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Unread 05-26-2004, 09:20 AM   #1
Steven Hauser
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Discussion of pricing practices Pro & Con

I recently made a mistake and drew unjustified attention to David Taylor.

I'm sorry. Yes, I think $14.00 a foot for labor is high except for a backsplash, then I want more.


I think it is a mistake for us to comment on pricing when we haven't seen the job or met the client.

Because of that view, I don't comment on pricing. In the interest of full disclosure, I am known as one of the highest priced tile contractors at bid time, yet, I am not, once the project is complete. This may drive my opinion.

There is no prevailing national standard. Nor is there any prevailing national installation method.

When all is said and done, TCA methods are a guideline. Manufacturer specifications are to supercede if there is a conflict.

What are your thoughts?

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Unread 05-26-2004, 09:52 AM   #2
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I don't think any price is too high if you can get it on a regular basis, as long as you're not trying to hit a home run & take one customer to the cleaners because of their lack of knowledge. There are big differences in pricing regionally, but also huge differences locally based on the quality & reputation of your company.
Even though there are so many different regional scales of pricing out there, I still really enjoy discussing specific pricing. It gives us a great flavor of overall prices around the country. Sometimes it consoles me on a price of mine I'm thinking is a little low, sometimes it inspires me to reach a little higher when I see other guys' higher prices. As long as we post them along with the caveat of which region we're in, I think it can only help us all (and maybe put a little upward pressure on pricing everywhere ).
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Unread 05-26-2004, 10:32 AM   #3
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I read a heating and air conditioning list that has an iron clad “no price questions” rule. If you ask a question about pricing the moderator will delete it.

This leads to a lot of deleted posts, to people not getting their questions answered and (in my opinion) a furthering of people’s sense that they are being ripped off and that they are dealing with a fundamentally dishonest profession.

There is a lot of variability in the cost of stuff in different regions of the country. I think everybody knows that, and people are just looking for general advice. The problem is most people have no idea what is involved in laying tile, they don’t know if $1.00 a square foot is reasonable or if $100.00 a square foot is the right range. One way to do research is to come to a place like this and ask. Sure, its going to vary some with where you live, who you get, and details of the job but at least you’ll know what the range you are looking in.

Think about something you know nothing about (perhaps heating and air conditioning), does it help you or give you a sense of confidence if a professional says: “I can’t say anything unless I see the job”. Or would you rather hear: “a new system for that size house runs in the $5000 to $6000 range, but I really need to see the job to give you a price.”
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Unread 05-26-2004, 12:42 PM   #4
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MY 2-CENTS --Not all contractors pay the same price for material for any number of reasons.(volume,region,dist mark up or buying power, ect.) W hen you disclose what you pay for material it could lead others to think "thats the price" I have seen price's listed on this site for the same product be up to 75% different..could be the difference between contractor price and DIY..??? not everyone wants THEIR COST published..As a mfg. we do have prices on line that are RETAIL prices, allowing the contractor the ability to mark up and make a profit and still be in line with the retail price...Should I publish what the contractor should pay, so the DIYer will know mark ups? This forum has to broad of a audience and may put the preasure on the contractor or YOUR profits!
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Unread 05-26-2004, 01:15 PM   #5
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For the record - I'm just an average DIY guy, not a pro, so I hope you don't mind me posting in this section of the forum.

As a consumer, I like to be well informed when I am contemplating spending large sums of hard-earned money. Open discussion of pricing with appropriate disclaimers for regional prcing differences, job specifics, etc are quite helpful.

While most consumers, IMHO anyway, really want a great price they also don't want to be lowballed and end up with a shoddy job either. Having online resources to go to, in addition to getting multiple quotes, really helps to educate the consumer.

Thanks for letting me weigh in here, I'll go back to the regular area now.
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Unread 05-26-2004, 06:11 PM   #6
John Bridge
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I don't know what you guys are worried about. I don't compete on price alone. I compete with superlative quality workmanship. I got out of the union more than 30 years ago.
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Unread 05-26-2004, 07:31 PM   #7
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I agree with you John.
My prices may be a bit higher than most around this area, but you don't get a r Rolls Royse for the price of a Mini.
I left the union in 1965.

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Unread 05-27-2004, 05:33 AM   #8
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Pricing has so many variables,

One guy might be charging 3.00 s.f over conc and another guy in the same region is charging 5.00 s.f. The 5.00 guy might be prepping the floor much different than the 3.00 guy. If your having hard surface material installed, you have to look at the big picture.

Do I want to stare at this out of line lippy toe stubber, everyday?
Or do I want to pay this " quality" guy the extra dough and have it done right? There will always be the " cheap ass Charlies" whos friends humor him everytime they see his crooked lippy floor. But hey he got a great deal.

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Unread 05-27-2004, 05:45 AM   #9
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I have a hard time posting prices or justifying prices, without seeing the job, or know what I'm bidding against.

I too, left the union (a short stint) years ago.

I usually let the people who don't know me that I'm high (pricey ) up front, but will give them the best job possible. I will also service my work if needed (this counts big time). If I don't get the job because of price, I consider myself blessed.
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"The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of a low price is forgotten."

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Unread 05-27-2004, 07:29 AM   #10
Robert Kent
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To me it's all about the job. The layout and type of tile determines the price, so I agree with those who will not give accurate prices without looking at the deal first.

I just completed 2 weeks worth of repairs in a new 3 million dollar home. The first tile guy was fired and sent packing by the owner, and I don't blame him. It looked like he used a shotgun to blow out all of the plumbing supply holes and floor drains, a total disaster. I finished 18 hundred sq ft. of tile for him at a sq ft price, but when it came to the repairs I simply charged him by the hour.

What is my hour price? Well it is based on what I could make in a good week divided by 40 (hrs). He was fine with this, and it allowed me to take the time to properly fix all of the screw ups in this house (6 baths and a sauna, and too many other rooms to mention ) I really hate repairs, cause I think they are hard to price and you can end up losing easy, but this way it worked out fine.

Oh and I'm always a sucker for those sweet little old ladies, lol. I always give them a great price cause I feel like I'm tiling mom's house!
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Unread 05-27-2004, 03:43 PM   #11
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I don't have to bid against others,i get my jobs word of mouth,i could probably charge much more but i don't,the market here keeps most in line and those that aren't are usually run out, it's a pretty small town when you're a thief.

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Unread 05-27-2004, 07:28 PM   #12
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Originally posted by doitright
If I don't get the job because of price, I consider myself blessed.
I couldn't agree more. It's that old thing about "If it's a price driven job, it ain't quality driven."


(sorry I'm in here as "Unregisterd" but we are still recovering from the F4 twister that ran through here last Saturday night)
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Unread 05-27-2004, 07:49 PM   #13
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well, my opinion is similar to john k's ... in that there ARE a lot of those " charlies " out there, and there always will be as long as we ( the industry professionals ) offer the best job possible all the time.

whenever i hear my customers ( prospective customers actually ) mention that there are going to be other bids, or there already has been a couple of bids, my general position on this is that i encourage them to get a few other estimates, but be sure that when you are comparing the contracts, that all are offering the same material, and level of service. like john k said, one guy may be low, but he won't use any SLC and probably leave lipps around, or another thing i run into a lot is that guys won't use proper underlayment or underlayment methods .... like thinset under the cbu, or luan plywood..... yes luan !!

BTW what did the $14 sf price for labor include, do you even know ? it could have been demolition, mudwork, membrane, epoxy grout, prevailing wage, etc ....

i don't know how other companies build up their pricing, but i most generally have two figures lumped together .... tile labor, and underlayment provide and install. in my area the ' going rate' for a straight lay 12 x 12 ceramic floor is around $3 sf. i charge $3.50 ..... but, i am also insured, and i don't take ' cash ' jobs off the books, or tax advice from opiethetileman. people know me, they know my work, they know i will stand behind my work. to me that probably worth more than $.50 sf

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Unread 05-27-2004, 07:59 PM   #14
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If you are doing quality work you deserve more than the going market rate. If you are doing quality work and aren't charging more than the going rate you are screwing yourself and your family.
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Unread 05-27-2004, 08:05 PM   #15
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