Jim's Mowing is a hugely successful lawn mowing and garden maintenance franchise. The business has some 1700 individual franchise owners operating in Australia alone.
Perhaps the UK has had some bad experiences in the past that has left people feeling disappointed and sceptical. Yet in the British Franchising Association the UK has an independent organisation that oversees the industry and that has a clear set of ethics and guidelines.
As a business opportunity, much will depend on the suitability, work ethic and commitment of the individual franchisee. The best franchise system and structure in the world won't be able to prop up a second rate operator but the fact is that consumers are attracted to and comforted by brands and it is that familiarity that often generates an initial enquiry or purchase.
Investing in a franchise allows you to exploit and benefit from the reputation, good will and brand recognition that others have worked hard to create before you.
For the most part, franchises are successful businesses that have a proven track record. They have established systems and procedures that have been adapted and implemented regionally, nationally or indeed internationally.
Often associated with fast food outlets and coffee chains, franchising today extends to everything from business coaching and appliance testing to dog walking and education.
Franchising itself is a very general term. I prefer to define a franchise as a licence to own and operate a business using an established system and procedures, while utilising the training and support structure that the particular business model offers.
There is no one structure or system that defines the concept of franchising. Franchise systems and fee structures are as many and varied as the individual businesses they encompass. Many charge individual franchise owners fees as a percentage of their turnover for example. Personally I don't believe that is particularly fair, as to my mind it serves to penalise better operators while acting as a disincentive to expand and grow. In any case, anyone considering a franchise investment should research the market thoroughly and weigh the merits of any one particular franchise against its competitors.
Above all, the most important element that any franchise owner should bring with them is the attitude and belief that what he or she is doing is buying a business and not a job. Those that bring an 'employment mind set' and who believe that having invested in a franchise they can sit back and let everything fall in their lap are in for a shock. A successful franchise owner will recognise that his or her franchise is their own business and that the more they are prepared to put into it the more they will get out of it.
Richard Harrison is a Regional Franchisor with Jim's Mowing. He is happy to speak with anyone who lives in the UK who is interested in operating their own gardening business. He can be contacted on 0845 555 60 60 or click http://www.jimsfranchise.co.uk