7 The Jim Way

By 1998 Jim had sold off parts of his Victorian mowing region, while keeping the remainder for himself. But he realised his own area was doing poorly, with franchisees feeling unsupported. By contrast, franchisees in regions with regional franchisors (who owned the business) were much happier and growing faster. It was clear the personal responsibility franchisors felt meant they did a far better job than the managers he'd employed to run his regions.

The obvious solution was to divide up and sell the rest of the Victorian mowing rights as regions — businesses — in themselves, ‘but this was a scary thought,' Jim said. It would mean losing most of his income, since at the time the monthly national fees were only 15 per cent of turnover; not enough to keep National Office going long term. The only reason he had sold regions in the first place was a desperate need for cash after his first divorce. To make matters worse, his best franchisees didn't have enough cash to buy the regions outright. They would pay it off slowly out of a percentage of profits made by the regions — profits that Jim currently received 100 per cent of. Financially, it looked like a bad decision. ‘But in the end it was a matter of core values,' Jim said. ‘If I really believed in putting franchisees first I had to do what was best for them.'

Jim's remaining Victorian franchisor rights were quickly bought up, and Jim transitioned out of being a regional franchisor. Now he was only involved with ...

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