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Unread 11-02-2008, 06:41 PM   #1
Tile Mechanic
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
How do you take the big step?

For many years this question has been in my mind.Been in the tile business as an employee for about 19 years now.Please dont tell me what I already know about how I should of gone on my own years ago.It would of been much much easier to fly solo when I was single with no family and no mortgage and everything else that comes with marriage.I find myself working for someone doing custom work after custom work while the other two mechanics do the new construction basic installations.I had this customer praise my work and mentioned how I must be making the big bucks and that really hurt.I moved to this area two years ago and dont really have good leads to work other than my boss`s customers and that I refuse to do.I would like to take the big step but todays economy and my bills keep me from doing anything right now.Asking for a raise is out of the question cause of the fact that when I got the last raise my overtime ended.I rarely work Saturdays anymore and when I do,it`s probably a granite job on a diagonal.How did you guys take that step?If your situation was similar to mine when you went solo,what did you do to be successfull.Your imput would be greatly appreciated.Thanks ahead of time fellas.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 06:48 PM   #2
Florida Tile & Stone Man
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Naples Fl.
Posts: 22,690
You could ease into it by getting your license if applicable,insurances,incorporation,making cards,maybe a brochure,magnets,trailer, and website,all this takes time and money,you should do this quietly.And if you don't have any work lined up,forget it, especially now.And hey there is nothing wrong in working for someone else,i still do it occasionally, you would be surprised what you'l have to do...line up the work, schedule it, babysit the process,get the job done,mwanwhile paying your help and buying all the things needed to stay in business, and get paid, this may not sound like much but it keeps you awake almost every night...and don't worry too much about the co. getting the credit for your work, that used to piss me off too,but they also get all the headaches.You should be getting side work anyway,i did side work my whole life, you can't pay your bills in Fl. without it.

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Unread 11-02-2008, 06:58 PM   #3
Tile + Paint -- SE Cleveland suburbs
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Cleveland, OH
Posts: 196
You could ease into it
Exactly. You need a reliable vehicle, the tools and some space to store extra materials and tools. Have all your paperwork and insurance in order. After that make sure you have 5-10k saved up. Get a professional website, business cards, a business phone number. You can't be too prepared. Start doing sidework quietly and get your name out. Be courteous to your old boss and give plenty of notice and keep that door open when the time comes.
Andy. Real tile guys have wallets full of dysfunctional credit cards.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 07:04 PM   #4
Tile Mechanic
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 72
Any info on where to start,how much needed to be insured and bonded and how that works?
As far as tools,I`m all set.Everything in the van but couple cords and the van ,are not mine.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 07:14 PM   #5
Scottish Tile and Stone
Ohio Tile Contractor.. Hydroban shower specialist
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Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Painesville Ohio
Posts: 5,107
where to start is up to you. You dont want to step on your bosses toes, so you have to be careful where you look for work. What state are you in? That will dictate what you need as far as insurance, license and stuff.

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Unread 11-02-2008, 07:18 PM   #6
Tile Mechanic
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Location: Texas
Posts: 72
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Unread 11-02-2008, 08:16 PM   #7
Tile Tiki
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Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Texas
Posts: 231
After 19 years your boss should be paying you a large percentage.If you think you deserve mo re than pick a good tme to talk to him.If this doesnt work in your favor than its time to think about flying solo.Tools,transportation,and proof of previous work meaning pictures and references.Do your customers right in this trade reputation is everything.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 08:20 PM   #8
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Location: Moore, Oklahoma
Posts: 1,202
I wouldn't feel bad working for someone else. Shit, 95+% of Americans work for someone. It's nothing to be ashamed of, at all!

I've been working for Uncle Sam now for 12 years. He's such a nice guy....

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Unread 11-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #9
Tile Contractor -- Seattle, WA.
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Seattle
Posts: 1,291
Don't expect to make what you're making now for a year or two. At least that is how is was for me, but I'm a terrible businessman with a penchant for vacation.

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Unread 11-02-2008, 09:07 PM   #10
South East PA Tile Contractor
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Delaware County, PA
Posts: 6,584
do side work

do it now and then when the economy picks up in 43 years you can go out on your own.

I own my own truck but work for someone also my own saw, so i can do side work. I try to do all my side work all drypack floors because not all the mechanics in this area can float mud so i have an advantage or they dont really do it much.

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Unread 11-02-2008, 09:13 PM   #11
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Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Houston, TX
Posts: 92
You should be doing piece work. If you've been in it for as long as you say, then your reputation should extend beyond the guy you work for. Whatever you do, DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT! Don't take less than you are worth past a certain extent. I have done a few jobs for one shop here in the last couple years. The owner calls me when he has real large and intricate jobs taht he wants perfect. He recently called me and wanted me to do a 18" travertine in the waiting room of a dentist office. It is on the eighth floor of an office building. He said his regular guy who does these jobs for him is busy but he pays him $3 a foot for it. I guess he figures that things are going to get a little slow and people would be eager to do anything for money. I told him to wait til his guy had the time because I won't do it at that price. Can you imagine the pain in the ass it would be to do an 8th floor job where you have to cut in a parking garage in the basement and run up and down for 146 feet @ 3 a foot including prep, moving furniture, hauling everything back and forth, etc. 3 days for 450 bucks of total pain in the butt when I usually get 8 and up a foot. Don't let someone use your talents and skills and make more than you do for the work YOU are doing. You really need to branch out. Good luck.
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Unread 11-02-2008, 09:16 PM   #12
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married with kids and full time job. what's not to like about that? steady wins the race right now. take pictures of your jobs (wish i could remember to do that still) and work side jobs that aren't your bosses customers. you'll be finding out about everything that goes into the business side of the job when you sell,plan,negotiate,handle customers,delays, etc. it may not be for you right now. 40 hours is only a memory when your the boss. can you commit the extra time away from your family? if you jump into it now did you save enough to carry you while you seek work? how will you insure your family for health care? that's a big number to pay every month. how will your wife handle you not getting paid regularly or if your client doesn't pay you? etc. etc. etc.

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Unread 11-02-2008, 09:23 PM   #13
Tile and remodeling contractor
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Quincy, IL
Posts: 2,794
I carry 1 million in liability, this is pretty standard, but some guys that do more commercial carry more....bonding and license depends on each state, call your building inspections office or look it up online. Working on your own is slow at first....do a lot of side work as mentioned before, buy your own van etc...line up a few nice jobs before you take the leap. Find your niche in the market...there is always money to be made no matter what the economy looks like-that is what separates the entrepreneurs from employees--but it may not be in the tile market right now in your area... Investigate, talk to people, and make a business plan! that means write out what market you want to get in, how much you need per day, etc. Having these goals in writing helps you get motivated to make them happen.
Jason W.

Superior Construction
Custom Interior and Exterior remodeling experts
Quincy, IL
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