A stalwart franchisee within the Archadeck franchise system, Jim Finlay, has watched Archadeck grow, change and evolve over the 26 years that he has been a franchisee. When Jim began his career with Archadeck, he was one of only few franchises within the system.
In 1993, when Jim licensed the Archadeck of Suburban Boston territory, he was looking to pursue a different career after working in the computer software industry. Jim found himself initially drawn to Archadeck due to its focus on quality.
Owned and operated by Outdoor Living Brands, Archadeck is a franchise company that designs and builds custom outdoor living spaces such as decks, patios, screen porches, sunrooms, pergolas, outdoor kitchens and outdoor fireplaces throughout the United States and Canada.
As Jim grew his franchise business, he realized that he was extremely interested in the production side of building outdoor spaces and structures and that he really enjoyed it. Beyond building and focusing on how to design and improve structures, he noted that “many facets to an Archadeck franchise exist including the need for a franchisee to focus on sales, creating a team, managing staff and projects, and maintaining excellent customer service.”
While the “building aspect” of Archadeck is important, Jim feels that you need to be a generalist to be successful in an Archadeck franchise. He believes that the training provided by Outdoor Living Brands will teach new franchisees, regardless of their professional background, all elements of the business from design and construction, to marketing and sales, to business management. He likes that in an Archadeck franchise, the franchisee can work to his or her strengths while building an excellent team around them to cover all elements of the business.
An aspect of Archadeck that Jim finds especially rewarding is the opportunity to develop excellent relationships with customers. Jim comments, “I am not primarily in the business to make a lot of money. I also get satisfaction from building great quality decks and porches and enhancing people’s lives.”
Jim is enthusiastic about the design and places a huge importance on helping a client visualize the space and structure. “I help the client focus on the use of the structure and not necessarily on the dimensions,” says Jim. He encourages the clients to talk about their needs and desires as it relates to the outdoor living space so he can design a project that fits their lifestyle needs and budget.
After being in the Archadeck business for a few years, Jim began to require that everyone on his sales team have a degree in Architecture. While this is unique in the Archadeck franchise system, Jim believes that “if designers are going to properly price a job, they need to know the technical details of building the project.” In Jim’s opinion, having this skill ensures better pricing of jobs, better quality structures and sets him apart from his competitors.
Additionally, Jim emphasized the importance of “working the Archadeck system and on following the process.” He knows from his own experience and that of other franchisees, that following the proven franchise system and business model leads to success.
After all these years at Archadeck, Jim still loves going to work every day. He finds it extremely satisfying and still enjoys working in the business every day noting, “To me, this is more than a job, it is a vocation!”.
About Archadeck Outdoor Living
Established in 1980, Archadeck Outdoor Living is recognized as the largest outdoor living space designer and builder in North America and has lived up to its motto -- Better Building by Design -- by completing more than 100,000 projects. As a part of Outdoor Living Brands with sister brands Renew Crew, Outdoor Lighting Perspectives and Conserva Irrigation, their mission is “to enhance the lives of our customers by creating unique and innovative outdoor living environments.” Qualified Remodeler and Remodeler Magazine consistently rank Archadeck at the top of their respective annual “Best” lists. Archadeck projects have graced the covers of Gardens, Decks and Patios and Decks & Backyard Projects. The company has been featured in articles in This Old House, Smart Money, Coastal Living, Better Homes & Gardens and Gardening & Deck Design, as well as on HGTV. Visit ArchadeckFranchise.com or Archadeck.com to learn more.