Our new business venture far exceeded our expectations
An Australian Franchisee Case Study
Name: David & Mandy Fitzpatrick
Location: Perth Hills, WA
Franchise: Jim’s Fencing (Kalamunda)
Why did you choose franchising?
Although we had been in a broad acre farming business ourselves for the last 24 years, coming into a new industry was a little daunting and we felt the proven business systems, training, back up and continual support within a franchise was beneficial to us when starting a new business venture. We also felt that the branding was really a very important lure for us, particularly when it came to advertising – never under estimate the pull of a popular brand name in a competitive environment.
What did you do before taking up your Jim’s Fencing franchise?
We were farming in the wheat belt of WA and when it came time for children to move to the city for their high school education decided to make the move with them and into another business venture.
How did you raise the finance?
We were fortunate enough to have had good equity in property.
What training and support did you receive initially and ongoing?
David attended the 2 day generic induction training course in Melbourne – a course aimed at educating you in the Jim’s ethos and proven systems in place for all Jim’s franchisees to help us establish our own successful business. With this done and sign-up executed our franchisor helped us through the business set up from business registration, effective office set-up to book-keeping practises.
David then went through an intensive 8 weeks paid on the job training with an approved Jim’s Fencing trainer. They covered all aspects of of fence quoting, ordering and installations as well as everyday running of the business. Following this training there was and still is ongoing help and advice from franchisor and trainers in need. They are just a phone call away and always very approachable.
Monthly team meetings are always something to look forward to – here we keep in touch with others in our region to keep tabs on pricing, supplies, new suppliers and many other helpful tips and information to help us continue to run a successful business. The social interaction with others at the meeting in the fencing game is also invaluable and enjoyable. We have a great team of guys here in WA.
Monthly national and divisional newsletters are also informative and helpful.
Franchisors must also keeps in touch regularly with monthly proactive calls.
What is a typical day for you as a Jim’s Fencing franchisee?
One of the most important tasks of our week days is to get off to the job and are on site early. We always ensure we are well organized beforehand.
Throughout the day we may need to organise material orders for the following jobs, answer customer calls and call centre leads promptly arranging quoting times around our work load. Often we will quote on the way home from work or on Saturday mornings and get those quotes priced, written up and posted out as soon as we can.
We try to do our tip runs and order pick-ups for the next day at the end of a day’s work.
What challenges have you faced?
Breaking into a home service industry was quite different to the farming scene for us, so this took a bit of getting used to, particularly the customer service aspect of the business. Learning to deal with difficult customers (not that you get too many of them) was also particularly interesting and a challenge at times! Learning a new trade was certainly challenging, but has also been very rewarding.
Has becoming a Jim’s Fencing franchisee changed your life, if so how?
Definitely. It has been empowering, enabling us to have absolute autonomy over our business life and our lifestyle - to spend time with our family and balance the work load accordingly.
The Jim’s franchise system has enabled us to build a very successful fencing business in our territory and also recently become franchisors for our region – supporting 17 other franchisees. It was certainly a great move for us.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of buying their first franchise?
Gather lots of information, don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions, speak with franchisors and other franchisees and with people in the industry. Seek advice from other business owners, your accountant, bank manager and even legal advice if necessary. Always ensure you are financially secure and have good back up and support when going into business for yourself.
What are your plans for the future?
We intend to keep our Jim’s Fencing (Kalamunda) business servicing our local community, running successfully and profitably with a continued good client base, regular work and consistent cash flow.
Our son Liam is now home helping us, so we would like to think that we will have a long, successful, contented future with Jim’s Fencing.
Would you do it again?
If need be yes – definitely.