Jim’s Group, one of Australia’s largest franchise businesses, has moved into Photography and Drones with openings available around the country starting at $22,500. The AIPP has entered into an informal understanding with Jim’s, with Emerging Membership of the AIPP part of the Jim’s franchise package.
Jim’s has since moved into other handyman divisions. A few of these include painting, locksmith, finance, fencing, cleaning, heating and cooling, car detailing, dog washing, and now ‘photography and drones’.
Jim’s franchise system is shaped like a pyramid.
Jim’s Group sits at the top. Below are divisional franchisors, who run a category like photography or mowing.
The divisional franchisors are responsible for branding and marketing a division, along with administration and designing a price and quote structure.
They recruit regional franchisors, who purchase districts and split them up by selling portions to franchisees.
The franchisees – who are at the bottom of the pyramid – are managed and supported by the regional franchisor. The franchisee works within the area they are assigned, and they will be taking the photographs.
Jim’s Photography and Drones is way off having a network like this at this stage.
Franchises have dominated real estate photography, with companies like Open2View and Top Snap, but haven’t the same presence in other photo markets.
It appears Jim’s Photography and Drones will cover the full spectrum of photography – weddings and family portrait, commercial and product, real estate, and so on.
At the moment Jim’s Photography and Drones are advertising openings for ‘franchise territories’ on Gumtree, an online marketplace.
With a Jim’s franchise starting at $22,500, the cost to buy in is high. This fee covers a package of ‘promotional and marketing material, vehicle sign writing, uniforms, laptop and software, AIPP membership, website, marketing assistance, display albums, photographic equipment and much more’, the Gumtree advert says.
The ad also says the franchisee receives weekly contact with the franchisor, monthly training days, workshops, seminars and field trips.
Jim’s offers a nine month Paid for Work Guarantee (PfWG), which ensures there’s a minimum of $1400 of work per week during this period.
‘So even if things are a bit slow in the early days, you’ll have peace of mind knowing there’s a generous safety net to cover an occasional shortfall in earnings. Many franchisees never need to claim this benefit. But it’s comforting to know its here for you if needed.’
Jim’s franchises also have ongoing monthly fees. According to online forums, other handyman divisions have fees upwards of $400 per month, that must be paid regardless of how much money is made.
When a photographer buys into a franchise – whether it’s Jim’s, Topsnap or Open2View – they are contracted to work within the franchise’s structure. It’s a half-way house between salaried employment and running an independent business.
To date, only a very basic Zenfolio webpage has been set up for Jim’s Photography and Drones. – So basic that ProCounter sought confirmation from Jim’s Group, who said that Photography and Drones will be ‘available soon’.
The webpage says South Australians Mark Hill and Matteo Rizzi are the divisional franchisors.
ProCounter contacted Hill, who didn’t respond to a request for an interview in time for this article.
The AIPP and Jim’s
Hill, an ex-AIPP member, has worked toward preparing new franchise operators for the world of professional photography, by acquainting them with the AIPP.
According to the AIPP, Hill asked the Institute if it was possible to ‘provide a pathway for any Jim’s photographer to become an Accredited Professional Photographer (APP), as he was a firm believer in the AIPP Professional Development program and he wanted his business to be a part of, and respect the profession of photography’.
The AIPP told Hill that accreditation can only be provided to individual photographers and not a business.
‘We did suggest to them that if they wanted their photographers to benefit from our professional development program, and if they did want to respect the profession, they should encourage their franchisees to become AIPP emerging members, and develop their skills and business practices along the way to becoming accredited, like all other new entrants into the profession,’ the AIPP said.
Jim’s Group will pay for a $250 Emerging Membership for its franchise photographers. This membership level means the photographer is not yet an Accredited Professional Photographer.
It buys access to the AIPP Mentoring Program. However, to become an APP the emerging member must undergo the same accreditation process as non-members joining the AIPP.
The Institute has expressed interest in working with, rather than against, ‘disruption models’, given these models have carved out a place in the photo industry and look like they are here to stay.