Here we are, putting another year behind us and setting our sights on the next. Goodbye Twenty-Twelve. Hello Twenty-Thirteen.
2012 was a very good year for Archadeck of Central Iowa. Record-setting, even. Central Iowans are truly embracing our trusted and time-proven approach to custom designing and building outdoor living spaces, rooms and accessories. Many backyards around Des Moines were adorned with our decks, porches, patios, pergolas, outdoor kitchens and more…even a basketball court!
Three of our 2012 projects are soon going to be seen in some fairly prominent local and national publications in the coming weeks, so keep your eyes peeled for these:
- Do It Yourself Magazine, a Better Homes and Gardens special publication used a West Des Moines composite deck project of ours as a backdrop for a feature article coming later this Spring; stay tuned for newsstand availability information.
- Welcome Home Des Moines, a locally-produced magazine, is featuring an Urbandale deck and patio project, complete with a firepit and outdoor kitchen, in their January/February 2013 issue; find it online, in your mailbox (if you subscribe) and in fine establishments around Des Moines in January.
- dsm Magazine, another locally-produced magazine, asked us to participate in a “Superior Interiors” feature that will run in their Feb/Mar/April 2013 issue. Interiors? Archadeck? Aren’t we a “Superiors Exteriors” business? Well, yes, but the Urbandale screen porch project we’re featuring there will explain it all. Look for that in late January as well.
What else does 2013 hold in store for Archadeck of Central Iowa? Where is that crystal ball when we need it? One thing is certain: It won’t get any easier. Our clients demand more. We demand more of ourselves. In other words, the bar keeps getting moved higher. But, those are challenges that inspire us. So, we’re preparing for another exciting year and we’re looking forward to summarizing another successful and record-setting year here again next year at this time. Ahead of that, here are some of the challenges, excitement and preparations we see in Archadeck’s 2013 crystal ball:
—– Home Shows —–
We will again be displaying at the Des Moines Home & Garden Show (February 7th – 10th, 2013; Iowa Events Center/Hy-Vee Hall) and at the Home Builders Association Home & Remodeling Show (March 8 – 10, 2013; Iowa State Fairgrounds/Varied Industries Building).
But, you don’t have to wait to see us at a Home Show. In fact, if you’ve got a pre-Summer “deadline” (maybe needing a deck or porch or patio for a graduation party or wedding?), I’d highly (highly!) encourage you to not wait. We have a number of 2012 clients who have already approached us about “phase 2” planning (“phasing” projects is also becoming more common; for example, doing a room/porch one year and a patio the next). We also have a queue of several proposals from late 2012 under consideration with January decision timeframes (some with those aforementioned deadlines).
—– Econ 101 —–
With demand and popularity come higher prices, particularly with the building materials that go into our projects. But on top of that, re-building efforts from massive and devastating storms like Hurricane Sandy and the Joplin tornado further stress supply and demand resources. Construction industry watchers are forecasting 3% – 8% increases in building material prices over the coming years (source: Ken Simonson, Chief Economist AGC of America, 9/21/12) . The last few years have made providers lean, so absorbing these costs will be difficult for us. Which I know makes purchasing decisions more difficult for you. But it doesn’t have to be all bad news. Done right – better building by design – does add value. And again, if you can catch us early you might beat some of these price increases.
—– Products, Supply Chain and Relationships —–
Because of our national presence and our outdoor living industry leadership position, Archadeck has forged various forms of preferred supplier relationships with major manufacturers in the outdoor living arena, including:
- TimberTech – Decking, Railing, Lighting
- Azek Deck and Azek Rail– Decking, Railing, Trim & Moulding
- Belgard – Hardscaping (Pavers, Wall Stone, Fireplaces)
- Fortress Railing – Railing and Components
- Feeney Architectural Products – Cable Railing
There were some interesting partnerships and acquisitions within those suppliers last year and we’re looking forward to some exciting enhancements in their product lines as a result.
Azek acquired the TimberTech business last year. What that means going forward is yet to be totally realized; for the time being the brands and products are being maintained independently. I would anticipate some very positive outcomes from this in regards to new and improved product offerings in the near future.
One precursor to what may be ahead with the Azek/TimberTech deal may be seen in the partnership TimberTech and Feeney Architectural Products developed to integrate Feeney’s Cable Rail system into TimberTech’s new Radiance Rail systems.
Locally, I am also working to forge a stronger relationship with Trex.
We’ve become a big fan of Trex’s Transcends decking and railing products. In fact, we just finished a Trex Transcends front porch project in West Des Moines a couple of weeks ago. Trex’s RainEscape product is becoming our under-decking drainage system of choice as well. Several recent Des Moines-area Trex deck projects are lined up for review and I have paperwork completed and ready to be submitted…for what will soon make us the first TrexPro contractor in the Des Moines area. We are excited to attain this level of local support with Trex, the number one decking/railing manufacturer in the country. Stay tuned for more details on this relationship.
Vendors working together make it better for all of us downstream. And with the relationships Archadeck has forged with these major suppliers, it makes it even better when you work with Archadeck. The direct support we get from these relationships helps all of us, both before and after an outdoor living space project is designed, sold and constructed.
–—- Re-Energize —–
The annual Archadeck workshop, held in conjunction with the other brands in our Outdoor Living Brands, Inc. family will be coming up in late January. It’s a nice time to re-connect and network with our colleagues around the country and learn from those shared experiences. In addition, we’ll be introduced to new business strategies from our franchise advisory groups. I always come away from these meetings re-energized for a new season and am looking forward to this again.
—– Pictures Are Worth A Thousand Words —–
A few blog posts back, I mentioned plans to expand our offerings of project pictures beyond what we have on our web site and Facebook photo galleries to include Pinterest and Photosynth. Those plans are…aside from adding some pins to my personal Pinterest site and adding a couple of panoramic “synths” to our Photosynth site…still in the planning phase. But, I am committed to integrating these further into our web presence over the coming weeks. So, look for announcements on these in the near future.
Our online themes (across our web site, Facebook page, etc.) for the past few weeks has been a seasonal wish for “Merry Outdoor Living in the Happy New Year!” Beyond that, thank you for your readership here and your support of Archadeck of Central Iowa. And, if you need to improve your merry-making capabilities in your Central Iowa outdoor living space in 2013 – or beyond, we look forward to hearing from you soon. Feel free to download our complimentary Design Guide, contact us via our web site and/or give us a call.
Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2013!