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Old 04-26-2012, 09:42 PM   #61
Deckert
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ed
I just think it wouldnt be a stretch to get a bigger piece of the remodel pie. I'm sure we can all do walls, paint, trim etc.
Everyones business model and skill set is different. This isn't an attack in any way, but i think its worth talking about.

For all I know Ed, you can do all those trades at a journeyman level. Maybe you can do all those trades fast enough to make a profit on it. I guarantee you not everyone here can say the same. If I heard a group of painters hanging out and saying "I'm sure we can all repair framing and install subfloor, set tile, and build showers", i'd get a hell of a chuckle out of that.

Yes, there can be good money in full remodels. Theres also plenty of times where you wish you were only doing the tile, and then on your way to the next tile job. Grass is always greener i guess.

And I agree with what has been said above a few times, sometimes you just gotta eat and where the bread comes from be damned.

(on a side note, im gonna post here in a bit and give ya all an update on what i been up to, that might give some insight into my opinions on the subject at hand)
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Old 04-27-2012, 02:26 AM   #62
Higher Standard Tile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike
I don't sub anything out.
I'm glad the quality GC's I work for don't have that opinion.

I realize that in a rural area you need to know how to do more than one thing well to make a living.

But I find out here the GC's that use that line as a form of advertising are the ones that think pre slopes are overrated and nail cement board to the pan liner on curbs.

I'm a good tile setter but a crappy plumber. And out here I would be breaking the law and voiding my insurance policy if I ventured into plumbing work.

I follow the non Service Magic model of referrals. I refer client to contractors that I know will do the job right, not those that pay me for a referral.
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Old 04-27-2012, 05:51 AM   #63
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Hmmm, I live in a Rural area, My town has a population of 187 and Ive done 3 jobs in 30 years in this town....Most near charity wages because they were friends and neighbors but always these were done at MY convenience.

I managed to make a comfortable existence in this trade but far from that of a metro area tile man whose expenses are higher. I sub'd out all plumbing when feasible which was in 95% of cases.

What I learned in my time in the tile trade is that Most Really Good Tile contractors are afraid to charge for their work...
There are exceptions and These Contractors do very well.

Most however will say something like..."I am above the going rate in my area and cant get enough work"

Answer - Learn to Sell yourself....You will not get top rates if you have not given people enough Value for their hard earned dollar.

How do you do this??

Take a Piece of paper, Make 2 columns...in one column write down is Single words WHY you are a Good Tileman. Things like Dependable, Timely, Established..etc etc you get the drift.

In the other column write down the reasons in 1-3 words for Problem installations you have had to fix from others. substandard work, Technical skill lacking, poor finish work, no expansion,,,etc etc...

MEMORIZE THIS STUFF and learn to use it throughout a conversation in a natural way.

Now, when you sell your job, if you Sell your strengths and talk about the weakness's in the area without specifically slamming individuals, you decrease the value of "ALL THE REST" while Increasing your own perceived value.

Give people a reason to want you to do their job. Talk about initial costs vs repair costs....talk about the inconvenience to the homeowner of having to go through it all again.
Talk about how repairs generally take almost as much time as it would have taken to do it right the first time.

Show letters of recommendation and if you do not have any, you never ever completed a job in your life because you forgot to ask for this Value generator....
The more of these you have, the more Value you have to customers so Start asking for letters on every job. They add more Income in your pocket than Any photo you ever take...Photos do not have your name etched in them, anybody could have done the work. Letters have your name or business and a real persons signature attesting to your Skill as a Tile Professional!!

Another thing I learned....The body only has so many miles in it. You can work 3/4 as much and make the same money stretching your income generating years out another 10-30 %

or

You can work nights and weekends giving away your work and be burned out in 12 years...
A very short career because you tried to compete with burnouts, Alcoholics, and wannabe's to get the job no matter how much you had to discount.
Trust me, some jobs simply are not worth doing.

If there is no profit to be made, WHY Risk Injury because every day you work there is Always that risk.

About the time you Get that 1500 s/f job you had to discount desperately to land , tying up lets say 2 weeks with tear out and prep....you will get a call for a 500 s/f job you could have made the same money on and done in 1/3 the time... Not always, but it happens often enough that Discounting always costs you in the long run...

Would you discount a job and do it half ass'd...of course not. Every job you do will always be done to the same standards, so why not get Paid the same for all of them??

OK nuff said to the newbies in the trade, and some of you who have been around awhile...you know who you are........
Be PROUD of what you do and Get Paid for it, or go do something else..
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:10 AM   #64
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Excellent advice Todd, thanks for posting that.

It's all good business advice when it comes to working for customers directly, but when it comes to subbing for flooring stores, that's another ball game. Your not setting the price, they are setting it for you. For example, one flooring store that wanted to sub me out said they would pay me $300 for a jaquzzi and $800 for a walk-in shower w/pan. I avoided them. Another store paid me $350 (supplied adhesive) to install 8x4 white ceramic tile on a hot tub surround (3 rows up), small backsplash, fireplace surround, and shower surround. A days worth of work plus grouting the next day. Not worth it, first and last job I did for them. I really don't understand why some stores will pay you close to top dollar for floors, but pay you next to nothing for walls. The walls require more detail work, since they are at eye level and all, it's not like you can just slap it up there.
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Old 04-27-2012, 09:18 AM   #65
Hank B.
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Wow todd, haven't seen anything from you in a while then you drop in here with a gem!

It's very true what you say, for the last 10 years I've been competing based on price, once I had kids it became worse because if I had tons of work on the schedual, even if it didnt pay well, at least the kids would be fed. You wake up one day realize your about to turn 30, and you feel 60, you've been working an average of 65hrs a week for the last decade and your broke the marriage is strained, sure your kids are fed but you never eat with them.

It's been tough raising prices, lost jobs that I needed, wasted time giving estimates to price shoppers. But slowly I'm working less and making more. If I'm going to be poor I might as well be spending time with my family, not burning myself out like a candle burning at both ends. soon enough I'll either have a great, profitable business that actually allows me to t take vacations and retire or I'll go work at wal mart, rather do that then kill myself for no reason.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:08 AM   #66
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I agree, Todd's post is spot on. To be successful, there's a lot more than just doing excellent work. The most successful and busiest remodeler in my city is also the most expensive. I dont mean a little more expensive either. They are strong marketers, active members in all their related trade associations and have attained every accreditation they can.
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Old 04-27-2012, 10:38 AM   #67
Higher Standard Tile
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TileGuyTodd
Show letters of recommendation and if you do not have any, you never ever completed a job in your life because you forgot to ask for this Value generator....
The more of these you have, the more Value you have to customers so Start asking for letters on every job. They add more Income in your pocket than Any photo you ever take...Photos do not have your name etched in them, anybody could have done the work. Letters have your name or business and a real persons signature attesting to your Skill as a Tile Professional!!
Very true.

As I was finishing up a recent job the client told me they were very happy with the job. He also told me we were the high bidder. He said the reason he selected us was the referral letters.
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Old 04-27-2012, 03:50 PM   #68
ceramictec
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hank B.
Wow todd, haven't seen anything from you in a while
he's been saving up just for that post
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Old 04-27-2012, 07:34 PM   #69
jwmezzanotte
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tileguytodd
About the time you Get that 1500 s/f job you had to discount desperately to land , tying up lets say 2 weeks with tear out and prep....you will get a call for a 500 s/f job you could have made the same money on and done in 1/3 the time... Not always, but it happens often enough that Discounting always costs you in the long run...

Would you discount a job and do it half ass'd...of course not. Every job you do will always be done to the same standards, so why not get Paid the same for all of them??
You are right. I cannot recall one time that I have given someone a deal, or a break, or a discount and not kicked myself for it later. Not one.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tileguytodd
Trust me, some jobs simply are not worth doing.
Definately true. Although I might need to learn it a few more times because I seem to still get suckered once in a while..


I never have figured out what "the going rate" should be. I get the sneaking suspicion is that there isn't one..
Starting to get a handle on what my rate needs to be though, and thats more important to me anyhow.
Takes time to learn all this just like it takes time to learn the trade. Input from those of you who have been doing this for many years is helpful
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Old 04-28-2012, 04:02 AM   #70
tilemanct
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Todd,
That was an amazing post! I hope everyone reads it and learns from it. I just spent a year trying to land a huge project at a resort spa. Almost had it when two scumbag alcoholic installers walked in and cut my price by 40%. The spa then wanted to play "lets make a deal". I told them to have a nice day but no thanks. Sometimes you have to know when to walk away.
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Old 04-30-2012, 04:41 AM   #71
tileguytodd
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Like Brian said, I was saving up

Really though, it is all stuff that many learn but it takes Years to figure it all out. If by applying what I said saves you only a year or two of that learning process you will make enough additional income, i should be recieving gift certificates in the Mail before too long..

Do the important things....You are here so that already tells me you want to be the best you possibly can be at your trade.
Thats 1/2 of it, the other half is doing all those things that take you to the next level.
From specialized Laborer to Talented Business Professional.

The steps are small and easy to take and they do work.
If you can be the most expensive tile contractor in your area, Get enough work you are always 6-8 weeks out for scheduling, and have nothing but satisfied clients, then congratulations, you are at the top of your game.

Time to add an apprentice crew and start em on simple repair work and bring them in to assist on Larger projects where you can oversee and train... There are enough people who need work that many will be willing to do this even Part time to start. Maybe you can find a diamond in the rough..

I was never in a Metro area so never had this opportunity, but those of you who are and can reach this step, can make some real money. AND an accountant/financial advisor. Most are worth the money spent.

As to working out of a Shop and them setting your rates.This makes you an Employee not a sub contractor. They can suggest but they can not set your wage without crossing a line.

Yes, I am aware that in real life things are not always cut n dry and someone newer to the trade must be careful how they deal with a shop....If you are in this position the best advice I can give you is this.

#1 - YOU are being used so do not hesitate to use them back.
#2 - Make sure the Clients get to know YOU because one day they will be YOUR Clients
#3 - Know when to transition fully to being your own boss and Do it!! And take those clients with you, trust me, the shop will not be loyal to you any longer than it suits them to be. You can Like the owner but NEVER Trust him with Your Business because His business will always come first..

And Last...UPSELL Every Job you can...Most shops forget items that are easy additions with a little selling on your part.
Niches are a great way to Increase your income per job as are Benches, Fixtures and Matching Vanity tops for bathrooms...Sell antifracture membranes its Easy money and a great insurance policy for your customer.

Finally, when the Jobis finished, Leave a small to large ( depending on Job size) Houseplant or Nice Vase with fresh flowers with a thank You card.

That card is a great way to ask for a simple short letter of recommendation. If you are billing them leave a self addressed stamped envelope.

If you are Not billing them Leave a self addressed stamped envelope. You will not get them all back but you will get enough to make it worth your while!!

Cheers guys and Best of fortune to all of you Hard working Fools!!!
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:23 AM   #72
alienofwar
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----> Hard working fool here <----

Todd, you ever thought about becoming the Tony Robbins of the tile industry?? I'll buy your books.
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Old 04-30-2012, 09:25 PM   #73
custombuilt
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I'll agree with Todd here:

I'm one of the young guys that got tired of selling himself out at florida rates..

It is about learning to market yourself. A Key I have found is that if they think you are too expensive, you haven't justified the price to them yet.

Sell yourself! REading a few sales books (and implementing the tactics) is the best way to improve your profit.
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Old 04-30-2012, 11:46 PM   #74
Higher Standard Tile
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Jeremy- you would like "Profitable Sales- A Contractor's Guide" by Micheal Stone.
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Old 05-01-2012, 05:23 AM   #75
tilemanct
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... and dont forget Markup & Profit from Mr Stone. That book saved my business!
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