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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
No I am not asking specifically how to price something :no:

My problem is I have been using a very good tile installer for just over a year. He started out charging $5/sf for porcelain tile run straight with extra charges for things such as seats in the shower, shampoo boxes or special accents.

It seems that each job he adds a little bit extra for other items (it is like a slow, never-ending bait and switch) such as backer board, bullnose, shower curb, etc. Today was the final straw when he called and said he needed thinset since the HO had not provided any and he would have to leave if I didn't get it over soon.

I am still trying to pickup the pieces of my head after I blew my stack. I have no problem paying for good quality work but this seems a bit excessive. I have never had a tile installer request that we provide thinset. To me this would be like a trim installer request that I buy him nails.

For you tile guys, how do you typically charge (not specific prices) for showers/tubs. Do you itemize each thing such as sf of tile, lf of accents, lf of bullnose, sf of backer, etc? Or are some of these items included in your base price?
 

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Carpe Diem
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I agree with you, he should supply his own thinset or at least spec out what he wants to use. I don't like the HO, or anyone else for that matter, to supply me with anything. Occasionally, I'll allow the HO supply the tile BUT that needs to be OK'd by me BEFORE the job begins.

I have a standard charge for a fully tiled shower; no niches, benches or other, ceramic tile only with grid pattern. Extra charge for any accessories. Extra charge for certain tile (glass, stone, etc). Extra charge for advanced patterns. Extra charge for detailed edges.

Basically, there are thousands of options to construct a tiled shower. I don't see anyway it would be possible for an installer to create an all-inclusive price list for you. However, if you feel he's screwing you somehow, get a new guy to bid against him. See how far off the two bids are.

Also, I didn't see any mention of waterproofing in your post. If your tile guy isn't WATERPROOFING your wet locations, you may want to consider a new guy anyway.
 

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Chief outhouse engineer
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No I am not asking specifically how to price something :no:

My problem is I have been using a very good tile installer for just over a year. He started out charging $5/sf for porcelain tile run straight with extra charges for things such as seats in the shower, shampoo boxes or special accents.

So he does good work and you like his price, no problem.

It seems that each job he adds a little bit extra for other items (it is like a slow, never-ending bait and switch) such as backer board, bullnose, shower curb, etc. Today was the final straw when he called and said he needed thinset since the HO had not provided any and he would have to leave if I didn't get it over soon.

Are you suggesting he not use the backer board, bullnose etc, or that he was providing it before for no cost, and now he is charging for it.

I am still trying to pickup the pieces of my head after I blew my stack. I have no problem paying for good quality work but this seems a bit excessive. I have never had a tile installer request that we provide thinset. To me this would be like a trim installer request that I buy him nails.

If you had a contract, this would have been addressed before the job started. The guy is training you to be his gofer, slowly and surely.


For you tile guys, how do you typically charge (not specific prices) for showers/tubs. Do you itemize each thing such as sf of tile, lf of accents, lf of bullnose, sf of backer, etc? Or are some of these items included in your base price?

As a brickie, I work for the GC, HO or anyone, but the terms and conditions have to be spelled out. I typically give a non itemized estimate of labor and materials for the job. If I'm supplying the materials, I pick up the items and quantities I need to complete the job and include them in the estimate.

If the HO/GC wants to buy the material, then they get to do the estimating and buying and a phone call asking where the mortar is or whatever item might be missing.

I am not a big fan of letting someone else decide how much and what brand mortar is needed, but if that is the way they want to play, then they get the call when something is missing or inferior quality.

This needs to be addressed in the contract, not on the phone when the job is in progress.


If his work is good quality, then spend a few more minutes before the job defining the scope of responsibilities and let him do his job. Or you can find a new installer off Craigs List and have a whole new set of problems.:whistling
 

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When I bid a shower for example, I bid the backer board and screws and thinset as one unit, then kerdi, then SQ of field wall tiles, LF of bullnose, LF of listello, niches, benches etc.. then the floor tiles as an allotment unless all tile is picked out. Thinset grout sealer etc need to accounted for.
 

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Pompass Ass
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No I am not asking specifically how to price something :no:

My problem is I have been using a very good tile installer for just over a year. He started out charging $5/sf for porcelain tile run straight with extra charges for things such as seats in the shower, shampoo boxes or special accents.

It seems that each job he adds a little bit extra for other items (it is like a slow, never-ending bait and switch) such as backer board, bullnose, shower curb, etc. Today was the final straw when he called and said he needed thinset since the HO had not provided any and he would have to leave if I didn't get it over soon.

I am still trying to pickup the pieces of my head after I blew my stack. I have no problem paying for good quality work but this seems a bit excessive. I have never had a tile installer request that we provide thinset. To me this would be like a trim installer request that I buy him nails.

For you tile guys, how do you typically charge (not specific prices) for showers/tubs. Do you itemize each thing such as sf of tile, lf of accents, lf of bullnose, sf of backer, etc? Or are some of these items included in your base price?
At $5 a ft2 he should be supplying the thinset, if it was not included, it should have been clear from the beginning.

Get another tile guy.
 

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Paul
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At $5 a ft2 he should be supplying the thinset, if it was not included, it should have been clear from the beginning.

Get another tile guy.
Why? Because where you are, rates are so depressed that $5/ft without materials sounds like a rip off in your opinion? How does an hvac guy know what a tile guy is supposed to charge, exactly??
Not picking at you but, before making a statement like that you have to know what you are comparing things to :thumbsup:

To the op...sounds like you need a contract first and foremost. It never ceases to amaze me how many jobs in the "contracting" industry fail to actually have a contract. That is the whole point of one in the first place...so everyone knows who is responsible for what, at what cost.:whistling
 

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All of this stuff should have been laid out before the job starts.

When setting tile I provide every thing except the tile-I don't give any one control over materials-
I know what works--Some things I buy in bulk--I think that's the way most tilers work.

By the way--$5.00 a foot for a shower is a 1980's price around here.The guy may be going broke and trying to salvage a looser bid.

---MIKE--
 

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I agree with the previous post. I do not do tile work for other contractors but I cannot fathom doing it for $5.00 sq ft.

If he is good, sit down and talk to him and explain your concerns. You may find out why he is jacking your prices.

After that if you both think you can work together, make up an agreement that states who is supplying what and prices.

You gotta remember, if you want good consistant work from your subs, BOTH of you gotta make a living!

Good luck!
 

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It's not just your tile guy, i've tried different subs over the years because i want to keep ties with folks if we need the additional help. Over the years i have a handful of men/crews that are on my immediate go-to list and that i work with almost exclusively because we're all on the same page as to what needs to be done, if something comes up they handle it. BUT i've ran into soooo many of these pre-maddona whiners over the years that are literally helpless, and i think it's because they get used to things being done for them so they establish a set way of doing things, and if something is out of the norm they mentally crash and hit a wall. The one that pizzed me off last winter i had my normal flooring guy doing the carpet and linolium in a flip house, well it needed to have new luan put down prior to installing the new vinyl.....i got a call "do you have a saw, do you have a compressor, do you have a stapler, do you have staples i can borrow?" Okay, floors are your gig and you dont have the most basic of tools...well, whatever, he does a great job so i drop everything off. The morning they got going i feilded 5 phone calls in 30 minutes wondering how to put the subfloor down, what about this, what about that...all extremely basic stuff IMO.

i dont know, maybe that's why they do one job only, and why i got into general contracting and keep most work in house since i grew tired of dealing with brain dead fools that pollute our industry with things like this. Of the tiles subs i've used, THEY speced the backboard, scews for backboard, thinset, BRAND/TYPE of grout they want but we will tell the homie where to go to chose a color they want, same with tile since the combinations are limitless.....but when my tile guy bids a job, he knows what it needs, and makes my bid all inclusive...i mean for gawds sake, it's a shower, floor, backsplash...is'nt anything about these basic tile jobs rocket science, so i too would've blew my gasket. I am so tired of dealing with subs that act like they need a silver spoon to be fed with, there's too many other good subs out there that WANT to work and have the mental capacity to deal with minor glitches in a game plan, i have no tolerance at this point for "veterans that act like a new kid on the block":censored:
 

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Paul
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^^ Not saying it is the case with you IHI, but...so many times this is the result of a GC going with a low bidder. You guys want a sub who knows what they are doing, is prepared for damned near anything, doesn't need to borrow tools etc..but don't want to pay for it. Just my experience.

Hell, I have more tools on my flooring truck than most GCs own. When I bid a shower I look at structure, water proofing, plumbing issues, design work, etc... but I'm often looked at like a three headed alien when my price is read, because, ya know, Jose does walls for like $4/ft. Then the same guys is at the local watering hole bitching because Jose needs to borrow a genny and a wetsaw :whistling

I do agree with the above as far as specing a job though. I spec everything and my price is one number, all inclusive..homie just selects a grout color from my chipset.
 

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^^ Not saying it is the case with you IHI, but...so many times this is the result of a GC going with a low bidder. You guys want a sub who knows what they are doing, is prepared for damned near anything, doesn't need to borrow tools etc..but don't want to pay for it. Just my experience.

Hell, I have more tools on my flooring truck than most GCs own. When I bid a shower I look at structure, water proofing, plumbing issues, design work, etc... but I'm often looked at like a three headed alien when my price is read, because, ya know, Jose does walls for like $4/ft. Then the same guys is at the local watering hole bitching because Jose needs to borrow a genny and a wetsaw :whistling

I do agree with the above as far as specing a job though. I spec everything and my price is one number, all inclusive..homie just selects a grout color from my chipset.

That is the exact reason i lose more jobs than i win, when i call in subs to give me a price, i'm like an elephant, i dont forget where i came from since i used to be a sub years ago and know what subs go through and how they're treated...hence saying F..K everybody, i'll call my own shots. So when i call in my guys to bid, i dont question, i dont try to hack them off at the knees, i just ask if they have every inclusive so nobody gets a suprise bill at the end, and is yet another reason i have a small group of guys because they bid honest and are men of their word...which is hard to find anymore, our handshakes still as good as a signature simply because we've worked together so much over the years...and when they're done, i will pay that day if they need it, or the day i recieve their invoice....to me this is simple business, though i often read exploits on here that say for most it is not, which is sad IMO.

IMO if these GC's want to make more profits, dont sacrifice quality of the work by hiring bums to do the work you had bid by true professionals....learn to sell the job for crying out loud with your increased price...everything is bid into a job anyhow, if a person wants to sell and see 10% over gross...learn to sell 10% over gross, or whatever percentage you want. But just as there's idiot GC's out there with no clue trying to "be the man", there's just as many subs out there trying to be the man too and as just as clueless.....today's industry is pathetic, partly driven by consumers wanting something for nothing, and partly due to moonlighters cutting pricing and dropping things well below a market value for true professionals to perform the work...many guy are like me and believe in the old saying, "I can stay at home and go broke, i'm sure not going to get out of bed and work at it"

So if the OP went over the job with the sub explaining everything that was to be done and got hit with the BS "add on's" i would find a new guy and not think twice about never using him again and spreading the word on his practices to help him slowly lose business...and luckily in my area we have alot of guys that think like i do that speak up whenever possible to pull the rug out from under these fools. BUT if the OP did'nt go over the job as to what was expected, then it's on him...not on the sub. Communication is KEY when using subs because it's no different than walking into a dealership and telling the salepuke- "order me a truck"...and it shows up as a 2wd colorado/S-10 but what you REALLY wanted was a crew cab 4x 1T diesel....but without proper communication as to what is expected...nothing good can come from it.
 

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Just keep in mind prices of everything have been steadily increasing for a few years now more-so than in prior recent years. As time goes on and if an installer is staying abreast of his trade then prices will increase almost with every job.

I can't imagine any installer allowing anyone to choose the materials he will work with-that is just plain stupid. Stupid, unless he is looking for an "out" around every corner and wants to later claim if a problem arises that he didn't furnish the products so he isn't responsible for the outcome. See it done from time to time.

As far as pricing...I wouldn't leave home for $5 a square foot, and that's just for floors, walls are even higher.

I too have a base rate per square foot for a basic shower, EVERTHING after that is an extra.:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thanks everyone for the replies. A couple of quick notes:

We certainly were using backer and waterproofing; I just did not want to list every single item in OP.

We sat down on Friday and discussed pricing and we were working out a comprehensive list of "standard" charges for all future bathrooms. Obviously, anything out of the ordinary was to be extra. However, then comes the call yesterday about the thinset which set me off.

I did not jump through his hoop and explained that if he did not have thinset in his trailer that he should go ahead and head on home and then I proceeded to head off to another job to meet a client. Miraculously, thinset must have appeared since the walls of the shower were complete upon my return.

I am not saying $5/sf should be the price for then entire shower nor do I ever push subs to give me a lower price (as Jarvis said "both of us have to make money"). He gave me his price when we originally started working together and it seems that each job thereafter there has been one more small addition to that price. This is my main complaint since we normally can not have every sub come out to every job we are bidding.

As stated earlier, we sat down on Friday to get prices for as many aspects of tile that we could come up with so I can use these in upcoming proposals. We have just started using a true Work Order for all subs and this should eliminate/reduce the problem.
 

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He gave me his price when we originally started working together and it seems that each job thereafter there has been one more small addition to that price. This is my main complaint since we normally can not have every sub come out to every job we are bidding.
Welp, after all this it boils down to ultimately being YOUR problem and not his problem. Your shooting a price for a sub without him seeing it....ya know how there's jobs YOU dont want and you bid accordingly, guess what...so does everybody else. So here's a quick lesson since you have'nt learned it yet...IF you plan on bidding for other trades, you dang sure better have plenty of mark up built in.....esspecially when your not having them look at the job.

How long have you been doing this?
Are you licsenced at all in your area? I did'nt find anything stating you were so wondering how your able to do work anyhow?

Two sides of the story, just glad i found out you are a hack trying to play your bleeding heart card for being a tool and not having an idea how to sell or run a job.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Welp, after all this it boils down to ultimately being YOUR problem and not his problem. Your shooting a price for a sub without him seeing it....ya know how there's jobs YOU dont want and you bid accordingly, guess what...so does everybody else. So here's a quick lesson since you have'nt learned it yet...IF you plan on bidding for other trades, you dang sure better have plenty of mark up built in.....esspecially when your not having them look at the job.

How long have you been doing this?
Are you licsenced at all in your area? I did'nt find anything stating you were so wondering how your able to do work anyhow?

Two sides of the story, just glad i found out you are a hack trying to play your bleeding heart card for being a tool and not having an idea how to sell or run a job.
It is obvious you do not have ANY f-ing clue about the situation nor mine. I have nearly 25 years in this business and we are certainly licensed to work as we permit everything we do.

I have standard prices from ALL of our subs and anything out of the ordinary is priced before it is bid on our part. The showers in question are not anything out of the ordinary. 12" tile run on straight with a simple accent stripe surrounded by a pencil border. The last 3-4 showers have been nearly identical.

IF you bothered to read the entire post you might have gathered that for each of the STANDARD showers of late, the tile subcontractor has added something else on to his pricing although we have not changed the overall installation. This was the problem not that I am ad-hoc pricing things for my subs you idiot. Here's a lesson for you: Next time you want to call someone a hack and a tool at least gather the facts first.
 

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It is obvious you do not have ANY f-ing clue about the situation nor mine. I have nearly 25 years in this business and we are certainly licensed to work as we permit everything we do.

I have standard prices from ALL of our subs and anything out of the ordinary is priced before it is bid on our part. The showers in question are not anything out of the ordinary. 12" tile run on straight with a simple accent stripe surrounded by a pencil border. The last 3-4 showers have been nearly identical.

IF you bothered to read the entire post you might have gathered that for each of the STANDARD showers of late, the tile subcontractor has added something else on to his pricing although we have not changed the overall installation. This was the problem not that I am ad-hoc pricing things for my subs you idiot. Here's a lesson for you: Next time you want to call someone a hack and a tool at least gather the facts first.

I never said the work you did was hack...only your practices.
1. Having other contractors pull a permit for you- hack
2. NOT allowing subs to bid the work they will be called in to do and you thinking a "general" price covers everything- hack
3. Crying about a situation YOU could've 100% prevented yourself- hack

The term hack, at least for me, covers more than just the factory worker moonlighting, it deals with all facites of shadey business practices. I stated that in one of my above posts already. I realize there are always two sides to a story, so before i get the knives out, believe me, we get the facts first. Everything you whines about, was preventable, i learned quickly you dont dictate prices for other's and then complain if there are additional fees that you may have missed/overlooked. The times it is a questionable sale, i dont bother bringing in all the trades either (on smaller scooped work like a bath remodel) but i make dam sure i cover my rear when i start telling homies what a subbed trade fee will cost so i'm not pitching a fit on a board full of contractors that know how to run jobs and making myself sound foolish.

You graduated from GA Tech did'nt you? You've placed calls inquiring "what would you charge" to a few contractors in your area correct? Asked for a few leads on subs in your area correct? just want to make sure your the same guy i have info on so i'm sure my facts are straight;) Obviously you dont have to answer these questions publicy and start lieing since we both know the answers to all of the above....i'd figure a guy in your position doing this for 25 years would have plenty of subs in the rolledex to call upon and have prices on lock down...but what do i know;)
 

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IF you bothered to read the entire post you might have gathered that for each of the STANDARD showers of late, the tile subcontractor has added something else on to his pricing although we have not changed the overall installation. This was the problem not that I am ad-hoc pricing things for my subs you idiot. Here's a lesson for you: Next time you want to call someone a hack and a tool at least gather the facts first.
Instead of getting pissed off when others point out the root of your problems, wouldn't it benefit you more to consider what they are trying to get across.

For instance if you had a sub-contractor agreement in place for each job with a fixed priced already would your sub be able to add anything he wants to the job? If you had this agreement wouldn't he be required to stop and inform you of a problem that will increase the cost of the job and require a signed change order in order for him to get paid the new amount?

I think the reason you are getting lit up is because deservedly or not your description of the way you operate invites this sort of thing from a sub.
 

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Pompass Ass
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Why? Because where you are, rates are so depressed that $5/ft without materials sounds like a rip off in your opinion? How does an hvac guy know what a tile guy is supposed to charge, exactly??
Not picking at you but, before making a statement like that you have to know what you are comparing things to :thumbsup:

To the op...sounds like you need a contract first and foremost. It never ceases to amaze me how many jobs in the "contracting" industry fail to actually have a contract. That is the whole point of one in the first place...so everyone knows who is responsible for what, at what cost.:whistling
I am a licensed General Contractor as well as a licensed HVAC Contractor, I have hired enough tile intsallers as well as set enough tile to know what I am talking about.

The OP said the guy started adding costs to the job and wanting him to supply other materials like thinset, obviouly the tile setter originally was supplying the thinset, then started wantingit to be provided for him.
 

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Paul
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I am a licensed General Contractor as well as a licensed HVAC Contractor, I have hired enough tile intsallers as well as set enough tile to know what I am talking about.

The OP said the guy started adding costs to the job and wanting him to supply other materials like thinset, obviouly the tile setter originally was supplying the thinset, then started wantingit to be provided for him.
Ok lets say I give you that 100%....still doesn't explain how you can say what his pricing should or shouldn't be. That was my point. You said $5/ft is more than enough to cover install and thinset. How exactly can you say that? I'd be willing to bet I've set a helluva lot more tile than you have, and I can't say it....so how can you.

I don't care to debate it back and forth. It peeves me when somebody (especially from a rate depressed area like FL) pipes up and says a low ball price should be enough. That's one of the biggest problems in this industry imo. Armchair bidders with no knowledge of what the job entails putting info out there that makes one of the good guys next job that much harder to land because some jackass decided he would give a prospective h.o. ammo. "Well some GC on the internet said $5/ft was really good money"

I'm not saying you are a jackass, but you could be :thumbsup:

I know a fair amount about other trades as well. Hell, a good flooring guy has to do more crap that you would ever imagine just to keep from sitting on our ass waiting on somebody else....get it done or go home and make no money type of thing. You will never see me in another trades forum giving pricing advice. I respect them more than that.
 
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