Assuming one has the tools and the knowledge about how to use them correctly, and is aware of the various products for installation, the next most important thing is layout! A proper layout of a job can often be the difference of an attractive job or one that is weak or downright awful. It can also, amazingly, be the factor in making a job run quicker and easier as well as more pleasing in appearance.

Whether the job is a floor or a backsplash, a tub, a shower, or a countertop - whatever the installation - they all begin with that FIRST TILE! That's the one that dictates where the entire rest of the installation will follow.

Since beginning in this trade, I have performed probably no less than 4000 installations in almost as many residences or places of business. I have had to determine where to lay that first tile in each one. And have done so successfully over and again.

It occurred to me that such knowledge and experience can be a financially useful commodity.

For those of you adventuresome enough to do your own installation, but have some misgivings about where to begin that first tile, I would be happy to come out to the job and share where I would begin any particular installation for a small fee - probably $100 - if the job is local. And explain why. As long as the job is in the Phoenix/Scottsdale general area. Hopefully the information will either inform or validate your instincts, or prove useful in the hiring of another installer. It can possibly be your most important investment.