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Old 01-01-2012, 12:59 PM   #1
aaron0593
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Selling tile to clients

In trying to diversify my business, I have considered selling tile to some of my customers. The local flooring retailers manage to get by while offerring less than great service and sometimes with quite unethical practices.

I already "sell" waterproofing and setting material to clients that may have purchased tile from Home Depot or other retailers.

What kind of advice can you pro's give me about buying from the wholesellers, and selling?

Is it worth the potential trouble?

Are there better ways to diversify? I am already very busy as it is.

Thanks in Advance
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Old 01-01-2012, 01:58 PM   #2
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Aaron, I try to use my local tile store a often as possible. They're a good group of guys who get me a lot of business. Every so often though I get a customer that looks into other flooring alternatives because the cost of the tile plus my labor is too high. Since I won't budge on my labor I offer to sell them tile at a lower cost than the tile store. I don't have to worry so much about the mark-up on the tile cuz I'm more concerned on getting the install. I can usually get the tile delivered to me for less than what the tile store charges and still be able to make a few bucks. I don't do it that often but if I stand to lose an install I'll do whatever it takes.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:23 PM   #3
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If you have a website you can set up an affiliate marketing system without too much trouble. Customers can purchase the tile through your site and you get paid with whatever agreement you set up with your different wholesalers. No store, no samples, nothing required. This way you and your customers can also shop at the same time if you like and they can still go and see the material as well. They just end up placing the order through you. This way also keeps you on good terms with getting referrals through your various wholesalers.
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Old 01-01-2012, 02:57 PM   #4
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Thanks for the thoughts so far

If I refer clients to a store what kind of finders fee or percentage is reasonable?

Dealing with local retailers can be a pain, and there is some anymosity there when they think I've stolen their jobs.
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Old 01-01-2012, 09:45 PM   #5
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Im killin my local flooring outlets.Two in particular.When I 1st moved over here I was totally fine with working inside "'the box".

Both outlets,I noticed liked to keep their installers on a leash.I worked for both.Neither one was hip on CTEF.Neither one was hip on NTCA.

Thru the aid of both of these orgs I was able to deal with some of the main tile dealers direct.

Think about it.These car dealers,I mean tile stores have to pay for store rent,showroom girl wage,etc.etc.etc.

I just let people go to the main dealer,pick out tile and bam.No middle man.No kidding.I could care less about selling 2 dollar tile for three times the amount.Im happy with getting a decent price on labor+materials.

Also,I dont have to deal with the middle man BS.
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Old 01-02-2012, 06:01 PM   #6
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I used to enjoy being able to tell my customers they could goto X showroom and see a nice big selection, I would give them names of 3 or 4, letting them know I get good pricing, make sure you tell them Signature Tile sent you, and we can get your tile ordered up right away. I ended up losing a couple jobs because of one showroom who to this day denies doing it despite the fact I heard from the homeowner they were convinced to do it through the showrooms installer list. Now I try and go in there with them and make sure they know it's MY customer and to treat them that way.

Only exception is CFM, I send customers there without worry. I have my pricing, plus my markup on their computers. Customer can see tile, hardwood, carpet and anything else they want, pay for it themselves and I get a check in the mail. I can beat their prices at a couple places, but unless it's a big job, it's not worth it. I just charge a small fee for pickup/delivery and I'm good.
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Old 01-03-2012, 02:04 PM   #7
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Quote:
If I refer clients to a store what kind of finders fee or percentage is reasonable?
That can vary based on what kind of profit margin they have. We decided to have a low profit margin on all of our power tools and stone care products so we don't have much room to move. We give affiliates between a 3-5% commission and we give retailers and installers who buy from us a 10-15% discount assuming they buy a certain amount every month.

If the retailers you are dealing with are making 50-100% profit, they should be able to give you a lot more.
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Old 01-04-2012, 10:00 PM   #8
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Most interior designers have a finders fee for sending customers in to the showroom.

I usually try and work something out. Sometimes more of a discount program for me to buy other materials from them.
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Old 01-04-2012, 11:24 PM   #9
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currently

Thanks for the advice so far everyone.

At the moment, I'm talking to a homeowner/builder who hasn't picked tile yet. He's fine with my price for labour, which is on the high side, and I will be charging him for setting materials.

I was thinking of calling up the local retailers and saying "If Mr x comes in" it's my job and save ten percent for me. There are some retailers I would steer him away from because of their practices. That knowledge, plus dealing with their shipping and receiving departments has got to be worth ten percent.

I am also contacting the local Daltile sales rep.

Are there any other tile suppliers I should try to find?

Is this a total waste of my time and I should just keep sticking them down?

Any bad experiences with supplying tile?

Thanks again
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Old 01-05-2012, 03:02 PM   #10
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Well I think the biggest issue is making sure you build a relationship with a dealer. Have on going business and make sure they not only give you the discount but support you if they become at fault for something in the future. If you end up doing business exclusively with them, they can make money off you and you can make money off them.

Make sure it's a win/win situation for both of you while providing a good service to your customer.
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Old 01-06-2012, 02:56 PM   #11
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Guess it depends on what sort of area and market you are in.

I don't pay finder fees, nor do I charge them when I get folks work. I don't hand out hacks but local folks with whom I have developed a good biz relationship with. I help them they help me, customer is happy all the way around and we both look good. Than on to the next sale for me and install for them.

Different places have different tactics. I am doing pretty good, and in have to do very little advertising because we DON"T operate like a "car lot". But lots of folks do, they are the first ones that started going under when the economy tanked. Good Riddance.
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Old 01-06-2012, 08:36 PM   #12
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it may be different where i am to where you are but i never supply tiles, i prefer the client to pick and pay for the tiles at the shop, i will deliver them to the site and lay them. From my experience 99% of the problems here come from the tiles and or the delivery times of the tiles, none of the tile shops here carry stock, they have samples and you pick what you want and a few weeks later it arrives from the importer or if it isnt in the country a few months later it arrives.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:54 AM   #13
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As an installer, I have had to "wait" for tile that is "in the container on the way from Italy". And when it arrives, the salesman or homeowner has only ordered enough to tile the shower if its not centered or something like that.

I would not like to be responsible for that mistake.

Another time, tile was coming from California I think, and I had about twenty boxes leftover! What the shop did about that screw up, I have no idea.
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Old 01-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #14
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I dont want the hassle of trying to show samples. stock tile, etc etc. Much easier to say " I do not sell tile, buy it where ever you like and I'll pick it up if necessary. Grout is Laticrete Perma Color and is supplied at cost. " Grout not figured into bid due to too many customers changing their mind after sample board is made.

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Old 01-07-2012, 10:36 AM   #15
mctile
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First step is to establish terms accounts with your local wholesalers. Find out your multiplier, send your clients in to pick out their tile and order it for them at a discounted rate while putting a few bucks in your pocket. No inventory, minimal laibility.
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