When beginning a stone flooring restoration project, it is important to explore the condition of the work area. This allows a full understanding of the work that lies ahead and allows you to quote accordingly.
The best way to devise the correct procedure to achieve the agreed upon goal between you and your customer is to perform a test patch. It is my golden rule.
Testing a section of the stone, performed well before you are under the pressure of a contract, determines the best sequence of operations to achieve your customer’s anticipated results. It may also prevent you from performing unnecessary operations that may add value in your opinion, but that the customer does not understand. Or, it may be an opportunity to upsell your services if the customer agrees to pay extra because you educated him on the benefits of your proposal.
Testing allows you to predetermine how much time to spend on any given area, the diamond grit sequence which yields the best finishes and what buffing approach you can use to deliver the best finish using the simplest and shortest, yet most effective, sequence.
This simple trial of the diamond disks, typically done in a remote corner or dimly lit area, points to the level of finish you are capable of achieving on that particular job and ensures that the customer’s expectations are reasonable and realistic. Once performed, you will know your costs for the job and you can offer a proposal in full confidence that you can do what is needed.
The test patch also allows your customer to possibly realign his expectation to a more realistic approach and permits him to define the value that you are proposing, if different from the original intent. If you are lucky, another contractor may have also done a similar test patch and you will have something to compare your approach to; giving you a second chance to explore an alternative approach to meet different expectations. There may be a lot of differences between what your customer expects and actual possibilities. You just gave yourself another opportunity to explore options to discuss.
The test patch will also prevent the often asked request from the customer to do a little bit more work because his expectation changed, during which time you cannot demobilize the job, nor expect an agreed-upon payment. In cases where opinions differ, which is often when a defined target is not agreed upon, the test patch facilitates any conflict resolution that inevitably arises when expectations are not quantified or changed during the process. Then you are not at the mercy of someone else’s good will.
Always consider the test patch as the ultimate offer of an irrevocable standard against which you can compare and conclude the job. It’ll also allow your customer to feel good about the job you finished and confirm to him that you met his expectations. And in turn, he will feel good about paying you and likely recommend your services.