Archadeck franchise

The home that Lisa and Steve share with their family is on one of the busiest thoroughfares in West Des Moines. But in their newly configured and private backyard, the rest of the world seems light years away.

“We wanted a space where our family could spread out and live, along with an enjoyable place to entertain,” Steve explains.

The couple opted to work with Harold Cross of Archadeck of Central Iowa to complete the transformation. Cross, who normally comes up with the plans for such projects, had a surprise when he met them “Most often our clients have a general view of what they want but aren’t down to specifics. Steve and Lisa, however, were extremely detailed in what they envisioned and already had created plans for the project.”

Their plans for their backyard meshed into an overall design scheme, which created their version of an “outdoor room.”

Cross says he tweaked a few details but primarily worked with the couple’s plans. “The two-level outdoor living space with the pergola and stonework really breaks up the space and gives it energy.” He started working with Steve and Lisa in February, when there was still snow on the ground, and started construction in July. The detailed project came to completion in October.

“With this project, the whole focus of our home moved to the back,” Steve points out. The cedar pergola will be allowed to age naturally to a silvery patina, he says. Just for fun, there’s lighting under the seating, providing soft, indirect light on the deck surface, which glows for evening gatherings.

Another low-maintenance aspect is the stamped and colored concrete on the lower-level patio, an aspect that Archadeck is incorporating into more of its designs and projects.

“We really wanted to avoid having a big open deck space,” Steve says. “With this angled configuration outside, we feel we have added visual appeal and usable space.” Inside, the family has added touches of the Arts and Crafts influence, which they appreciate. Steve laid subtle textured and plain carpet tiles in a checkerboard pattern to give interest, but also practicality, underfoot. To read more, see full article


I ran into an old neighbor last week. She was devastated because she was being forced to close her small business. It was an end to an era, the admitted failure to their dream, and the ending they never would have anticipated. Her husband’s handiwork in making custom woodworking in nearly unsurpassed. He is an artist with wood. He designs and hand crafts the most amazing woodworking creations. In the upscale custom home market, you can buy granite counter tops and purchase many of the other upscale accouterments but his woodworking made these homes truly special. His work was one-of-a-kind and brought an old-world quality and artistry to these new grand-scale homes.

About 8 years ago, he decided to go into business for himself. He didn’t have dreams of being an entrepreneur. He just wanted to craft fine woodwork with his hands. He is a very talented artist. The fine upscale home builders in the market clamored to partner with him. They would book his services months out in an attempt to keep him from working with their competition. He is a good, honest, upstanding person – a true southerner. He had almost all the ingredients. His business flourished. He and his family enjoyed substantial good times financially and were able to realize some of their financial dreams. His wife reluctantly agreed to take accounting classes and run the other part of the business. She became very good at it. The quality of his work perpetuated the successful growth of his business.

Fast forward 8 years. The bottom has dropped out of the custom home market. They have down-sized, and down-sized, and down-sized. The custom builders they work with have gone out of business one-by-one. Their expenses exceeded their income. They never needed to do marketing and couldn’t afford any now. They had no magic source to help them figure out how to get back on track. They just closed their business. My friend took a teacher job and her incredibly talented husband has to go find a “job”. They’re devastated financially, emotionally, spiritually.

Eight years ago when they started their business, and they were my neighbors, I also started a business. Mine was on a much smaller scale. I didn’t have employees, except myself. I didn’t have the overhead of an office or shop. My small business didn’t have a great marketing plan and no support to get me back on track if I had trouble. Although it was a great success story in the first couple years quickly rising to 6-digit sales figures with “literally no marketing”, world events or lack of having a “continued growth” strategy quickly precipitated the failure of my business. Although on a very small scale, it still represented my dream of being an entrepreneur and accepting my failure in that role. All my life, I had dreamed of owning my own business.

Eight years ago, my neighbor and I met over coffee or a glass of wine and toasted achieving our dreams – of finally becoming entrepreneurs. We had enjoyed early success that fueled our belief we would continue to enjoy all the fruits off success.

In hindsight, we could have had a better business plan. We could have had marketing plans. We could have planned for the phases of our business after the start-up. We could have worked as part of a national group who did all these things and had the financial wherewithal and knowledge and expertise to weather the tougher times.

It’s funny how life lands you in interesting places. As I sat and spoke with my friend, I have the great fortune of working with the franchisor of Archadeck – a custom deck company. My friend literally could have started a franchise with my company eight years ago and would still be in business. Yes, nothing is a guarantee, but all of the admitted failures to their flawed “plan” I so clearly see in hindsight would have been the ingredients he would have needed to still be in business. And, to add salt to the wound, his financial outlay would have been a fraction of what they have spent trying to keep their business afloat. Back then, they would have looked at the cost of starting a franchise and would have pshawed it thinking their talent and heart and soul and contacts were enough. Sometimes, very seldom, probably one-in-a-million times these ingredients are the magic formula. But, sadly for this to have been the formula, tremendous luck or a bridge financier would have been the missing ingredients. With his tremendous talent in working with wood and the investments he made, he would have had all the magic ingredients he needed to still be successful today.

As the franchisor, when one of our units starts to have some trouble; my group, the marketing group, immediately steps in to massage or re-build their marketing plan. We have financial experts that immediately jump in and help them with cash flow and other financial assistance. We hook them up with other franchise owners within our organization that have weathered similar storms. We have executives that work with them to massage or re-built their business plan. And, all of this support is part of the package. They don’t pay any extra to get all of this help and support and expertise. If I had to do it all over, there is no question I would have made the smartest entrepreneurial investment in starting my business under the protective umbrella of a franchise company.