Discuss Tiling prices for ceramic vs porcelain vs mosaic vs herringbone etc in the Tiling Forum | Tile Advice Forum area at TilersForums.com

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Hi. I'm relatively new to tiling, and have begun offering it as a service alongside my existing skills in property maintenance/repair and general construction etc. I am not a "time served" or particularly experienced tiler, but I have been on a week long course to make sure I understand the basics of prep, setting out, laying tiling, grouting etc...

I have done work for the same property developers for many years, and they have always struggled in finding a good, reliable tiler. I pay a great deal of attention to all the work I do and am a bit of a perfectionist... so last year they asked if I could do the tiling on one of their new builds... they were paying £25 per square meter previously, for walls and floors using mainly ceramic, but some porcelain... but all decent sized tiles, in stack-bond layout, with an average amount of trim work. They provided all materials so the meterage was purely labour. I thought that sounded reasonable so agreed. I spent many more hours than I would have liked, ensuring I was producing my highest standard of work... they were very impressed with this work and offered me the role of tiler on their future projects.

Fast forward to now, and we negotiated on price a little. The new rate is now £30 per meter, labour only. Based on the types of tiles used last year, and the layout/spec etc of their last properties, I thought this was a very good rate and was happy that I could now earn good money for all my effort. As they are new builds, the end-user (their buyers) ultimately choose their tiles and layouts... and here lies the issue... the actual specs for the tiling doesn't come through until a couple of weeks before the job begins. (Long after the rates were agreed).

The guys I'm working for (the developers) have already agreed to a higher price per meter than they were paying previously... this higher price, as far as I'm concerned, is justified by the quality of work I produce, and wasn't agreed to account for any extras. The first house, which I'm about to begin, has specified brick bond everywhere (walls and floors), a mosaic feature down the centre of their shower wall, has a lot of porcelain (obviously harder to cut compared to the mostly ceramic tiles used last year), wants two different tiles in the same room (one for the shower, and another for the rest of the room, but in brick bond and with nothing to separate the two on one of the walls due to being a walk-in shower - two different grouts aswell), and the bathrooms this time round are a lot more awkward compared to their last site, with small stud divider walls to tile (and trim), sloped ceilings, diagonal walls meaning angled cuts for floors too etc.

I've already raised my concerns regarding how long it will now take, and also therefore the mosaics (in particular) possibly being charged as an extra... but I've also now been told that one of the other plots, has some herringbone tiling to do, using 100mm x 200mm tiles... quite a bit smaller than the tiles I was expecting to use on these jobs.

The developers have offered an extra £10 per meter (so £40 per meter) for the herringbone layout... but I've never actually done herringbone and from what I've seen and heard, it should be more like double the usual rate due to the extra work involved...?

Now... I don't really want to start "another" discussion on what the going rates are per meter around the country etc... but I would really appreciate some advice on how I should approach this with the developers I'm working for...? I don't want to come across as greedy by asking for even more money, when they have already agreed to increase my meter price (which as each house has 3 bathrooms, means it's actually quite a substantial overall increase in price) but at the same time... if I don't charge more for certain things, I'll struggle to make good money whilst maintaining my high standards. Would you suggest agreeing a new meterage rate for each style (mosaic/herringbone/brick bond and stack bond etc) or try to establish that meterage should only apply to the flat areas, and that areas with lots of trim work, awkward cuts, and specialist layouts like herringbone or mosaic features should be extras, charged either by the hour or on day rate?...

An approach I've thought of putting to them is to allow me to quote for each house once they have the full specs off their buyers... meaning I can take into consideration all aspects of the job instead of being tied to a meterage rate... but as the specs don't come in until shortly before the job starts, it doesn't leave much time to quote and resolve any differences of opinion on the price I give (I would negotiate if needed to keep the work, as I am keen to keep hold of all their tiling work).

Sorry for the length of the post, and I look forward to reading your thoughts on this.

Cheers, Tom.
 
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I know it's a long post... but any advice on how these things would usually be handled would be greatly appreciated. I have looked around first and couldn't really get definitive answers as to how much more certain layouts typically cost in labour? Please help.

Thanks.
 
J K Tiling Cornwall

J K Tiling Cornwall

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Hi Tom from what info you have given it may be best for you to set out different meterage rates for different types of tiles and layouts to pass on to the developers. My line of work is the complete opposite (I'm still a tiler by the way though! 🤣) mainy all private work dealing with the customer direct. Usually I quote for the job based on a estimated X number of days. Mosaics and intricate layouts always take more time as do smaller tiles. Admittedly this may not be the case for everyone but I tend to work mainly in larger porcelain so the fiddley stuff is becoming less frequent for myself. Plus I'm not getting any younger.

By the sounds of it you may have drifted into the deep end a little. They don't sound like your average new builds with 6"x6" white tiles! It may be the case of biting the bullet a little if there is potentially steady work and with more experience you should pick up speed. Maybe see how it goes for a while?

On the plus side you will most likely have plenty of room to work without having to cover carpets or mix and cut outside.

All the best, James. 👍🏻
Post automatically merged:

.. there is another post on here dealing with rates per M². It may offer some help. Ultimately it mainly boils down to what you would be happy with and what you could feasibly achieve in a day. Cheers
 
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Thanks James. I think I have already looked at the post you refer to about m2 rates... I'm on the first of the current plots today, so am "biting the bullet" a bit on this one... all the houses have different tiles and layouts... but once I can see where things are slowing me down I may be able to negotiate a little more on the others...

I'll have another look at the m2 post and see if I missed it, but I dont think I came across anything suggesting rates for m2 of mosaics or herringbone... I got the feeling it was more just how rates vary around the country for your basic layouts with a decent size of tile...

P.s. definitely not your "average" new build! The job I'm on today has had loads of extras specified by the buyer... not just in tiling either.

Thanks for taking the time to try and help James. Much appreciated :D
 
J K Tiling Cornwall

J K Tiling Cornwall

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No worries hopefully it all goes well for yourself 👍🏻
 
Joe8189

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Hey Tom
I've just come back into the trade and was hit by a similar situation. The builder I worked for wanted fixed quotes on all of the jobs he had lined up, purely based on the areas.
A lot of the work was making good what the last tiler had done. It was shocking to say the least. One of the jobs was done with UFH and was 20mm high from the base floor. The part I had to finish was only a small entrance area. I told him I would have to make up 10mm from the existing floor, but he said I just had to lay a thick bed?? Thats when I walked away.
He also wanted me to quote on M2, but it was not possible as I had no direct contact with the customer and what they wanted.
My suggestion to him was that I was happy to quote M2 for straight forward work. Any fancy stuff will be on a day rate, with an estimated days to complete. I also offered to reduce my invoice (Days) if the job was done quicker than I had estimated and I asked if he would accept any days over. He still wasn't happy so I walked away. Hard as it is as I really need the work. It might be worth suggesting a similar agreement with your builder. Yours might go for it, as it seemed the fairest solution.

Joe
 
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Hi Joe,
Thanks for your suggestions. A little late to help this time round but going forward it may be worth considering. I've now finished on that site, and their next is roughly 6 - 12 months away and quite a bit further out, so not sure if I'll even be doing that one for them. I earned ok money... but gained loads of experience with different layouts and tile types (9 full bathrooms tiled) with mosaics, glass, herringbone, hexagon tiles and loads of trim work... definitely helped me speed up somewhat, so I'm looking at it overall as a positive. They only allowed 8 days per house, where I estimated (and wasn't far wrong) that it needed around 12 days per house... so ultimately out of the 5 houses I was meant to do, I only did 3 but after taking photos and posting them on Facebook etc, it's helped secure me more tiling work for private residential jobs... where I can price based on the work involved (days) rather than meters...

Im chalking it down to a learning experience. Given the current covid situation I'm fortunate to still be working, so going forward - assuming I continue to do work for builders/developers, I think I'll try to put a price in based on the room layouts/trim work involved etc, then lay out a "price plan" of extras, charged by the meter, for anything different (smaller tiles, natural stone, mosaics, herringbone etc...)

An overall meterage price just doesn't work unless you know what it is you're laying upfront, and actually have enough "meterage" to go at without cutting around pipes, obstacles and trimming loads of boxing in etc...

I fully agree that sometimes you do just have to walk away... its always hard, as you don't know what other work can come from recommendations and word of mouth... I've done some really small, almost pointless jobs in the past, which have then lead onto better work either for the same person, or for their friends and family... you really do never know... however this referral work has always seemed to come more from private customers, than it ever has from letting agents, landlords, or builders/developers...

Hope work picks up for you buddy. I had a quiet patch last year and nearly packed it in... now I'm struggling to get ontop of everything. Hang in there 👍
 
Joe8189

Joe8189

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Hi Joe,
Thanks for your suggestions. A little late to help this time round but going forward it may be worth considering. I've now finished on that site, and their next is roughly 6 - 12 months away and quite a bit further out, so not sure if I'll even be doing that one for them. I earned ok money... but gained loads of experience with different layouts and tile types (9 full bathrooms tiled) with mosaics, glass, herringbone, hexagon tiles and loads of trim work... definitely helped me speed up somewhat, so I'm looking at it overall as a positive. They only allowed 8 days per house, where I estimated (and wasn't far wrong) that it needed around 12 days per house... so ultimately out of the 5 houses I was meant to do, I only did 3 but after taking photos and posting them on Facebook etc, it's helped secure me more tiling work for private residential jobs... where I can price based on the work involved (days) rather than meters...

Im chalking it down to a learning experience. Given the current covid situation I'm fortunate to still be working, so going forward - assuming I continue to do work for builders/developers, I think I'll try to put a price in based on the room layouts/trim work involved etc, then lay out a "price plan" of extras, charged by the meter, for anything different (smaller tiles, natural stone, mosaics, herringbone etc...)

An overall meterage price just doesn't work unless you know what it is you're laying upfront, and actually have enough "meterage" to go at without cutting around pipes, obstacles and trimming loads of boxing in etc...

I fully agree that sometimes you do just have to walk away... its always hard, as you don't know what other work can come from recommendations and word of mouth... I've done some really small, almost pointless jobs in the past, which have then lead onto better work either for the same person, or for their friends and family... you really do never know... however this referral work has always seemed to come more from private customers, than it ever has from letting agents, landlords, or builders/developers...

Hope work picks up for you buddy. I had a quiet patch last year and nearly packed it in... now I'm struggling to get ontop of everything. Hang in there 👍
That's a great attitude to have Tom, it is a constant learning curve. You are right in what you say, word of mouth and a good portfolio go a long way to getting repeat business.
I'm currently contacting the local builders to see if there is any work.
The first one I called, the receptionist wanted a bathroom doing so i'm hoping to start that soon and as you say it will hopefully get me in with her company.
Keep smiling bud and keep up the good work.
 

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