Jim's Mowing: 'Low price, huge potential'

Offering much more than grass cutting, Jim's Mowing ticked all the right boxes for Edinburgh's David Hughson. Simon Carpenter-Foster interviews

After 24 years in investments, working outdoors appealed to David Hughson. But he wanted more than just an income. He wanted to make an investment that was low risk with high returns.

'Jim's Mowing ticked all the right boxes,' David explains. 'It has a proven growth model and proven success, and is a low cost franchise with huge potential.'

In year one David comfortably met his financial target and employed two members of staff so he could concentrate more on growing the business through the purchase of the area rights for the Lothian region. Although buying a Ferrari is not out of the question, David is aiming to build a successful business that he can sell on in the future.

He says he has three distinct groups of customers: 'The elderly - the smart van and uniform creates a good impression and earns their trust; dual income families, who'd rather not spend the weekend working in the garden; and those who can't be bothered with gardening.'

Franchisees carry out a number of jobs from lawn mowing and hedge trimming, to garden clean-ups and rubbish removal. 'Last year I was grass cutting two days before Christmas - in Edinburgh!' David reflects. 'I also cut hedges, do garden-tidy-ups in the spring, garden restoration, and put up fencing.'

The Jim's Mowing Administration Centre provides franchisees with ongoing support, and a lead management service ensures the best possible service is provided to franchisees and their customers. David says this is particularly beneficial: 'Unlike our competitors who can't answer, or don't hear the phone when they're working, someone at Jim's Mowing will answer the phone and get back to that customer within two hours with an appointment time.'

Franchisees will attend an induction course, normally held in Australia, to learn how to run the business, and then have further training in the use of the equipment.

Jim's Mowing franchisees come from diverse backgrounds, but like David they are rarely mowing or gardening professionals. The company looks for candidates with qualities such as: great customer service skills; motivation to build a business; strong communication skills; and a genuine desire to work outdoors.