running again, etc. Does anyone agree, disagree, etc. I could be wrong but I had to work my way from the bottom eating bucket fulls of crap from older welders to learn my trade.