#219 Larry Serpa of Key Tile Co from Vancouver is on the show talking everything to do with tiling and stone

Larry literally began by being thrown right into the pool with no swimming lessons, working for his dad and brother, they gave him a caulking gun and a tube of silicon and told him to caulk the shower, never did it before, was never shown how to do it and once completed his work was complimented and that was the beginning. Soon after that he’s asked to grout, no training, no instructions, you will figure it out is what his brother said. He did a great job and then was given the job, Grout Bitch, for a year, just grouting.

Larry shares a typical story about the “Jeremy’s” out there, how they get paid and then disappear and reappear once they need more money. Being a tradesperson is a lot like being a professional athlete, what sets the two apart? The discipline. Larry and Manny discuss the health of our tradespeople and ignoring the signs from your body, take care of the one and only body tool. Larry has always delt with being the new guy, meeting clients that question his skill level, he has always held his own and presented his knowledge and his skill set to the point that new clients feel confident with him.

After working for his dad for so long and handling his scope, plus paperwork, scheduling and so much more of the business, Larry felt he needed a vacation, but his dad wouldn’t allow that because it became a question, well who will handle all these extra things? This was the beginning of the end of working with family and going on his own. After 6 months of traveling and avoiding getting back into the business and work, Larry was offered a 10,000 square foot project and he took it over his dad, besides, his dad didn’t want the job. That job cemented Larry’s new business and mindset, but it created tension between him and his dad and Larry shares the great Portuguese saying his dad compared it too, in English and in Portuguese, about a bakery.

Larry shares a great saying when he decided to pick up and move to another city and start all over, “you can’t google experience”. Followed by cold calling and more cold calling and more cold calling and he didn’t stop until he got the chance to prove himself. That’s how you google experience. Larry hustled, he worked for someone, made a mistake on that first job, owned the mistake and carried on but this employer didn’t have enough work for Larry, around the same time another GC was asking if Larry would work for them, Larry was a upstanding tradesperson and made sure that his current employer was well aware of what was going on. Eventually Larry left the first employer and began working for the new GC and that was the very beginning of Key Tile Co and he has never needed to look back.

Shared and Discussed Links

https://www.houzz.com/hznb/projects/recreation-of-a-200-year-old-french-villa-pj-vj~169471

http://lindenconstruction.ca

https://www.dezeen.com/2017/03/16/oiio-imagines-big-bend-skyscraper-new-york-longest-building-in-the-world/

Thank you so much Larry for being on the show, making the time while visiting the Toronto area and sharing so much insight into the tiling trade and more. Reach out to Larry at www.keytile.ca his email info@keytile.ca and on IG and FaceBook @keytileco and @keysurfaces

TCL has and always will be about giving back to the construction industry.

Leave a Comment