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Prominent franchise chain adds yet another arm

Prominent franchise chain adds yet another arm

One of Australia’s best-known franchises, Jim’s Group, has added yet another service to its collection of home-based services, launching its own branded real estate business.

Jim’s Group, formerly recognised as Jim’s Mowing, now has more than 50 different services operating under the renowned Jim’s brand, including carpet cleaning, bookkeeping, removals, roofing restoration and building inspections. Each of the divisions operate as their own franchise business, under the broader Jim's brand.

The extension into real estate seems like a natural progression for the group.

My Business’ sister publication Real Estate Business (REB) quoted Jim’s Real Estate co-founder Trish Mewett as saying that “it was a unanimous vote to start Jim’s Real Estate as long as, of course, at some stage property management was included”.

“Jim is really quite passionate about people having their properties looked after,” Ms Mewett said.

The first property has reportedly already been sold under the brand, by Jim’s Real Estate’s first franchisee, Peter Raja in Melbourne.

Jim’s Group was founded in 1982 by Jim Penman, and it became a franchise brand in 1989. According to the group's website, it now has around 4,000 franchisees operating in four countries, and grows by around 200 new franchises each year.

Asked if the move into real estate marked “the culmination” for the Jim’s brand in covering property services, Mr Penman told My Business that it will continue to seek out new opportunities to provide all manner of mobile services.

“We’ve got something like 52 divisions, but we could have 150 or 250 divisions,” he said.

“It’s more a case of finding the right person to drive it … Jim’s Doctors, Jim’s Legal, Jim’s Physios, Jim’s Personal Training, you name it; there’s just no real reason to stop.”

“The good thing about [having more] businesses is that they reinforce each other — like real estate fits in very well with building inspections and conveyancing and the maintenance franchises.”

However, Mr Penman suggested that, while the sky is the limit, Jim’s Group remains committed to providing mobile franchises where services can be brought directly to the customer with the exception of any sex-related services.

“Basically we do services that go to people, rather than where people come to us. We wouldn’t do fast food [for example],” he said.

“The way we intend to do real estate is not with a whole lot of sites or offices; we’ll do it mobile. So the agents will go to the client and can work from home, so something different to the traditional real estate model.”

Mr Penman revealed that one of his primary drivers for entering the real estate space — particularly property management — is deeply personal.

“My mother — she’s dead now — but she used to own a couple of investment flats, and she got absolutely driven mad because the agent was always ringing her for decisions. She was an anxious lady, and it just killed her,” he said.

“If you can have a system that simply said ‘ok, we’ll do a maintenance contract, and that includes handyman, plumbing, electrical, mowing, cleaning… everything’ no matter what goes wrong, there’s a set price per month and the client never gets bothered. That money comes out and covers anything. I see that as a tremendously powerful service.”

This marks the second new real estate brand by a high-profile operator in less than a month, after Century 21 owner Charles Tarbey announced that he would launch Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in conjunction with the popular lifestyle magazine of the same name.