Starting a Tile Business
Tiling as a Career
Whether you work on new residential construction, remodel homes, or install in commercial spaces, working as a tile installer can be a profitable career. Of course, there's more money in owning your own business than working for someone else, but it also involves more work. When you understand both the business and tile setting aspects of tile installation, you open up a new set of possibilities for your future.
There's more involved in starting up a successful tile business than simply knowing how to lay tile – though that's the first step! You need to handle the paperwork necessary for running a business, develop a business plan, and make sure you have the tools you need for the job, or rather, jobs. When you start a tile business, you're working two jobs: laying the tile, and managing a company. Getting the two tasks to mesh in a way that works for you is important to your success.
Become a Tile Expert
The critical first step of starting a tile business is to learn the work, if you haven't already. Applying to work with a local construction or tile installation company is a good way to learn the trade through hands-on experience. You need to know more than how to lay tile: you must understand home improvement building codes and regulations, learn to determine if a floor is suitable for tile, and know how to prepare the floor. Be a perfectionist with the details of your work; it will set you apart and earn you a reputation for excellence.
Register as a Business
Once you know the job, the next step is to establish yourself as a business. This can actually involve several steps, depending on the laws and regulations in your area, and the resources you have available.
- Apply for a business permit/license with your city, county, or state.
- Get an employer tax ID number through the IRS.
- Buy insurance for your installation work; you may need separate insurance for residential/remodeling work and commercial work.
- Become bonded, licensed and insured.
Make a Plan
Some installers jump into starting their own company without developing a business plan, but this can lead to trouble further down the line. A good business plan will not only help you in getting any business loans you need, but will serve as an important reference to guide your company's growth. It should cover all management, financial, and advertising aspects of your business, as well as goals for the future.
Find Good Sources for Materials
Make sure you have the tools you need for the job. In addition to the tile cutting and grouting tools you need to lay tile, or a good pair of knee pads, that means a website for your business. Your website should contain testimonials from satisfied clients, a portfolio of your past work, a description of the services and warranties you offer, advice for clients for preparing their space, and your contact information. You also need tile samples to display to your clients, which you can obtain from a wholesale tile flooring company. While looking for samples, try to find a wholesale tile flooring distributor to be your supplier. It's vital to develop a relationship with a good wholesale tile flooring supplier, because so many of your jobs will come from networking and word-of-mouth.
There's a lot to think about when starting up a tile business, but with some preparation and planning, you can lay the foundation for a strong and growing company that will help you establish a secure and comfortable future.