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January 29, 2022

Two Generations of Tile Installers – Timeless Lessons from Ep#216 – The Construction Life

Show Notes

Every time the guests start the show differently, it will make you smile (if not laugh). The show started with a shoutout to a hero JD Hellinger, who appreciates Manny raising his voice aboutJobsite accidents and the importance of safety!

Well, coming to the guests the show beautifully and casually interviewed the three generations of constructions working together. You will notice how amazing and lively this trio can be, and by listening to the podcast you will feel you are talking to them in person. Frank is turning 60 soon, Joey is 32, and Jay is 36. They run the business together and believe in each other and the industry.

Let’s go through the important details of the show!

Lebron James of the Tile Industry

Frank is asked about the construction in 1977 when he started and according to him, it was hardcore back then. His father was a tailor on The Danforth in Toronto, and on the floor above their shop was a pool hall. Frank made contacts with people coming to the pool hall. He was intelligent, naught, and had a business mind even at that age! He thought of ways of making money and finally, he was just 14.5 years old he started working in construction with a big player in the hood – At the age of 14.5, he was able enough to pay his dues. Then he met three guys and he got into the tile installation business. It went on and on. Joey (Frank’s son) started going with his dad when he was just 7 and developed an interest in his father’s business. Joey proudly says that his father never meddles in what he does and lets him run the business the way he wants, but he, on the other hand, prefers to ask for his opinion and decision! Experience has no comparison for sure.

Frank had two knee surgeries, decades ago and he thus calls himself, Lebron James of the Tiles industry!

New Generation – Pride of Being Strong

Frank says that the young generation is energetic, confident, but in pride of being strong, they work fast and deliver poor quality work. Quality work is better than faster work. In old times people were serious about their work. They used to wrap their finger if they got a cut… Nowadays people get a day off if they get a cut! They are looking for excuses to take time off. People back days used to work hard and give themselves for their job. However, our amazing guest Jay is a living example in how youngsters can take their work seriously. He started with his father, instead of playing video games, he used to go with his dad. He believes in perfection and cleanliness.

Evolution of Tile Industry

Tile setting has evolved with time and is still evolving. Tile setting is an industry where learning is always there. They are there just for money/paycheck. In earlier days there were no clips, it was by touch. Though clips have taken the installation to a different level. But relying on the clips is not intelligent. You can use the clips but not solely rely on them. Using clips can lead to voids in installing tiles. A contractor can realize when the mortar is missing in the beautiful tiles! This industry has seen a lot of evolution and to blend in you need to keep yourself up to date and keep learning.

Importance of Back Butter

The widely debated discussion is about the importance of back butter. They use Back Butter and consider it a vital part of the tile setting. It increases the bond strength and also fills the voids on the back of the tile. The trio explains how some newly renovated places look amazing, but when you walk on the floor you feel clanking because they don’t use enough back butter. Some tile setters try to save time and avoid using back butter but if you need tiles to stay for decades you need to use back butter and use full coverage.

How Jay, Joey, and Frank Met?

Well, the hilarious story was narrated by the guests. In 2017-2018 Joey was working with this father and they needed people as they had tons of projects. He saw an ad and hired those people as their prices were impressive. However, the people they sent made mistakes on a daily basis he used to fix the mistakes, but the place was a mess, cleanliness was his priority but, in this case, it was not so. Those “Tradespeople” were a disaster, Joey fired them and proved his talent. Frank could see there is something in this boy, how serious he is about his work and how he genuinely likes what he does.

Treat Tools as Dishes

The trio considers cleanliness as the backbone of their work. They believe that it is their responsibility if they even leave a piece of tile at the Jobsite. Jay feels that you need to maintain your image as a professional, not a dirty installer, Frank, on the other hand, owns his identity and can even wear his overalls to a restaurant 😊

Well coming to the tools. The trio tells how sacred they think their tools are and how serious they take their cleanliness. Consider your tools as your dishes at home. You use them delicately, put them back where they belong, clean them before and after using them. Cleaning the wall before, cleaning the tools, and cleaning the site, everything is equally important.

High-performance sports team

D’lusso don’t believe in the Minimum Wage and don’t think of their workers as laborers and some of their laborers are even making 30 bucks an hour. Remember that they will give you what you will give them. How can you say we are the owner we will come late you need to reach on the job site by 6 am? You need to set an example.

They think of their employees as a high-performance sports team getting ready for a Stanley cup. This means, that the employee’s responsibilities and loyalty should be with the company they work for. Of course, as the company will grow, the employees will grow too. The success of the employees is directly proportional to the company’s success.

They don’t believe in hiring someone who doesn’t love this work, someone who is weighing his options to go for work for McDonald’s or work at your company. Hire someone with purpose, who considers the job as an opportunity.

A little pat on the back, $50 as a tip of appreciation, or some kind words can make the day of your workers and they will come to work even more motivated the next day, hence leading your business to success.

99% Rule

The guests beautifully explained the need for perfection in this industry and explain it as 99% Rule. Well, if you do 99% work right, but mess up the remaining 1% consider that you have ruined the whole project. You have ruined everything. From start to end, everything needs to be perfect, you can’t even leave a tile on the job site. It is your duty to make the place perfect for the client before leaving every single day.

Know the History of What you Do

Frank beautifully explains how he fell in love with construction and tiles. He was on his honeymoon, and it was the 15th day of his honeymoon when he visited a church in Italy. He was mesmerized by it. It was 4000 years old. He studied the history and found out that not 1000, 2000, 3000 years back but the first tile was made/used 25000 years back in Egypt and they are the pioneers in tile creation and tile setting. He knows when it started, how it evolved, and how it is still evolving. Frank believes that learning is a never-ending process when it comes to construction.

This show was something and is highly recommended for those who are related to this industry somehow. Here is the link to the podcast!

#216 D’lusso Tile with the OG Frank Dilorenzo, his son Joey and the new kid Jason Rita from MCM Stone & Tile | Podcasting