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Old 08-07-2013, 11:17 PM   #1
r0h
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Getting into the tile industry

I work at a home improvement and im a sales guy in flooring. Ive learned a lot on the internet about tiling; how to installing waterproof showers, backslash/floors and basic flooring principles. I continue to research about tiling everyday, but i have a urge to do it physically now since i got a clue on how to do it. Since I don't have any family members, or friends that are in the industry, I cant simply join a family business. I also tried looking for entry level positions on craigslist and didnt have any success. I figure I could work for free and just learn till i get a good idea on how to physically do it with confidence and just tell my customers at the home improvement store that i could install it for a cheap labor price. How would you guys do it if you were in my shoes? Any tips will be greatly appreciated.
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Old 08-07-2013, 11:37 PM   #2
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Well if I were you, I'd find a guy who's already in the business looking for work with different forms of advertising that they use (newspaper, craigslist, ect.). Call those guys one by one and tell them what you currently do and express interest in learning the trade. Let them know you get customers. Keep your current job but go part time like nights and weekends. Work with that installer (not for free) and any jobs you bring in go to him and you to do. Win win for the right guy. Something along these lines just be creative. You are in a key position for the right installer to take you on. You might have to be a third wheel on an existing two man crew but that's ok. The cream rises to the top.

What is your geographical location? Maybe someone here could use a guy like you?
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Old 08-08-2013, 02:47 PM   #3
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great you gave me a good direction on what to do. ill try talking to contractors that come and buy large amounts of stuff; they are always easy to spot out cuz they always know what to buy immediately when they get to the aisle. I'm definitely gonna buy a newspaper and check the job section, I totally forgot about about that.
I live in CA, east bay, I commute to work, so traveling to to a jobsite won't be a problem. ill keep my fingures crossed for someone on here that can help me out with a job. thanks for the helpful post.
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:46 PM   #4
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I wanna get into the tile industry too, and im interested in getting certified. I looked at CTEF and it seems they are out of state, I live in CA. Will I have to save for a ticket over there plus pay for there classes?
If I were to educate myself for several months reading books and searching information on how to install tile properly in bathrooms, will that route better suit me?
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Old 08-18-2013, 11:51 PM   #5
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Read the above posts if you haven't already. Lots of good advice in them.
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Old 08-19-2013, 08:53 AM   #6
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In CA, "getting into it" as far as contracting requires a C54 license. You will need to show 4 or more years of experience in the classification applied for documented by your licensed employers of the same classification. You must pass a test of which 75% is law pertaining to contracting and labor/safety, the rest about the trade. You must post a bond and show proof of Workmans Comp insurance for your future employees or sign a statement of fact that you will have no employees.

To be a tile layer, you get a job with a licensed tile contractor and go through his apprenticeship program. He will let you set tile when and if he feels you are ready.
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Old 08-19-2013, 10:46 PM   #7
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Nope, don't listen to Marty. Come out to SE AZ, and try the work for free approach. I'll help you out

But honestly the last thing our trade needs is more two week wonders. Get a job working for a good tile contractor, and accept that youwon't be doing yourself or the trade any favors if you think it's gonna happen in a matter of months. So many people start working on their own in the trades before they have a good foundation and they drive down workmanship and pricing. 4 yrs would be a good foundation.
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Old 08-20-2013, 09:00 AM   #8
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I could use a laborer-type guy right now: packs tile, cleans job sites. No promises about becoming an installer, but it always seems to be the eventuality that people hired for other purposes eventually get dragged into the trade.

PM me if interested. The pay is low and the benefits non-existent. But my brother pays top dollar for installers that excell.
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Old 08-20-2013, 08:39 PM   #9
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move to philly and work for me, you dont need all that cali bs
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Old 05-17-2014, 09:23 PM   #10
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It's coming up to a year since i posted this thread, and i still haven't got a tile job. I still work in flooring retail and so far I've learned a lot about installation; but now i'm currently looking to set-tile, or at least work with installers on my days off. I recently read a post from Kilauea, and his success in getting the industry; any advice?
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Old 05-17-2014, 10:03 PM   #11
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Ok.Success?I wouldnt go to far with that.

Depends on what your definition of success is.Location can be prime.Ive often thought,"If I could move elsewhere,I could charge double,maybe triple".

Exploitation at every extent is key.This goes for everything "self employed".Nail down self promotional skills and you can be the next hip hop mogul.Not very different.

Well actually,there is a difference (from the rapper).Tilesetting is now as complex as rocket science and brain surgery.Too bad there arent PHDs being awarded for field exp in "tile" world.

Find a union.Get involved in the apprenticeship program.

Sorry for the news flash.The tile realm isnt as "easy" as HD puts it out to be.


Best wishes!
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Old 05-18-2014, 06:22 AM   #12
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Hi Andy

So you are currently in flooring retail and have learned quite a bit about installation. So as L.T. just mentioned it is getting more complicated in this industry with new products coming out to deal with. This has probably always been the case I am sure when 12" tile came out it was a big deal when everyone was using 4" tiles.

From my experience hearing many stories here on how people got into tile such as myself it wasn't planned. I had my full-time job just like you when I started doing it in my own home so there was no pressure if I didn't like it. One shop I contacted said I would do just grout for a year and I wasn't interested in going that route. I understand why but it didn't appeal to me. Everyone out here works differently. Some people you work for will make you not want to come back the next day, just their abrasive style. Personally I like to teach people in a way they learn vs worrying about me yelling at them. Your learning side is turned off when someone yells.

Why do I tell you these things because you need to find someone who could use some help pt here and there without pressure. As soon as you are put on someone's payroll you are now under fire to perform. Learning about tile such as here on the forum is a good start but for most of us had we not had the hands-on experience we would never have come here. Search the internet for tile contractors in your area and tell them your plight. Someone might give you a shot, what if they want you full-time are you ready to step up? The best scenario would to go to work for a tile person as a helper or apprentice and start learning the process.

If are able to do the pt thing you might need liability to cover yourself as a subcontractor out there because many contractors just use subs. Just food for thought.
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Old 05-18-2014, 07:36 AM   #13
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From my perspective, I don't want a helper (you) on HIS days off. We work days, be prepared to do the same.
Think of it as you would college. This is class, be here or fail.
That said, you'll at least make a few bucks while you learn.


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Old 05-24-2014, 01:51 AM   #14
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What about getting a CTEF Certification and then get a business licence.
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Old 05-24-2014, 06:45 AM   #15
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The Certified Tile Installer certification is not a given if you don't have experience setting tile though I would get it but experience is what you need first. Lots of it.
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