Eden Exchange recently spoke with Paul Kelly who is a Regional Franchisor in Victoria at Jim’s Test & Tag. Paul talked to us about his experience with Jim’s Test & Tag and Fire Safety and also provided some inside knowledge for entrepreneurs interested in entering small business and franchising.
Thanks for speaking with us Paul. Why did you get in to franchising? What were you doing prior to becoming a franchisor and how did you first get involved with Jim’s Test & Tag?
My journey with Jim’s has been a long one, I was working in the meat industry for a number of years and had 2 years in the office, which was enough for me! I had a cousin who had bought a Jim’s Mowing franchise 6 months earlier and really enjoyed it so I made the call. This was in 1995.
I liked the fact that there was a very well known name and trademark, and that I could cash in on my hard work and sell clients or splits along the way. I became a Franchisor with Jim’s Mowing in 1999, selling many franchises until I sold my interest in Mowing and came to Jim’s Test & Tag in 2007. After encouragement from the other Franchisors and a suggestion that we form a Partnership with another long term Jim’s Franchisee/Franchisor, we became Franchisors again in 2013. It’s been a fantastic 21 years, and I’m not going anywhere until I retire!
You currently have franchise territories available in metropolitan Melbourne. What areas do you focus on? What are some of the factors that make running a franchise in metropolitan Victoria unique?
Gavin Mackay and myself are partners in 3 Regions of Melbourne, from Altona to St Kilda, out to Kew/Hawthorn, and North to Greensborough area. Victoria seems to be having a really good financial boost at the moment, all our clients from builders to factories seem to be thriving which is great. I believe there is a great opportunity to build a really successful business with Jim’s Test & Tag in Victoria.
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?
Grab the opportunity with both hands, listen to the Franchisor and the other Franchisees, find out what they do really well and follow that. Look at what they may not do really well and find a franchisee that does do it well and pick up on that as well. The system works really well. We’ve all been there and done it, and we are all still out there doing it. Don’t reinvent the wheel. Treat every client like gold, even if it’s a bricklayer with 5 or 6 items. Once they start referring you to others, they are as valuable as any other client.
What makes for a successful Jim’s Test & Tag franchise owner? Does a new franchisee need a specific background or have a specific set of skills?
Passion is the key. If you love doing what you do and dealing with people, its easier to get out the door in the morning. A new Franchisee doesn’t necessarily need experience, we’ll teach them what they need and support them on their journey. But we can’t get them out the front door in the morning. That’s where the motivation and passion comes in.
What type of support does Jim’s Test & Tag provide for a new franchisee?
Once training has finished, our Franchisors spend a lot of time supporting them on their journey. Spending time on the road with them, phone calls or catching up for a coffee, we are only a phone call away. Our priority is helping a new Franchisee build a client base as quickly and efficiently as possible.
What major industry trends should franchise buyers and sellers be looking out for? What’s your take on where your industry is heading?
The great thing about our business is that the OHS (Organisational Health and Safety) area is not going to go away. I say to people that talk about buying their own business to look at something that can’t be done over the internet, and can’t be done from China! We have to be on site to do what we do. I personally wouldn’t look at a business without a regular client base. The opportunity to build an ongoing, long term relationship with a client is gold!
What challenges have you faced to get the business to where it is today? What are some of the key achievements you are proud of at Jim’s Test Tag?
I can’t think of any major challenges I have had to face. Of course you need to put in the hard yards early to build your client base, but I love meeting new people so that wasn’t a hurdle for me. I’m proud of the fact that I have clients from day one, from over 9 years ago, who are still with me. I’m proud that my clients have my number in their phone so they answer my calls by name.
I’m proud that my clients have my number in their phone so they answer my calls by name. I’ve also met some fantastic people in this business, both from within the Jim’s Group (franchisees and franchisors) and from my client base – there are some wonderful people out there!
In your opinion, what’s the most important part of your job your job?
Keeping in touch with my clients and letting them know that we are due to catch up again, and collecting the money! Cashflow is king in any business and you need to keep on top of debtors. I’m very happy that over my 9 years with Jims Test and Tag my bad debts would be well under $1000.
Also talking to other franchisees, franchisors and the Divisional managers keeps the interest up and motivation going, as well as attending meetings, conferences and ongoing training.
Thanks for your time Paul.
About Jim’s Test & Tag
Jim’s Test & Tag, 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