Setting correct expectations & estimating tile jobs correctly | TruckMount Forums #1 Carpet Cleaning Forums

Setting correct expectations & estimating tile jobs correctly

Select

Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2019
918
283
63
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
Hey Guys. First I want to say that I am very thankful to all the members and all of the help that has been offered to me.
As I introduce our tile service I find myself not being certain if “their” tile will clean and if they decline a test spot I am left not knowing what the result could be like.

I ask how the floor is maintained and what is used. This usually is answered with generic non specific answers such as oh they just mop it with a general degreaser or a blue cleaner.

I also ask if their is any coatings or sealer applied during the maintenance.

so, boiled all down..are there better questions to ask and better way to estimate the job if a test area isn’t done?

thank you guys I appreciate your time and knowledge very much.
 

Dream Clean

Active Member
Oct 3, 2018
264
137
43
Real Name
Emerson Campbell
I like to be transparently honest with my customers for tile as well as carpet. If they ask me if a spot will come out, but don't know what it is my standard answer is along the lines of "If you don't know, then I can't be sure, but it looks like _______ to me and there's usually a ________ chance of that coming out. I will definitely try every possibility though to make sure it comes out as much as possible." The same thing goes with tile and it usually comes with experience. Sometimes you get a surprise. I rarely go out to just look at a tile job and when I do it's specifically to do a test clean. When I show up for a job I usually say I'll start and give them an idea of how the whole floor will come out. If the floor isn't coming out as well as the customer wants for reasons beyond my control, I tell them exactly that, apologize that I couldn't meet their expectations, and go on my way. Pride in your work is important but so are realistic expectations and results for the conditions you're in.
 
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PistolPete

Well-Known Member
Sep 28, 2014
1,905
1,194
113
Real Name
Peter Dymond
All I do is T&G.

My estimate visit always entails a test clean of several areas, especially in front of the stove and sink in the kitchen.

I have a color seal pro demo bag with alkaline and acid cleaner, stripper, grout brush, single edge razor blades and clean towel.
A quick test by hand scrubbing usually tells the story.

It usually cleans up ok. Sometimes an acid after GM brightens the grout more.
If acid doesn't fizz in the grout lines then I try using a stripper and razor to check for topical coatings and bad colorseal.

Sometimes there are stains or uneven colors in the grout that will not be resolved by cleaning.

What people don't realize is grout is a mixture of components including color pigments.
If strong bleach or vinegar has been used it's likely that the color pigments have been compromised leaving an uneven blotchy appearance.

I always use the line "I will get it as clean as possible"

I never say like new.

We usually achieve a 90% improvement is another good line.

It's always good to quote cleaning and sealing (I always include sealing unless they're selling the house)
And quote cleaning and color sealing.

I price cleaning at .35c for brand new construction, which is a no chem power rinse.
Regular cleaning at .55c
Heavy cleaning at .75c

Sealer is .40c

Color sealing is $2.00 inc cleaning and I usually use a steamer unless the tile is real dirty.

Grout replacement is $3.00 - $5.00 depending on size of tiles.

Setting expectations is key.
I've been bitten in the butt many times before taking the time to do a thorough estimate inspection.

I NEVER quote over the phone, period.
If I'm pressed hard I give a range if they know the sq ft.
I also never discuss price per sq ft, only total price.

People often ask what my sq ft price is and I always tell them that there are too many variables but I'm happy to give a free estimate.

Also buy a cheap laser tape measure. Bosch has one in Home Depot for $25.
It's super impressive for the customer.
 

Select

Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2019
918
283
63
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
I like to be transparently honest with my customers for tile as well as carpet. If they ask me if a spot will come out, but don't know what it is my standard answer is along the lines of "If you don't know, then I can't be sure, but it looks like _______ to me and there's usually a ________ chance of that coming out. I will definitely try every possibility though to make sure it comes out as much as possible." The same thing goes with tile and it usually comes with experience. Sometimes you get a surprise. I rarely go out to just look at a tile job and when I do it's specifically to do a test clean. When I show up for a job I usually say I'll start and give them an idea of how the whole floor will come out. If the floor isn't coming out as well as the customer wants for reasons beyond my control, I tell them exactly that, apologize that I couldn't meet their expectations, and go on my way. Pride in your work is important but so are realistic expectations and results for the conditions you're in.
Thank you for your input. More experience with tile will definetly be helpful.
 

brian3180

Well-Known Member
Mar 7, 2010
1,734
285
83
Texas
Real Name
brian l
Business Location
United States
All I do is T&G.

My estimate visit always entails a test clean of several areas, especially in front of the stove and sink in the kitchen.

I have a color seal pro demo bag with alkaline and acid cleaner, stripper, grout brush, single edge razor blades and clean towel.
A quick test by hand scrubbing usually tells the story.

It usually cleans up ok. Sometimes an acid after GM brightens the grout more.
If acid doesn't fizz in the grout lines then I try using a stripper and razor to check for topical coatings and bad colorseal.

Sometimes there are stains or uneven colors in the grout that will not be resolved by cleaning.

What people don't realize is grout is a mixture of components including color pigments.
If strong bleach or vinegar has been used it's likely that the color pigments have been compromised leaving an uneven blotchy appearance.

I always use the line "I will get it as clean as possible"

I never say like new.

We usually achieve a 90% improvement is another good line.

It's always good to quote cleaning and sealing (I always include sealing unless they're selling the house)
And quote cleaning and color sealing.

I price cleaning at .35c for brand new construction, which is a no chem power rinse.
Regular cleaning at .55c
Heavy cleaning at .75c

Sealer is .40c

Color sealing is $2.00 inc cleaning and I usually use a steamer unless the tile is real dirty.

Grout replacement is $3.00 - $5.00 depending on size of tiles.

Setting expectations is key.
I've been bitten in the butt many times before taking the time to do a thorough estimate inspection.

I NEVER quote over the phone, period.
If I'm pressed hard I give a range if they know the sq ft.
I also never discuss price per sq ft, only total price.

People often ask what my sq ft price is and I always tell them that there are too many variables but I'm happy to give a free estimate.

Also buy a cheap laser tape measure. Bosch has one in Home Depot for $25.
It's super impressive for the customer.
I would enjoy doing tile more if I could better understand the "expectations" of the job as well. With carpet, the expectations are many times predictable with a curve ball every once in a while.

How do you determine a heavy cleaning? Is acid wash included in your prices if necessary?
 

Select

Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2019
918
283
63
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
All I do is T&G.

Ok PistolPete (Maravich?)

I hope you respond kindly and generously. I considered sending this response via PM but decided that this information has the potential to really help a lot of people. Especially since it is all in one place.

My estimate visit always entails a test clean of several areas, especially in front of the stove and sink in the kitchen.

I have found the past couple days when walking in businesses to introduce myself and my services those that we have discussed tile have for some reason declined me doing a test spot. If they decline I usually respond letting them know that the test will help us see what result we could get as well as if there will be any other issues like topical coatings and / or a sealer present that we might have to strip first.

I have a color seal pro demo bag with alkaline and acid cleaner, stripper, grout brush, single edge razor blades and clean towel.
A quick test by hand scrubbing usually tells the story.

OK I watched 2 color seal pro videos and im starting to see WHY a customer would opt for Grout color sealing. I still am not sure how to tell when a normal cleaning with GM might not work. Like, when there is some kind of tile sealer or topical coatings??

It usually cleans up ok. Sometimes an acid after GM brightens the grout more.
If acid doesn't fizz in the grout lines then I try using a stripper and razor to check for topical coatings and bad colorseal.

So does part of your 'test areas' during the estimate involve dropping some acid on the tile to check for any tile coatings AND putting acid in the grout lines to check for grout sealer there as well?

Sometimes there are stains or uneven colors in the grout that will not be resolved by cleaning.

What people don't realize is grout is a mixture of components including color pigments.
If strong bleach or vinegar has been used it's likely that the color pigments have been compromised leaving an uneven blotchy appearance.

Makes sense. Is that where color seal pro comes in - do you choose the color you want to use in the Grout to make it even?

I always use the line "I will get it as clean as possible"

Very good line.

I never say like new.
100% agree and will be cautious making sure I dont say that.

We usually achieve a 90% improvement is another good line.
Thumbs up.

It's always good to quote cleaning and sealing (I always include sealing unless they're selling the house)
And quote cleaning and color sealing.

OK, you might have to help me understand this. It sounds like sealing and color sealing are two different things?

I price cleaning at .35c for brand new construction, which is a no chem power rinse.
Sweet idea. Suppose this just knocks the dust out and all the crap from construction. You think a tile wand can suffice for this? (Gut tells me your using a spinner since no chems involved)

Regular cleaning at .55c
I imagine this price changes depending on size of job, how long it takes you, etc..

Heavy cleaning at .75c
^same here perhaps..

Sealer is .40c
Ok so set me straight if you will on this: Is sealer only for grout or for Tile too? What does sealer do? (is it like carpet protector where it helps repel stains and allows it to clean up easier next time?)

Color sealing is $2.00 inc cleaning and I usually use a steamer unless the tile is real dirty.

OK, and is color sealing just like sealer except applied with a color so that the appearance is even throughout the whole floor?

Grout replacement is $3.00 - $5.00 depending on size of tiles.
Is this per tile? I might have to search YouTube for how to do this since I could see this being valuable to me and the customer.

Setting expectations is key.
I've been bitten in the butt many times before taking the time to do a thorough estimate inspection.

100% agree. If you had to make a checklist or steps to provide a proper estimate what would that be?
1.
2.
3.
4.......


I NEVER quote over the phone, period.
If I'm pressed hard I give a range if they know the sq ft.
I also never discuss price per sq ft, only total price.

People often ask what my sq ft price is and I always tell them that there are too many variables but I'm happy to give a free estimate.

Also buy a cheap laser tape measure. Bosch has one in Home Depot for $25.
It's super impressive for the customer.
Awesome, I bought one of these! I realized early on it might be a good investment!

Finally, Thank you PistolPete!!
 

Anderson

Well-Known Member
Aug 16, 2006
2,904
1,214
113
60
Belton Texas
there is a learning curve with tile like carpet that really never ends...
20 different variables on different tile....

does it have previous sealer, color sealing, mop and glow, wax,
loose grout,
are you gonna seal or do mexican tile, acid rinse.....

i did tile and grout for 10 years, a friend of mine has done it for 20 years and always running into problems.....

example: customers swear it hasn't been sealed or color sealed.....then it is..

i would suggest:
- start out learning on rentals..or friends
- stay away from acid rinse
- pass on all previous color seal jobs
- only start with ceramic tile and maybe porcelain
- stay away from mexican tile or terracotta...
- stay away from stone.....


get your equipment down....
alcaline prespray and rinse
spinner, bonzer or wand....
get a CRB for scrubbing grout lines...
be careful of high pressure wands like gecko.....
TM or portable with kero heater...both should have puompout
maybe go with other guys clean tile...
do your research on utube videos of tile cleaning.....

also diversify to carpet , bathroom cleaning, pressure washing, deck cleaning, surface tile in kitchen......
 

Select

Well-Known Member
Mar 3, 2019
918
283
63
Real Name
John Cartegna
Business Location
United States
All I do is T&G.

Ok PistolPete (Maravich?)

I hope you respond kindly and generously. I considered sending this response via PM but decided that this information has the potential to really help a lot of people. Especially since it is all in one place.



My estimate visit always entails a test clean of several areas, especially in front of the stove and sink in the kitchen.

I have found the past couple days when walking in businesses to introduce myself and my services those that we have discussed tile have for some reason declined me doing a test spot. If they decline I usually respond letting them know that the test will help us see what result we could get as well as if there will be any other issues like topical coatings and / or a sealer present that we might have to strip first.
I have a color seal pro demo bag with alkaline and acid cleaner, stripper, grout brush, single edge razor blades and clean towel.
A quick test by hand scrubbing usually tells the story.

OK I watched 2 color seal pro videos and im starting to see WHY a customer would opt for Grout color sealing. I still am not sure how to tell when a normal cleaning with GM might not work. Like, when there is some kind of tile sealer or topical coatings??

It usually cleans up ok. Sometimes an acid after GM brightens the grout more.
If acid doesn't fizz in the grout lines then I try using a stripper and razor to check for topical coatings and bad colorseal.

So does part of your 'test areas' during the estimate involve dropping some acid on the tile to check for any tile coatings AND putting acid in the grout lines to check for grout sealer there as well?

Sometimes there are stains or uneven colors in the grout that will not be resolved by cleaning.

What people don't realize is grout is a mixture of components including color pigments.
If strong bleach or vinegar has been used it's likely that the color pigments have been compromised leaving an uneven blotchy appearance.

Makes sense. Is that where color seal pro comes in - do you choose the color you want to use in the Grout to make it even?

I always use the line "I will get it as clean as possible"

Very good line.

I never say like new.
100% agree and will be cautious making sure I dont say that.

We usually achieve a 90% improvement is another good line.
Thumbs up.

It's always good to quote cleaning and sealing (I always include sealing unless they're selling the house)
And quote cleaning and color sealing.

OK, you might have to help me understand this. It sounds like sealing and color sealing are two different things?

I price cleaning at .35c for brand new construction, which is a no chem power rinse.
Sweet idea. Suppose this just knocks the dust out and all the crap from construction. You think a tile wand can suffice for this? (Gut tells me your using a spinner since no chems involved)

Regular cleaning at .55c
I imagine this price changes depending on size of job, how long it takes you, etc..

Heavy cleaning at .75c
same here perhaps..

Sealer is .40c
Ok so set me straight if you will on this: Is sealer only for grout or for Tile too? What does sealer do? (is it like carpet protector where it helps repel stains and allows it to clean up easier next time?)

Color sealing is $2.00 inc cleaning and I usually use a steamer unless the tile is real dirty.

OK, and is color sealing just like sealer except applied with a color so that the appearance is even throughout the whole floor?

Grout replacement is $3.00 - $5.00 depending on size of tiles.
Is this per tile? I might have to search YouTube for how to do this since I could see this being valuable to me and the customer.

Setting expectations is key.
I've been bitten in the butt many times before taking the time to do a thorough estimate inspection.

100% agree. If you had to make a checklist or steps to provide a proper estimate what would that be?
1.
2.
3.
4.......

I NEVER quote over the phone, period.
If I'm pressed hard I give a range if they know the sq ft.
I also never discuss price per sq ft, only total price.

People often ask what my sq ft price is and I always tell them that there are too many variables but I'm happy to give a free estimate.

Also buy a cheap laser tape measure. Bosch has one in Home Depot for $25.
It's super impressive for the customer.
Awesome, I bought one of these! I realized early on it might be a good investment!
there is a learning curve with tile like carpet that really never ends...
20 different variables on different tile....

does it have previous sealer, color sealing, mop and glow, wax,
loose grout,
are you gonna seal or do mexican tile, acid rinse.....

i did tile and grout for 10 years, a friend of mine has done it for 20 years and always running into problems.....

example: customers swear it hasn't been sealed or color sealed.....then it is..

i would suggest:
- start out learning on rentals..or friends
- stay away from acid rinse
- pass on all previous color seal jobs
- only start with ceramic tile and maybe porcelain
- stay away from mexican tile or terracotta...
- stay away from stone.....


get your equipment down....
alcaline prespray and rinse
spinner, bonzer or wand....
get a CRB for scrubbing grout lines...
be careful of high pressure wands like gecko.....
TM or portable with kero heater...both should have puompout
maybe go with other guys clean tile...
do your research on utube videos of tile cleaning.....

also diversify to carpet , bathroom cleaning, pressure washing, deck cleaning, surface tile in kitchen......
Yes. Definetly a lot to consider and be aware of. Funny I have an estimate Tuesday for some carpet and the lady states she has terrible cotta tile that needs cleaning..This isn't the first time ive heard terra cotta (since its not man made, I think) is a whole 'nother subject..

I trust Rob / TMF but I wonder if their stone, tile, hard surface cost is worth the investment. Not sure if anyone out there has some feedback.