Think about the range of services that you will offer and the kind of jobs you will agree to take on. You may decide to specialise in a particular type of work, for example floor tiling or swimming pools. Or you might take on a wide range of jobs, depending on your skills and experience.
Domestic jobs make up the bulk of work for many small tiling firms. The type of work you might be asked to carry out includes:
- installing (and possibly supplying) ceramic tiles and mosaics in bathrooms and kitchens
- installing other types of tile (for example stone, glass, slate and cork)
- installing glass splash-backs
- tiling hallways and conservatories
- tiling around fireplaces and installing decorative tiling in living rooms and conservatories
- installing floor tiles of various types
- sealing natural stone tiles
- re-grouting existing tiles
Think about whether you'll get involved with preparatory work - such as removing old tiles and floorcoverings, levelling floors, installing plasterboard and tile backer boards, or applying tanking and waterproofing systems in wet areas prior to tiling. You might also offer underfloor heating installation if you have the necessary skills.
A wide range of commercial premises will require the services of a tiler from time to time. For example, shops and office premises may have toilet facilities or a commercial kitchen that needs tiling. Retail outlets of all types might use tiles on the counter, floor or walls. Restaurants, pubs, hotels, nursing homes and large buildings such as shopping malls, leisure centres or hospitals also have tiled surfaces. Work in commercial properties will often be on a much larger scale than domestic work.
In addition to your regular tiling work, you might offer more specialised services such as tiling swimming pools and garden patios, wetroom installation, or fixing hygienic wall cladding and tiles in buildings used for food production.
Tiling, like most areas of the construction industry, is a competitive business and you may decide to offer your customers a range of added-value services to help your business compete. These might include, for example:
- free surveys, estimates and quotations
- insurance or trade association backed guarantees on all new work
- a freephone telephone line
- a 'no job too small' or 'distance no object' promise
- guaranteed quick turnaround
A complete package
Many of your customers are likely to be householders who want you to provide a complete package of services from start to finish. This might include giving advice on cost, design and tile specifications. Give some thought to the services that your customers might like you to include. These might range from levelling floors and plastering walls to complete bathroom and kitchen installation work. It is likely that you will carry out some jobs in conjunction with other tradespeople such as plumbers, builders, painters and decorators, interior designers and shop fitters.