Area Covered by Franchise Owner – Southside of Glasgow, mainly the areas of Newton Mearns, Clarkston, Giffnock & Busby. Travel further afield for one-off large landscaping projects.
After 33 years in the Army, Andrew Glen was ready for a new challenge. He was aware that franchising offered an opportunity to essentially own your own business and be your own boss, but also that it came with the added benefit of a proven business model.
Andrew started buying franchise industry magazines and spent time exploring the multiple franchisee recruitment websites to try and match his skills base with the opportunities available.
Knowing that he had no intention of spending his next career move sitting at a desk all day really helped Andrew to narrow down his options. Once his short list was established, he began arranging meetings at the head offices of the various franchise operations he was interested in, where he watched presentations and met with franchisors and franchisees. This was vital to authenticating the facts and figures listed in the numerous franchise prospectuses Andrew had picked up along the way.
Despite identifying Jim’s Mowing as a hot favourite early on, he left them until last to visit. He reasoned that this way he would be at his most prepared and informed by the time he was to meet with Jim’s Mowing.
Andrew was encouraged to speak to existing Jim’s Mowing franchisees from all over the UK who were only too happy to answer his questions. It wasn’t long before Andrew had heard enough to convince him that Jim’s Mowing was the right franchise opportunity for him. He needed to produce a business plan to show the company how he planned to turn his proposed territory into a success. This led quickly to being offered the franchise which of course meant finding the funds necessary to buy it. Andrew was fortunate enough to be able to finance the purchase himself, but said that there seemed to be funding available from a number of banks impressed with the Jim’s Mowing model.
Things went pretty quickly from that point. “I attended a weeks’ training course in Melbourne Australia at the Jim’s Headquarters, this was followed by a week at Hadlow Training College in the UK. Then I was fortunate enough to work for a period of two weeks with an experienced Jim’s Mowing franchisee in Scotland”.
Once Andrew was up and running, he expected the support from his regional franchisor to naturally tailor off, however has found that actually it continues to be readily available in the form of field visits, telephone calls, business updates, newsletters and franchisee forums. Having the support of his fellow Jim’s Mowing franchisees around the world continues to be invaluable to Andrew and is something that really adds to the multiple benefits of buying a franchise over setting up on his own.
Andrew is in no doubt that he made the right decision, but his new career is not without its challenges. “Having spent most of my adult life in the south of England I’d become acclimatised to the warmer, dryer weather without realising it. Having returned to my native Glasgow to live rather than visit was a big shock to the system”. Surprisingly this would also have effects on his business that he had not allowed for. “The sheer volume of rain can often lead to jobs being cancelled; many of our services can’t be conducted in wet or even damp conditions. If you need to spend more time and resources getting the desired results for a customer, it can and does have an effect on your profit so I have learned how to manage this and my business continues to grow”
Andrew feels being his own boss more than compensates for any weather induced negatives. “You make the decisions and so reap the rewards as well as taking the challenges. Also, because I set my own working hours and decide when I can afford to take time off, I get far more time with my family and friends”.
In terms of giving advice to someone thinking of buying their first franchise, ex soldier Andrew says “Do your research, and when you have done it research again. Any soldier will tell you, time spent in recce is never wasted – never a truer word spoken”.