Updated: franchisee recruitment drives push for public listing at Jim's



Jim Penman, founder of the Jim's Group franchise has announced his intention to have the company publicly listed by the end of the year - a move which will help to drive franchisee recruitment.

There are a number of reasons for the push to go public, including paying off a debt and helping to fund research into drug addiction.

"Expected market value will be $50 million and we're looking for $10 million, raising capitalisation to $60 million. We may also sell down a few shares to pay off a debt and help fund an ongoing research project through Latrobe University into the biochemical bases of drug addiction, among other things," said Penman.

He is currently looking for a company willing to back the public listing bid which could be used to help fund international expansion, grow the Jim's Insurance arm of the franchise and drive franchisee recruitment.

"One of the main reasons for the float is to be able to offer vendor finance to franchisees. There is actually a huge demand for franchises, but we lose hundreds of sales a year for lack of finance."

Penman told SmartCompanythat one of the biggest issues his business has been facing is financing, with banks reluctant to lend. Despite franchisees in the system growing four percent last year, the owner and CEO believes this number, and the overall success of Jim's Group could improve with public listing.

"We have this great reputation, and our awareness is up there with McDonald's. I see Jim's as being a billion dollar company with the right kind of capital and the right kind of people on board. There is so much we could do," he said.

Franchisee recruitment is a key concern for Penman, who says franchisees currently working under the Jim's Group umbrella are working at full capacity, and need more hands on deck.

"Our problem is that more and more franchisees are getting booked out and are unable to take more work. In some areas we've completely eliminated advertising but there's still too much work coming in.

"Our call centre which services all of our 30 plus divisions took 414,831 leads in 2010, of which 65,457 were un-serviced. In 2011 we took 439,335 leads, of which 80,817 were un-serviced. This is a rise of 23 percent," Penman said in a statement.

"More than 3,200 people are now in business through the Jim's Group, and with each intake of new franchisees growing, that number is increasing rapidly - on current trends we expect to have 3,600 business owners by 2014."

Branches of Jim's Group include Jim's Mowing, Jim's Bookkeeping, Jim's Building Maintenance, Jim's Paving, Jim's Skip Bins and Jim's Roofing.


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