Jon Dodd became a Jim’s Mowing franchisee in 2007… and his only complaint so far is that he is too busy!
Jon, from Basingstoke, was 43 when he started his Jim’s Mowing franchise in August 2007. He now has over 60 regular clients, with no need to advertise, and his profits are increasing each year. Remarkably, the dreaded UK recession has had no affect on him at all.
Before Jim’s Mowing, Jon had spent the previous 25 years mainly in horticulture, including working with PYO farms and managing high turnover garden centres such as Homebase. He has qualifications in horticulture and Rural Resource Management.
Jim’s Mowing is the largest lawn mowing and garden maintenance franchise in the world. It was started in Melbourne, Australia, in 1982 by Jim Penman and has expanded rapidly ever since. The Jim’s Mowing franchise was launched in 1989 and now has over 2000 franchisees worldwide, servicing over 10,000 clients every day.
Jon explains: “I was attracted to Jim’s Mowing based on first impressions; it is renowned for its high standards and excellent customer service. It also has relatively low set-up costs and the franchisor only takes a flat monthly fee which equates to less than 5 per cent of turnover.
“I spoke with a lot of other franchisees and they were all full of enthusiasm and passion for the company. I even had a day out with another “Jim” and loved it. I undertook a lot of research before I took the plunge, and spent roughly six months researching the company and franchising in general. I also looked at the alternatives, such as setting up on my own as an independent.
“Overall, it has worked out far better than I ever imagined in terms of turnover and profit. My only real complaint is about the amount of work I actually have on! I am constantly planning and preparing for the next job as my diary is constantly full six weeks in advance.
“The main challenges have changed since I first started. Initially, like any new business, it was all about getting any type of work in to cover costs, plus surviving the first couple of winter periods. Now the main challenges are trying to fit everybody in to a pretty tight schedule, praying for good weather and finding time for holidays.
“I also have to ensure I stay motivated. This may sound silly but I have gardened and mowed some lawns for customers since 2007/8 which means I have done it in excess of 200 times. Therefore, I have to ensure my high standards are always maintained. To ensure this happens I set myself higher targets each year, particularly in financial terms. This, of course, brings new challenges with it such as making the business more efficient without affecting the high customer service synonymous with the Jim’s Mowing brand and image.
Jon adds: “When starting any franchise it is very important to get support from the franchise team to ensure everything is set-up correctly to work effectively. As I have got more successful and more skilled at running my own business I have needed less and less support, but it is still nice to know it is there if needed. I now have so much work on I generally don’t take any leads via Jim’s H/O anymore as I am permanently full to overflowing with work. I’ve also not needed to advertise seriously for the last three years, so my monthly advertising spend gets utilised for new starters and for the brand as a whole in the UK.
“Overall, both financially and work/lifestyle balance, I wish I had done this 10 years earlier.”