Eden Exchange recently spoke with Mark Amory who is a Regional Franchisor in Regional Victoria at Jim’s Test & Tag and Fire safety. He manages areas in Western Victoria including Ballarat, Mildura, Stawell and Horsham. Mark talked to us about his franchising journey as well as some insight on the Jim’s Test and Tag and Fire Safety business.
Thanks for speaking with us Mark. Can you tell us about your background and career? Why did you get in to franchising? How long have you been at Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety and how did you first get involved with the company?
When I first left school, I did an apprenticeship as an aircraft sheet metal worker but soon after finishing my apprenticeship, I fell into the new fangled area of Information Technology.
The first time I saw a computer was when I walked into a mainframe computer room as a trainee computer operator back in 1982. I then spent over 30 years in IT and over 15 years working for US Software vendors.
Ultimately I became the Asia Pacific customer support manager – with 55 staff in 5 countries through Australia, Singapore, China, Korea and Japan. I spent a lot of time away from home travelling for work. When I was actually home, I was nearly always on the phone to someone somewhere. The software products my team supported were used by most of the large Banks in Asia, there was nearly always a major drama somewhere.
Whilst travelling to places like India, China and Japan, and the US regularly all sounds exotic and fun, it is really, really, hard work and eventually it took its toll. I started to look for an opportunity that could replicate my corporate income but allow me to live and work locally in regional Victoria.
It took me a number of years to make that life change but eventually I found Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety. Whilst I was initially looking at being a Franchisee, being the Regional Franchisor for North West Victoria quickly became very attractive.
I have now just completed 2 years as the Regional Franchisor for Victoria, North West.
What areas do you specialise in? You currently have franchise territories available throughout Regional Victoria. What are some of the factors that make these regions unique?
Being in Regional Victoria, I tend to cast a wide net on both industry and the services that we provide. It is quite amazing the different industries that require our services. Being able to be a holistic service provider for these regional organisations is a unique selling point for Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety.
I see great potential in our Fire Services and being able to bundle that with our more traditional offering in Testing and Tagging. In regional Victoria, organisations have not traditionally had a lot of choice for service providers and they have often had a piece meal approach to their OHS obligations. Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety can provide a structure and service that is unmatched.
My current focus is growing franchsie territories in Mildura, Horsham and Stawell. In particular, Mildura is a fantastic greenfields opportunity for someone with the right mindset and a bit of application. Ballarat is also experiencing great growth and opportunity.
What advice do you have for someone looking to run a franchise for the first time? What’s the key message you tell new franchisees?
Roll your sleeves up and get stuck in. The opportunities are out there and if you’re prepared to put yourself out there and let people know you’re around, you cannot help but get work and grow your business. The big regional centres are experiencing unprecedented growth and as long you’re prepared for a bit hard work it will happen.
In your opinion, what makes for a successful Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety franchise owner?
Someone who does not really know the word “no”. With the support of your Franchisor and peer Franchisee’s there is nothing in our core services that you cannot do. Sure, it may be daunting the first time you do something, but the experience and support available to our Franchisees within the broader group is unmatched.
For me, the number one attribute is someone who is prepared to have a go and someone that has clear business and personal goals. What is it that they want from being in business for themselves?
What type of support does Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety provide once a new franchise has opened its doors?
The support from the group is unbelievable. Help is only a phone call away. And whilst your franchisor may not always have the answer, he will know who in the group does. New Franchisees have a structured support process that assists them to grow and build confidence in their new skills.
Our training program is quite intense and full on, but it is really just the primer to get the new Franchise working. The Regional Franchisor will provide extensive support and to a certain extent, as little or as much as is required to support the Franchise from day one of their journey.
What major industry trends should franchise buyers and sellers be looking out for? What’s your take on where your industry is heading?
Regional Victoria is experiencing massive growth. Just here in Ballarat the housing estates and business parks under construction is staggering. As the squeeze continues in Melbourne, the numbers of businesses and people moving into the larger regional centres gathers pace and nearly all the big regional centres, Ballarat, Bendigo, Horsham, Stawell, and Mildura etc have huge growth projections.
The other aspect for me is that we provide a range of services that are required by law, we are assisting to make workplaces safe and that has to be a good thing. People are still dying every day in work place accidents, what we do makes a difference.
What challenges have you faced to get the business where it is today? On the other side, what are some of the key achievements you are proud of?
It is definitely a challenge that the success or failure of your business is completely down to you. You’re in charge of your own destiny, I now only answer to me on a day to day basis (or perhaps the wife).
Previously I always had to answer to the nameless banks in China, the bosses in Houston, the support technicians in Tokyo, the sales managers wanting to close their latest multi-million software deal. Now it is about “me”.
The first two years is absolutely a challenge, and you learn pretty quickly that cash flow if king if you’re to survive. But with the support of group, you have a massive head start on building a successful, sustainable business.
Having said that, I survived my first two years and also acheived my biggest business goal which was that within two years I wanted to beat my corporate income and have a life back home again. Big tick there!!
What’s the most interesting part of your job? What drives you to do what you do?
As someone who previously lived and worked in the corporate world, I absolutely love the fact that I now live and work in regional Victoria.
I have a small acreage outside Ballarat and I love the fact that some days I turn right out of my drive, which means I am not even going into Ballarat for work. I may be heading to a water treatment plant in Maryborough or a school down the road.
I also love the fact that I now do something that is a service that people need, we are helping to minimise work place incidents and that has to be good.
Thanks for your time Mark
You’re most welcome!
About Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety
Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety, Australia’s first choice for electrical testing and tagging services
Looking for a new challenge and want to become your own boss? Nothing could be easier than owning your own franchise business with Jim’s. We will provide you with equipment, full training and ongoing support to help you with your journey to success.
With over 3,000 franchisees across Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the UK, the Jim’s Group is a recognised and trusted brand. Our franchisees enjoy the flexibility, lifestyle, income and ability to control their own time with their business
If you’re interested to find out more or are thinking about becoming a Franchisee with Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety, speak to us today to discuss how the Jim’s family could be right for you. Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety are there to help you succeed, call 131 546 today or fill in our Franchise Enquiry Form.
Regional Victoria – Franchise Info Night on Feb 27th
Mark is also running an information night where he’ll be covering all aspects about running a Jim’s Test & Tag / Jim’s Fire Safety franchise in the region. If you are looking to be your own boss it’s a good chance to learn about the opportunity:
- Date and Time: 27th Feb at 7pm
- Address: MADEC Community College, 133-137 Madden Avenue, Mildura Victoria
- To secure your spot please contact Mark on
- firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 0475 799 618