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Joshua Malik founded Joshua Tree Experts in 2005 as a home-based business out of a three-car garage in Lehigh, PA. After moving into a dedicated location, the company organically expanded to offer lawn care services to clients as a direct result of customer demand.
In 2017, lawn care became its own division in the company. The brand went even further in 2020, and expanded its offerings with a pest control division. Now, the brand is looking to sign 5 franchisees in 2022.
What You’ll Learn In This Episode
- About Joshua Tree Experts
- Now is the time for franchisees to invest in Joshua Tree Experts
- Qualities of franchisees
This transcript is machine transcribed by Sonix
Intro: [00:00:07] Welcome to Franchise Marketing Radio. Brought to you by SeoSamba comprehensive high performing marketing solutions for mature and emerging franchise brands. To supercharge your franchise marketing, go to seosamba.com. That’s seosamba.com.
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 Malick with Joshua Tree experts. Welcome, Josh.
Joshua Malik: [00:00:42] Hi Lee. Thanks for having me on.
Lee Kantor: [00:00:44] Well, I’m excited to learn what you’re up to. Tell us about Joshua Tree experts. How are you serving, folks?
Joshua Malik: [00:00:50] We are in the green industry. We provide general tree care, which is pruning and removal services. Plant health care is insect disease management on trees and shrubs. We also have another model which is lawn care, fertilizer, weed control, aeration, and we also do indoor outdoor flea, mosquito and tick, which is our pest control department.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:11] Now, how did the idea come about? What was the initial thoughts when you launched this?
Joshua Malik: [00:01:18] Well, I’ve been in the industry for 30 years. In 92, when I graduated high school. I got right into doing tree care at a local tree care company within the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania area and developed them skills in the field for about eight years. Found an opportunity towards the Philadelphia region for sales and management. Did that for five years and just really had the passion that I wanted to be my my an owner of a business, develop my own team. So in 2005, I launched Joshua Tree Experts out of my three car garage with a 100 square foot of office space. So it’s been it’s been a heck of a ride since that time.
Lee Kantor: [00:01:57] Now, when you launch, were you always thinking, oh, at some point I’m going to franchise this? Or was this like, hey, now this is my own empire I can build here in the area and we’ll see where it goes.
Joshua Malik: [00:02:07] Man what a great question. If I look back at my business plan from 2005 when I launched, I was happy to get to a seven employee company service in one general tree crew of plant health crew and really small office staff. And when you really start learning how to develop people and take in people strengths, it’s really energizing and incredible on how much growth you can accomplish.
Lee Kantor: [00:02:37] So what was the switch that flipped that said, You know what, we might have something here that can be replicated and we can train other people to to do this and provide this service at this level and create those, you know, predictable, repeatable processes. How did that idea come about? Because that becomes a different business now, right? It’s different than, you know, being in someone’s yard now. You’re training someone in the market nowhere near you to do what you’re doing.
Joshua Malik: [00:03:07] Yeah, it is. And you know, when we launched Joshua Tree Experts, I think one of the biggest opportunities was within our service area. We really focused on providing you know, everyone says, hey, they want to give excellent customer service, right? But we really focused on that from the initial call to the follow up. We under-promise, overdeliver. It’s been a big factor of even hiring our coworkers on that, you know, sharing that clear vision with them of what we want to do. And training is huge. We’ve always we always knew that we would have a competitive edge by having certified arborist on staff. Having industry certifications that can really focus on employee development, you know, which helps them professionally and personally develop and. Over the last few years, we’ve really developed our processes and systems down to each function of the business of operations, sales and marketing, finance and admin. And we’ve really built out a table of contents that really shows, hey, this is how you operate this business when something happens. This is how. This is the action plan that you have to take place. So we really focused on on building those out. And we’ve done the team has done a really excellent job at doing that. So we knew that we could develop and replicate this system anywhere within the country.
Lee Kantor: [00:04:37] Now, once you decide to do that and you say, okay, we have something here, we got it, you know, we created this playbook for success. Now you go out to the world and say, okay, hey, do you want to open a Joshua tree experts in your market? Are you looking for the Josh’s like you were? That person that had been in the business had kind of got the lay of the land and is maybe struggling or is frustrated or just doesn’t know the ropes as well as you do. And here now you have a playbook that’ll make take whatever you were doing more to be more successful. Or is this somebody who doesn’t necessarily have to have that kind of experience you have had of, you know, working in people’s yards and working with trees and doing all that stuff.
Joshua Malik: [00:05:19] Sure. You know, ideally we would. Take on the right person to fit this seat and want to expand and improve their lifestyle from where they’re currently at. I know from my own experience getting individuals that have 20, 25 years experience, it’s hard for them to break a cycle that they’re in, whether it’s a process that they’re doing. They might have some really strong beliefs on the way that they perform the work and might not be flexible or like minded on the way that we’re performing it. We really believe, as I picked up the training part. I love getting industry professionals that don’t have that type of experience within our industry. Maybe they have work experience, but they understand that they can be developed or learning the proper way of doing something from the get go. So I would lean towards the people that are maybe business minded, have some really good communication skills, emotional intelligence, have the drive to want to succeed or able to follow processes. And I think I would find that more in that executive style person or someone that is in quite within the tree care industry currently.
Lee Kantor: [00:06:38] Because at the end of the day they’re more in charge of the operations and the sales and then they’re going to hire out the people that are going into people’s yards.
Joshua Malik: [00:06:47] That’s exactly it. We’re looking to focus on people that are going to have the drive to work on the business and not so much in the business. I know from my own experience, when you first launch, you’re pretty heavily hands on, maybe with the first six months to a year, but then when you get the right people in the right place, you develop your team, you got your equipment out there. You got your clientele. Your sales and marketing is working. I want you to start thinking about the big picture and really driving those unit economics.
Lee Kantor: [00:07:17] Now, you mentioned a variety of services when you become a Joshua Tree expert franchisee. Do you have access to all of those lines, those revenue lines, or is that each one its own individual brand?
Joshua Malik: [00:07:31] It is its own individual brand. I’m really glad that you asked that. When I launched in 2005, I launched as a general tree care plant health care company. I developed those 13 years of skills performing that service. And we’re heavily the equipment and vehicle, you know, invested to go perform the service that we’re doing. And in regards to training. It’s much easier to not just train on the brand, but also to train on the industry, to focus on general tree care, plant health care. That’s going to be the launching service. We have developed a scorecard of KPIs that are numbered and tiered that will help you get into the lawn care industry when you can launch that and then the pest control. And we really put that back on the franchisees lap to say, hey, to get to the lawn care, you need to develop these skills. We need to hit the scorecard and the KPIs at this level. Then you can roll in lawn care and then it would be the same thing for the pest control. When I launched in 2005, I didn’t launch lawn care until 2017. We launched pest control in 2020. We’ve just learned. For developing that marketing plan and hiring the right people to run those departments on how to launch that properly now.
Lee Kantor: [00:08:51] So the ideal situation is somebody goes in initially as kind of the the tree person and then earns their way up to these other brands based on their performance rather than somebody saying, Hey, I just wanted to do pest control and I’m going to just jump in and start at pest control.
Joshua Malik: [00:09:09] That is correct. We have three models in the one brand, and we want we want our franchisees to offer that. And our base is absolutely without a doubt, has always been general tree care, plant health care. That’s where my 30 years experience comes from. We know how to develop that brand and find those clients very easily through that. When I say find those clients, the consumer clients like that, and then we would develop that team of professionals to launch our franchisees, helping them get the equipment, searching their subcontractors if they need that, getting their vendors hooked up with them. And then once they hit those KPIs and it’s developing in the lawn care, then and then offering the pest control.
Lee Kantor: [00:09:55] So what how many do you have right now?
Joshua Malik: [00:10:00] We we just emerged. And when I say that we just completed our RFP late last year, we just got, you know, little minor touches on it renewed. We have some people in the pipeline, but we have not landed our first sale yet and we are so close and so excited and doing it. So when I say we’re just coming out live, we are we are just emerging.
Lee Kantor: [00:10:22] So this is a great opportunity for folks out there that are in that same kind of space that you are right now. You have a successful company and that has been proven successful in your local market. And now you’re emerging and you’re kind of trying to get those first ones on the board. What are what some advice you can give other people in that boat, whether they’re in the point of, you know, approaching that and saying, hey, you know, we want to do this. What are some of the, you know, do’s and don’ts and what are the things that you have found to be most successful thus far when it comes to kind of, you know, getting those first ones in the pipeline?
Joshua Malik: [00:11:02] You know, I would say I think one of the biggest things, Leigh, is that. You know, defining your own path in the franchise space, I think is really important. And when I say that is. A lot of people within this industry can can give you a lot of advice, which could kind of make that road instead of going straight. A lot of intersections that you come through and you start making a left turn and you start making a right turn again. You know, define your plan early and stick with it. You might be a trailblazer and start doing things a little bit different than everybody else. And that’s okay to do that. It really, really is. But it’s got to be your own belief on which path you want to create and which which way you want to go down. When you do start developing, we have a franchise sales organization that we’re working with PINNACLE. We just launch with five different broker groups and working with them closely and kicking some stuff off of them, but still making that decision on your own and defining on what you want to do and creating that plan. It’s ultimately up to you and you got to make those decisions for yourself. So that would probably be my my key take away from that is that you can get very confused within this industry fast, but have your strong beliefs on what you want to do and keep your keep your nose down and just keep moving ahead.
Lee Kantor: [00:12:27] Now, when you decided to do the franchise path and you got all your documentation, all that stuff, did you at first try to do this on your own and just say, hey, we can figure it out, we’re smart. We’ve been doing this for a while, you know, how hard could it be or did you immediately get expert help?
Joshua Malik: [00:12:46] That’s awesome. You know, we’ve developed when I tell you about Joshua Tree experts, currently, we’re we’re a good sized firm within our area. We have over 60 employees. We just launched our second location last year in March 1st of last year. So we’ve just completed our first year and our second corporate location. We knew getting into the space, the franchise. Franchising and selling franchises that, hey, we weren’t experts in it. I studied and did some research for about a year and a half, two years. So it wasn’t a quick decision. We knew, again, developing that plan of what it was going to be. I launched and hired. Smb is a consulting group out of Philadelphia. Steve Belman and his team, and they have been awesome to work with. They helped us develop our operations manual. They hook this up with an intern, Nicola Law Firm out of Jersey, which helped create our PhD and we have a really solid pieces there and having them to to bounce ideas off to talk things through network with other franchises they launched with mature and emerging has been absolutely wonderful and we knew that was going to be important. I’ve talked to some people that have gone on this that their own. It’s taken them a lot of time. It’s taken them a lot more of an investment and they never really got to where they wanted to be. I feel like we’re after a year of working on it and we really did start about a year ago that we’re in a really good spot and a really good space to really project now.
Lee Kantor: [00:14:21] So now are there certain markets that are better than others? Like what is kind of in your mind the ideal Joshua Tree export market? Like what are some of the qualities of that market?
Joshua Malik: [00:14:33] Well, we just we definitely want some some demographics to be good. We’ve got to think about. The topography of certain places, you know. Some places in the southwest, probably one the most extreme places for us. Northeast, East Coast, Midwest places even on the West Coast are good. We got to think about tree size. We’ve got to think about vegetation as in what lawns currently look like. Pest control is something that is basically we can do anywhere but and we’re launching as a tree care. We got to think, you know, my ideal spot for us to get our first couple sales wood would honestly be locally to the region that we’re at Pennsylvania within a five hour radius of us. That would be key. We can give some excellent support. The topography is very close. The demographics are very close to what we’re working with right now. Geography is very close. We have our ideal consumer client target profile would be someone in their 40 year old plus single dwelling home half acre plus. That gives us home values of 350,000 and up, gives us the ability to to really cross-sell our services. We might get calls for tree work and it could be a tree removal job. It could be a tree pruning job. We go out there, we’re able to cross-sell and upsell our other departments that we have so different areas of the country that we can find that opportunity. They got trees, they got the landscape care that they need. They got the pest control. We get to offer them all three brands.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:12] And if somebody wants to learn more about the opportunity, what’s the website?
Joshua Malik: [00:16:17] Yeah. Joshua tree experts dot com. They can go to the consumer website there. There’s a tab top right there for franchising that’ll take you to JTI franchising dot com and they can fill out a submission form and we can go from there.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:32] Well, Josh, thank you so much for sharing your story today. You’re doing important work and we appreciate you.
Joshua Malik: [00:16:38] Leah. I appreciate the time, man. Have a good day, brother.
Lee Kantor: [00:16:40] All right, this Lee Kantor. We’ll see you next time on Franchise Marketing Radio.