Just when life should be at its cushiest, Queenslander Geoff Campbell has started a new career, which also makes physical demands on him.
You may have heard the story of the lawnmower man, well Geoff Campbell is a lawn mowing legend and an inspiration to all.. On the cusp of turning 80, the grandfather of 14 and great grandfather of six is turning grass into lawn, from Townsville to Mackay, one backyard at a time.
It all began when he decided to invest in a Jim’s Mowing franchise along with his 69 year old wife, Gayle. Geoff’s only been in business for. a few weeks now but the bookings are off the charts. He’s a local lawn mowing celebrity and he hasn’t looked back, except to wave to some of his new found fans.
“I’ve been in mining and construction my whole life but this is the sweetest job that I’ve ever done,” admits, the burly man who looks much younger than his years After all, he didn’t take up lawn mowing to get fit, he already was fit.
Geoff Believes In Investing In Himself.
Finding the money to buy the franchise wasn’t difficult as Jim Penman, founder of Jim’s Mowing, guided him through the process and later helped him get the word out there.
“ I also did a feasibility study with several others who were interested in becoming franchisees and we realised it could be a really good business,” he explains.
However he did splurge on three ride on lawn mowers and battery operated push mowers. These allow him to control the speed and the effort he puts in to mowing the lawn.
“I’m a bit of a bluffer,” he admits. “If someone is watching I’ll go hard but the moment they’re gone, I drop the speed right down. It does take me a bit longer to mow the lawn that way but I still get the job done.” he says.
Returning To The Workforce Late In Life Is A Growing Trend, According To Jim Penman.
Actually it’s Dr Jim Penman, since the man behind Jim’s Mowing, already has a PHD in history. However his career took off after he set up a part-time lawn mowing business while studying. That’s when he discovered that his customers liked the grass roots (pardon the pun), aspect of the service. It was just one man and his mower getting to work and everyone could relate to that. Now pushing 70 and a multi-millionaire, in 1989, Jim Penman started franchising his business by effectively putting lots of other single operators or Jims out there. (Perhaps this is something that women might take up by starting a Jane’s mowing business?)
“Many people who are coming into the business now are retirees,” Jim he says. With the rising costs of living, he expects that many more will join in.
“They’re genuinely surprised at how much money they can make because it’s a great opportunity to make a really good income,” he says. “Basic jobs like lawn mowing can be really lucrative and people can own their own business with flexible hours and be able to spend time with their families.”
“It could be as much as $60 an hour, which is more than some made in their old jobs, “ he explains.
He points out that while it’s hard for retirees to break into he workforce again in an office situation, it’s better to be independent and healthy by working outdoors.
Jim believes that the secret of his own success is that he’s actively involved with his own franchisees, to ensure they’re doing well.
He’s always taken care of his money and despite his wealth still dresses from Kmart and runs his own farm.
“My wife is always telling me that I’m looking shabby,” he says, adding that he hardly throws anything out.
Geoff Campbell Wants Everyone To Get Off Their Couches
It’s one of the lawn mower man’s favourite topics as he believes that doing nothing can be deadly.
“I just can’t believe the number of people sitting around in their lounge room complaining about anything and everything,” he grumbles. “A lot of them are finding their super isn’t worth so much anymore but they just sit around moaning and groaning without taking any action,” he says.
“I’ve only had this franchise for about 5 weeks but the people I have met on the road tell me the same thing: `you don’t have to sit and home and do nothing’.”
Meanwhile Geoff sees himself as a vital part of the service industry, which is growing as everyone is working so hard these days that they have to outsource chores.
He also marvels at the way his confidence has grown since he’s taken on the franchise.
“A little while ago, I had to ring the grandchildren to help me with my computer issues but now I can run my business at the push of a button,” he explains.
And if the work keeps flowing in, he may have to outsource some of it to those same grandchildren. However with his new lease on life, he has no interest in slowing down. Geoff Campbell is an inspiration to us all.