Jim's Book: The Surprising Story of Jim Penman -Australia's Backyard Millionaire
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More About This Title Jim's Book: The Surprising Story of Jim Penman -Australia's Backyard Millionaire


Meet the man and uncover the story behind one of Australia’s most recognised brands

We all know Jim’s. Maybe you just passed a Jim’s Mowing trailer on the road; or maybe there’s a Jim’s Cleaning van parked across the street each Tuesday morning; or maybe your best mate is laughing all the way to the bank after quitting the city and starting his new Jim’s Fencing franchise, but do you know the real story behind the Jim’s Group and its founder, Jim Penman?

Brutally efficient, socially awkward, and a tireless perfectionist, Jim is as complex and fascinating as the Jim’s Group. This book is a warts-and-all look at his colourful life that delves deep into how he ignored conventional thinking to turn a few mowing rounds into a corporate juggernaut built on always putting the customer first. Jim’s unique approach revolutionised Australia’s business landscape, providing thousands of people the opportunity to create and grow their own businesses.

Most Australians know very little about the man who created one of the nation’s most famous companies. For all of his success, Jim is remarkably unassuming and approachable. In this authorised biography, author Catherine Moolenschot sat down with Jim and over one hundred people who know him — from franchisees and franchisors, to family, friends, and adversaries — to get up close and personal with the surprising story of one of Australia’s biggest brands and the man who made it all happen.

Jim’s Book tells the fascinating story of the man and the business that bears his name. Equal parts biography, history and philosophy, this book takes readers on a journey through one man’s remarkable life.


Catherine Moolenschot is a novelist, biographer and public speaker. Learn more at catherinemoolenschot.com.au


Prologue vii

Summary of the Jim’s Group Structure xi

Introduction: ‘The Real Jim’ xiii

1 The Early Years 1

2 The Accidental Gardener 17

3 Jim’s Calling 31

4 This Little, Short-term Mowing Business 43

5 Divorce 65

6 The Jim’s Brand Expands 73

7 The Jim Way 89

8 Winning the Lottery 101

9 Growth 113

10 Business Can Be Tough 129

11 Jim’s Training 145

12 The Franchisee Experience 163

13 ‘A Serial Firer’ 175

14 Revolt in the Ranks 187

15 Tackling Insurance 205

16 Looking for The One 213

17 Duelling Diggers 225

18 Funding a Lifelong Passion 235

19 It’s All About Character 247

20 Looking to the Future 259

Endnotes 265

About the Author 267

Acknowledgements 269

List of Interviewees 271

Index 273