Jim Penman is to lawnmowing what Willy Wonka is always to chocolate – progressive, entrepreneurial and wealthy on the back of it.
Like Roald Dahl’s fictitious lovely-creator, Penman is also identified to get a beard and hat, although Penman’s brand – placed over companies across Australia and overseas – is bucket hat and full beard rather than top hat and neat goatee. Both males operate a company that is a household-name within their local markets.
Jim’s empire started living as the full-time cutting company work by him in 1982. The first cutting companies were sold in 1989. Nowadays there are about 250 franchisors managing more than 3200 franchisees in Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK with Penman’s bearded brand on the side of their vehicle or trailer.
Using an average yearly revenue of $100,000 per franchise, which means an overall total revenue of approximately $320 million.
The company name is continuing to grow since that time to span 33 departments across a selection of solutions, such as for instance dog-washing, antenna installation and carpet-cleaning, even though greatest continues to be lawnmowing, with 1876 companies finally count.
Penman remains the master of this cutting company, which in the 2011 financial year had a net income of $1.7 million, documents in BRW’s possession present.
Jim’s Party, the parent firm that Penman also owns, declines to ensure the results. The team itself, these results show, made net income of $3.1 million from franchise fees and sales in addition to the provision of services to franchisees such as insurance and call centres.
A call to Jim’s planet – a vast campus in Mooroolbark, a stone’s place from Victoria’s Dandenong Ranges National Park – truly seems a little like entering Willy Wonka’s popular chocolate factory, where in actuality the secrets of his success should be uncovered. Certainly, when BRW comes, Penman is lecturing a group of 55 new franchisees. But unlike the impression many Australians have of him, he’s clean shaven today.
Penman has built from standing with click here one-of Australia’s best-known franchise procedures but breaks within the operation are now actually showing.
Authorities claim the company is in desperate need of an upgrade. Willy Wonka’s peers never questioned his management style but Penman’s do.
“It’s outgrown managing it out of his shed, or whatever,” the Sun’s Rays Coast-based divisional franchisor of Jim’s Professional Painting and Decorating, Chris Munday, claims. “You can’t manage a company of this size because manner.”
Penman says there is no problem using the design.
“If we had 3200 personnel, it would be difficult,” he claims. “But what they’ve surely got to understand is that so a lot of administration is assigned to your partners. All we operate is the cutting division.”
To understand Jim’s empire, image a pyramid. Jim’s Party, the head company, rests towards the top. Immediately below may be the level of divisional franchisors, who’re the owners of a department, be it car-cleaning, pool treatment or in Munday’s case, painting and decorating.
They’re in charge of matters such as department advertising, images, online quote systems and advertising material. Below the divisional franchisors would be the franchisors. These franchisors have the closest relationship with, and are in charge of managing and encouraging, the franchisees who form underneath level – the Oompa Loompas, in Willy Wonka-chat.
The design of any franchise company has to be reviewed every 3 years to ensure it’s right for the fiscal conditions, the managing director franchise consultancy DC Method, Rod Young, claims.
“What we often find is that the master franchisee is very good at marketing companies although not good at the continuing maintenance and training and improvement of a person franchisee,” he claims.
Some of the stress becomes obvious within this design. Penman’s appreciation for his franchisees is well-known. Penman features that he provides each franchisee his mobile number and is open to their contact whenever you want. While fascinating to get a franchisee to truly have a direct line towards the company’s eponymous founder, this grates from the official channels whereby the organisation is structured.
“We’re not accorded natural justice,” a Sydney-based cutting franchisor with click here with 280 franchisees under him, Peter Hansen, claims. “In the event a franchisee includes a dilemma, if we don’t correct it and provide some cure, then it’s understandable they wish to visit another stage. But when they avoid you and you don’t get that opportunity, then you’re told from the MD – particularly Jim – who claims: ‘I’ve got so and so and he’s got a problem’ without offering us an opportunity presenting our side of the issue.”
Penman suggests the connection a franchisee has is really with two functions – both franchisor and Jim’s Party.
“The partnership between a franchisee and a franchisor is very wrinkled,” he claims. “Our deal is designed, in place, to reverse that.”
Penman denies the idea that he favors one constituency – his franchisees – over another – the franchisors. He generally shows franchisees who contact that they is going with their franchisor, he claims. “It’s only a community where in actuality the franchisor is maybe doing something they shouldn’t,” he claims.
The wrong partnership boiled over into public view in 2009 each time a group of disaffected franchisors, disappointed in what they said was the way he arbitrarily desired to transform their deals, sought his removal as head of the group. Penman suggests the stress arose as the franchisors weren’t helping their franchisees well enough and he was on the case to do this.
“I was driving it very hard – probably significantly more than I needed seriously to,” he claims.
Munday displays: “That’s particular memory. There’s the world according to Jim.”
He boasts franchisors were angry because changes was designed to the franchisors’ guide – “the bible of our activity” – without proper discussion.
Penman agreed to opposite improvements he had designed to operating processes. Ever since then, things have run more smoothly, Munday says.
There is something dark-and-white in the manner Penman landscapes the world. He comes across like a literal person, with few social graces. He doesn’t do small talk. He doesn’t attempt to reduce an appointment with wit. People around him state Penman has Asperger’s problem, a mild type of autism that limits the capacity to connect.
Penman doesn’t deny the declaration but concerns it. “People want to fit a mental label on something or other,” he shows BRW.
“A more correct way of saying it’s: ‘I’m an extreme introvert.’ I hate crowds. I’m bad in any mixed gathering. I may talk in front of 1000 people OK but set me in to a position such as a party and I freeze-up. I hate it.
“I’m not to socially concerned. I spend all my time with my children, with chess. I don’t understand what you call that. Is that Asperger’s?”
None of this detracts from a success file that is unquestionably amazing. “People state, ‘You’re different’,” Penman says. “You frequently realize that highly creative people – which can be what I’m – have become powerfully introverted.”
The next move for Jim’s empire is into insurance. From September, a team held by head-office will promote insurance products. The broker currently exists – since May this past year Jim’s Party has-been promoting all franchisees mandatory public-liability insurance, with optional add-ons.
It hasn’t been a simple process, however. The department has already been into its last mind – one-of whom was Penman’s son, who’d no prior experience in insurance.
“It was undesirable in the first year,” Penman says. “I got the incorrect people concerned. I will have got a search company. I didn’t recognize a well enough. To a sizable degree the problem was with payment. We didn’t bill effectively. While we did, we didn’t accumulate all the money.”
This season, he says, things are much softer.
There are still many other company marketers Jim’s may move into. Although 90 per dollar of revenue originates from franchised sales currently, that’ll transfer over-time to this kind of level where it no longer actually comprises almost all, he claims.
“I’m not necessarily locked into companies,” the 60 year old says.
Insurance would have been a business-owned operation. Jim’s Plumbing is also a brand qualified to an Adelaide-based company that gives plumbing services around the world. Penman is looking to tie-up with other established corporations and certificate the Jim’s company to them.
Penman spoke earlier in 2013 of a public listing but he says that is no-longer on the cards. He also considered a purchase to franchisors and franchisees in 2003 but that didn’t go anywhere.
“It wasn’t well-activated, so we just dropped it,” he claims. “There wasn’t the desire there.”
The man who is now in his fourth marriage – and has 10 children ranging in age from 27 to several – muses that series may be reasons to consider a short public offering as there is no assurance some of them would desire to dominate from him.
And this contributes to one final point. Penman and Willy Wonka are two entrepreneurs to possess built-up great empires independently conditions. There is a clear comparison between both figures – Penman is true and Wonka is hype. But there is another thing, too.
At the end of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Mr Wonka names a young Charlie Bucket as his successor. Penman, however, does not have any intention of going anywhere.
“I’ll retire when I’m useless,” he claims.