The Blueprint to Running a Successful Franchising Business: Insights from Shane Foran

Shane Foran, a franchisor with over 130 franchises in South Australia, has spent more than 20 years with the Jim’s Mowing system. Shane shares his journey from being a franchisee to becoming a franchisor, his thoughts on the franchising system, the cost of getting involved, and the support structure that ensures success in the business.

The Journey to Franchising Success

Shane Foran’s journey in franchising with Jim’s Mowing began in the shadow of his father. His father initially joined the business, seeking relief from the stress and dissatisfaction of a middle management job. Witnessing the transformation in his father’s well-being after joining Jim’s Mowing, Shane was encouraged to step into the family business.

For Shane, his personal journey from academia to a successful business franchisee was not a typical one. After spending years in university studying IT, he found himself feeling unfulfilled in the corporate world. Inspired by his father’s positive experience with Jim’s Group, Shane made the brave leap from the security of a traditional job into the world of franchising.

The father and son duo thrived in their roles as franchisees for about eight years, cultivating a successful business while building strong relationships within the community. The franchise allowed them to create a work-life balance that was both rewarding and fulfilling. Eventually, they took a significant step forward by purchasing the franchisor rights.

The transition from being a franchisee to a franchisor was a pivotal point in their journey. This move didn’t just provide them with a more significant stake in the company, but it also enabled them to share their knowledge and experience with others who wanted to embark on their franchising journey.

Addressing Concerns about Franchising Fees

In the realm of business, franchising is often seen as a reliable pathway to success. Yet, potential franchisees are frequently deterred by the daunting specter of franchising fees. Many might question the purpose and justification of these costs, but Shane is eager to clarify these misconceptions.

Drawing from his experience with Jim’s Mowing, Shane states that the fee structure within the Jim’s system is not only fair but is also logically structured. Rather than being an arbitrary money grab, these fees are a strategic investment into the growth, maintenance, and overall success of the franchise network.

In essence, franchising fees are akin to a mutual agreement between the franchisor and franchisee. It is a commitment to share the responsibility for the smooth running of the business, ensuring that each party plays its role efficiently and effectively.

The franchising fee paid by each franchisee contributes to various aspects that are critical to maintaining the integrity of the franchise. These include but are not limited to franchisor support, system management, complaint handling, brand maintenance, and client introduction.

Franchisor support is an integral part of what you are investing in when you join a franchise. This support can take various forms, such as operational guidance, marketing strategies, and ongoing training. It’s about having a reliable and experienced team by your side as you navigate the journey of building your business.

System management involves maintaining the operational efficiency of the overall franchise system. This covers everything from the franchise’s operating system, software, and other technological aspects that keep the business running smoothly and efficiently.

Then there is complaint handling, which plays a critical role in managing the brand’s reputation. Efficient handling of customer complaints is essential in ensuring customer satisfaction and fostering loyalty, which in turn affects the bottom line of the business.

Brand maintenance, another essential component, includes activities aimed at preserving the integrity of the brand, its image, and its reputation. A strong and respected brand often equates to consumer trust, which is invaluable in the competitive marketplace.

Lastly, the client introduction aspect is about continually growing the customer base of the franchise. This could involve various marketing initiatives to attract new customers, whether that’s through online advertising, community events, or partnerships with other businesses.

Understanding the Cost of Involvement in Franchising

A vital component of the decision-making process when considering becoming a franchisee is understanding the associated costs. Many potential business owners find themselves asking, “What are the exact costs of buying into a franchise system?” Shane breaks this down into three easy-to-understand components, providing a transparent look into the financial commitment needed for potential business owners.

The first component revolves around the cost of training and other initial costs. Investing in a franchise doesn’t just mean investing your money; it’s about investing your time as well. The training period is a fundamental stage, as it sets the groundwork for the operation of your franchise business. It is during this time that you learn the nitty-gritty of the business, get familiarized with the brand, and grasp its operating procedures and systems. The cost of this process typically averages around $5,000, covering your training and other related costs. This is an essential investment in your future success as a franchise owner.

The second component of the costs is associated with the purchase of an existing business. Depending on the type of business and its market value, this cost can range between $25,000 and $35,000. This payment is essentially the cost of buying into the franchise’s established business model and its existing customer base. It gives you a running start with an operational business that already has a steady flow of customers. It also allows you to benefit from the existing reputation of the brand in the market.

The third component pertains to the cost of equipment and trailers. Every business requires specific tools to operate effectively, and a franchising business like Jim’s Mowing is no exception. The equipment and trailers are fundamental resources for the day-to-day operations of the business. Instead of burdening franchisees with a large upfront cost for these tools, many franchise systems provide the option of leasing the necessary equipment. This approach helps to manage cash flow and reduce the initial capital expenditure, making the business more accessible to potential franchisees.

All these costs might seem overwhelming at first glance. But remember, when buying into a franchise, you are not just paying for the brand name. You are investing in a proven business model, comprehensive training, ongoing support, and a ready-made customer base. Each of these components contributes to the likelihood of your business’s success, potentially making the initial investment worthwhile in the long run.

It’s also important to remember that costs can vary widely between different franchise systems. Therefore, as a potential franchisee, it’s crucial to do thorough research and consider consulting with a franchise consultant or a financial advisor. They can provide valuable insights and help you make an informed decision about the right franchise opportunity for you.

Embracing the Franchise Support Structure

Taking the leap into the world of franchising can be daunting, especially for individuals new to running a business. Shane, however, puts much emphasis on the robust support structures that come with franchising, highlighting the fact that as a franchisee, you’re not in it alone.

The foundation of a successful franchise lies in its structured and comprehensive support system. This network of assistance is put in place to guide franchisees throughout their journey and to provide them with the tools necessary to navigate the business landscape effectively. This network often encompasses different layers of support, ranging from initial training and ongoing operational guidance to marketing and administrative support.

One key feature of the franchise support structure that Shane brings to attention is the pay-for-work guarantee. This guarantee acts as a form of income insurance, ensuring a minimum income for new franchisees while they find their footing in the business. The presence of this safety net can help reduce the stress and financial risk associated with starting a new business.

However, it’s important to recognize this guarantee as a safety net, not a standard. Shane insists that the focus should always be on earning more than the guaranteed minimum. This mindset pushes franchisees to strive for business growth, serving their communities better, and increasing their profits. It encourages the mindset of an entrepreneur, constantly seeking opportunities and embracing challenges.

In addition to the pay-for-work guarantee, another critical aspect of the franchise support structure is the access to an established and proven business model. This model, refined over time by the franchisor, provides a blueprint for running the business. As a franchisee, you have the advantage of leveraging this model, saving you from the trial and error often associated with starting a business from scratch.

Moreover, most franchisors provide continuous support and regular updates to keep their franchisees at the forefront of their industries. This can include training on new products or services, updates on industry trends and practices, and information about regulatory changes. This continuous education and support help franchisees to stay competitive and up-to-date.

Franchising also provides an opportunity to be part of a larger community. Fellow franchisees can be a rich source of advice and inspiration, having faced similar challenges and opportunities. This community fosters a spirit of mutual support and collaboration, often forming strong business networks that prove invaluable in running a successful franchise.

Franchising, as Shane suggests, isn’t just about running a business. It’s about embracing a support structure designed to help you succeed. So, while the franchise journey can be challenging, with the right support and guidance, it can also be an extremely rewarding business venture.

Remember, though, that while franchising offers many benefits, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. It’s essential to research and understand the support offered by different franchisors and choose the one that aligns best with your personal and business goals. Only then can you fully leverage the benefits of the franchise support structure for your success.


Franchising, according to Shane, isn’t about paying fees and operating independently. Instead, it’s about buying into a system that offers structure, support, and a chance to earn more. It’s about the camaraderie within the franchise system, the shared experiences, and the collective knowledge that helps everyone to succeed. 

With such insights from an experienced franchisor, those considering the franchising route can make more informed decisions, setting themselves up for success.

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