Consistent & Reliable
Award-winning Tile By Design, Inc. delivers quality craftsmanship for over two decades
Tile By Design, Inc., a tile and stone installation contractor based in Union, New Jersey, has been in operation for over two decades. The multigenerational business is led by the Velikiy family, whose unwavering commitment to exceptional craftsmanship has left an indelible mark on residential and commercial properties across the northeastern United States.
“Our claim to fame is reliability, attention to detail on the job site and a professional staff with true craftsman attributes,” says Vice President Tim Velikiy. His company enjoys plenty of repeat business and industry accolades, including from the Metropolitan Builders & Contractors Association of New Jersey. In recent years, the trade association has bestowed multiple awards of excellence upon Tile By Design, including subcontractor of the year in 2019.
The specialty contractor works with a variety of tile products—including ceramic, glass and porcelain—as well as natural stone. Tile By Design partners with trusted manufacturers that supply high-grade materials touting enhanced durability, easy maintenance and design flexibility. Crew members are adept at installing these versatile finishes in both interior and exterior applications—including flooring, wall cladding, showers and bathtubs, backsplashes, countertops and tabletops, fireplaces and outdoor patios.
“Right now, one of our featured products is thin porcelain panels, which look like marble or granite slabs. They are trending in the residential and commercial sectors and are used on bathroom walls, office feature walls and much more—the applications are really limitless,” Tim says. A fraction of the cost of marble and granite materials, these innovative products are also easier to install because there are fewer grout joints, and have lower maintenance needs compared to natural stone, he adds.
Consistency Is Key
In addition to product sales and installation, Tile By Design offers design and maintenance services to its clientele of general contractors, property owners and land developers, lending expertise on jobs of all scope and scale across New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.
The leadership takes pride in providing first-rate customer service and craftsmanship. “I consider our company to be like a boutique shop that specializes in quality,” Tim says. “We are true and honest, but what sets us apart is our consistency. We consistently provide high-quality installation services on all of our projects, which range from customized jobs for small residential contractors to large, multifamily apartment complexes for national developers. Our clients feel at ease knowing their projects are being taken care of by a professional team of experienced installers.”
One of the company’s most challenging jobs to date was for Woodmont Properties, a major residential and commercial real estate developer based in New Jersey. Tile By Design spent over two years on the developer’s multimillion-dollar luxury townhouse project in the borough of Saddle River, where crews installed various high-end materials at 68 residences throughout the gated community.
Tim notes that proper installation was key to satisfying the expectations of this “extremely demanding” client and turning a profit. “Our main line of business is tile,” he says, “and we only get one shot at installing these products correctly or else we could lose money. If the installation is done incorrectly, there’s only one solution—jackhammering it. That’s very expensive.”
“Doing our due diligence by knowing and understanding the product is paramount,” he continues. “We do refer to the Tile Council of North America’s guidelines, but because there is just so much new technology and projects are so different, every install has unique challenges.”
Tim closely monitors the jobs his team performs, and often assists with devising creative strategies to eliminate obstacles. “When I look at a project, I envision a final product—how it’s supposed to look—and then I trace it back to my starting line,” he says. He explains that this approach helps him guide the business toward more successful project outcomes and avoid many of the errors that contractors with less skill or experience might make.
Tile By Design’s transparent approach to quoting projects is another differentiator that many clients appreciate. According to Tim, the price he quotes is what will appear on the final bill, so there’s never any scope creep or change orders for clients to worry about.
He adds, “Unfortunately in our industry lately, you have a lot of contractors who are low-balling project bids and are not giving the clients the correct service.” But when clients partner with Tile By Design, they can always expect to receive high-level, professional service—an incomparable value that just can’t be beat, he says.
The fundamental principles that set the company apart are derived from the leadership team’s family dynamic. In fact, the genesis of Tile By Design is distinguished by the courage and tenacity displayed by the Velikiys years ago, who chose to brave new frontiers in pursuit of the American dream.
“Our clients feel at ease knowing their projects are being taken care of by a professional team of experienced installers.” Tim Velikiy, Vice President, Tile By Design, Inc.
The Bond of Family
According to Tim, his family had only “a few words and a few dollars” when they emigrated from the former Soviet Union to the United States in August 1991. Only 14 years old at the time, Tim recalls it being a tough transition for his Ukrainian parents, who came to America seeking religious freedom and better financial opportunities.
Back in Ukraine, his mother, Nadia, worked as a financial auditor for state-level institutions while his father, Anatoly, held a prestigious position as a professional waiter. After relocating to New Jersey, Nadia continued working in the financial sector as an accountant for many years while Anatoly pursued a new career in tile installation. A hardworking and diligent man, he learned everything he could to become an expert craftsman in a hands-on trade where every job comes with unique considerations and challenges. In 1999, Anatoly decided to strike out on his own and opened Tile By Design. Anatoly shared his hard-earned knowledge with his son Tim, who during his college years would help with apprentice-type work such as grouting tile and floor prep. After graduating from Seton Hall University with a bachelor’s degree in business, Tim planned to follow in his mother’s footsteps and make a career in the financial sector. Those aspirations, however, did not pan out exactly as he imagined. “I tried to go out in the finance world and get a regular 9-to-5 job,” he says. “Honestly, the money wasn’t there and there weren’t really any great opportunities.”
Nadia, who like her husband was a huge influence in Tim’s life, counseled her son to consider joining the family business. “She said to me, ‘Instead of you working for someone else and making peanuts, why don’t you work with your father?’ ” he recalls.
The prospect of helping his dad grow the business was very appealing to this family-oriented man, who had just become a father himself. The thought of providing financial security for his young family—and doing something meaningful and enjoyable alongside his lifelong mentor—won him over.
Roles & Responsibilities
Now, over two decades later, Tim is still just as grateful and excited about the opportunity to work at his family’s growing business, which now has 18 full-time employees—including both of his parents. Today in his role as vice president, he leverages his product installation knowledge and business savvy to maintain an edge in leading the company’s operations alongside his mother, who as president handles all sorts of responsibilities—everything from human resources and accounting to staying abreast of insurance regulations.
“My mother fully engages in everyday activities on her end of the business,” Tim remarks. “When she retires, which will probably never happen, I would have to hire seven people to replace her.”
Anatoly still thrives on working in the field with the other crew members. The seasoned installer continues to mentor his son on the technical aspects of the business, and demonstrates the admirable qualities of reliability and integrity that are hallmarks of the entire workforce at Tile By Design. Tim adds, “I can trust him to do any task that I ask of him. It’s not because he’s my father; it’s because he’s the kind of person who always follows through.”
An outgoing individual, Tim relishes in being the face of the company who interfaces with clients, trade partners, product manufacturers, vendors, employees and others each and every day. “I enjoy constant interactions with existing and new clients and creating long-lasting relationships,” he adds. “I am responsible for many things, including bidding, project management and hiring.”
Above all, Tim enjoys finding solutions to the variety of challenges in this field. “It always keeps you on your toes and keeps your mind sharp,” he states.
Like his parents, he loves to work hard—sometimes up to 60-70 hours a week. Naturally, it’s difficult for Tim, now a father of four, to juggle his work and family responsibilities.
“It’s always a balancing act,” he admits. “This is the way of American life. Work is a priority. It doesn’t mean that it’s above family, but it is definitely a huge part of life.” Looking to the future, he would like to hire additional personnel so he can concentrate more on running the company, instead of the other way around.
Leadership & Loyalty
Tim is the kind of committed leader who believes staying involved in day-to-day processes helps to ensure a company’s success. For instance, proactively maintaining awareness of the needs of employees helps him find ways to increase their productivity and mitigate obstacles, which boosts overall performance.
Open communication with his team is also foundational to his hands-on leadership style. “Our employees are extremely receptive to my ideas and feedback,” Tim says, explaining that this valuable dynamic supports Tile By Design’s ability to meet clients’ expectations. “We have a very loyal and dedicated staff,” he adds, noting that several individuals have been with the company for 15-20 years.
To the Velikiys, the staff is a highly valued extension of their family. As such, the leadership makes it a priority to offer good pay, health insurance benefits and a steady stream of work. Appreciation is also shown in other ways. For example, Tile By Design’s annual Christmas party is a full-day event hosted at a Russian sauna where employees can relax in a steam room, get a massage, indulge in great food, and just enjoy each other’s company.
The Velikys are enthusiastic about their upcoming plans to diversify the company’s offerings. By the end of this year, the goal is to add luxury vinyl tile, or LVT, and hardwood flooring to Tile By Design’s suite of services.
“We are expanding our services so we can offer our clients a complete flooring package,” Tim explains. “We will have to hire more professional installers to do these types of floors, and potentially increase our sales force.”
Tim also looks forward to doubling down on building relationships with new customers. His candid message to prospective partners rings with the confidence of someone who knows what matters most in this specialty field: “Hire us for your next project, to experience craftmanship that is worth more than a thousand words.”