THE AMBITIOUS PLAN TO TURN A COLLAPSED FRANCHISE INTO AN EXPANDING BUSINESS

THE AMBITIOUS PLAN TO TURN A COLLAPSED FRANCHISE INTO AN EXPANDING BUSINESS

AUSTRALIA'S newest master franchise is set to launch in October as a commercial cleaning operation, resurrected from the remains of a collapsed company.

Mike Dowling (pictured), CEO of James' Home Services, will launch James' Commercial as an additional business to his existing operation which has 10 regional franchisors and 147 individual franchisees.      

Gold Coast-based Dowling bought James' Home Services master franchise in October 2015 after it collapsed into liquidation.

Since then he says franchisees who have been working on residential properties are reporting they're getting a lot of requests to do commercial work, indicating there is demand in the market that is not getting met.

"There's a real niche for a well-run franchised commercial cleaning company. If you go back 15 years, there were franchise companies cleaning blue chip clients but they're not there now as it goes around in cycles," Dowling says.

"And with the current market, the opportunity to move into the commercial market with our franchise is fantastic.

"I've been a franchisee myself in the past, and I know from personal experience as long as you look after your people and you look after your clients, I don't think you can go wrong.

Dowling has been in the cleaning business for three decades and says his decision to buy the James' Home Service master franchise was made because he could see the potential in a failed company that needed a major overhaul.

"I bought it because I could see the opportunity and believed in the people (franchisees) who were in it," he says.

"But they had a bit of a downturn and they all kind of got kicked in the guts, so I thought that as long as there was passion still there I would move forward with it.

"We had to change a lot of things, a lot of things were broken. The IT was an issue and the documentation really wasn't compliant.

"But ultimately, I always wanted to do franchising but with my previous business I was more involved with commercial blue chip companies and I didn't worry about it then, and then this opportunity came up."

James' Home Services specialises in interior and exterior cleaning, lawn and gardening maintenance, pool and spa care, carpet cleaning, pest control, test and tag safety, mobile car wash and detailing as well as mobile pet grooming and hydrobath.

Dowling says his strategy for both the residential and commercial businesses will be similar, with a low-cost entry for franchisees and ongoing business training and development.

"We have to keep moving forward with the tech side of the business with our service allocation platform and I have to remember what it was like to be a franchisee myself," he says.

"I was a franchisee in 1994. I've learned that the franchisor tends to earn all the money, but to be successful it's gotta be a win-win situation for both."

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