Well, how true they are! Not everyone sees things the same way when it comes to tile installations. Sometimes a consumer has a flawed idea about how an installation will look, but that may not be the way it will actually turn out in the end. In this industry, we call these false expectations. It’s your job to manage your customer’s expectations, because if you don’t, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll be able to change their mind after the fact! And once tile is installed, it becomes very expensive to remove and re-install it.
So here are some good preventative procedures to avoid costly problems or unhappy customers:
1. Before installing the tile, lay it out in the area where it will be installed so the lighting will accurately show how the tile will look in that room. Have the consumer inspect it for any visual concerns. Make sure it’s the tile they selected; make sure they’re satisfied with the color and any shade variations it may or may not have; make sure they see the width of the grout joint you’re going to use; make them aware of the movement joints that need to be installed per industry standards; and point out any potential problems with the substrate. Have them sign a waiver that they accept the tile based on all of the conditions that have been pointed out to them.
2. Before installing the tile, ask the consumer if they want a crack isolation and/or waterproof membrane to protect the installation from cracking or water damage. Ask them if they want a floor warming system for more comfort or a sound control system for reducing sound transmission. Be sure to let them know of any trade-offs in terms of cost and layout, or if it’s possible with their current floor configuration. Have them sign a document verifying that you have given them those options. By offering your customer a choice it gives you the opportunity to increase the sale and make more money. AND it helps prepare the customer so that, in the end, there aren’t any regrets or false expectations. After all, you want your customer to be happy so they’ll recommend you to others!
3. After you install a portion of the tile installation, have the customer approve the work. Do this throughout the job as various areas are completed. This way, if they’re unhappy about something, then it isn’t a big cost to make an adjustment to a limited area. If they’ve already approved the work beforehand, and they’ve signed a written statement saying so, then you are protected; it’s likely the customer will not have any false expectations and will accept your work.
4. Upon completion of the installation have the client inspect and sign off that they’re satisfied with the job you’ve done.
Remember — it’s easier to fix a few things along the way instead of ending up in a big confrontation later on that can turn into a costly litigation. If that happens nobody wins, and ultimately the price to pay will be a loss of time, money and reputation!