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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:01 AM   #1
Tile Contractor
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 1,062
Disappointment with Tile Installations

I have been reading about some of the dissapointments in installations by homeowners. It seems like most of them paid a cheap price and the work they receive was poorly done and shoddy. They received the workmanship they paid for. No one wants to overpay for anything, but there is a cost of hiring a proffessional tile contractor. And they are going to be on the upper end of pricing if not the highest priced. Why... because they are paying top dollar for their materials, training and experience. I am saddend and downright upset to hear about unproffesional scabs ripping off customers and them having to pay double to get the work they deserved from the beggining. If you are seeking a tile contractor please check out their references, supply houses and past customers. Do your homework so you do not become a victim. There are no tile police to oversee what anyone is doing on your tilework.

This happened to me a couple of years ago. A prospective customer asked me to supply a quote for a bathroom. After providing the quote i was told i was higher and they were going with somone that was significantly lower. I said thank you and good luck ( they were going to need it). Sure enogh a couple of months passed and the misses called asking if i could come take a look at the job that was just completed. I said sure for a fee i would take a look. I looked at the job and she said what did i think? I said you got exactly what you had paid for. Crummy work for a crummy price. She asked me if it could be fixed? I said yes it could by tearing everything out and starting over again. She started crying. I was sad to watch her cry, but did not feel compassionate.Why.. because she had made the choice and it was a wrong choice that was going to cost three times as much as it would have originally been had she made the right choice.

So my suggestion is to customers and homeowners please do your homework.
It will save you money in the long run. Check out who you are going to do buisness with. Good Luck John Cox
Certified Tile Installer # 26
Cox Tile, Inc.

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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:09 AM   #2
chuck stevenson
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Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Columbus, Georgia
Posts: 2,248
Well said John.

As a cabinetmaker I run into this as well.
Like you said, the cost to re do substandard work usually exceeds my original quote.

No curb, walk-in shower.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:21 AM   #3
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Location: East TX
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You dont know how often I hear,"I wish I wouldve just gotten u to do my tile work"

True.You pay for better materials,experience,and a more thorough job overall.

The prep work alone can be more involved than an entire "botched" installation.

2nd generation tile installer
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #4
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so true John, good post.
it happens a lot here in Florida. homeowner trying to find a cheap guy who winds up to not being as skilled as others who value their work and skills more and charge for it.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:38 AM   #5
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Yep, good post, John. I hear the same thing all the time. Folks need to realize they'll get what they pay for.

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Unread 10-12-2013, 07:42 AM   #6
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that's a sad story on many levels.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 08:56 AM   #7
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Contractor if want to be successful must be able to justify higher prices. "Thank you and good luck" is not enough! You have to help customer/homeowners understand difference between cheap work and long term investment in house value. Yes many customers go with cheaper contractor because we fail to provide all information they need, we contractors know the difference between cheap and good thinset - they do not know. Let them know.

You have to make the customers think - is it worth to save?, do we want to cry after it's finished?, do we want to remodel again, do we want to hate ourselfs every time we walk into that bathroom? Or - do we want to be proud we spent little extra and smartly invested into our house? Do we want to love our bathroom every time I walk in?

Customers often make wrong choices because they do not know any better. It's part of our job to educate them.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 08:57 AM   #8
Peerless Tile
Tile Contractor
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Location: Columbia,SC
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I often tell people, tile work is like a tattoo. A really nice one is expensive, time consuming and somewhat painful, but the end result is beautiful...A poor one is cheaper, faster and looks terrible when its complete, then it's three times as expensive and twice as painful to remove and correct.
SC Greg
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Unread 10-12-2013, 09:25 AM   #9
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I go through the whole gambit of educating the customer on the entire installation. Sometimes no matter what you do or say the only thing they are concerned with is price. We all face that by the threads that are put on the forum. We all get calls and the first question is how much do you charge? My answer is for what? I had a builder ask me what we charged per foot. My answer was we do not charge by the foot, we charge by the job. He was mifffed because everyone gives per square foot prices. Generally it is a barometer to the next guy. You need to know what your costs are to determine what your price is. If you are pricing your jobs as everyone else, you will struggle as they are. How can you compare yourself to the next guy when they are using $ 10.00 dollar a bag thinset and we are using a premium medium bed mortar that is priced at $ 22.00. This is all part of the prcing process and i agree educating the customer on these things are extremely important. J.C.
Certified Tile Installer # 26
Cox Tile, Inc.

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Unread 10-12-2013, 10:50 AM   #10
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In my area most people are charginga similar price on the labour (though not all do the same quality)
Its the material cost where Im usually higher. "The other guy said we dont need to use..."
Its a small town, and most people that call have been reffered in some way so most of the time they are intending on hiring me, they just need a little reasuring.

I can see how being undercut in a larger area could be a real pita though. And I can see it from the howmeowners point of view also. I know nothing about computers, if I were buying one I would be highly suspicious of a salesman telling me what I "need"
But hes probably right, I probably do need it. I just dont know what it is.
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Unread 10-12-2013, 12:20 PM   #11
Tile Contractor-Virginia
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Richmond Virginia
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I hear weekly how I was the most expensive proposal.I would say about 50 percent of those are not complaining just letting me know.I sell myself and a completely waterproof and professional job.They receive a proposal which in detail explains the scope of the project and materials used.The process is about educating them in their project and not competing with anyone else.I want them to know what is going to happen without any surprises.

I am proud of being a contractor and work hard to show that some of us can be trusted.A contracted project is much more than tile setting.It is a complete package.You are in someones home and their personal space and it should be treated with respect.

I dont think I am the most expensive.I give a proper price for a proper job and the others are not bidding apples to apples.

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Unread 10-12-2013, 02:58 PM   #12
South East PA Tile Contractor
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I get your more then the guy in his 40-50s I am 30. Hey your paying for a guy who knows his stuff. We know our stuff we dont rush.

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Unread 10-13-2013, 12:01 AM   #13
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Location: Seattle, WA
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If they went with the low bid, I think it's most often OUR fault for not educating them on real value. That's what they'll go for, whatever they perceive to be the best value, and just telling them we do quality work doesn't cut it. I haven't lost a single bid in a year and a half even though I'm almost always high bidder, mainly because of two things:
A) Sell fear. It's harsh, but it's necessary. You have to educate them about all the things that can go wrong with low bidders and how it can damage their house. Things like no preslope, no expansion joints, cheap thinset, liquid waterproofing done poorly... the list is a mile long. Explain the danger!
B) Explain the national standards; tell them you always follow them and why; and most importantly do something that the other bidders didn't that will make them actually believe you on this, like measuring the unsupported span in the floor below & explain how & why you are calculating actual deflection to make sure the floor will be suitable for tile.
If you do those; make a personal connection with people, so they can trust you; dress & groom yourself like someone who is trustworthy; then you can hardly loose any reasonable bid to a residential customer.
If they perceive the value, they will pay for it.
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Unread 10-13-2013, 04:33 AM   #14
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Post 9 says it all. Educate the customer - basic sales pitch.
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Unread 10-13-2013, 04:44 AM   #15
John K
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Excellent post John!

All so true. I do like Tom and sell fear but there is always the cheap skate and I do my best to extract that info on the phone and then say " how soon do you need this done" and when they tell me I say, "well I can look at the project but I'm at least 3 months out".

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