Joshua Malik, CEO and Founder at Joshua Tree Experts.
Joshua has 29 years experience in the tree care industry. He is a member of the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) and a Member of the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Penn-Del Local Chapter. He holds numerous industry certifications and attends several seminars each year to expand his knowledge.
Most of his original hires remain with him today, growing Joshua Tree and furthering the vision that Joshua passionately and openly shares. He personally judges climbing competitions, sponsors community events, contributes to various charities, volunteers his time at schools, and has been involved with “Renewal & Remembrance” project at Arlington National Cemetery the past 12 years.
Connect with Joshua on LinkedIn.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- The three biggest costs to running any sort of landscape business is fuel, labor and equipment – three things that have seen prices skyrocketing.
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Lee Kantor: [00:00:32] Lee Kantor here another episode of Franchise Marketing Radio and this is going to be a good one. Today on the show, we have Joshua Malik and he’s with Joshua Tree Experts. Welcome.
Joshua Malik: [00:00:43] Hey, Leigh. Thanks for having me on, brother.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:45] I am so excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us a little bit about Joshua Tree experts. How are you serving folks?
Joshua Malik: [00:00:52] We continue to be in the tree sector, lawn care and pest control that involves doing pruning, removal of tree, insect and disease management spray and trees and shrubs fertilizing. We also have a department that does complete lawn care applications fertilizer, weed control, aeration and spraying. We do indoor outdoor pest control along with mosquito, flea and tick.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:17] So is this kind of a recession proof industry? Because some of it has to do with kind of safety and these are must have kind of needs that you’re kind of dealing with. Has that been the case?
Joshua Malik: [00:01:29] Yeah. You know, our mantra of making home environment safe, healthy and beautiful, even through the recession, you know, our target demographic type person, they want to continue to beautify their home. They definitely don’t want to have any incidents in regards to safety. A lot of them have younger kids themselves. Maybe they’re elderly. They need to have the type of work done that we service. So we you know, we’ve proven over the years the green industry alone. And when I say green industry, that’s what those three services fall under. They have been proven to be recession proof as we were an essential business during COVID. We continue to grow and build our brand during this recession.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:11] Now, what about kind of the ability to attract franchisees? Has that been growing as well?
Joshua Malik: [00:02:18] It has been. I think there’s been some issues in that sector all along, only because of recession and people holding on to money and some things that are happening in the market. We continue to gain tons of traction in the different states that we’re gaining. Those are the ones that we’re actually doing a lot of marketing in to continue to gain interest.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:37] Now, any advice for emerging franchisors out there when it comes to attracting the right franchisee? Is there anything you’ve learned? Have you cracked the code on how to find a pipeline for these folks?
Joshua Malik: [00:02:50] Man, I wish there was a code to crack on that. I think working with the right marketing firm, identifying that type of persona that you want in a franchisee, working with the right broker groups and having the right person represent you, that can really weed out the people that aren’t going to fit your values. And culture is probably going to be the most important thing. I think you’re going to see a wide variety of people that can come through that maybe are trying to chase a pipe dream with little effort involved in it. And you’re going to have those other people that are going to fit your values and really become that brand ambassador for you and represent the brand in the way that you expect them to do it.
Lee Kantor: [00:03:31] Now, have you figured out a way to kind of sort out those, too?
Joshua Malik: [00:03:35] You know, I think it’s true. You know, I like doing like this profile testing, finding out what their personality is, is like and really finding out what their values are and what attracted them to their brand to begin with. I think it’s really important to know when people want to join your brand and they really want to expand with you. Why is it them? Why is it now and why is it your brand? I think those are really important parts to cover.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:04] Now, are your franchisees having a difficult time with employees? Because I know a lot of the country is struggling in that space.
Joshua Malik: [00:04:14] You know, a good recruiting effort is really important, attracting the right people by being able to understand what your vision is, communicate that vision. Providing a clear career path for coworkers is important. That’s what we noticed is very effective in recruiting employees. For the for Joshua Tree, we have a really good we allocate funds just like marketing funds. We allocate funds to recruiting because we know it’s an ongoing effort. So keeping that door open at all times and when you see the right person make it happen.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:51] So now where are you at from a number standpoint? How many franchises do you have going on? Right now?
Joshua Malik: [00:04:57] We have five total units in place right now and we have about two dozen in the pipeline that we’re working with.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:04] Have you been focusing on a certain part of the country?
Joshua Malik: [00:05:09] You know, we like to start regionally where we’re focusing more in the Pennsylvania I’m in the Lehigh Valley of the north east of Philadelphia area is where we emerged. And we have gone nationwide recently and are really gaining traction in Texas, Florida, Georgia, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
Lee Kantor: [00:05:34] Now, are the folks that are attracted to this, are they already doing kind of work around the home and they’re adding this to maybe their services that are offering or are they people that are, you know, hitting this for the first time and becoming entrepreneurs for the first time?
Joshua Malik: [00:05:50] We’re seeing more people that are becoming entrepreneurs for the first time. It’s really that corporate type mindset that is sitting down behind the desk wondering what they want to do. And, you know, why does everybody want to get into business? They want to grow their wealth. They want to be able to have more free time with the proper systems and processes in place that we’ve developed. We’re attracting that corporate type mindset to come in. We’ve had a lot of interest from other industry professionals in the landscape, not specifically the tree care, but the landscape where they can utilize this service as a as another offering to their current clientele, which is really smart to be able to build off of that. Most of the traction that we’re seeing, though, is more on that corporate type person that wants to get out from the desk, really be able to get into owning a business and growing that business.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:43] Now, is there a typical kind of first service that introduces Joshua Tree to the consumer, or is it something that it just depends on whatever their need is?
Joshua Malik: [00:06:54] Great question. I we do offer general tree care, plant health care. When you go back to the general tree care, it’s the pruning removal. It’s the type of equipment that we have selected that a franchisee, when they come on board, they launch with that type of equipment to provide that full service. And then we really focus on what they call plant health care. That’s the tree and shrub spray in the soil, health conditions of fertilizers, different types of systemic insecticides that you put in the soil. We like to focus on that because that’s the recurring revenue. We know the type of value of what recurring revenue does year over year. As you sell that service, you perform it. The year you sell it, you’re performing the following year. We know the average life cycle of that client and we know what type of value that brings. And not only does it bring value to to you immediately as a business, it brings it down the road for the overall value of the business. Green industry is really you get multiple earnings much higher than you would if you’re only doing a one off type of tree removal service. When you get into that preservation type service, that is when you really start building the value. Once you get to a certain KPI and we see that you’re hitting certain indicators and we’ll utilize a scorecard for that, that will lay out the three different functions of the business sales and marketing, operation, finance and admin. When you hit these certain numbers, then we want you to role in lawn care. Again, that’s all recurring revenue. You’re selling that this year to a client you’re repeating and again the following year and the year is after and then you go through another set of KPIs on that scorecard that’s going to have you hit that pest control and you’re just really growing the wealth in the business at that point.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:36] So they have to kind of earn their way up the ladder.
Joshua Malik: [00:08:39] Yeah, we do. You know, the one thing we really want to function on is growing the brand properly and we want to be able to to help develop franchisees and their business model in performing a service to the level that Joshua Tree performs at right now. And that is great client expectations. We want to over deliver under promise and we want to continue to help them build their staff that has a lot of retention on their employees that can represent the brand real well. And ultimately, that’s what really keeps very high client retention.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:19] Now, you mentioned I think you’re five in right now and have a bunch in the pipeline. Is there anything you’ve learned today, you know, based on having five up, up and running that has kind of changed things a bit? Or is it pretty baked at this point and you’re just kind of tweaking around the edges?
Joshua Malik: [00:09:38] We’re tweaking around the edges. Our systems and processes are so tight. Back in 2019, when we knew that we were going to get into franchising, I took on a full time co worker, employee at the time that became advanced up and we really developed on documenting all the processes and systems that we have. We have a full table of contents that are so well developed. I remember my consulting agency saying, you are so much more further along. On and franchisees that we’ve launched that’s been in the in the space for five years, we know as long as we can manage those systems and processes, the rest of it just follows right behind it.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:20] So now for the folks that are thinking about franchising their business, how did you go about that documentation? What made it so thorough?
Joshua Malik: [00:10:29] We’ve tested it. We’ve tested it at our home office that we have in Lehigh Valley. And it’s through that testing that we’ve done with our own clients, our own in-house processes that we knew as we documented and launched them through. That’s the way that we want to represent the brand. You know, when I talk about managing those systems, it’s going back and tweaking them just so lightly. When we see improvement and we see a little bit of an issue there, we want to identify that issue. We want to discuss it. We want to solve it. We want to improve that system, and then we want to roll it back out.
Lee Kantor: [00:11:02] Now, when you were doing the documentation, was that something you just told everybody, okay, I want everybody to document everything, or did you have a third party come in and kind of look over everybody’s shoulders to document it?
Joshua Malik: [00:11:14] Now, we knew when we talked about. Providing this for the Joshua Tree experts and going down this path. You know, when I decided to franchise, it wasn’t a very quick decision. It took me about a year and a half to do some research on it, really get us to the point where we could launch successfully. And one of the biggest things that I’ve learned through all that research was how are we going to be able to support franchisees and how are we going to be able to provide the training and. I wanted to do that in house. We’re a good sized company with 70 employees currently. I knew that we had the talent to do that in-house. One thing I really believe in is developing, having, providing professional development for my coworkers right now and moving up within the company. And this was a position where this one individual had a very unique ability on identifying and documenting, putting on paper in a way that could be organized and understood. And we ran with it in house. And I’ve got to be honest, I wouldn’t have done it any other way.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:25] So what do you need more of? How can we help?
Joshua Malik: [00:12:30] Well, I’ll tell you what. There’s if there’s anything that I’ve ever learned in here, it’s it’s again, it’s sticking to your own thought processes. Being being a trailblazer, I think within this industry, you can get a lot of static from a lot of different folks, which isn’t bad, but it can really confuse you or making some very, very important decisions. I probably would have started the marketing content much earlier than then than I did waiting until I was completely done and ready to launch, because marketing in this sector does take a little bit to start getting some traction. So those are some of the things that I have learned in my short stint so far.
Lee Kantor: [00:13:11] So what’s next? Are you focusing on certain regions now or the world, your oyster? You’ll take on all comers.
Joshua Malik: [00:13:21] We will. We’re going to we’re focusing across the country here and we’re just focusing on the right person. We want to get the right people to come in and represent us. We want them to be very goal oriented. We want them to have high emotional intelligence. Everything from communicating with us to communicating to to their employees and coworkers and vendors are really important. So as we continue to grow, we want to continue to to represent the brand the best that we can in our own region. We want to be able to say, hey, follow the system with what we’re doing, see how successful we are at the Home Office, and you can just be as successful yourself.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:02] Now it says tree experts in the name, but you need kind of people experts to be the franchisees, right? This is a people business, not necessarily a tree business.
Joshua Malik: [00:14:13] It is. You know, and I think anybody that’s a business owner, you know, gets to the point where they might comment to say they’re in the people business and not within the business sector that they’re actually in. You know, developing people is really important to me. And being able to identify the right people that you want to you want to work with. One of the biggest. Things that you have as a boss, as an owner, as you get to pick the people that you work with. You get the hire. Then you get to terminate them. Ultimately, though, it is up to you to be able to pick on who you work with and when you can identify. And that’s part of our training, identifying the right people, you know, being able to have those recruiting efforts in there that are going to allow you to grow, allow them to do their job properly, and help you continue to work on the business, not in the business. You know, that’s the developing that we want to provide and we want to be able to teach people.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:09] So if somebody wants to learn more, what’s the website?
Joshua Malik: [00:15:13] Jt Franchising dot com, that’s our franchise website. If you want to learn more about the the business the consumer that’s Joshua tree experts dot com.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:24] Well Joshua thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Joshua Malik: [00:15:29] We appreciate the time, man. You have a good day, brother.
Lee Kantor: [00:15:32] All right. This is Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.