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Hi Mav,

Sorry for the short novel! :D

I used to own a Jim’s Mowing franchise. I personally didn’t do too well but know a few people who have. The thing to remember is that it is like any other business – it is up to you to make it happen. All you are really buying is the branding and some marketing as well as basic systems. The Test&Tag guys have a great reputation for success even within the Jim’s family.

Some advice/tips:

– The franchise will lose approx 60-80% of its “value” once you have bought it. Having a good base of regular customers will become your business value when it comes time to sell so make this your absolute focus (as it should be for any other business type)
– Get to know your franchisor. You need to respect them and be able to work with them. Bug the living daylights out of them for the first year for tips, advice and how “the system” works. Meet with them at least once a month or even better once a week. Treat them like a business coach – that’s part of what you pay your fees each month for. Follow their advice (assuming they have been doing it for a number of years and have a large group of SUCCESSFUL franchise owners below them)
– Service based franchises tend to be designed to be very hands-on with the franchisee being the main worker. If you have desires to become bigger and have multiple teams on the road you may be better to look at starting off your own back
– With the Jim’s model they charge a fixed franchise fee each month which is fantastic when you have built a large business with great turnover as the fee’s impact on your business is minimal – however in the early days it can be a real pain if your turnover is low
– Don’t rely on getting work through the call centre – get out there and get your own clients from day 1

Final bit of advice – the guys I’ve seen make a success of it have all done the same thing – focus on your territory and the type of work you want to do. Don’t be tempted to sign up for all the options in the call centre and cover large areas – you will end up travelling all over creation (with the higher costs involved) and will end up doing sh!t jobs all day. Take the time to build your business right.

Many people buy a franchise thinking it will be easy because all the systems are there and the marketing is already happening so there should be a steady stream of work (like me ;)) – but it is just like any other business. You only get out what you put in and it can be just as tough and painful to build a franchise business as starting from nothing – sometimes worse because you’ve invested all this money in someone else’s brand and have a big expense each month for licencing which all adds up to more pain in the beginning.

Good luck – and have fun!