Metal fabrication is often needed for a production facility, auto or HVAC repair shop, and a variety of other businesses. It can sometimes be good to send that fabricating work to an outside company rather than trying to manage it in-house, as a fabrication company may have upgraded tools and equipment, even lasers, that can better cut or punch metals. They may also be able to easily handle a larger volume of fabricating than you can in your own shop. Note a few factors to remember when choosing a metal fabrication company for your business.
When looking at costs for fabrication, be sure you've noted transportation and delivery costs. A shop across town may offer a lower price for their work, but remember to factor in trucking costs when comparing prices. You might also need to consider the time it takes for someone on your own staff to drive back and forth as well as the wear and tear and fuel costs for a company vehicle; a more expensive but closer company could actually cheaper overall. Along with the cost, remember that a closer location means you'll potentially have your metals and pieces back more quickly, so your own production won't be interrupted.
Ask what materials they can fabricate
This may seem simplistic, but it's easy to think that a metal fabrication shop will be able to work on all metals for all applications. However, some metals may be too thick and large for them to bend or weld, or some plastic coatings may get damaged with outdated equipment that uses heat or abrasives. Always make a checklist of the materials you'll need fabricated, and it can be helpful to discuss the end use of those materials so the shop can determine if their methods and equipment are the right option.
Note if you need design services
Design services are very different from fabrication; fabricating metal may involve just cutting, welding, joining, rolling and bending, and the like. Design of the metal may include scrollwork and punching or stamping, often done from a blueprint or drawing that is used by a computer to direct and control a jigsaw or other tool. As with the materials they fabricate, don't assume that a fabrication shop includes finished design in their services. If you do need design for your pieces, it can be good to find a fabrication shop that offers this along with the fabrication itself, so your metal is ready to be used in production or resale when it returns from their shop.