Dowling Cleans Up Franchise as Featured in The Courier Mail
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‘MIKE Dowling, a major national player in the cleaning industry, has turned around James’ Home Services, a franchise operation he acquired on the brink of collapse.
The Gold Coast businessman, by introducing a low entry option, has increased the number of franchisees by about 45 per cent and is now preparing to expand into the commercial-cleaning market.
Mr Dowling, who took over the business in October 2015, said it had some major issues at that time.
“Franchisees weren’t getting enough work, they weren’t being advertised for work and most of the IT network was non-compliant,” he said.
“But, when I looked at James’ Home Services, I could see the business model itself was sound.
“I also knew that, if I worked on the infrastructure and management processes, I could really turn things around. Had I not come in with the right team behind me, the entire company would have collapsed.”
Mr Dowling (pictured) moved its headquarters to the Gold Coast and acquired five new regional franchisors and 47 individual franchisees.
There is now a team of 147 franchisees, 35 of whom are Gold Coast based, but they still can’t satisfy the demand for services.
“The problem we’re now facing is that 48 per cent of inquiries can’t be fulfilled. We don’t have enough franchisees to undertake the work being asked of us,” he said. “All those jobs just go by the wayside, which is why I’ve started the low-entry model to help people come aboard.
“We seriously look after our franchisees; without them we don’t have a business.”
Mr Dowling plans to expand into Tasmania this year and South Australia next year as well as establishing a commercial arm of the company. “James’ Commercial will hopefully be ticking over by October to service larger businesses – such as high-rise buildings, hotels, schools and even hospitals,” he said.
“I want to take this business model to England.”
Mr Dowling has been in the “cleaning game” for 27 years and is best known for founding supermarket cleaning giant Just 1 Call.
“Just 1 Call is in every state. We have about 600 people working for us, of which 150 are just in [supermarkets],” he said.
“The company just grew and grew. Before [a particular supermarket] took its cleaning in-house I had the largest commercial supermarket cleaning company in Australia with over 400 [supermarket] stores.”
Mr Dowling is also an active philanthropist, donating almost $150,000 to One Sky, a group that supports orphans. “I’ve found that giving can be even more rewarding than success in business,” he said.
“Last year I read a newspaper story about a girl who desperately needed a new wheelchair. I thought: ‘I can help her’. I got in touch with the family and donated $15,000 for her chair”’ (Written by Emily Selleck and published in The Courier Mail, 31st of March 2017).
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