Recently, Eden Exchange spoke with Dean Watson who is a Regional Franchisor for Jim’s Fencing in South WA. Dean discusses how Jim’s Group differentiates its brand in the market; who would make the perfect Franchisee and why Jim’s Fencing is such a lucrative opportunity for the right person.
EdenExchange: Thanks for speaking with us Dean. Can you tell us a bit about your background and career? How long have you been at Jim’s Fencing and how did you first get involved with the company?
Dean Watson: I was working in Canning Vale for a drill manufacturer but wanted to do something different. I was sick of shift work and missing out on time with my young family. I contacted a few different franchises but believed Jim’s Fencing was the most suited to me. I believed fencing would give me an autonomous of work/life balance but still keep me engaged and interested. Every fence is different and every situation is different. I knew it wasn’t going to be boring.
My wife Meesha wasn’t sure about my idea of quitting a regular paying job. She said if I won Lotto could I could start my own business! As it turned out, I did have a lotto win, only a few thousand dollars, but Meesha stood by her word. The rest of the finance we needed was obtained through a referral and we started our Jim’s Fencing business. Since starting in 2003, we have never looked back. Currently, as a regional franchisor, my primary focus is to support current franchisees, recruit new franchisees and to train them. I also run my own fencing franchise. I love building fences and this keeps me current and relevant in my ability support to support my franchisees.
EdenExchange: What do you see as the advantages of working as a franchise?
Dean Watson: Being a franchisee of the Jim’s Group means being in business for yourself but not by yourself. You reap the rewards of your hard work instead of your boss. Running your own business without the backup of a brand as well as the other members of the group and knowledge the group is a scary thought.
Regional franchisors at Jim’s Fencing provide ideas and information to franchisees on business growth, processes and obligations to themselves and the public. We make an everyday effort to support our franchisees and help them achieve their goals. Franchisees still need to cooperate and ask for help. It’s challenging to be in a business but at Jim’s Fencing, there are franchisors, trainers and other franchisees who are always willing to help. We care about everyone’s success.
Because of the initial and ongoing support, brand awareness and team structure, franchising was a much better option for me as opposed to starting my own business. There is a wealth of knowledge in the group regionally and nationally. We are a team. We share information and just getting together reminds you that you are not by yourself. It is good to have others to ask questions, bounce ideas off or sometimes blow off steam about something.
EdenExchange: Why did you decide to join Jim’s Fencing? What, in your opinion, makes it unique among other franchising opportunities? What support is provided from Jim’s Fencing?
Dean Watson: I decided to join Jim’s Fencing all those years ago because I could see it was something I would enjoy. At the end of the day, I am proud to able to step back and see something that I have built and see the difference I have made in someone’s property. I also liked the idea that my brain would be stimulated by thinking and planning jobs properly. I considered other franchises in the group but they didn’t appeal to me as much as fencing did.
Previous business or fencing experience was and still is not necessary to join. Jim’s Fencing provides eight weeks of training and all the relevant manuals and business requirements needed to run your own business. Jim’s Fencing is a well-known brand with considerable exposure via national TV lifestyle programs, print media and have over 180 cars, trucks and trailers on the road. And the bigger we get, the bigger we get! The more trucks, trailers and vehicles we have out there, the more we are recognised!
EdenExchange: In 2015 and 2016 you were awarded for Excellent Franchise Support Gold and Platinum and Franchisor of the year for Jim’s Fencing. What does this award mean to you?
Dean Watson: Meesha and I work very hard to provide the best service we can to our franchisees. We consider it one of our most important responsibilities to franchisees that join our team. We pride ourselves on being available to them. Meesha and I have different skills. I am good with the technical fence building. Meesha is great with administration and research. If one of the guys is having an issue with a job, and it is not something I can solve over the phone, I will go out to a site and assist when I can.
Meesha organises our monthly meetings and spends many hours researching topics or legislation to pass findings and feedback to the franchisees. This allows franchisees the time to focus on running their business. Meesha and I are humbled by the acknowledgement from franchisees of our efforts. It is a part of our service and we wouldn’t do it any other way.
EdenExchange: In your opinion, what makes for a successful Jim’s Fencing franchise owner? Is it experience, attitude or something else?
Dean Watson: You don’t need previous experience in fencing to get into Jim’s Fencing. We can teach a lot of what you need to know. You do, however, need to have the right attitude and mindset.
The right mindset: Running a business, franchised or not, can be tough. You are responsible for the success or failure of the business. You have to be ready to get up and run your business, do what you have to do. No one else is going to do it for you.
The right attitude: Remember, this is a franchise. You must work within the rules of the franchise system. What one member of the franchise does or doesn’t do, affects other franchisees in the team. Moreover, to keep the confidence of our services we are looking for a person with attitudes like a willingness to work, self-motivation, ability to follow the processes, willingness to listen to others advice and previous experiences, extremely high attention to detail and extraordinary customer service focus.
EdenExchange: 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?
Dean Watson: Just because you join a franchise, it doesn’t mean you are going to be successful. You have to work at it. Franchisees have their own ideas of success. For some it is financial, for others, it is a work-life balance. Jim’s Fencing can help them reach that, but a franchisee must not expect it to happen. It takes work and planning. If you want the work-life balance, you have to remember that it is up to you to knock off. A new business, whether a Jim’s Fencing one or something else, is always running. There will always be an email to answer or clients to call. Customers will call on Sundays. It is how you handle this that will determine whether you achieve your goal or not, or if you will just go nuts!
New business owners must do their homework and due diligence before getting into a business. Make sure the business is right for you. Is it something you will enjoy doing? Speak to current franchisees and ask their thoughts on it. Research the brand strength, the initial and ongoing support provided and the business systems. Work in the store or get on the tools. Give it all a try and see if it for you. While an established franchise will have systems, processes and marketing in place, it still doesn’t guarantee you will be successful. You have to work at it and be prepared to follow the systems in place. If you are unable to follow the rules and procedures of the franchise, it will be difficult. They ensure the customer experience is consistent throughout the group. For example, McDonald’s has the same logo, uniform and burgers across the globe.
EdenExchange: What are some of the challenges you have overcome since joining Jim’s Fencing? On the other side, what are some of the key achievements you are proud of?
Dean Watson: We have had some tricky customers previously and builders go bankrupt on us. That is never nice. Unfortunately, this is just the harsh reality of being in business. We do and have incorporated processes into our business to try and prevent these things. Business is always about learning.
I take pride in the fact that I have been a dedicated member of the Jim’s Fencing team since 2003. Shortly after starting the business, Meesha left her full-time employment and started working with me. Fifteen years on, we are still in business and still married! I have seen many come and go for different reasons, but, without doubt, we follow the manual and the procedures, implement standards in our office and work where we need to and we are successful for it.
EdenExchange: What is the best thing about your job, what drives you to do what you do?
Dean Watson: I enjoy working outdoors. Let’s face it Western Australia has the best weather in the country! When our children were younger, running my Jim’s Fencing business enabled me to schedule my work around attending their school, events or sport. It meant we could take holidays when we wanted to and more importantly meant that I didn’t have to do shift work again.
I enjoy working with the customers and building them an exceptional fence. There is nothing better than the satisfaction of taking out a damaged fence and installing a fantastic new good-looking fence. Receiving feedback from the customers appreciating my work really floats my boat.
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.
Jim’s Fencing was set up 20 years ago as an extension of the Jim’s Group, the largest and best-known home services business in Australia that now has branches in Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. Coupled with your pride in quality workmanship and service, you can achieve direct rewards for the effort you expend in your own business. A Jim’s Fencing franchise is a fantastic opportunity to run a business, with the support of an organisation that offers a rewarding lifestyle and excellent financial gain.
With over 3,700 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 Fencing, speak to us today to discuss how Jim’s family could be right for you. Jim’ Fencing is there to help you succeed, call 131 546 today or fill in our enquiry form.