The tiling trade

Discussion in 'Tilers' Talk' started by Tilerwannabe, Nov 24, 2020.

  1. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member

    Hi guys hope your all keeping well.

    I was hoping to pick your brains if i may

    Im currently an hgv mechanic, im 36 and feel like i want a change of career, you guessed it, tiling

    I have never laid a tile in my life, nor do i know any tilers to ask these questions to, hence why im here. Im from east sussex.

    Theres lots of tiling course avaliable promising the world.... surley after "an intensive 10 day course" i wouldnt be ready to start my own company!?

    Would you recommend the trade?

    Realistic earnings working for someone?

    Realistic earnings working for your self?

    How long did it take you to feel confident to work on your own?

    What negatives do ypu hate about the job?

    Any help would be much appreciated.

    Thanks chaps.
  2. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    You're getting into it for the wrong reasons reading your post, I suggest phoning some local tilers and asking if you can labour for them part time or when they need you and slowly build up an idea of the job. Or set up a few sheets of plywood in your garage or spare room and have a go at teaching yourself in a situation where there's no risk or pressure. Paying for a tiling course is an utter waste of time and money.
    rogerk101 likes this.
  3. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member

    Hi jord.

    How come the wrong reasons?

    I think id enjoy it, i have a perfectionist attitude, can see it having job satisfaction

    Also why would a course be a waste of time?

  4. Jord86

    Jord86 Screwfix Select

    Most people go into a trade or vocation having a prior interest, affinity or already acquired skills looking to expand on their hobby especially later on in their working life or changing careers part through like yourself, to jump straight into a very different job with no prior experience and ask very basic questions (no offence meant) especially about possible earnings suggests to me that you don't really know what direction to go in your career change and that tiling seems an easier option. There's nothing you can learn on a ten day(!) tiling course costing hundreds if not thousands that you could not learn labouring for someone on weekends for a couple of months, in real life and real world situations. And no, after ten days you would certainly not be ready to start your own company, don't believe that nonsense the course providers advertise.

    I'm not being negative with my words, but realistic.
    I-Man and Kingscurate like this.
  5. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member

    I appreciate your words, its why im here.

    If i was to do it then I would do a course first as i think it would teach me the basics atleast. And during that time id imagin i woukd be getting the vibe to see if i wanted to do it or not as a job.

    So what about my other question?

    Many thanks
  6. Mike83

    Mike83 Screwfix Select

    The one thing the course won’t give you is experience.
    You need some before being unleashed in someone’s house.
    Most things you learn on the course will go in one ear and out the other. When you learn skills they need time to develop and sink in. These skills need applied to learn and improve.
    Most people wouldn’t be happy if you turned up in their house after 10 days training to tile their 5k bathroom.
    I’m in no way putting you off but you need to try buddy up with someone for a few weeks. This way you will learn real skills and techniques that simply ain’t available on a condensed course.
    Hopefully someone with tiling experience can chip in.
    Good luck.
    Jord86 and Tilerwannabe like this.
  7. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    I was on a job recently with a tiler who had changed career late on. He was like a welder engineer type showed me some photos of his stuff he was really good. Converted an old removals truck into a raceday van at his own home with a lifting bay for his cars at the back and accomodation in the front.
    Anyway he hurt his back years ago, started going work with his brother when he got a bit better just for something to do, eventually started to do the grouting, splash back tiling etc etc and picked it up from there. The bloke his bro was working for took him on when his back was better) He was mostly on price work but his day rate was 150 in Oxford (i think a bit low).
    Tilerwannabe likes this.
  8. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member

    Completely agree mate. Its taken me 18 years to get to master tech level in the hgv mechanic world so i know it takes time to get good.

    Maybe if i done a good course i could then approach some tilers and ask to take me on
  9. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member


    What is a typical pay scale for a tiler?
  10. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    I dunno but you can be sure he's earning more than his day rate on price else he wouldn't be doing piecework
  11. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    why do you want to do it anyway is the pay not good enough in your trade or just sick of it?
  12. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    Do you know anyone who needs some tiling done? A brother, sister, uncle, etc. You could start by doing it for them for free.
    I am NOT a pro, meaning that I work far too slowly to be able to make a living out of any of the projects I do. Having taken early retirement, I have the time to be a perfectionist, so when friends see the work I have done, many ask me to do projects for them. I will gladly help the odd friend out on a project that they are doing themselves, but I would never take on a paid project - mainly because I have no interest in getting involved with dissatisfied customers, chasing payments, paying insurance premiums, etc.
    All that said, I taught myself everything I know. I look back on early projects (especially where I started 30 years ago in France) and there is no way I would do them the same way now. As long as you're open-minded and willing to learn continuously, you should be just fine.
  13. Tilerwannabe

    Tilerwannabe New Member

    Yeah sure.

    But what is a yearly/monthly salary of a decent tiler then?
  14. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    I tiled the splash back in the kitchen I put in our old workshop about 10 years ago. The tiling is horrific. That was the beginning and end of my tiling career. How people maintain accuracy when having to work with messy gear and tools ill never know. Even getting adhesive on my tape measure makes me sick!
  15. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    I'd say he probably earns a grand a week in Oxford, less holidays, tools, sick, snags etc etc. I reckon you can easily spend 10% of your yearly income on tools and tool maintenance just to stay in the game
    Tilerwannabe likes this.
  16. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    what does a hgv mechaninc earn if you don't mind asking
  17. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    Most tilers have a day rate of between £200 and £250 around here in Oxford.
    Most of them are pretty busy, so could if they want to work 6 days a week.
    I doubt that their insurance is expensive, and they have no scumbags soaking them dry like the electricians and gas-safe plumbers do, so costs are extremely low.
    Customer always buys the tiles, adhesive and grout, so the most you could ever be out of pocket is your labour.
    It's a low barrier-to-entry profession, with comparatively good rates and low running costs.
    Tilerwannabe and jimoz like this.
  18. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    spot on above it is a trade where you can get into with no formal quals. Most of the best ones I know have learnt by experience. Is there even a college course / nvq available for this trade?
  19. rogerk101

    rogerk101 Screwfix Select

    I very much doubt that. What does a tiler need?
    A few spirit levels, an angle grinder, a wet cutting saw, a few buckets and mixing tools, a few spreading tools and that's about it. Nothing expensive, nothing needing annual recalibration just to stay in the game, very low insurance premiums, no pirate ships to belong to. A grand of upfront costs and a few hundred per year of maintenance costs.
    Tilerwannabe likes this.
  20. jimoz

    jimoz Screwfix Select

    Van! laser level, batteries, paddle mixer. What i'm getting at to OP if currently PAYE is someone on site charging a grand a week is no way sitting there at the end of the year with 52k profit. probably less than 40k and closer to 30k if they have a good accountant!

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