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Thread: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

  1. #1
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    Default Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Sydney Morning Herald 20/10/09

    http://www.smh.com.au/small-business...1019-h511.html


    THE owner of Australia's second-largest franchise system is facing a revolt by franchisees.

    Jim Penman, the founder of Jim's Group - which spans 28 different franchises including mowing, plumbing and electrical with 2700 franchisees in Australia alone - faces being forced out of the company, and a class action, after a referendum held at the weekend.

    The ballot has so far found 89 per cent of master franchisors who voted wanted Mr Penman out, while 81 per cent supported a class action for alleged breach of contract.

    Those behind the ballot have extended it to Friday, saying their efforts to hold the referendum were hampered by Mr Penman shutting down a website promoting the vote.

    Mr Penman - whose franchise is second only to Australia Post in size - has dismissed the referendum as a ''made-up vote'' orchestrated by a disaffected British master franchisor.

    It comes as he is being pursued for $1 million in damages by Paul Carr, who claims Mr Penman and others in Jim's Group conspired in his removal from the British business. Mr Penman has denied the claim and is pondering legal action of his own against Mr Carr and the website hosting the vote, which he says has libelled him.

    But Mr Penman admitted many in his Australian operation wanted him out of the company he built from a single mowing business in Melbourne in 1982 into one of the world's largest franchises, with an annual turnover in this country of about $250 million.

    ''I'm not sure the majority would be in favour of me right now, but give it a couple of years and they might be,'' Mr Penman said.

    While those behind the vote would not make public the numbers who cast ballots, Jim's Group has about 215 ''divisional'' and ''regional'' franchisors - in effect master franchisees - in its system who were eligible to vote.

    These franchisors buy areas from Jim's Group - often large parts of a state - and split up the areas and on-sell those to franchisees.

    Jim's Group allows franchisors to be voted out by franchisees - or Mr Penman to be voted out by franchisors - if three people call for a referendum. A similar vote in 2005 found in Mr Penman's favour.

    But there has been growing resentment from franchisors around Australia largely based around what they say are unfair increases in the monthly fees they pay Jim's Group for each franchisee and changes to the company's operational manual.

    Monthly fees were initially set to more than double, leaving franchisors claiming they could not on-sell their businesses. Most franchisors have spent several hundred thousands dollars to get into the business.

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    WATODAY .COM.AU

    lOOKS LIKE EVERYBODY IS JUMPING ON BOARD WITH THE NEWS .



    http://www.watoday.com.au/business/t...1019-h4kk.html


    Turfed out: Jim's Mowing magnate faces the sack

    The future of the owner of Australia's second-largest franchise system is in jeopardy after a revolt by franchisees.

    Jim Penman, the owner and founder of the Jim's Group of franchises - which made its name in mowing and now spans 28 different franchises and 2700 franchisees in Australia alone - faces being forced out of the company, and a looming class action, after a referendum held at the weekend.

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Mowing magnate caught up in million-dollar stoush CHALPAT SONTI
    September 17, 2009
    One of Australia's most prominent faces has been caught up in a million-dollar stoush with a UK business associate.

    The battle, which has plenty of trash talk between the two men at its heart, is about to stoke up as UK lawyers prepare to serve papers this week.

    The protagonists are Melbourne-based Jim Penman - the man (and face) behind the multinational Jim's Group franchise which spans 28 different businesses and about 2700 franchisees in Australia - and his UK-based former master franchisee Paul Carr.

    Mr Carr claims Mr Penman, his deputy Phil Maunder and Australian-born UK business partner Richard Harrison orchestrated his removal from the business recently, and is seeking about $1 million - plus damages - from Mr Penman.

    "The damages, based on lost projected profits, will be substantial (and) the publicity will be very damaging to both himself and to the future growth of Jim's in both the UK and his new market the USA," Mr Carr told WAtoday.com.au.

    Mr Penman originally offered to buy him out at 80 per cent of the value of the UK Jim's Mowing operation, which Mr Penman estimated was worth between $100,000 and $200,000, but his lawyers have signalled he could offer even less.

    "He appears blind to the facts... and hates the fact that I have rejected his generous offer and been very difficult," Mr Carr said.

    Mr Penman countered by claiming to WAtoday.com.au that Mr Carr was a "completely useless" operator who had wrecked Jim's Mowing in the UK.

    "He's done a shocking job and 90 per cent of (UK) franchisees voted that they wanted him out," Mr Penman said.

    "The attrition rate of his franchisees was many times that of others Basically they treated him like poison and we had to find a way to get rid of him. Technically he was behind with his (franchise) fees (about $3400) and we got rid of him them, but shortly after that he paid them.

    "Then we determined that he had not provided his franchisees with any support and got rid of him that way. This is a bloke who cut off his franchisees phones (the call centre phone number customers call) and he's undermined his own business by cutting off his franchisees.

    "All I've said to him is if he sells the business, he'll get 80 per cent of (the proceeds). I said 'I'm not taking it off you', I've never terminated anybody."

    Mr Penman also claimed Mr Carr had threatened a disaffected franchisee, using his wife's contacts in the British SAS.

    Mr Carr rejected the claim, saying it came from a conversation where he discussed the fact that his wife worked for a company which employed many SAS staff and he would never have an affair because he could end up with a broken leg.

    He also rejected the claim about franchisee dissatisfaction, saying the vote was "clearly instigated" by Mr Penman and Mr Harrison to get rid of him.

    "Jim forced me to eventually close the call centre... (he) is trying to manufacture franchisee dissatisfaction as a defence," Mr Carr said.

    "Our attrition rate was less than half that experienced in the Australian (Jim's Mowing) division over the last five years. Generally most franchisees were happy until this fiasco but concerned that growth had stopped over the last year."

    Letters between lawyers for both sides - copies of which have been obtained by WAtoday.com.au - detail the breakdown in negotiations. Jim's Group lawyers told Mr Carr's lawyers their client was "well aware" of problems with the business and the damage he had caused and that Mr Penman's offsider had raised this at a meeting in the UK in May.

    Both sides claim the other will break and negotiate an offer to settle.

    "I really actually hope that Jim doesn't see sense, so that we can enjoy the sight of him in the High Court in London," Mr Carr said.

    Mr Penman countered: "I'd be surprised if his lawyers take it to court. He's going to have 20 or 30 franchisees coming in and saying he's wrecked the business.

    "He's simply trying to get revenge. I'm going to court to fight him. I'm thinking of getting franchisees to launch a class action against him. I'll offer to fund it. He had a complete disregard for his franchisees."

    He also supplied WAtoday.com.au with letters from disaffected UK franchisees complaining about Mr Carr's handling of the business.

    Mr Carr, an accountant by profession, bought into the business as a franchisee, shortly after it started in the UK in 2004. He bought into the master franchise in 2006 on a 50-50 basis with Mr Harrison.

    He achieved effective control of the franchise in June, when he bought some outstanding shares of Jason Jaap, another Australian who established the UK operation with Mr Harrison. All up, Mr Carr says he has invested about $350,000 in the business.


    Source: watoday.com.au

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    http://www.franchisedirect.co.uk/dir...imsmowing/337/

    Paul Carrs Testimonial How soon it can go sour bit like grass .


    Testimonials

    "Since starting my Jimís Mowing franchise I havenít looked back. Being a ďJimĒ has far exceeded any expectations that I had. I have enjoyed managing and growing my business. The support from the other franchisees and the divisional franchisors has enabled my business to progress far more rapidly than I could ever have imagined. I weighed up all the options before buying a Jimís Mowing franchise. The growth and earning potential far exceeds anything else in the market place. My partner and I are now looking to take this one step further in becoming regional franchisors and I have no doubt that this will prove just as rewarding" - Trevor Middleton, Jimís Mowing Horsham West

    "Running your own business can be a daunting challenge. Doing a physical job, when you are more used to sitting at a desk or in a car is equally challenging. However, even though my first month as a Jimís Mowing Franchisee has proved physically demanding I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. Meeting a wide variety of people, estimating work, and achieving the desired result - a satisfied client - are all enjoyable and fulfilling elements of the job. In todayís hectic world, it is highly unusual to be thanked almost daily for the work you have carried out. Hence, the level of job satisfaction is very high. This has also been helped by the consistently good level of support from Head Office and supportive contact with other franchisees. The key targets set within my business plan have all been achieved: - number of clients has been exceeded - my actual revenues are more than double my target. Yes, it can be hard work - self discipline and good planning are crucial - but it is invariably rewarding and great fun. And as a bonus, you will lose some weight" - Paul Carr, Jim's Mowing, Eaton
    Last edited by administrator; 20-10-2009 at 11:27 AM.

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    As Dean says storm in a tea cup .

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Like him or hate him you have to give Jim P his due. He has done what we would all like to to do. I don't think for one second he would give up without a fight and with his wealth behind him it would be a good one.

    We as Indies may slag off a bit at the Jimmies but what makes their business is the name and all it brings with it. If they were to kick Jim P out how long would it take for that organisation to implode.

    In my view it would be a bad move on their behalf.
    Cheers

    Bluey
    Adelaide Home & Garden Solutions
    http://www.ahgs.com.au


    "Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when everyone is watching."

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    Member of forum Sandgroper's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    This is the first nail in the coffin for the Jims group,,like Ansett the whole thing will slowly cave in, now that the news is out it will be hard for anybody to sell the business, it was only a matter of time i guess

    Removing Jim will not help its the whole system, V.I.P caved in my local area around 5 years ago with the locals painted out there trailers with plain green.

    Rest in peace Jims mowing 1983- 2009

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    Senior Member Bluey's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    I was surprised when Jim's Mowing went to Jim's Everything. You see it all the time successfull businesses going to big and they crash and burn.
    Cheers

    Bluey
    Adelaide Home & Garden Solutions
    http://www.ahgs.com.au


    "Success occurs when no one is looking, failure occurs when everyone is watching."

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    Senior Member The Local Gardener's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Quote Originally Posted by Bluey
    I was surprised when Jim's Mowing went to Jim's Everything. You see it all the time successfull businesses going to big and they crash and burn.

    my two cents worth, I actually dont give a fk.....

    crash and burn he will......

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Quote Originally Posted by The Local Gardener
    my two cents worth, I actually dont give a fk.....

    crash and burn he will......
    I actually do give a F#@k! And we all should give a FireTruck!

    You see, the way I view the Lawn Mowing & Gardening Industry is that we are a bunch of operators out there working against each other, and the customers just play us off each other.

    However, when you have the likes of Jim's Mowing etc, then what you have is some glue that keeps the industry tight and together!

    You have never seen a poor Orthopaedic Surgeon, have you?

    The reason why they are not poor is they have an organistion that runs a tight ship, and they call the shots! They say how many doctors can go on to become specialists!

    In the same way, we need organisations like Jim's Mowing to flourish, because they teach their Foot Soldiers (ie the Franchisees) how to quote on jobs properly. That is, they know that the customer should pay a decent rate for good quality work!

    Don't be idiots rejoicing in Jim's demise! That would only be the end of our Industry!

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Lawngreen franchises are only 2 percent of the industry. The industry is in fine shape .

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    Member Of Forum lawngreen's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Quote Originally Posted by administrator
    Lawngreen franchises are only 2 percent of the industry. The industry is in fine shape .
    Sorry, beg to differ!

    The Lawn Mowing Industry is a fragmented one. The only way to help consolidate the industry is with the help of these organisations and forums like this.

    It would be foolish to suggest that the Industry is in fine shape. Let me put it this way: Who in this Industry earns $100,000 or more per annum? I might start a survey on this. The point here is that if we're a bunch of contractors earning just a bit of beer money then something is seriously WRONG!

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    lawn green I find that on here there wouldnt be if your lucky one who is making just beer money...look at the post most guys get 35 to 40 bucls a lawn and some charge up to 70 bucks an hour for gardening so the 100 k figure isnt that hard...many who have say have 80 customers can get 70k plus mowing alone so as admin said our game is fine.....maybe your not in the right business with the area that you cover but mate many on here are doing ok....there wouldnt be many jobs that pay as well as ours ...to make 300 to 500 a day working for wages would be very hard to do...come lawngreen our business is fine with or without Jimmies

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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Quote Originally Posted by lawngreen
    Sorry, beg to differ!

    The Lawn Mowing Industry is a fragmented one. The only way to help consolidate the industry is with the help of these organisations and forums like this.

    It would be foolish to suggest that the Industry is in fine shape. Let me put it this way: Who in this Industry earns $100,000 or more per annum? I might start a survey on this. The point here is that if we're a bunch of contractors earning just a bit of beer money then something is seriously WRONG!
    Sorry but i beg to differ!!
    Why did you pick 100k why not 50k or 150k??
    Is that your idea of earing good money
    Who said that most go into it to earn good money??
    What is good money? To you sounds like at least 100k to others
    Many go into it for a lifestyle and to earn a decent living. To some that decent living could be 150k to others 50k, its not only the money coming in but also the money leaving your pocket that counts.

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    Senior Member geoff's Avatar
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    Default Re: Jim's Mowing Franchisees want to cut and run

    Quote Originally Posted by BLACK BEAR
    Sorry but i beg to differ!!
    Why did you pick 100k why not 50k or 150k??
    Is that your idea of earing good money
    Who said that most go into it to earn good money??
    What is good money? To you sounds like at least 100k to others
    Many go into it for a lifestyle and to earn a decent living. To some that decent living could be 150k to others 50k, its not only the money coming in but also the money leaving your pocket that counts.
    well said black bear..well said.....i think our industry is life style earning good money...

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