Veterans in Franchising – December Cover Story

Retired Marine Finds Perfect Fit in Archadeck

For retired Marine, Kyle Faulkner, owning an Archadeck Outdoor Living franchise fit perfectly with his background, seeing that he’s a third generation carpenter.

Both his grandfather and father owned construction companies that specialized in building residential homes, so once Faulkner was done with the military, Archadeck just seemed like the natural next step. “I started out doing construction from the time I was old enough to swing a hammer,” Faulkner said during a recent interview from his headquarters in Raleigh, NC, where he is the CEO and owner of the Raleigh-Durham territory of Archadeck.

While his father and grandfather specialized in houses, Faulkner, as part of Archadeck, has a more niche specialty.

The company designs and builds outdoor living areas like decks, screened porches, patios and sunrooms. It’s part of the Outdoor Living Brands family of franchises, along with Renew Crew, Mosquito Squad and Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.

Faulkner has been with Archadeck since October of 2013 when he purchased a small portion of the Raleigh territory. In early 2014, he took over the entire Raleigh-Durham area and has now been in operation for a year.

The franchise was recommended to him by a family friend who happened to be a business broker and knew about Archadeck. “He knew it kind of fit my background, which is in construction,” Faulkner said.

Once he found out about the franchise, it was just a matter of meeting with Rob Haislip, the Vice-President of franchise operations with Archadeck Outdoor Living, and a lucrative partnership was forged.

Looking for Stability

Prior to joining Archadeck, Faulkner spent eight years in the Marines in the engineering field hopping back and forth between the U.S. and the Middle East. All that instability made him yearn for a place where he could settle down into a more stable position – where he could establish some roots rather than being deployed for a year at a time and being stationed somewhere new every couple of years, which meant picking up stakes and moving.

“It’s difficult to have a family and to have that grounded base that I wanted to have,” he said. “I saw lots of my friends raise their kids from thousands of miles away and get to see them only on holidays and I knew that that’s not what I wanted.”

So, after eight years in the Marines, he completed some schooling and ended up moving back to North Carolina from San Diego to take over the Raleigh-Durham territory.

After he made the decision to leave the Marines, Faulkner said, he wanted something to call his own and running his own business seemed like the best way to accomplish that goal. And joining a franchise means they can provide assistance with getting the business up and running, he explained, while still allowing the franchisee room to grow and make changes that they think are necessary.

Getting Started

Getting started with Archadeck meant four weeks of training in Richmond, VA, going there for two weeks, getting a one week break and then going back for two more weeks. During that time, they went through everything they could, Faulkner recalled, but it’s hard to fit everything you need to know about the business into four weeks.

There are so many products available and so many things to learn about building codes and standards. For example, Faulkner’s territory encompasses 27 different jurisdictions that all have their own building codes and standards, all of which he has to know and follow while designing and building outdoor living spaces.

Fortunately, Archadeck also provides ongoing support and training like making sure that if any assistance is needed with material or vendors or the aforementioned building codes, franchisees get the assistance they need. Different people in the Richmond headquarters have different areas of expertise like drafting, building codes, and inbound and outbound marketing. These specialists are there to help franchisees should they have any questions or need a hand.

Archadeck franchisees also meet regularly for their annual meeting and regional meetings and are more than happy to share business practices and tips with each other.

Working Balance into Life

Although his work/life balance is far different than before, it still affords him the time to see his family. During his active duty time with the Marines, when he was in the States, Faulkner said, he would work six to eight hours per day, but he was off on the weekends and holidays and tended to take a lot of early days on Fridays. But, on the other hand, when deployed, the work was almost non-stop, seven days per week.

Nowadays, he works on average about 10-14 hours per day, but does make a point to take Saturday or Sunday off to spend with his family. He still answers the phone, though. It always seems like he’s working, the Archadeck owner said, but he can now work from home or plan the work around appointments and other things because it also affords him the flexibility to set his own schedule.

As long as people are prepared for the amount of work it takes to make a successful franchise, he said, it’s well worth getting into, especially if you seem to be born for this kind of thing – like being a third-generation carpenter.

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Third Generation Carpenter, Kyle Faulkner working with his father and grandfather

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