Franchisees buy into Jim's better lifestyle

By Leon Gettler, Talking Business >>

JIM’S GROUP, the company behind outfits like Jim’s Mowing, Jim’s Dog Wash, and Jim’s Cleaning, has had spectacular growth.

Jim Penman, who created the company, said the growth might come from what’s been termed the ‘Great Resignation’ – a recent phenomenon of many people leaving their jobs – and he also saw that a great many of Jim’s franchisees were immigrants.

Mr Penman said another reason for the growth was that the franchisees were working from home.

Jim’s has a policy where all work is localised, so franchisees don’t have to drive to work that’s more than 10 to 15 minutes away from their home. It means commuting is kept to a minimum.

“The aim of the system is to reduce travelling to an extreme degree” Mr Penman told Talking Business

“So someone might be spending their whole day working within a 10 to 15 minute drive from their house.”

He said many studies had found that people hate commuting more than anything.

“They reckon that someone on $75,000 a year who is working from home or close by has the same level of satisfaction as someone on $150,000 with an hour long commute,” he said.

“It sounds astonishing but that’s what the research shows.”

Franchises to suit most people

Jim’s Group has 52 franchises. The most successful are mowing, dog wash, pool care, cleaning, fencing, pest control, handyman, security doors, IT and book-keeping.

The most popular is mowing. Dog wash is the fastest growing.

Australians and New Zealanders find it easy to make the transition to running their own business because they are egalitarian, according to Mr Penman. He said it was “a distinctive feature of Australian society”.

“If you were in Texas and you said you were leaving some corporate desk job to go and start a lawn mowing business, people would say, ‘Come on, you’re going to work with your hands? That’s for Mexicans and blacks, the lesser breeds,” Mr Penman said.

“But in Australia, if you’re a manager and you want to run your own business, you’d say ‘Isn’t that great? I always wanted to be self-employed’.

“This idea of independence is very Australian.”

Making ‘a go’ of own business

Australians loved the idea of being in charge of their own business, Mr Penman said.

As a result, he said a lot of people with corporate backgrounds in management become franchisees.

“The opportunities are quite extraordinary and we find that people with that background tend to do very well,” he said.

Mr Penman said the group encouraged franchisees to employ people and build a workforce for their company. The fee of $800 (per month) was nothing compared with what they would be making.

The top companies in the Jim’s Group had turnover in the millions, he said.

“If you are actually successful and can take on workers, you can be turning over a vast sum of money and your fees would be $800 a month. It’s almost trivial,” Mr Penman said.

He said the biggest problem was finding good people, Mr Penman said.

Most people select a franchise because it’s better for their lifestyle, according to Mr Penman said.

“They tend to say $120,000 a year is all I need but I want to see my kids growing up,” he said.


Hear the complete interview and catch up with other topical business news on Leon Gettler’s Talking Business podcast, released every Friday at

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