For over three decades, Hickory Dickory Decks has been helping homeowners across Canada build beautiful outdoor living spaces to enhance their homes. Starting out as the ambitious dream of founder and CEO Tom Jacques, the company has grown into the leading deck builder in Canada with 87 franchisees nationwide. From these humble beginnings to international success, his story is an inspirational one.
Back in 1987 when Jacques started the business, the concept of being a deck specialist was still new. As he recalls, “There was no specialist company in the deck-building business. Back in the 1980s, it was mainly general contractors and landscapers who were building the odd deck.” But Jacques saw an opportunity to create something focused and unique. As he puts it, “One, it was about working outside; two, it was quite creative; and three, nobody was doing it.”
From the start, franchising was always part of Jacques’s vision. “Many people told me it couldn’t be done, that you couldn’t franchise a custom-made, highly skilled product,” he says. Nonetheless, with a firm belief that a network of deck builders under one trusted brand would be a winning formula, Jacques persisted.
Those early days of trailblazing were filled with unique challenges. With no established industry standards, Hickory Dickory Decks had to invent processes and best practices as the business developed in real time. “When we first started, manufacturers didn’t even have installation manuals, and we were inventing as we went along,” Jacques recalls. But the young company powered through, securing a formidable reputation for hard work, ambition, and a commitment to doing things right. Growth came swiftly as a result of this driven approach. According to Jacques, the impact this growth had on the company was phenomenal. “I had two employees in the first year and 17 in the second, so it was gangbusters right out of the gate.”
In those early years, word-of-mouth referrals were crucial to building the company’s presence in the market. As Jacques emphasizes, “There is no better advertising than a referral from a happy customer.” But earning those referrals took time and effort. He recalls, “Creating a base of happy customers takes time. When initiating any new business, trust and brand recognition needs to be earned.” A strong focus on quality workmanship and customer satisfaction formed the foundation that allowed Hickory Dickory Decks to grow in leaps and bounds.
By 1999, Hickory Dickory Decks began officially offering franchises. Growth was steady at first, adding a couple of franchisees each year. But over time, the pace accelerated. The company really took off during the pandemic, adding over 15 new franchisees in 2021 alone – a record year of growth.
Throughout the years, Hickory Dickory Decks has stayed true to Jacques’ founding vision of being the foremost deck specialists on the continent, and beyond. As he says with pride, “We have now become the largest installer of low-maintenance decks in Canada.” The company offers customers the widest selection of composite and vinyl decking products, much of it sourced directly and exclusively. With its own lumber yard supplying pressure-treated wood and architectural cedar, Hickory Dickory Decks provides franchisees with comprehensive materials to build dazzling decks of all shapes and sizes. But for Jacques, it always comes back to the custom side of the business. Even now, decades later, he still enjoys meeting with homeowners and designing decks himself.
“We have now become the largest installer of low-maintenance decks in Canada.”
This combination of hands-on custom work with consistent brand identity and economies of scale is what makes Hickory Dickory Decks unique. But great products and systems aren’t enough if you don’t have happy customers. Keeping customers happy, according to Jacques, takes great franchisees. He prioritizes providing support so franchisees can focus on building stunning decks as well as strong client relationships, and with that in mind, he fosters a spirit of collaboration where franchisees help each other with advice and mentoring. As Jacques notes, “Guidance and mentorship are commonplace within the company. With many years of franchising under our belts, along with a proven business model and a company that feels more like family, franchisees all over the country are enjoying the freedom that being part of the Hickory Dickory Decks network brings.”
This sense of family extends throughout the Hickory Dickory Decks team. From headquarters staff providing administrative support to franchise managers assisting new franchisees, everyone works together to fulfill the company’s number one goal. As Jacques describes it, “Creating happy customers is our business.”
Strong values guide all of Hickory Dickory Decks’ success. As Jacques tells it, “We have always strived to become the leader in our industry in delivering a quality built custom deck to our customers on time, and to their satisfaction at a fair profit.” Integrity, honesty, pride in quality work, and valuing team members are all core principles that drive the business. In this regard, Jacques is clear when asked to explain the company’s goal: “To focus our company’s growth on quality custom decks built by team members who believe in giving value for the money to our clientele. To have team members who create custom decks that they would be proud to have in their own backyards.”
After 35 years of continued growth and exceeding customer’s expectations, Hickory Dickory Decks has certainly proven itself as the top deck builder in Canada and stands as a respected leader in the industry. But Jacques and his team aren’t resting on their laurels. He’s adamant the company will keep putting best practices into place to stay one step ahead of the competition, no matter what.
For a young entrepreneur who started out with a dream of franchising custom decks, it’s safe to say that Tom Jacques has built something special. Through hard work, perseverance, and dedication to quality and service, Hickory Dickory Decks has blazed its way to become Canada’s number one deck company. With the real estate boom and increasingly popular work-from-home trends driving continued demand for outdoor living spaces that enhance the home environment, the company is poised for even further expansion. The future looks bright, but for Jacques, it always comes back to the core foundations. As he says, driving the point home, “Happy customers are the foundation of our business.”
Jacques’ singular dream required not only a healthy dose of ambition and a strong vision, but also the maverick ability to adapt and evolve with the times. The company’s longevity is a testament to meeting each new challenge head-on. No matter the obstacle over the past 35 years, Hickory Dickory Decks has drawn on its strengths – exceptional people, top-notch products, and unwavering commitment to customers. These pillars will doubtless continue to guide the company as it keeps building into the future.
For aspiring entrepreneurs, Tom Jacques is an inspiring example of a founder who believed in his idea for a quality business and put in the hard work required to make it succeed and reach great heights. He took a simple concept – building decks – and grew it into the top company in Canada through vision, innovation, and perseverance. For Jacques, his satisfied customers, and entrepreneurs who may be inspired by his story, Hickory Dickory Decks shows how creating a company with a vision is not just about selling products, but also about building dreams.