Recently, Eden Exchange spoke with Catherine Hayes who is a Divisional Manager for Jim’s Fencing and Regional Franchisor for West Melbourne, Regional Victoria, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast. Catherine who is driving the business with her husband Darren, discusses how Jims 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.
Eden Exchange: Thanks for speaking with us Catherine. 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?
Catherine Hayes: I had a background in travel. I spent twelve years working with Flight Center and had the opportunity to travel to some of the most amazing places in the world. My passport is dusty now.
In 2004 Darren and I started one of the most important roles in our lives – being parents! We realised that the lifestyle we had, needed to be more flexible than before and that included our current work. We decided that to get flexibility we needed to become self-employed. Both of us have great work ethics but we knew that no matter what venture we finally decided on, it had to be a part of a brand with a proven record.
We saw the ad for Jim’s Fencing and after further research on Franchising and the Jim’s Group, we decided that it was the business for us and we never looked back. Thanks to the Jim’s system we have the lifestyle that we want with our young family.
In 2006 as a top Jim’s Fencing franchise, the next natural step was for us to be offered the franchisor rights to Regional Victoria. We were now overseeing the success of Jim’s Fencing in a massive market of over 441,065 houses around the state of Victoria. In 2013 we also bought the rights to Melbourne West. As regional franchisors, our first and foremost commitment is the financial success and lifestyle of our franchisees. In 2014, our success within the Fencing Division of the Jim’s Group continued, so did our ambitions to achieve more. So, when Jim Penman offered us the rights to purchase the Division of Jim’s Fencing (Australia and NZ) we jumped at the opportunity. We knew that we had grown-up with this business and we knew how we wanted to grow the branding of Jim’s Fencing. We still have that same commitment to our Franchisors and Franchisee around Australia – to make them financially successful and to lead the lifestyle that they want.
It’s been hard work to achieve our goals and assist the Franchisors and Franchisee to achieve theirs, but we work well as a team and we put in the hours to succeed. At the end of the day you get out of it what you put in!
Eden Exchange:What makes you a successful Franchisor?
Catherine Hayes: Hard work, treating people the way you want to be treated, accepting criticism and embracing advice, asking questions, building an amazing team of support people around you and the most important thing – listening.
Eden Exchange: What are the advantages of working as a franchise?
Catherine Hayes: These are the advantages of working within the Jim’s Fencing Franchise system:
- Brand – the brand creates a perception of quality, consistency and trust making the decision for a client to purchase from you easy;
- Training – not only the eight-weeks training at the start of your business but also the opportunity for any ongoing training for specialty fencing that can make you more money in your business;
- Marketing – the power of collective marketing allows your marketing dollars to go further and be more effective. Do you really have the time or knowledge to work out the best Google AdWords campaign or how to place an effective ad on Facebook?
- Belonging – a basic human need is the sense of belonging. In the Jim’s Fencing Franchise System you belong to a team of Franchisees who have regular meeting, national conferences and often work together to complete fencing project;
- Support – got a problem with a fence? Want to make more money in your business? With the support from your Regional Franchisor all these issues can be address with regular phone calls, site visits and business reviews.
Eden Exchange: 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?
Catherine Hayes: My advice would be to do your homework. Is the Franchise system you are looking at well established? Can you speak to current and past Franchisees of the system? Can you build a good business relationship with your Franchisor? I speak to many prospective Franchisees. They may not have been involved in a Franchise Business before or don’t know much about Franchising and my suggestion is to find out as much about the systems and people. Spend some time out in the field on trial days as this is the best way to get a real feel for what happens in the day-to-day life of a Jim’s Fencing Franchise.
The key message to new Franchisees is to never think you know it all or that it is a silly question. Never stop asking questions, educating yourself on a new style of fencing or a better way to do something. Never stop communicating with your Franchisor.
Eden Exchange: Can you tell us about the initial training and support provided to Jim’s Fencing franchisees? After that, what ongoing support is offered?
Catherine Hayes: We offer an eight-week paid for training program for our new Franchisee. During this time our new franchisees learn best practice techniques for building fences, all aspects of running a business from Workplace Health and Safety (WHS), quoting and how to present yourself and your business in a professional manner. After the eight weeks, new Franchisees receive weekly and sometime daily calls from their Franchisors especially in their first month out on their own. We like to see franchisee keen to learn new styles of fencing all the time and offer special training days where they can learn these new skills. If you don’t continue to educate yourself then your business will become stagnant.
Eden Exchange: In your opinion, what makes for a successful Jim’s Fencing franchise owner? Is it experience, attitude or something else?
Catherine Hayes: Some of the attributes of our most successful franchisees include the following.
- Ability to work with your hands;
- Enjoy an outdoors and ever-changing environment;
- An eye for detail;
- Ready to commit fully to your own business;
- Wanting to control your financial security;
- Take pride in your own work;
- Proud to be a part of a leading team.
However, you also need to proud, pro-active and passionate about your decision to join Jim’s Fencing. If you do not have these qualities, you will just make an average Franchisee with an average business, but if you have these qualities you will be an awesome Franchisee with an awesome business.
Eden Exchange: What makes Jim’s Fencing unique among other franchising opportunities?
Catherine Hayes: Jim’s Fencing is celebrating its 21st year in business this year and it is the biggest fencing installation company in Australia. We have 150 Franchisee out there in the field working in our systems. We have more work that we can handle and a lot of unserviced leads. We have major Fencing Suppliers who want to align marketing strategies with us for the benefit of both the businesses.
Eden Exchange: 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?
Catherine Hayes: A challenging aspect of running your own business is that you can get overwhelmed and the business starts to consume you. I sometimes need to stop, think and reflect on why I wanted to become self-employed and re-set my goals and working hours. Sometimes I get “stagnant”, I lose my passion or enjoyment for what I do but then I sit and reflect of how far I have come and celebrate my achievements.
A great achievement I am proud of is helping people who have had dreams of running their own businesses become a reality – and not everyone’s dream of being self-employed is to make more money. It might be the desire to have a more flexible family lifestyle, it might be making a family business that sons or daughters can work in, it might be having the opportunity for husbands and wives to work together. It might be because they are sick of not being recognised either emotionally or financially for the work that they do as an employee.
Eden Exchange: What is the best thing about your job, what drives you to do what you do?
Catherine Hayes: Talking to Franchisees and listening to not only their issues that they have but all the great things that are happening in their business. I have been in Jim’s Fencing for over thirteen years so if I don’t know the answer, I will know someone who does. I love hearing the stories and seeing the great photos of the amazing fences that our Franchisee are constructing, and I get a real buzz when I hear the financial figures of what some of our guys are achieving.
With the introduction of our new General Manager Ross Jackson in August last year and the new branding, marketing and business ideas he has introduced, in our twenty one year history, this is the most exciting time ever to join the team at Jim’s Fencing. What drives me is knowing that our brand is great, but it is going to get greater.
Looking for a new challenge and want to become your own boss? Nothing can be more rewarding 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 the Jim’s family could be right for you. Jim’ Fencing are there to help you succeed, call 131 546 today or fill in our enquiry form.