Interview with Jean Roberge – The Founder of Jan-Pro Canada Inc


Dec 10, 2009

Jean Roberge is the founder of Jan-Pro Canada Inc. In addition to his role as a Country Master for the Jan-Pro Brand in Canada, he operates with two partners located in the Montreal and Quebec City Offices.

He has extensive experience in franchising cleaning and maintenance services businesses, extending back to 1995. Prior to his involvement with Jan-Pro, he was a shareholder, director and officer at Delcor Inc., a privately held company whose business was consulting and brokerage for businesses and real estate. He also held a corporate account management function with a major Canadian bank. He studied in Laval University, Quebec City, and has a Business Administration Bachelor Degree.

He has been granted numerous awards by Jan-Pro Franchising International, including the Master Franchise Owner Award, the Founder’s Award and the prestigious Franny Award, from the International Franchise Association.

BeTheBoss - What’s the story behind JAN-PRO in Canada

Jean Roberge - “I was referred to the Chairman of the Board of Jan-Pro Franchising International. Personally I was looking for a franchise brand that required more of my skills… not something that would be tied to a specific location, like retail food . The cleaning industry was interesting because of the lack of consistency in services provide by conventional companies.I was confident the owner/operator model would deliver better quality service to the customer.

BTB - What made you decide to franchise?

JR - “Franchising works! When you see the percentage of franchise businesses still in operation after 5 years (above 90%) compared to business started by yourself, you understand the probabilities are on your side. I wanted to offer a system where a franchisees’ success will depend on themselves; that’s the case with JAN-PRO. If you follow the model, you’ll succeed. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel!”

BTB - Tell us a little about the Commercial Cleaning Market?

JR - “It’s a recession resistant industry. Despite the downsizing of the economy, our business volume grew in Canada, without additional offices. It’s a fragmented market, so a lot can be done to consolidate it.”

BTB - What have some of the challenges been in growing your franchise?

JR - “Managing growth is always a challenge. We have so much demand for our “product” that you need to ensure you don’t over extend yourself.”..”

BTB - Who has been your greatest inspiration?

JR - “My father: my grandfather, and my uncles, all gave me great advice (my father passed away the day I turned 18). They were all entrepreneurs.”

BTB - What are some of the advantages in being a JAN-PRO franchisee?

JR - “No inventory, no perishable goods, no large investment required in fixed assets, few employees to manage. It’s a sales and cash management business. The success depends of the owner and his capacity to manage people.”

BTB - What “Gadgets” (Blackberry, Iphone, Ipod, etc) can’t you live without?

JR - “With my iPhone, I’m connected to the world and I know what’s happening in my business. Our database management system is web enabled and accessible from anywhere.”

BTB - What do you do in your spare time?

JR - “I play golf and travel. I want to see more of this world…”

BTB - What advice do you have for someone looking to acquire a Franchise?

JR - “Take your time to select a business that will fit with you. Do your due diligence. Talk to your future colleagues. Do business with people you like!”

BTB - In your opinion, why do you think that JAN-PRO would be a great opportunity for someone?

JR - “It’s challenging. Having a Master Franchise requires a lot of discipline at the beginning but after a year or two, you see the benefits of having your own Jan-Pro Master Franchise: freedom, balance between career and leisure time, building equity.”