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Old 07-16-2017, 03:22 PM   #1
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Eyes are upon us.

I contract for a very good contractor who always comes highly recommended.
He likes to dabble in ceramic from time to time and does a great job.
He calls on me and mine to handle large jobs and really technical custom work.
Well he put me on a real doozy this week. Tile; 16 x 32 gloss wall, 16 x 32 matt floor, accent wall 24 x 24.
The lady goes over all the details shows us the way she had laid out most all the tiles in her bedroom to be sure we picked randomly.
She pretty much has been on us the whole install. She pointed out two tiles which had minor chips on the edge which would have been taken care of by grouting but she would have no mention of it, as she was doing her own grouting and would see every little detail. I sank. We all know what we can and cant leave when we are doing the whole install. In hind sight I should expect to be more dilligent about my own quality. ( a great grout man can make many a bad jobs look great, and likewise a bad grout man can ruin any job). In any event it has been a very stressful install. I tried to explain in as nice a way as I could that we kew what we were doing and that she should not be examining the tile so closely before it was finsihed and grouted.
How do you handle such people?
Neil Jackson, from Cincinnati, Ohio

Her contractor said she could have it installed today.
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:06 PM   #2
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Man that's a tough one, I believe there is a standard distance for which an install can be evaluated. That may or may no pertain to what your dealing with. I don't know how your pricing works, but when I get a feeling I'm going to be dealing with someone like this I add a pain in the ass fee...that way I'm compensated for dealing with the added stress.
Jack of most trades, master of none...
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Old 07-16-2017, 05:08 PM   #3
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Ahh yes, the PITA fee. Varies by customer and attitude.
Commercial Tile Installations
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Old 07-16-2017, 06:55 PM   #4
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Neil asked
How do you handle such people?
Well since you asked... I don't...Piece mealing out the install with the customer is never really an option. Either "I" do all the necessary steps or none at all. Basically to quality control the outcome of any kind of work I do. Never really had a customer offer to grout though have to admit.. Most people look at grouting as the hardest part of tiling and would rather avoid that mess.

At this point just do the best you can and know that you'll eventually finish. Then you can concentrate on another job and another easier client.

Good luck on your solution...I feel for ya man.....

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Old 07-16-2017, 07:13 PM   #5
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On my evil minded side I know we have done the very best, and the homeowner has chosen a urethane grout. (small snicker).
Neil Jackson, from Cincinnati, Ohio

Her contractor said she could have it installed today.
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Old 07-17-2017, 05:55 AM   #6
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Hi Neil,

If you think maybe this should be in the private pro forum, just ask any moderator to move it for you. As you said, eyes are on us . . . or they might be.
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Old 07-18-2017, 12:08 AM   #7
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big brother is watching
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Old 07-18-2017, 07:39 PM   #8
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I'd be pushing epoxy grout.

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Old 07-19-2017, 08:52 PM   #9
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I know the feeling. Going through a similar one, I finished a 12x24 floor to the best of my ability. There was a spot where I could not level because of transitions and limited space for a dishwasher, so I had to make small adjustments that led to very minor lippage (I'm talking less then credit card thickness). Now they want that part of the floor replaced. I can replace it, but it won't look any better, simply a product of geometry. Kind of puzzling out how to best explain that to them
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Old 07-20-2017, 08:33 AM   #10
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Petr, seeing this from both sides as a designer/specifier and an avid DIYer who sometimes contracts out personal work. I think it comes down to education and setting expectations.

On jobs that I've punched out I'll ask about lippage when I see it, and I consider myself highly educated in the nuances of tile compared to your average architect. I'll get guarded answers like its "it's to code" which I know is bullshit because building codes (to my knowledge) don't really care about things like tile lippage that exceeds what TCNA states is acceptable. On my basement reno I'm sure I've driven some guys away with all the questions I ask to 1) educate myself because I try to have a growth mindset 2) understand what exactly their giving me and how it fits or doesn't fit in to the expectations I have. Depend on the reaction I will dial back or reevaluate what it is I really want.

I don't exactly have the time or money to put together a full spec book and the cost that would entail with subsequent work. So instead I query to understand the quality of work the are proposing to give me and if I feel it doesn't fit my expectation I clarify further as to what my expectations are. My experience so far has been pretty hit or miss. Few guys get it, most are just in a rush and want to get through walking the site.

From the other side there are some clients that 1) have expectations that require bigger bucks than they are willing to spend to realize them 2) don't know to ask the question until the work has been performed 3) totally clueless and don't care to educate themselves on what their buying but make demands anyway.

To some extent the lack of quality and professionalism that can be easily found in the trades, especially in those that do residential work can be attributed by this attitude in clients. They have to be on guard to make sure they aren't screwed, so the trust that may have once been there between the two parties is gone. I'm too young to know if things were different decades ago.

Last edited by houndzilla; 07-20-2017 at 08:57 AM. Reason: formatting
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