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How To Start A Tiling Business

Are you considering starting your own tiling business but you’re not sure where to start? We’ve created this guide to help you understand what’s involved, with some vital information on how you can start planning your new tiling business startup.

Are you considering starting your own tiling business but you’re not sure where to start?

We’ve created this guide to help you understand what’s involved, with some vital information on how you can start planning your new tiling business startup.

What qualifications are needed to become a tiler?

If you are brand new to the tiling trade and need to learn the skill itself, you may need to look into the training options available.

Generally speaking, you will need to have:

  • Great attention to detail
  • Basic math skills (to calculate areas and materials and provide job estimates)
  • A good eye for design
  • Strong physical skills for practical work

These are all fundamental skills required to set up a tiling business and provide a professional service.

Regarding professional training and qualifications, there are many training providers across the country. When researching courses in your area, you should consider how quickly you would like to learn; you may be learning the skill around an existing job, or you may wish to find a fast-track style course to get set up quickly.

Take a look at the modules covered in the course. As well as learning the tiling skill itself, lots of courses also teach business skills. Skills including legal, taxing and bookkeeping are all essential to learn for running your own business.

Creating Your Tiling Business Plan

As with any new business, the best place to start is by putting some plans in place. This way, your business is built on strong foundations to ensure that it grows successfully.

In this section, we will break down the steps for putting together a tiling business plan, so that you have researched all of the necessary areas before you begin trading.

Decide on your target market

It’s a good idea to start by researching into the variety of customers that you can target. This is a good chance to see how much demand there is for your services, what people are looking for and how much competition there is in the market.

Domestic customers

If you are thinking about tiling in residential homes, do some research around the types of houses in your area. Are the houses large and expensive or smaller and lower in value? Are they older properties or more modern? Is there still a market for houses to add conservatories?

These types of questions will help you to discover your target market and their needs that you can then serve. It will help you to match the range of tiles and services that you offer to the local market.

It can also help to decide whether you will stick to local customers or whether you are prepared to travel to other areas to find your ideal target market.

Commercial businesses

What other businesses are in your area that may require tiling work? For example, shops, restaurants, offices, hotels and more. Some may require basic tiling which could be simple jobs, whereas others may require specialist tiles; for example, non-slip tiling in a swimming pool or reception area.

Make yourself known to these businesses; even if they don’t require work immediately, they may keep you in mind for future tiling projects.

Contracting work

Working as a subcontractor for businesses who need labourers is often a great way to build up experience and add to your new portfolio of work.

You may want to consider contacting local building contractors or businesses that may frequently require your services and provide your details. You could also contact kitchen and bathroom specialists, conservatory builders, decorators, shop fitters and any other businesses who may regularly need a tile fitter.

Your local council may also include your business as a list of approved clients once you have built up a strong portfolio of work.

Once you’ve identified who your potential customers are, you will be better informed to make decisions about materials, pricing and how to market your business.

Research your local competition

Depending on where and who you have chosen as your potential customers, you need to establish who already serves them and how well they are being served.

With a quick search on google or the Checkatrade website, you will quickly find some local tilers with similar service offerings.

Take a note of things like the type of services they offer and whether they specialise purely in tile laying, or if they offer additional services such as painting and decorating. Also take a look at their unique selling points and if they are a member of any trade associations. This is where you may be able to gain an advantage over your competitors.

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Discover tiles that are perfect for you

What tiling services will you offer?

You will need to decide on the type of work you would like to take part in, this will help you decide on which jobs to search for, estimate for and take on. 

Some tilers prefer a variety and take on a range of tiling jobs, for example in different rooms and across both residential and commercial. Others prefer to specialise in a niche, for example swimming pools or modern kitchens.

Domestic jobs

Domestic work can provide the bulk of work for many tilers. It comes with a range of different tasks and every job is different; with different rooms and styles to keep projects exciting.

Typical tiling tasks that you may be required to do in domestic work could include: 

  • installing mosaic features
  • tiling conservatories 
  • tiling walls and floors in various rooms
  • re-grouting current tiles
  • sealing natural stone tiles

You may also be involved in any prep work for projects if you decide to be involved in the planning side too. Preparation work can include removing old tiles, levelling surfaces, installing plasterboard and backer boards, or applying waterproofing before tiling any wet areas.

Commercial jobs

Normally on a much larger scale, commercial jobs require tilers for any big projects like renovations or new premises. These kinds of jobs are normally well suited for larger tiling businesses that can deal with bigger construction projects, due to the resource they have available.

Specialist tiling

As well as your normal tiling services, you may choose to offer more specialised or niche services. These could include tiling garden patios, wetroom installations, shop fittings, swimming pools and more.

Providing specialist services allows you to focus on an area which is either something you really enjoy working on, or something that the market really needs where there may be a shortage of specialist tilers.

Additional services and unique selling points

Like many areas of construction and trades, tiling can be competitive in your area. Therefore, think about what you could offer to your customers that makes you stand out from your competition. Can you add value to any of your services to make your business more competitive?

Adding value to your services can come in many forms, including:

  • free quotations and estimates
  • being a member of an established trade association (this can give reassurance that you are a reliable tradesperson)
  • providing all contact details and insurance guarantee
  • a guaranteed turnaround time
  • training in installing underfloor heating as an additional flooring option

Complete packages

Often a good option for domestic projects, as some customers like to be quoted for a complete job from start to finish. This would work well if you plan on adding additional services into your offering.

Consider what other skills or services you can provide to customers to give a complete package of work; what might your customers like you to include? This could range from plastering walls or providing unique tiling design ideas to complete bathroom and kitchen installations.

Normally, it’s likely that you would work in partnership with other tradespeople like plumbers, builders and decorators to complete a full project. However, the more skills you master yourself, the more of a complete package you can offer to your customers.

How much can you earn as a tiler?

Your earnings as a tiler largely depends on how long your working day is, and how many days a week you work. After all, if you are setting up your own business, you decide your hours and working days. You may choose to work normal working hours, for example 8am-5pm Monday-Friday, or you may choose to work at weekends too. 

Generally, professional tilers can earn up to around £45 per metre for fitting, or around £200-£250 per day minimum. For experienced tilers, that equates to a yearly earning of between £50k-£70k. Experience, location and competition should all be factored into your prices, so look at what your competitors' rates are and use them to price your services accordingly. 

Deciding on your price rates

Quite often you will have periods of time where you are working, but not necessarily making money from the time you are using. 

For example, you may be doing the below tasks where you won’t be earning money:

  • visiting new jobs and estimating for work
  • running over on a project that has taken longer than expected
  • fixing any mistakes free of charge
  • travelling between jobs
  • ordering and picking up materials
  • waiting for delivery of tiles or tools
  • you become ill

 

You should take events like these into consideration when deciding on your prices. Although you are not tiling as such, you may still be carrying out tasks to complete the job which is using your time.

For many tilers starting out in business, jobs are priced based on an estimate of how long they think the work will take (on an hourly or daily basis), plus the cost of any materials and additional services like design and preparation work. You could also consider pricing per square metre, or providing a fixed cost for the whole project on request. If you choose to offer fixed price quotes, ensure that you add a note that any additional work or changes would be an additional cost.

It’s also important to understand that as a newly qualified tiler or a new startup business, you will need to work hard to build up your client base. You may not be gaining consistent work immediately and that’s normal. Build up your portfolio of work using any work experience from your qualifications or work experience to make a start, then add your paid jobs along the way.

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Promoting your tiling business

Once you have decided on who your customers will be, what your service offering is and  how you will price your services, you need to think about how you will market your business and gain customers.

However you choose to brand your business, focus on what makes your business different from others. Stand out from your competitors and show how your business is reliable and why you should be chosen to complete a job. Here are some ideas to spread the word about your new business:

Business cards in local stores or community buildings

Distribute business cards or flyers to local businesses or community buildings. These types of places are normally happy to put them out on display to support local businesses. 

Local shops also have pin boards that are used for advertising local businesses to local residents who are visiting for groceries. This is a quick and easy way to initially get the word out about your services. 

Create a website

Getting yourself online and using a website can really help people to find your business and learn more about how you can help them. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at our blog post on websites for tradespeople to get started.

Word of mouth

Word of mouth can be very powerful and can really help you to gain new customers once you have got the ball rolling.

Start by telling people about your new business and what kind of work you are looking for. They may need work doing themselves, or know people who do! 

As you work on different jobs, if your work is done to a high quality and you provide a good service, these customers will recommend you to others in future. Make sure you are easy to get in touch with for these people to discuss potential work with you.

Local directories & trade associations

Local Facebook groups or online directories like Yell.com are good to showcase your work. You can respond directly to people who are looking for tilers with experience such as yours.

If you register with a trade association, this also helps to build trust and you will be listed on their website if you meet users search criteria.

Vehicle signage

If you have your own work van, signage on your van is a great way to get your business out into the community. Whether you are parked at a job or driving around town, you will always be marketing your business with ease.

Estate agents

Build relationships with estate agents. They will know of work that needs to be done on rental properties and renovations. If you do a good job the first time, they should continue to use and recommend you in future.

Tile Giant Trade Rewards Programme

Once your tiling business is all set up, take a look at our Trade Rewards Programme. As a tradesperson, there are many benefits that you can receive upon joining the programme:

  • Earn up to 10% back in vouchers on your monthly spend instore with Tile Giant.
  • Access to great deals and exclusive offers.
  • Earn a 5-10% referral rate on customers that you send to us.
  • Exclusive delivery offer.
  • Price match promise where we guarantee to match the price in Topps Trade and CTD Trade.

Receive an exclusive membership offer and benefits with Checkatrade