Former All Black Bernie McCahill is turning his hand to the lawnmowing business, purchasing a 50 percent stake in Jim's Mowing's 52 Auckland franchises.
After a stint working for the company, he said it stood out as the best mowing franchise to him.
"After being in it for a while, I started dreaming about being the franchisor. I mowed lawns for Jim’s for 20 months first which in hindsight was a great thing to do. I doubt you could support the franchisees fully, if you don’t understand the highs and lows."
McCahill, who was a member of the 1987 World Cup team, said he was looking for cashflow and thought lawnmowing would be an easy business to get into.
He said Jim’s Mowing, the biggest lawnmowing franchise in the world with footprints in Australia, the UK and Canada, provides solid support to its franchisees.
There are 275 Jim’s Mowing franchisees in New Zealand and McCahill wants to get the Auckland setup humming before looking to other parts of the country.
He said Jim's had more work than it could take on.
"Our guys mow about 110,000 lawns a year but we’re turning business away because our existing franchisees are at capacity – and it’s winter. They are not taking on new work so we have room for more franchisees. We turned down 79 jobs in 24 days in February alone."
It was a pattern likely to continue, he said.
``People these days are using the weekends to spend time with their kids and leisure activities. We are concerned that we will be turning down a lot more work from spring to the end of autumn next year.’’
McCahill comes from a family drainlaying business, which he left in 2006 in order to focus on residential and commercial property.
"Dad had us on a shovel before I could walk. I have mostly done labouring type jobs, like concrete laying, pipe-laying, earthworks, etc," he said.
Jim's Mowing began as a one-man business in 1982. The New Zealand franchise system was established by Jim Penman in 1993.