Jan-Pro® founder Jacques Lapointe keeps his hand in

Jacques Lapointe founded Jan-Pro® in 1991, and over the next 15 years grew the commercial cleaning company to more than 75 master franchisees and 4,500 unit franchisees. He had a solid business model, continuous and solid growth, and was looking for a way to take the company to the next level. But the day-to-day details, which were no longer challenging but still required his attention, kept him from focusing on strategic growth.

Approached by a business broker who asked him to consider finding an equity partner, Lapointe said no…for a while. Eventually, he began to see how the right partner could help propel the company to new heights–and allow him to focus his energies where he wanted.

Lapointe says choosing an investment partner to diversify and grow in new directions was “a life choice, rather than a need choice.” He simply could have sold Jan-Pro® to the highest bidder and moved on, set for life. But he wasn’t ready to retire, and he had a few ideas for the future of Jan-Pro® – and its master franchisees, all of whom he’d signed personally. But he couldn’t do it without help.

After narrowing the field, Lapointe weighed half a dozen serious offers from private equity firms before casting his lot with Stamford, Conn.-based JHW Greentree Capital–mainly, he says, because of their interest in building the company, not milking it. He said it was the firm’s “How can we help your company diversify and grow?” attitude that made Greentree stand out.

Not that Jan-Pro® was doing badly. Quite the opposite, in fact: $76 in million revenues in the year before the deal. But just one year afterward, sales rose to more than $100 million. Lapointe is confident that the company will reach $200 million within three years–and he’ll surely have a hand in achieving that. His arrangement is to stay on as chairman of the board for three years.

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