Case Study - Andrew Glen
BFRS: Andrew, how long did you serve in the Army?
Andrew: "I spent 33 years serving in the Army"
BFRS: Why did you choose franchising?
Andrew: "I chose franchising mainly because it was a tried and tested format. Commencing a new business from the start would entail copious amounts of research combined with detailed planning – not to mention the time/expense to achieve this. A franchise in many cases has already undertaken the research and provides a tried and tested model."
BFRS: How did you raise the finances for a franchise?
Andrew: "Fortunately, I managed to finance the business from my own resources. However, there is financial support available from various financial organisations for those who require it."
BFRS: How did you go about the selection process and why did you choose Jim’s Mowing as a franchise opportunity?
Andrew: "I started reading magazines and carried out a lot of internet searches. Looking at many franchise models, comparing them to my skills base and selecting which were suitable. I decided that I was never going to spend fifteen-hour days sitting behind a desk, this decision alone narrowed down many franchises.
"I visited the head offices of a few franchise operations, watched presentations and spoke in detail to office staff and verified their facts and figures.
"I visited Jim’s Mowing last (the one you think most suitable is best visited last so you can compare) and was in a very good position by this stage to compare all those previously visited. I conducted more research pertaining to my visit to the Jim’s Mowing office and then returned a few weeks later seeking answers to my questions. During this period I also spoke to many “Jims” who were operating franchises around the UK."
BFRS: What training and support did you receive from your franchiser?
Andrew: "I attended a week’s course in Melbourne, Australia at the Jim's Mowing Headquarters. This was followed by a week at Hadlow Training College. I was then fortunate enough to work for a period of two weeks with an experienced franchisee in Scotland on projects as well as general gardening work. Once I started operating, the support continued by use of forums, telephone and text. However, your best support in my opinion comes from those who have been operating a franchise for a few years, regardless of it being a franchiser, a franchisee or indeed an individual with more experience. Many Jims have spent their entire career in the industry."
BFRS: What are the challenges you have faced?
Andrew: "Having spent most of my adult life in the south of England, you become acclimatised to the weather without realising it. Having returned to my native Glasgow to live rather than visit was a big shock to the system. The West coast certainly has its own weather system which undoubtedly is the biggest challenge. The amount of rain falling is not really the problem (we all have Gore-Tex), however, the damage the accumulated water does when sitting on clay has its own challenges and prevents gardeners from operating effectively. Many operations can't be conducted in damp or wet conditions, so when faced with waterlogged ground it becomes a major operation to achieve the desired result. More time and resources are spent which can and does have an impact on your income/expenditure."
BFRS: The highs?
Andrew: "Being your own boss, and the only people you answer to is your customers. You make the decisions and reap the rewards/losses. Producing vast amounts of paper mountains that no one reads is all in the past. Transforming an unused wreck of a garden to its former glory in a short period of time... Working in the great outdoors – even better if we can get the shorts on. Working the hours that you set for yourself. Having the opportunity to see family more often. Not commuting to work on the M25 and M3."
BFRS: Your advice to someone leaving the Forces and thinking of buying their first franchise?
Andrew: "Research, and when you have done that, research again. Time spent in recce is never wasted - never a truer phrase spoken."
BFRS: Your plans for the future?
Andrew: "Await my son’s education results from his exams. This will dictate which course of action I take. However, consolidating my business is the priority. Watching the results of the recession very closely as this certainly influences my business decisions. Statistics say that gardening in general has not been hit too hard in the recession, this I would have to agree with. Looking at another Jim’s Mowing franchise in South of England – needing a tan!"
BFRS: Finally, tell us something we don’t know about you?
Andrew: "As a boy I worked in farms and was paid the princely sum of 10 (shillings/bob) a day, 50p in new money."
BFRS: We wish you all the success for the future.
Jim’s Mowing is the world’s largest gardening organisation. It provides the ideal business opportunity for a hard-working individual who enjoys the outdoors life, lots of physical activity, and an informal working style that has structure, support and great, all year round income potential. To find out more information about Jim's Mowing visit www.jimsmowing.co.uk.