Twelve months ago we were wrapping up a busy and physically challenging year. Rolling into 2020, I was looking forward to growing the business even more and demonstrating the professional finish we were becoming known for. I had no idea that 2020 would throw so many challenges at us, and challenges that we could neither control or avoid. 

Covid 19….  For CJTiling we have had to adapt. We have been extremely lucky to have continued to work through the shit-show of the first and second waves. For us, it was more about our clients and seeing the impact in the lives of our clients. Everyone knows someone that has lost their job, their livelihood and their sense of identity. Being close to the border of Albury/Wodonga also presented the challenge of factoring in time. Time is that one thing that you just can’t manufacture. At the end of the day, it is time that beats us. So, to add extra travel time to jobs and supply trips was a killer, and just like everyone else, extremely frustrating. But, ultimately we were able to mask up and continue presenting tiling jobs that left our clients happy and smiling.

 The pandemic drove our sales and enquiries through the roof and we could not keep up with the constant phone calls and opportunities that came our way. ‘Stay Home’ to CJT clients translated to: ‘spend all holiday cash on bathroom upgrades’.  People’s houses are the culmination of their blood, sweat and tears. To know that our craftsmanship is valued is what makes our trade worthwhile. It can be hard – definitely long, thankless days. But then on handover to see the satisfaction and respect from our clients is so gratifying.

The challenges of growing a business from owner/tiler with one apprentice at the start of 2020 to starting 2021 with two apprentices, a qualified tiler and an operations manager and myself (Carson) is very rewarding.  To work with and employ people that all have a blast at work (and outside of it)  is a good feeling.  2021 is going to be a big year with the start of another business that I will talk about more in the next blog post.

On that note of the boys, I want to acknowledge that CJTiling is a business, but it is made up of fellas that I am immensely proud of. Jack has had a cracker of a year as he is about to wrap up his apprenticeship. He has really honed his craft and is now a leader on many of our high end projects. And Connor (Stoney) has come on board to formally learn the trade after three years of uni. His understanding of design concepts from his uni course is going to benefit our future clients without a doubt. Stoney is a fantastic student of the trade and understands the business and what we are all about. He holds us all accountable, and is also a very very fast learner and a crucial part of our team.

Matt (Big Matty) has moved back to Beechy in September from Melbourne and joined back up with us after running his own business there for the last 4 years. Matty did the first 2  years of his apprenticeship with me in 2015/16 and we have always stayed in constant contact  to support his Melbourne business @tilesbymr.  Matt is a master of our trade, his attention to detail and skill is first class and we need him as a leader on our team as he is the one who the boys (Stoney & Jack) get their instructions from.

Personally I have had some challenges as well. As much as this business is important to me, I understand the value of the relationships with people in our lives. I want to thank those people who have supported me, my family and inner circle. 

The other thing I want to mention is that country trades do not work in isolation. I want to shout out to a few of the boys that we work consistently with. We are better for what they do, and I believe they would say the same about us. Will at W&K Collier Plumbing are one of our great long term partners who never make doing business difficult. Kurt from KR Hoysted Civil Earthworks and Landscaping for all his help with all things business, life and muscle whenever I call.  Kurt and I speak on the phone almost daily to bounce ideas off each other and shoot the shit, good or bad. The guys at National Tiles & Border Carpets Wodonga who supply us with all our materials are the lifeblood of our business and we couldn’t do what we do without them, we have worked together for the last 9 years and look forward to plenty more. 

Mum, I want to thank the old duck for doing the books and helping out when I need it. 2020 has not been a good one for her and our family, lucky she’s got thick skin.

So, let’s say 2020 has been a ride. I’m ready to shut the gate on it but also remember that with every challenge, came learning and ultimately CJTiling grew just a little bit more. We have become a name people associate with a quality tiling job. People know we care about what we do. With this in mind I’m looking forward to 2021 so we can expand and grow our people and business. 

Cheers, Carson