Sitting inside one of the three classrooms at the APlus Tutorials head office in downtown Montreal, co-owner Daniel Gurman sat with his arms square on the table, reflecting my gaze in a strong, confident manner. With the luxury of being in the heart of downtown and in close proximity of Montreal’s two major English-language universities, APlus is in a unique position to provide an accessible space where students can find tutorial services year-round.

The concept of APlus was born with the knowledge that a niche market existed to help students in ways the university of their peers couldn’t, and sought to fill that void. It catered originally to accounting students at the John Molson School of Business, but grew quickly through word of mouth to expand into the fields of finance, commerce, economics, mathematics, sciences, and engineering. Now, APlus – with a 100-person in-house capacity – offers three main services: private one-on-one tutorials, weekly tutorials, and midterm and final crash courses.

In 2011-12, the company underwent a large expansion to attract students and staff from McGill and several universities in Ontario, including those in Ottawa, Toronto, London and Kingston. Last semester, they gained a foothold in the French market through HEC and Université de Montreal. In Montreal alone, they have approximately 70 contracted tutors for English and French services, with 100 tutors in the other locations.

A plus-2

At APlus, students can purchase set blocks of hours for private tutoring lessons, which come without an expiration date and can be mixed and matched with any course of their choice. Alternatively, students can register for a crash course, which Gurman described as an “intense overview of the essential material, covering each topic from A to Z.” In crash courses – usually held over two consecutive days – Gurman also explained that tutors will define topics in a comprehensible manner, provide practice problems and solutions, and end with a mock exam, ensuring “the students preparation, comfort level, and knowledge of the material is at an absolute high.” With every crash course session, students are provided with custom course packs that contain custom material, such as practice exam questions, course material, solutions, definitions, tricks and secrets to better understand the material in question.

Despite competition in Montreal and across Canada, Gurman acknowledged that APlus has a distinct advantage. “What gets us our positive word of mouth is the efficiency and youthfulness of our tutors; they have all recently completed these classes. They’re extremely familiar with the course material and can easily relate this knowledge to the students,” Gurman said. He described their hiring process as a rigorous procedure used to ensure the highest quality standards. “All tutors are recent graduates or Masters students, with minimum two years’ experience and A-grades in the classes they teach,” Gurman explained. Most importantly, clear communication skills are the number one priority.

“As long as we can maintain high quality and service, there’s no stopping us. We are always going to strive to be the best”

Having started working at a young age, Gurman describing himself as the type of tactical person that needed to get his hands dirty in order to learn from his mistakes. A background in marketing helped him learn how to target certain audiences and implement specific strategies to acquire a niche market. In regards to APlus, he acknowledged Montreal was the perfect place to start. “Growing up in Montreal and being a serial entrepreneur, I saw the potential and the demand for this ongoing process. Every school needs our company at the end of the day. Whether it’s a school of 20,000 or 100,000 students, all students need help. We’re there to provide help to students whether they need a refresher or a complete overview of the material. As long as we can maintain high quality and service, there’s no stopping us. We are always going to strive to be the best.”

Gurman insisted that he has always been business minded, and wanted to start his own business. “I didn’t want to work for someone else when I could do it all myself. As a business owner, I can write my own story and work hard every single day to make my business grow,” Gurman said.

A plus-4

In fact, since co-owners Gurman and Derek Cogan took over operations in 2011, student registration at APlus has been increasing at a steady rate and large-scale expansion has increasingly become a viable option. “This gives us the certainty that what we have is unique, effective, and at the end of the day, helping the students is the main reason we’re doing this, and it feels good to give back,” Gurman said.

Acting as the office manager, Gurman expressed confidence that Cogan’s background as a website developer and marketing specialist make for a perfect partnership. “Our unique ways of promoting our services and our brand is another added attribute to the company. We use a lot of modern digital marketing strategies to execute our ideas,” Gurman explained. APlus consistently offers promotions, including coupons, Facebook giveaways, and a student membership that acts as a discount card for major Montreal retailers such as Yeh! Yogurt, Pizza Hut, Chef on Call, Bench Canada, and Barbarella, just to name a few.

The future is equally bright for the young entrepreneurs, as they intend to develop a greater foundation in Quebec and Ontario before further expansion. When asked about business opportunities outside of Canada, Gurman kept silent but let slip an indiscreet smile.

We can only imagine where they plan to take their business next. One thing is for sure — when you hustle as hard as they do, the sky is the limit.

A plus-5

If you’re interested in using Aplus services, use coupon code “TheMainMTL15” to save $15 on your next crash course. Don’t forget to like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter and Instagram to catch their future promotions!

APlus Tutorials Inc. | 1500 de Maisonneuve O., Suite 202 | Montreal, QC | H3G 1N1

WebsiteFacebook | Twitter | Instagram | LinkedIn | 514.545.8389 | 1.855.992.7587