By Zoltan Meszaros and Maja Brkan
After independently deciding to purchase commercial cleaning franchises within the Jani-King system in the Vancouver area, we decided to join our businesses together in 2013. Combining our resources, skill sets, and unique perspectives has helped us not only become more flexible and efficient, but also grow into a large and successful business that is only getting bigger.
I was born in Surrey, B.C., but grew up mainly in the province’s Okanagan region. When I was 12, my family moved to the lower mainland for a few years before relocating again to Burnaby, B.C., where Maja and I live today.
I was born in former Yugoslavia. During the civil war, my family left the country to move to Sweden and then Germany. We eventually immigrated to Canada and made Burnaby our home in 1999.
What I enjoy most about Canada is how multicultural it is—you can learn so much about other cultures, traditions, and foods.
Even with all the variety that came with moving around, when I was growing up, one thing was consistent: I knew I wanted to take over my father’s construction company. I worked with him during school breaks, and then when I graduated, I worked with him full-time, helping renovate interior commercial spaces in the Greater Vancouver area. I performed a lot of different jobs with his company and progressed from being a general labourer to first-aid attendant, safety officer, and site supervisor.
During high school, I was very interested in the beauty industry. After I graduated, I went to college to pursue a diploma in esthetics. I also worked in a salon for a couple of years and continued my education in that industry, becoming an advanced laser and medical esthetician. However, I eventually realized it wasn’t a good fit for me as a career. That’s when I started looking at Jani-King.
I really enjoyed working in construction, especially the management aspects of the job. I liked being in control of a project and watching it progress from one step to the next. But five years after I started, in 2010, I had a workplace injury: my foot was crushed. That meant I was out of work for a year and a half.
During that time, I started dating Maja. It was also during my recovery period that she purchased her Jani-King franchise. I knew construction was out of the question for me because of the injury, and it was amazing to see how well her business was doing, so when I was ready to be on my feet again, I also decided to become a franchisee with Jani-King.
When I was in high school, my parents worked for another Jani-King franchisee, and I helped out whenever I could. Then, when the recession hit in 2009, my dad lost his job. Even after handing out tonnes of resumes, he wasn’t able to find work anywhere else. In the end, my family decided to purchase our own Jani-King franchise, and that’s how I got started. My family is still involved with our franchise today.
It was also around that time that I was introduced to Zoltan. We met through mutual friends during a weekend in Whistler, B.C., and got along right away, although we didn’t start dating until six months later.
When Zoltan eventually decided to get involved with the franchise system, I was very excited for him. I knew he would be great at it, plus we both agreed the flexibility of franchising was a fantastic benefit. You can set your own schedule (which works perfectly for me, since I’m not a morning person!), and when you are working, it’s typically in a stress-free environment. You’re not being watched or pressured—you can work at your own pace.
The independent aspect of franchising definitely appealed to me. From the get-go, you’re the owner of your own company. You can choose how much or how little you want to work, especially with a commercial cleaning company like Jani-King, where most of the work takes place during evenings or weekends. You also have the option to hire employees and adjust your schedule that way.
It’s also possible to closely control how much and how fast you want to grow, since the size of your franchise is based on the amount of clients you take on instead of your number of physical store locations. If you want to scale back, it’s not too hard to do that either, because the regional office can pass along any contract to another franchisee if needed.