How to start your own tiling business

Tiler applying tiles to a breeze block wall.

If you’re a skilled tiler, you might be considering setting up your own business. Being your own boss certainly has many advantages, including the extra freedom it gives you and the potential to determine your own earnings.

However, starting a tiling business takes hard work and dedication, and to succeed you’ll need to have a clear strategy in place.

How to start a tiling business

To help you make a go of your new venture, we’ve created this guide on how to start a tiling business, covering everything from undertaking market research to making sure you have the right tilers’ insurance in place.

Here are some of the most important steps you’ll need to take when you go it alone.

Research your local market

Tilers are often in high demand. In fact, these tradespeople can be booked up many weeks or even months in advance. But in order to tap into this demand, it’s essential that you position your new business effectively. This involves doing detailed market research.

For example, consider how many potential customers there are in your area, including homeowners, commercial property owners, landlords and other individuals or businesses that may need tiling services. This will enable you to tailor your business to meet the needs of your customer base. It will also give you an idea of how large a geographical area you may need to service in order to attract enough clients.

Consider the local competition too. Check online and print directories to see how many similar businesses operate in your area. Pay attention to details including the types of tiles they install and whether they provide extra services, such as fitting laminate flooring or installing wet rooms. This will help you to identify ways to differentiate yourself and to stand out to prospective customers.

Put together a business plan

You might assume that for a straightforward tiling business, there’s no need to create a business plan. In fact, it’s best practice for all new companies to create one of these documents. It will help you to clarify your idea, set realistic goals, spot possible problems and measure your growth. Also, you will also need to have a business plan in place if you want to secure a bank loan or investment.

Your plan should include:

  • A brief description of your business and its services, as well as a summary of your goals (you could break these down into short, medium and long-term objectives)
  • Your tiling skills and experience
  • Key insights into your target market
  • A competitor analysis
  • How you intend to operate your business (for example, where you will be based from, the number of staff you will employ, if any, etc)
  • Your sales and marketing strategy
  • Financial projections, including your expected revenue and costs

Register your business

Registering your business is a crucial step and an important milestone. To do this, you’ll need to decide exactly what form you want your company to take. You could operate as a sole trader, limited company or partnership. Many tilers choose to work as sole traders as this is simpler than registering as a limited company. However, there are disadvantages to this approach. For example, as a sole trader you will be personally liable for your business’ debts. In contrast, if you choose to set up a limited company, your finances will be separate from those of the business, meaning your personal assets won’t be put at risk. You will have greater management and reporting responsibilities though.

If you want to run your business alongside another person or people, you can form a partnership. This means you share responsibility for any business debts.

Purchase insurance

Having suitable insurance in place is a must for any tiling business. If you lack appropriate cover, you are putting your finances at serious risk.

What insurance do tilers need?

In your line of work, there is always a possibility that you may accidentally damage a client’s property or cause injury to a customer or member of the public. So, although it isn’t a legal requirement, it is strongly advised that all tilers have public liability cover in place. Certain customers, particularly commercial clients, may require you to show evidence that you have this financial protection before they will agree to use your services.

It's also important to have tools insurance so that if the equipment you rely on to do your job is damaged or stolen, you won’t be left counting the cost. And if you employ anyone, you’re required by law to have employers’ liability insurance in place.

As a self-employed individual, you may also want to consider protecting yourself with  occupational personal accident insurance. This will provide you with a weekly income (or a cash lump sum) if an accident occurs where you sustain an injury at work, or travelling to and from work.

At Markel Direct, we offer specialist tilers’ insurance that allows you to combine various different types of financial protection into one handy policy.

Spread the word

Once you have all these elements in place, it’s time to start spreading the word about your new business venture. After all, no matter how talented you are, your business won’t thrive if people don’t know about you.

There are various ways to promote your services. For example, you could get yourself listed in online directories, use social media to generate awareness and sign up to job referral websites that put you in contact with customers seeking your services. It’s also useful to have a high-quality website that sets out your services and provides contact options. Among other benefits, this will help to give your business credibility.

Traditional marketing techniques such as distributing paper flyers and using direct mail campaigns can get you noticed too, and setting aside time to network and make industry connections can be an effective way to generate leads.

Here at Markel Direct, we offer specialist tilers insurance packages. These tailored policies  allow you to combine a number of covers together into a single, bespoke policy. This can help give you complete peace of mind at all times, allowing you to focus fully on the job at hand.

Business insurance from £5 a month