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How to start a tiling business

There's good earning potential from setting up a tiling business. Whether you've worked your way up the ranks, or considering turning your passion into a career, let us explain how to start a tiling business. We'll cover all bases to set you on the path to being your own boss!

Tiling is a rewarding career, where you’re trusted to transform people’s interiors in a range of environments. If you’re passionate about tiling and would love to choose your own working hours, setting up a tiling business might be the route for you.

But before you leave the safety net of your current employment…

It’s always wise to understand what starting a tiling business involves before making any big decision. Luckily, that’s exactly what this guide is for. We’ll guide you through creating a business plan, helpful skills, marketing, and everything in between.

Large hexagonal tiles design for bathroom

Don’t have the time to read about all of this right now?

Not to worry, our ‘Become the Boss’ series will help you to get your tiling business started in no time.

You’ll receive a series of 8 emails containing actionable tips and top advice from fellow tradespeople who were once in your position. At the end of it all, you could be the founder of your new business.

Simply add your email below to make the most of this free business advice.

How to create a business plan for your tiling venture

All self-employed individuals should have a solid business plan in place.

Sure, you can get the qualifications and all the kit under your belt and then just go out there and wing it if you like. But a well-thought-out business plan is what will help your business to grow and develop, and ultimately, ensure success.

It will set out your goals and the steps you need to take in order to achieve them. It will help you to stay organised, work efficiently and productively, and make informed decisions.

If you need financing to get your tiling business going, you’ll almost certainly need to produce a business plan.

Download our free business plan template to help get yours started now.

Consider upskilling

We know you don’t need us to tell you about the basics because you’ve already honed your skills. However, there’s always scope to further develop your talents.

This may be through taking a course that’ll help broaden your skillset. Alternatively, you may simply achieve a qualification to help give your new business greater credibility.

Give your tiling business the best chance of success

With a listing on the #1 trade directory, you'll get all the leads you need

Join Checkatrade today

Other useful skills and attributes for tile business owners

As a business owner, you’ll find yourself wearing many hats that’ll require a selection of different ‘soft skills’.

Even if you’re an exceptionally skilled tiler, it’s the presence of certain personal attributes that could have a huge impact on the success or failure of your new venture.

  • Extensive knowledge and a broad spectrum of experience in tiling
  • Great attention to detail and highly organised
  • Interpersonal skills and great customer service
  • The ability to lead and manage and have conviction in your decisions
  • Patience, fairness, integrity, and self-awareness
  • Enthusiasm and endurance

Good tiler

How to start a tiling business: what you need to know

In this section we’ll guide you through the practical steps you’ll need to take to set up a tiling business. This includes how to register your business and select your business structure, and what licenses, permits, and insurance you’ll need.

Register your business

First, you’ll need to come up with a suitable name and logo for your new tiling business.

Next, you’ll have to decide on the most suitable business structure for your new operation. Sole trader, partnership, and limited company are the most common options, but you’ll need to research the best set up for your business.

Each business structure has different tax implications and regulations, so speak with an accountant if you’re unsure.

Lastly, you’ll need to contact HMRC to apply for the necessary tax and national insurance documents.

Apply for licenses and permits

There are no licensing requirements for tilers, however, you will need a certificate of registration as an upper-tier waste carrier if you’re transporting building waste.

You may also need a license from the Health and Safety Executive Asbestos Licensing Unit if your work involves any asbestos-related tasks.

Get tiler insurance

When you work as a professional tiler, there’s scope for you to be in customers’ homes, on construction sites, or on large projects. And there’s always a chance of accidents happening.

Whether a member of the public trips over the equipment you’re unloading from your van, a fellow subcontractor on site borrows and damages your equipment, or you accidentally get grout on a customer’s carpet, your insurance will cushion you from the financial impact of these unforeseen events.

Tiler insurance should cover all aspects of your business including your tools, materials and equipment, your work vehicle, and your income should you be unable to work.

Public Liability Insurance is highly recommended and is often a contractual obligation if you’re subcontracting.

Accounting and bookkeeping

Keeping your finances in order is vital to running a business smoothly. You’ll need to have a good idea of your expenditure and income to manage cash flow effectively.

Being aware of and documenting relevant taxes is also an important part of this. You want your tax obligations nailed down to avoid a nasty surprise when you file your self-assessment tax return.

Tiling tools and equipment

Due to the amount of equipment you’ll be using, it’s vital to first hold a valid driving licence and personal vehicle for travelling between jobs. What’s more, having the right tools will only help make it easier to do your job properly.

If you’re well equipped, it will increase the quality and efficiency of your service – two things that are essential for attracting and retaining business.

Here are some of the main tools you’ll need to set up your tiling business:

  • Manual tile cutter
  • Electric tile cutter
  • Drill bits kit
  • Electric mixer
  • Tile trowel
  • Rubber grout float
  • Tile levelling system
  • Tile spacers

It’s also important to consider the materials you’ll be working with for each project and plan accordingly.

customer insight survey

Marketing your tiling business

Once you’ve sorted all of the above, you’ll need to start thinking about how to market your new business so that it delivers a steady income.

  • Print marketing, such as flyers and newspaper ads, can help to attract customers in your local area.
  • Vehicle signage is another great way of advertising your business wherever you go.

Checkatrade members also have the opportunity to feature in our leading trade directory, which is delivered to homeowners around the country.

Give your tiling business the best chance of success

With a listing on the #1 trade directory, you'll get all the leads you need

Join Checkatrade today

How to create an online presence for your tiling business

A good marketing strategy will help you to promote your business and gain customers, and a large part of this should be advertising your new business online.

In terms of online marketing, there are a number of ways to help get your business seen by potential customers.

Having a website and social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram are great.

But signing up to Checkatrade can really boost your profile in the right arena. Not only does it make your business visible to thousands of homeowners every month, but it also vouches for you.

The tick that people trust

Why a Checkatrade membership helps market your business

With our digital marketing strategy and strong online presence, becoming a Checkatrade member saves you time and money as you build your brand’s trust.

You’ll need to pass up to 12 checks to become an approved and guaranteed member, as we only list tradespeople who meet the high standards homeowners expect.

Once approved, you’ll be recognised as a trusted and guaranteed business with a profile on the Checkatrade site where you can showcase your skills and qualifications, examples of your work, and reviews from happy customers.

Better still, our membership is tiered, so you can scale up the number of leads you wish to receive if you want more work, and dial it back down when the diary is full.

More than just a directory listing

Get support and a range of money-saving discounts to help get your business off the ground

Find out more

How to grow your tiling business

Once you’ve set up and established your tiling business, you may start to think about how you can grow your new venture.

Growing a business involves various considerations, for example, company finances, the responsibility of employing others, and training requirements.

In this next section, we’ll outline how to grow your tiling business with a structured approach, helping to answer all your niggling questions.

First and foremost though, you’ll want to plan out what growth targets you’re aiming for. Then, you can think about how you’re going to achieve them.

To get started, we’ve actually got a FREE business development strategy template and a useful article explaining what information to include:

Growth target: want more work?

To get more work, you need to attract more customers, which boils down to your marketing.

Take a look over your original marketing plan to review the success (or failure) of the various marketing tactics you’ve tried. What was effective and what wasn’t? What would be the most effective use of your marketing budget going forward? Are there any new avenues you could explore in order to promote your business?

Here are some ideas to consider:

Traditional marketing

  • Sponsorship (e.g. a local sports team or community event)
  • Networking (e.g. building relationships with other trades)
  • Word-of-mouth marketing
  • Company signage (e.g. on your work vehicle)
  • Print marketing (e.g. an advert in a local magazine)

Digital marketing

  • Build a small business website
  • Add new content to your company social media profiles
  • Set up a Google Business profile
  • Ask for customer reviews
  • Join an online trade directory

Check out our FREE marketing planning guide and checklist to help create a clear list of marketing tactics and responsibilities.

Growth target: want increased revenue?

To get more revenue, you need to secure more sales and/or increase the value of your sales. But how?

We’ve chosen a couple of our articles that will help to sharpen your sales toolkit and increase your business revenue:

Growth target: want to develop a bigger team?

If you’re constantly feeling there just aren’t enough hours in the day, it might be time to hire some employees to help spread the load.

Perhaps you need some part-time admin help, an experienced tiler you can trust to fulfil projects independently, or an apprentice to work alongside you.

You’ll first need to understand your legal responsibilities as an employer. For example, it’s a legal requirement to have employers’ liability insurance.

You’ll also need to understand company payroll and learn about holiday pay.

Growth target: want to expand your service offering?

You can also grow your tiling business by expanding your service offering:

  • Offering new services
  • Developing existing services
  • Specialising in niche areas 

If you work mainly on domestic properties, it might be time to network and secure subcontracting projects on construction sites, for example.

Perhaps you want to explore the possibility of providing your tiling services to commercial projects within hospitality, for example.

Whatever route you choose, investing in training and the best equipment you can afford will help to guarantee you maintain the high standards associated with your business. You’ll also be able to work more efficiently and charge more for your work.

Give your tiling business the best chance of success

With a listing on the #1 trade directory, you'll get all the leads you need

Join Checkatrade today

Remember, whatever growth targets you set, they must be S.M.A.R.T

  • Specific – what does the task involve?
  • Measurable – how will you quantify success?
  • Achievable – is this attainable given the resources, knowledge, and time available?
  • Realistic – is the target realistic to the confines of your job and your existing responsibilities?
  • Time-bound – when should the target be achieved by?

Four final considerations for business growth

There are a couple of other important considerations to make when planning your business growth.

  • Funding – will you need to source additional funding to facilitate your growth plans?
  • Business structure – is it still suitable to operate as a sole trader as your business expands? Speak with your accountant about becoming a limited company.
  • Company finances – an accountant can help you to stay tax efficient and compliant, and even help to source additional funding as you grow
  • Business processes – review your processes to make sure they’re scalable. Consider what technology can help to make your business more efficient.

Grow your tiling business with Checkatrade

There are a number of different ways to market your business and promote growth, but it’s important to weigh up which options suit the needs of your business, your available budget, and crucially, whether they’ll deliver the outcome or results you need.

A membership with Checkatrade can help your tiling business to thrive and grow. Here are just a few reasons to join the best trades on the UK’s leading trade directory:

Attract more customers

Checkatrade members receive more than 100,000 leads each week. 3 million homeowners used our trades last year. 6 out of 10 Checkatrade customers recommend our endorsed tradespeople to someone else, so you could get more direct work too*

Help to secure more work

The tick that means quality work. Checkatrade is the most known stamp of approval in the industry. Our tick reassures homeowners that they'll receive a quality service every time.**

Save money to maintain healthy profit margins

Get exclusive access to trade deals, saving money on business essentials to help keep your profit margins sharp. Checkatrade members save on average £470 per year each*** on everything from equipment, van leasing, insurance, workwear, and more.

More than just a directory listing

Get support and a range of money-saving discounts to help get your business off the ground

Find out more

Starting a tiling business FAQs

Is tiling a profitable business?

Tiling can be a profitable business if you’re properly trained, equipped, and good at your job. Our guide on how much tilers earn can give you an idea on your earning potential after setting up a tiling business.

How do you price a tile job?

Tilers will usually charge customers at price per square metre (m²), but labour costs can also be considered in conjunction with this. As a self-employed tiler, it is your decision how much you want to charge for your services.

For more information on pricing and factors that will impact prices, read our handy guide on tiling costs.

Give your tiling business the best chance of success

With a listing on the #1 trade directory, you'll get all the leads you need

Join Checkatrade today

*Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

**Claims are sourced from a survey conducted by Deep Blue Thinking on a nationally representative UK sample in November 2021.

***Year runs from April 21’ to March 22’. Saving calculation based on average spend across 12,505 members in 2020/2021/2022. Discounts differ depending on the partner. Products range from low value items to high value items. Some exclusions will apply on products.

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