According to Steve Brace CTI #1152, becoming a Certified Tile Installer has delivered value not just to his customers, but also to his business.
Steve is next in the CTEF Blog series about Qualified Labor based on an article in TileLetter.com titled "Certification translates directly to increased business, fees and knowledge about details of the trade."
Meet Steve Brace CTI #1152
Steve Brace owner of SB Flooring in Machesney Park, Illinois, has seen a huge uptick in business since he became a Certified Tile Installer (CTI) in the summer of 2015.
In fact, Brace described his phone as
“ringing off the hook with builders and flooring stores wanting me to fix botched tile jobs.”
Brace has been a tile installer for 16 years, with a total of 20 years in the trade. As a result of becoming a CTI, he now has a third party that has tested and verified his abilities. He makes sure that his clients know they are getting a Certified Tile Installer:
“I have a spot on estimates that says, ‘Make sure you hire a certified professional.' and my number - CTI #1152 - is there.’”
Steve explains that since becoming a CTI, not only do his customers trust him more than his competition, but they are also interested in his ideas and opinions. They know they will get a beautiful tile installation that performs as it should over time. In other words, it won't fail.
This translates directly to SB Flooring’s bottom line. Brace says,
“I am now able to charge about 20% more because I put a value on being a Certified Tile Installer.”
SB Flooring specializes in residential tile installation, and Brace prefers to bid on custom showers, where it's critical that there be no failures.
As Steve details in his Angie's List profile online:
"I am one of the most qualified tile installers in the area. I am the only Certified Tile Installer in the Rockford area. I have been tested and certified by the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation (CTEF). My certification number is #1152 and can be verified at http://tilecareer.com. I have 18 years of experience working in the tile trade. I am also a member, and the Illinois State Director, of the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA)."
The benefits of becoming a Certified Tile Installer
The hands-on portion of the CTI evaluation requires in-depth attention to detail and Brace picked up a lot of helpful information while going through the exam. This is something CTI Regional Evaluators frequently hear.
According to Steve,
“I learned quite a bit about movement joints, expansion, and contraction. I was really surprised how little I knew about such a critical aspect of our trade.”
Regional Evaluators also regularly hear that the hands-on test is harder than anticipated. Steve admitted to the same reaction,
“The hands-on test took me every minute of work time…I had to think about the layout and the planning to make it perfect…I was very impressed with the test.”
As a result of the certification experience, he has become even more particular in his tile installation methods,
“I am more interested in the details of my work.”
The biggest benefit to being a CTI is standing out as the best.
"I wanted to stand out as the best. I wanted clients to know they are getting a good tile installation. I see far too many bad tile jobs installed by ‘hackers’ and wanted everyone to know that when you hire me, you are hiring a proven installer.”
Certification is important for ALL tile installers
In Brace's opinion, certification should be important for all tile installers.
“In most states, there isn’t any type of licensing or regulations. There needs to be a way for clients to feel comfortable with finding an installer that can do a capable job.”
It also proves your tile installation skills to yourself.
As a result, certification improves relationships with clients and it builds your own confidence in your abilities. It make you Qualified Labor.
For Brace, certification has meant being able to pick and choose his own jobs. He plans on obtaining additional credentials through the Advanced Certification for Tile Installers (ACT) program in the near future.
Ready to Validate Your Own Tile Installation Skills?
If you haven't already, consider becoming a Certified Tile Installer (CTI). As a CTI, you set yourself apart from the crowd and know how to anticipate tile installation problems before they occur. Do it right the first time and get paid accordingly.
Are you ready now to validate your skills as a tile installer? Become a CTI like Steve Brace.