Saturday, May 25, 2024

Father-daughter duo are flooring the competition

At first, Peter Haacker didn’t give it much thought when he casually told new customers over the phone that his daughter Katie would be with him when he showed up to their appointment. After all, Katie knows just as much about flooring as he does, and they’ve been practically inseparable since he started his Floor Coverings International franchise four years ago.

So in his mind, of course she’d be there. But that didn’t mean his customers realized that at first.

In their minds, Katie was likely a little girl tagging along while her dad worked.

“We were at the front door, and they said, ‘Oh … you’re older!’” Katie, 27, said with a laugh while talking about one customer interaction in particular. “Then we’d get to look around the home; I’d start taking measurements, and they said, ‘Oh! You work together?’ It’s funny to see the reactions.”

Peter agreed.

“Some customers miss the introduction entirely and don’t realize she’s my daughter until she says, ‘Hey, dad’ in front of them,” he said. “But once they do, they’re incredibly curious to know how things are going with us working together.”

It’s difficult to blame anyone for the double-take. Sure, parents go into business with their children all the time, but the dynamics many are used to seeing are father and son or mother and daughter. Rarely do you see a dad and daughter working together — at least according to the inquisitive reactions the Haackers get. But they are clearly proving that they work great together. Peter initially started the business, with Katie only helping with back office work and occasionally bringing flooring samples in from the van during in-person appointments. That quickly evolved into her being his right-hand woman.

She’s a fixture at practically every appointment now, doing everything from taking measurements and discussing the benefits of each flooring option to placing orders, offering clients a design suggestion or two, overseeing installations, and even making sure dear old dad doesn’t forget a few key items on his daily to-do list.

Needless to say, Flower Mound residents are clamoring to work with them.

“A customer has said on more than one occasion, ‘Hey, Katie. What do you think of that rug?’ They’ll ask her opinion on all sorts of things because of the comfort level and because she has a great eye for those things. I think that helps us stand out,” Peter said. “We have a knack for making people feel comfortable in their homes. They trust us as a team, and if I’m sick or whatever, I don’t worry about Katie completely handling everything.”

Peter retired from Verizon in 2018 after 25 years and realized that sitting aimlessly around the house for his golden years wasn’t what he or his adoring wife, Janet, wanted. So he began looking into franchise ownership and ultimately decided that home services were where he’d feel the most comfortable. Floor Coverings International, which has over 250 locations across North America and Canada, stuck out because of its reputation and easy start-up process — not to mention its products. FCI has been a leader in the floor coverings space since 1998. Their catalog includes limitless options for hardwood flooring, tile, high-end carpet, vinyl, stone, and more. And they pride themselves on best-in-class sales, installation, and customer service.

Needless to say, Peter felt like he was in great hands. But he also needed help.

That’s when the idea of Katie jumping on board started getting passed around the dinner table.

“I had just graduated from Oklahoma State and was taking online nursing classes while working in retail — and I was still living at home at the time,” Katie recalls. “I remember my parents joking with me about working with my dad. It was never forced on me, but the more it kept getting brought up, the more I thought, ‘OK. Let’s see if we’re any good at this.’”

“I had gone from managing large teams [at Verizon] to one — and it was my daughter,” Peter said. “That’s a big difference, and I figured I’d have to be more understanding of her learning curve instead of hiring someone with the expectation that they needed to hit the ground running. Katie did a fantastic job adapting and evolving into what she’s doing now for the company.”

The dynamic is a win-win for homeowners looking to upgrade their flooring. Not only do they have a reputable company like Floor Coverings International handling their project from start to finish, but the dad-daughter team sitting in front of them prides themselves on building trust, getting to the heart of what matters most to each client, and then delivering a floor covering solution that transforms a once-outdated home into the envy of the neighborhood.

As a result of that success, the Haackers recently celebrated their fourth year in business on June 1 and often talk about where they might be with the business eight, nine, or even 10 years from now. Besides joking that she had to “get over” her initial hang-up of driving around in a wrapped van with her dad all day long, Katie said she loves working with him and that Peter’s laid-back personality meshes well with her headstrong mindset.

They also laugh often and tease each other even more. For example, Katie says her dad is at times forgetful in his old age. At the same time, Peter teases her for her biggest fear of speaking in front of large crowds.

But at the end of the day, neither would change a thing. And customers continue to be floored by the newest dad-daughter duo.

“This certainly wasn’t planned, but based on how everything happened and where we are now, I don’t regret it and would recommend it to anyone who wants to have that type of relationship with their kid,” Peter said. “Business-wise, our relationship is very strong. But I also still feel like I’m dad — and that’s very important to me.”

To learn more about Floor Coverings International in Flower Mound, visit flowermound.floorcoveringsinternational.com.

(Sponsored content)

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