got to love being on your own sometimes [Archive] - Ceramic Tile Advice Forums - John Bridge Ceramic Tile


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robert august
05-24-2006, 05:29 PM
fool me once shame on me fool me twice shame on you, i got nailed before i was a contractor and homeowner didnt want to pay for tile so i got stuck paying for it, he said it was part of my materials list, my falut that i dint specify difference between rough materials and tile, i ate that one it was about 6 years ago, i just recently got hungry again, i just finished a job for a general friend of mine it was his inlaws, a florr about 500 square, so i charge 5 buck per foot, normal here in central ca, maybe even low, and materials, so entire bill was 2642, dump runs, material pick up ,the same old stuff, i had told him that was the price, they wanted it done yesterday so i moved some things around so i could finish it before they left to go on a trip, i tiold him, that it the price for labor and rough materials, you pay for the tile since they were dealing with a distributer that i dont do any work for, no accounts with, tile bill was 1005 thats his deal, he wants me to pick up and deliver its going to cost, so he did it, called last night and told him that ill give him a reciet today, total is 2642, he said but i payed for the tile and i sais yes you did but this is my labor and rough material, he is old so he never wrote down the number and my fault i figured that he would rember and not have a prob with it, he did i had to grapple with him about price finially got about 1900 out of him, i love doing work for 3.20 a square foot, thats a price a realitive would get, he wanted to break it down into hr wage, i say its not by the hr its square footage, you try and get things done for peolpe fast so they can move stuff back in then they nail you for moving to fast thanks for listining

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05-24-2006, 05:38 PM
The most important thing I learned in my training is if you are going to be a contractor then learn to write contracts. If you had written a simple contract you would have made your five bucks a foot. It doesn't take much to make a contract.

I _______ will do tile for 3000 dollars and the homeowner will buy own tile.

Sign contractor

Sign Homeowner

Contract done. Everyone is happy and you get all your money.


robert august
05-24-2006, 05:42 PM
i know, i usally always write them, but since this was someone who i had done alot of work for and never had a prob, figured it would be ok , but always get things in writing

05-24-2006, 05:45 PM
I,ve been lucky,i've never gotten totally beat out of money..a little shortchanged,maybe.I've done many verbals, also,just been lucky i guess. :tup2:

05-24-2006, 05:50 PM
I used to alway feel bad writing contract for family and friends. A close friend of mine is still fighting for 45000 dollars his cousin didn't want to pay. There was no contract because it was family. It has caused some HUGE problems in that family. A once close family has taken sides and won't talk to one another. All because of a little misunderstanding that is working it's way through court. Unfortunatly the dishonest one has the better lawyer and money. The honest one is trying to keep the business a float.


Tool Guy - Kg
05-24-2006, 06:52 PM try and get things done for peolpe fast so they can move stuff back in then they nail you for moving to fastHave one right now that the homeowner was not agreeable to the originally proposed schedule of doing her job over 2 days (carpenter & plumber). Then moved stuff around to squeeze the job into one day...this time she wasn't happy with the date. Moved it a third time and put my plumber on standby to insure it would get done exactly when planned. She was happy. Job was completed and she expressed her thanks for doing the job in one day, how courteous the workers were, and the high level of quality. :yipee:

Now, 2 days after the job was completed she's complaining agian. This time she thinks she's entitled to a discount because it didnt' take 2 days like originally proposed. :shake: I think I should send her a bill for my plumber's time on standby.

robert august
05-24-2006, 07:02 PM
people are unbelieveable sometimes, it makes no sense you want it done quick so you can get your life back together and then you complaine when its done to fast ,they feel ripped off, pay the godamn bill and be happy that the work was quality and you were squezed in and didnt have to wait a month or two like evryone eles

05-24-2006, 07:29 PM
Ask them if the job took twice as long, would they expect to pay double the original quote.:)

05-24-2006, 07:49 PM
in a nutshell matt :tup2:
one lady sent me a bill for removing her debris off her job.(after she agreed she would remove it :rofl: theres a lot of people with no shame.she skanked me out of 300 bucks and that was extras to put a door in.
She ordered this "special order door" because the height was lower than 80".i told her to take it back,get a standard in stock door)(whick i took back and picked up) and proceeded to save her 200 bucks by raising the header and installing it. unbelivable Skank then sent me a nasty letter saying i was slipshod the work was shoddy and i wasnt getting my 300. i just let it go.Wacko she was and all the while she had two dogs(her babies as she called em)jumping all over me while im working.what a crank. :wtf: :confused: :D

05-24-2006, 10:06 PM
One that still fries my ass is a kitchen that I did the estimate prior to there being any cabinets in etc and lady's contractor said they will be here and here etc. I told her how much tile to order. They were expensive and in the end ther was a couple extra boxes and she deducted the tile from final payment.
I'm waiting for Herr Schluter to make the Kerdi and Ditra with an explosive charge built in. You get the hate all you have to do is drive by the house hit the remote and all the tile are blown off the wall and are now on the floor.
Wouldn't you love it? I would.

05-24-2006, 10:34 PM
Robert, I'm sorry. The verbal/handshake days are done, unless you want to eat the risk. I figure if they don't want to sign for it, then something is wrong, because that's how business is done. I can't buy a house or a truck w/o signing something, why shouldn't a person sign for buying tile work?

Jerry, I've learned that one quick . . . if you're short tile, your $ is tied up until completion and customers will squal, if you're over a box or two they'll squal . . .It seems that if just a few 6-8 slices are left over for extras and the rest "disappears" everyone is happy. Doesn't make sense to me, but it works.

Especially stone, where grain matching is a 'biatch' or nasty brittle stuff doesn't like to be bullnosed, it's hard to 'splain' the extra material, and most don't seem to get it, as they're paying $18-$38/ft. for material, but it's just one of those things they'd understand if they tried it themselves. <shrug>

Leave a box or two on the truck, unload if needed. I try to find a happy medium, but sometimes it's just 'e-vile' stone and a guy just needs lots of extra to make it look right.

And then there's always the 'engineer' customer (no offense Bob :D) that does his/her own calculating and 'accounts for 10% extra' and picks a vicious red onyx (with emerald and white and yellow grain) and wants it to 'flow' grain wise, but sqauls about 20% extra. A guy just can't win. :)

OK, I'm done venting too. :D


05-24-2006, 11:25 PM
I don't think there's anything wrong with written agreements esp if the amount is over a few thousand,but most of my contracts are verbal.I got hit a few times when I first started and now my policy is to file on all non-paying customers regardless of the amount.I don't even use a lawyer anymore,all they did was send letters to each other anyway.I only had 2 last year,the $200 one was a problem customer who didn't pay all of her bill,but paid right before I filed a couple of months ago.The second is for $650 and I'll file that one in a week or two and I don't expect any problems with it.I've had a few that still wouldn't pay even after their hearing and I've had to send the sheriff to their house to get the money.The bottom line is that this is a business and not a hobby,we have bills to pay.I've had a 100% collection rate for about 20 years now and I think thats possible for any contractor who takes the time to learn how to perform in the courtroom.

05-25-2006, 12:43 AM
Here in Washington it was fairly easy to file a lien against a homeowner that didn't pay. Not a lot of forms and it was not costly. About the only recourse ones has but that doesn't always work because unless someone is going to sell a house and needs the liens released why bother. When Color Tile went out of business I had to file on 5 jobs and only was paid on two.
The laws have changed recently and now it costs way more to file a lien and I think the dollar amount owed has gone up. In the last 10 years I can only think of one problem I have had making a collection.

I'm with Mark. i always leave a box or two in the truck.

Never work for anyone who has a pocket protector and/or a slide rule.
When I first started doing this there were still a lot of old school Boeing Engineers who fit that mold and it was best just to not even bid.

05-25-2006, 05:45 AM
OK, now you got my attention with that "pocket protector and slide rule" crack! I use a calculator, dammit!


05-25-2006, 08:01 AM
Bob, :D

05-25-2006, 08:22 AM
Just DIY'er comments:

I would think the TCA would offer a standard contract that you professionals could use.

Doing work for relatives is probably where a written contract is needed the most and used the least.


05-25-2006, 09:09 AM
if i even think the customer is a pain in the a$# i will not work for them. I had one nut job think that because i didnt install all the tiles on the floor she shouldnt have to pay. i asked well where do you want me to put the 7 extra tiles out of 220 sq ft and she said well i dont know i just know all the tiles should be used so i took my hammer and smashed the rest up and the said here now you have a mosiac design that will be 350.00 long story short i filed a lien and like magic my check came next day! people are retarded in this country :deal:

05-25-2006, 09:10 AM
Welcome to the new American Economy! Opportunistic, snakey, slimy and skanky. In all reality, as I say- an educated/informed customer can turn out to be your best asset on the job.
Always on paper for me-except my mommy!!!!!!!!!!!!

05-25-2006, 09:18 AM
Is it possilbe to make customers understand that a few extra tiles are good to have for future replacements? Or are they so dumb that they will blame you when they dop a cast iron skillet on the floor and the tile cracks?

05-25-2006, 10:29 AM
Let alone trying to explain about the manafacturing process, die lots and runs!

05-25-2006, 11:23 AM
I just helped a freind tile a condo on the 3 rd floor. He was cutting trav. I go down to the parking garage and look at whats downt here a green van . i go up the HO's dorr knock ask him to move his van. He says no it wouldnt be a problem if there is over spray in the air. So long story short job gets done. Get a knock on the dorr and its him saying I have to pay to have his van washed inside and out. I tell him its saw dust over spray and i will wash it. He spits out he is a chemist and says its chorlide something or another. Well I went down to my truck got out the TCA book and asked him to show me where clacium dust would erode his van. You should have seen the look on his face. Well I gave in and had a detail guy come out and pimp his ride. Then he asked if i was going to wash his other car. Some people just dont get it. Damn retired people have nothing better to do.

Dave Taylor
05-25-2006, 12:22 PM
Guy don't know how lucky he was/is. Har Har

Well I went down to my truck got out the........ TCA book

05-25-2006, 02:23 PM
Probably didn't mention diddly about the primo tile job he received........ Goes to show ya that money ain't everything. A little respect, admiration, common decency and the other mere appreciations of life (Like :fish1: ) have gotten me alot further in life than i believe money ever will-or some philosophy of that nature is how I believe it goes????????? Now, if it only paid the bills!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

05-25-2006, 07:03 PM
Jerry,here in Texas,liens have always been hard to file and they change the rules all the time.The few that I've filed have always been through a lawyer because I just don't do enough of them to learn how to do them myself.Our method is to file a triple damage lawsuit against the customer and file a lien on the property in case we can't collect on the judgement.I don't like them because,as you said,they take forever to collect on and the interest you get doesn't keep up with inflation.The lower(small claims)courts here allow up to $5000 and my last filing fee was $67.The way I look at it is even if I lose,I learned $67 worth.I see so many contractors lose money because they don't have a written contract or they don't think they'll win.What I've found is that the clerk will answer all your questions about how to do it(not the actual law though),the judge wants a business to collect their money and if they still won't pay the judgement,the sheriff will collect it for you and pay you with a check drawn on the courts bank.I've been told so many times that you can't squeeze blood out of a turnip,but I've proved everytime that I can squeeze the h**l out of it.

05-25-2006, 07:12 PM
I've seen it go either way but the lawyer idea is big with me. Especially in these parts. A real nice .50 cal doesn't hurt neither! Know what I mean :suspect:

05-25-2006, 07:22 PM
A lawyer with a .50 cal is even more effective round these parts right now. I hate to perpetuate unnewsworthy articles but the other day in the Big "D" (fill the "d" in at your own discretion - in other words insert here< :moon: > two gentlemen kidnapped a contractor from the jobsite, drove him to the ATM - WHEN THAT WASN'T ENOUGH THEY TOOK HIM HOME (IN HIS OWN TRUCK OF COURSE, I MEAN NOTHING IS SACRED ANYMORE) held his family hostage and forced him to go back to the bank to withdraw $5000 from his account. I mean come on, don't we have enough to worry about besides going to work? Two other contractors robbed and killed on jobsite - Eastside of Detroit on job I quit two years ago. I mean come on, I carry a virtual BANK off odds & ends with me. I'm going fishin, screw it all!!!! :fish2:

05-25-2006, 08:45 PM
Good contracts make good friends:) Always.

I learned that on the first 5 jobs! No more learning in that area for this girl!


John Bridge
05-26-2006, 08:13 AM
Where is Rowlett, Texas, Charlie? :)

I've said it often. Guess I'm just lucky. I NEVER have a written contract, and I ALWAYS get paid. Maybe I work for a better class of people? ;)

05-26-2006, 09:36 AM
John is prob the hat fashion you have they feel sorry for ya thats why they pay ya. Not to mention your helper albert. i just leave my shoes at the door that works everytime

05-26-2006, 03:27 PM
John,Rowlett is just east of Dallas.Similar to Houston but just a tad less sticky in the summer.I suspect you have developed a sixth sense that contractors get after a while.I can ID a problem customer at our first interview and I bet you can too.Jerry mentioned engineers which I haven't noticed(probably due to my area)but I've sure noticed bookkeepers,accountants and bankers(but not bank owners)as problem customers and I'm pretty sure we're talking about the same thing.My favorite tools are not laywers(I think $150 a letter is silly)but the material bill must be paid before it's unloaded,the deposit on labor and the weekly draw.That way any unpaid amounts are small enough to fit into the lower courts.I mention this because I see this over and over,not just on your board here but with other guys at work,and I just can't believe that we're(real tilesetters,not those handyman people)still treated like this.When was the last time that anyone bought $100 worth of gas(we don't have enough money to fill up the tank anymore)and tried to haggle the price afterwards without being thrown in jail.

05-26-2006, 04:38 PM
Jail and lawyers? HMMMMMMMMMMM......................

05-26-2006, 06:03 PM

I'm just curious, are you the same Robert August from Endless Summer? If so, you kick ass and how did you get into the tile business?

05-28-2006, 01:02 PM
First line of my proposal. Install customer supplied ceramic tile includes thinset and grout. Another line Add____$ to total for haul away of old flooring. Supply and apply grout sealer ____$ add to total or XXX per pint. Something I should add does not include pickup or delivery of tile. I need to expand my add to total section that is not included in the bottom total price. I am also going to add a upgrade material section for example going from ultracontact to kerabond keralastic. I have a description of what a wall tile is and then people buy 12x12 porcelain for me to install on walls. I am going to add a install on diagonal add an extra___ per foot minimum. Etc etc.

05-28-2006, 09:35 PM
I just recently got stiffed for $1300.00, no contract(nice lady yeah right). It will never happen again, I don't care if its my own brother I'm doing work for. I did all kinds of extras for this :moon: and didn't charge her a dime for them, then I give her my final invoice for $1300 and she says she's not paying it because she didn't remember it being that much. I thought I was over it but this thread has me ticked again. :wtf: You guys that aren't writing contracts your just one job away from feeling like I do right now.
CONTRACTS CONTRACTS CONTRACTS its your business treat it like one, I know I am from now on.

05-28-2006, 10:47 PM
Mike,you do have a contract.You have a verbal contract,not a written contract.When she asked you to tile the floor and then you tiled the floor,at that point you both completed the legal requirements for a contract.In other words,she gets something and you get something.Yes,a verbal contract is harder to prove on some points,but not on the main issues.I assume that you did tile the floor.You didn't try to collect your money without installing the tile,correct?I can assure you that any judge in the country will make sure that you are paid fairly if you did your job properly and comply with the legal requirements in your area.Also,I have yet to see a written contract example posted on this thread that couldn't be beaten at least to some degree,and for the main parts,a judge would enforce them,written or verbal.I would be more than happy to help you or anyone else collect your money,all you have to do is ask.You can call me anytime.

robert august
05-29-2006, 07:51 PM
no not me im just a 31 year old kid who loves his style and surfs his boards exclusivley

05-29-2006, 10:01 PM
Thats an awful nice offer Charlie and I'll give it some serious consideration. :tup2:

Rhode Island Flooring
05-29-2006, 10:25 PM
yeah , Ive been there !! worked for a company, Home flors an more(westerly) , Blah , I did nice job on the marble bathroom , but didnt know I was stepping into a problemed job and did 2400.00 worth of work before the (designer) came and tapped it all off ,,whole house of tile,, and said no good!!?? (Bunch a dainty designer liberal *%#!&@) so with out me making up a contract I ate 3 days of labor....and the company would'nt make good on it knowing what they put me into. They are NO GOOD store owners!! LOL So please make somone sign somthing!!