According to Mr Penman, who founded Jim’s Mowing in 1982, the pandemic has created a ‘homedemic’ of people who want to continue to work from home or work their own hours without having to go back into the office.
“Our enquiries from people wanting to explore setting up a Jim’s Group franchise have risen by over 100% since COVID hit,” Mr Penman said.
“We are seeing the biggest increase in states such as Victoria and New South Wales. This seems to be where people have been working from home the most and now that things are starting to open up again, they can’t bear the thought of having to go back to work and deal with all the office politics, bad bosses and tiring commutes.”
Mr Penman has a few words of advice for those looking to start their own business.
“Do your research and think carefully about whether you want to start up a franchise or go it alone,” he said.
“The most important thing is to decide what you want to do. I always encourage people to look at options that involve their interests. This way you are following your passion, rather than just working day to day in a job you are creating for yourself.”
Jim’s Group has expanded beyond Jim’s Mowing and now includes over 52 franchise divisions.
However, while he is a big advocate of franchises, Mr Penman acknowledged that they aren’t for everyone.
“Some people actually find that their service area is so unique that the franchising system doesn’t suit them,” Penman said.
“In this case, the only option is to go it alone. When building a business, especially a new one, it can take time, money and a lot of energy to grow awareness. Often this can outweigh any financial benefits in the short to medium term, reducing your return on investment.”
As a solo business operator not part of a franchise group, Mr Penman said it is essential to build a network of support quickly. He suggests joining a local chamber of commerce, business association or any other business networks or groups in your area.