What should the customer know about your pricing (e.g., discounts, fees)?
It's not complicated. Everything is itemized like an excel spreadsheet so you can add or subtract services to the agreed upon pricing. The most confusing I suppose would be the "trip charge". That is not for coming out to your house to install your tile. That is simply for having to pick up the material you have already agreed to supply- i.e. the tile and the grout. If you have agreed to supply it and then decide that you'd rather have us pick it up, that is what the "trip charge" fee is.
What education and/or training do you have that relates to your work?
I'm always on-line and often in stores looking for new and better ways of doing tile. The latest class I've been to was last summer I got Wedi certified.
I am absolutely sold on that product for wet areas. It is permanent water-proofing when installed correctly. It is lightweight and super strong... an amazing combination in this field. I love the stuff and can easily rest my guarantee on all my Wedi work. It is more expensive material, but it is also labor-saving... especially for shower pans. I would use Wedi in my own home hands down. You know they make commercial steamrooms out of the stuff?
How did you get started doing this type of work?
I actually kind of fell into it. I've always been a go-getter on the lookout for a business to run on my own. A guy approached me needing help on his tile job. Things snow-balled from there, and I've been in tile ever since.
I'm a strong guy, so the lifting of the tile day in and out never bothered me. My brain is geared towards spacial and mechanical workings, so layout and tool performance came pretty natural to me. I also love research and have compiled an odd assortment of tools that are super handy for a tile-guy though not necessarily conventional. Long story short, the trade just suits me and I love it.
What types of customers have you worked with?
Let's see... shower and tub surrounds are frequent. Floors are maybe just as frequent.
Countertops, backsplashes, and wainscoting come next on the frequency scale.
Next comes decks, fireplaces, and ceilings.
Finally is the waterjet design... which we would absolutely love to do more of. Check out the picture of the seagull. A sweet older lady wanted a beach themed bathroom, and that's something I was able to make up for her. In that same bathroom I got to install actual river rock for her shower floor. She loves the way it feels on her feet... kind of like a massage.
What advice would you give a customer looking to hire a provider in your area of work?
Make sure your contractor is licensed bonded and insured. Ask questions about waterproofing. Ask for referrals. Ask if they have pictures of previous jobs... it'll show they take pride in their work.
What questions should customers think through before talking to professionals about their project?
Tile is an art, and, as such, can take a bit of time. I've had customers with a bit of square footage expecting me to tile it in a day... that's just not the way it usually works. Go ahead and ask me about the timeframe I expect for your project. It varies with each project, but on most "mid-size" projects, expect at least a week. I do it right and I do it above ANSI standards. The fastest has been two days (an entryway)... one for demo, prep, and tile, and the second for grout... but general projects aren't usually that fast.