Business Profiles

by Jim's Mowing

last updated 28/03/2024

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The Grass Is Greener

by Jim's Mowing

last updated 28/03/2024

Former farm worker thrives as Jim’s Mowing franchisee

Living in Argentina, Sebastian Jolly was fascinated seeing videos from New Zealand showing farmers riding motorcycles to herd dairy cows. Although he grew up in an apartment block in Rosario (Lionel Messi’s hometown), Sebastian’s family has a long association with farming, so in 2009 he decided that for his OE he wanted to see this for himself.
‘I did better than just see it – I got a job doing it on a farm near Methven,’ laughs Sebastian. ‘Most herding in Argentina was on horseback, so getting on to a motorcycle was quite a novelty!’

Sebastian returned home after a year, but New Zealand had won his heart and he returned in 2011 to work on a dairy farm near Hororata, 50km west of Christchurch. Through the Christchurch Argentinian community, Sebastian met his wife Dani, and the couple now have two sons, Simon and Thomas. Since 2019, he has been making the most of work/lifestyle opportunities as a Jim’s Mowing franchisee in the Canterbury town of Rolleston.

Problem – little time for family

Sebastian says he originally planned to become a sharemilker and perhaps even own a farm, ‘But the reality was that, even working 60 hours a week, those dreams looked increasingly distant. More importantly, leaving home at 4am and not returning until 7pm meant I had little or no time to enjoy with the boys, and Dani was doing all the parenting.

‘After nine years on farms, we could see it was time to get into a business that would give me the flexibility and income to do much more with Simon and Thomas, and enable Dani to get more involved in her counselling studies and career as a social worker.’

Sebastian wanted a business that kept him out of doors. ‘Like most people in New Zealand, I’d seen those green trailers with the yellow face, and it didn’t take long to find out that the face was Jim Penman, who founded Jim’s Mowing in Australia in 1982 and established it in New Zealand in 1994. It’s now the largest mowing and garden maintenance franchise in the world, so how could I not be impressed?’    

Solution – become a Jim

Fortune took the Jolly family to Rolleston where, by coincidence, a Jim’s Mowing franchisee was so overwhelmed by local demand he was selling off work to create a whole new opportunity. Since the early 1970s, Rolleston had been promoted as ‘Town of the Future’ but it wasn’t until after the 2011 earthquakes that thousands of people began re-establishing their lives on the flat, stable land by SH1. With a modern population of almost 30,000, that means enough work for a number of Jim’s Mowing franchisees.

‘I spent several days on the job with the Rolleston franchisee followed by three days training at Jim’s Mowing in Auckland,’ recalls Sebastian. ‘Becoming a Jim means learning how to introduce yourself to potential clients, how to be a team player, and learning the various systems and procedures for running your own business – as well as how to represent the Jim’s brand in the community.’

The Jim’s Mowing Pay for Work promise guarantees new franchisees will receive at least $1200 of work per week. ‘Taking over some existing clients meant that I was immediately earning more than that, but it was good to know it was there if I needed it,’ says Sebastian.

‘And the support never stops. Even after five years, I still get a lot out of two-monthly team meetings where it’s great to catch up with more experienced franchisees and learn from them. There are also monthly catch-ups with my regional franchisor, and even access to Jim Penman himself. I’ve emailed him a few times and he’s responded almost immediately.’

Unlimited potential

The Jim’s Mowing franchise is not just mowing lawns on domestic and commercial properties: it can also include weeding, hedge trimming, irrigation, pruning, landscaping, rubbish removal and gutter cleaning services. Sebastian has a mix of clients, mostly residential, although commercial clients now account for 35-40 percent of his business. Whatever franchisees choose to do makes no difference to the franchise fee or fixed rate royalty payment.

‘Being able to set your own working hours is another big benefit,’ Sebastian says with relief. ‘I used to work around 60 hours on farms; now I work 36 hours for a similar income, and none of the stress. That gives me plenty of time for the family, and also the opportunity to get properly involved in the community.

‘For me, the grass is definitely greener as a Jim!’

Make a change for the better

In 2024, Jim’s Mowing is celebrating 30 years in New Zealand. The company is still growing, and has new and existing opportunities nationwide with customers waiting.

‘We’re looking for self-motivated, customer-focused people who want to run their own successful business,’ says Stephen Kirby, Jim’s Group NZ Manager. ‘We provide support and assistance every step of the way to help you build your business to the level of income that you want while working the hours that suit you.

‘If, like Sebastian, you want to make a change for the better, give us a call.’ 

See this advertorial on page 19 of Franchise New Zealand magazine Year 33 Issue 1

Contact details for Jim's Mowing

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