Joshua Tree Experts Franchise
When Joshua Malik decided to quit his lucrative job to start a small business in 2005, he didn’t expect the pushback he received at the time – or the success that would ultimately follow despite it.
“I was making really good money (at my previous job). I was making six figures back in 2005... And I'll be honest with you, my family – I love them, but they didn't think it was going to be possible,” Malik recalls.
Despite those negative reactions, Malik knew it was time to make a change when his boss stepped back from work after having a baby, leaving Malik to handle the daily operations of the tree maintenance business he worked for. The experience left him more confident in his skills – and wondering why he wasn't running his own business instead of doing it for someone else.
“I went into business because, like a lot of people that are working at a company and they're doing a lot of the owner’s job, I had an owner at the time that got very relaxed. I was doing the job that he was (supposed to be) doing, and I thought, ‘I can do this on my own,’” Malik says.
That year, Malik founded Joshua Tree Experts with a focus on general tree maintenance and plant health care. Despite its humble beginnings, though, Malik’s new business – like the trees it was designed to care for – slowly grew to include multiple locations with expanded services like lawn care applications and pest control treatments.
Nearly two decades later, with four locations, Joshua Tree Experts made another major transition earlier this year – this time, into franchising.
“Where we were 18 years ago, when we started Joshua Tree, to where we are today has been an awesome ride,” Malik says.
Built on solid roots and the right values
A key part of the success and longevity of Joshua Tree Experts lies within the nature of its industry – and a trade that dates back centuries globally.
“(Tree care) is a necessity. It's not like a fad that's going to come in for a few years then leave. …The profession of tree care has been around for hundreds of years,” Malik says.
Alongside its history and stability, Malik says there are other advantages to owning a business in the green space – especially when it comes to the advancements that are regularly achieved in tree care, adding value to the services that companies like Joshua Tree Experts provide.
“Arboriculture continues to improve year over year. There's such a push in our industry to improve it – and continue to improve it. And obviously, (tree maintenance) is not going anywhere,” Malik says.
Still, despite the industry’s history and advancements, Malik says he doesn’t necessarily look for franchisee candidates with extensive experience or knowledge about tree care as an emerging franchisor.
“I've talked and met with a lot of franchisors over the years and they say, ‘Man, the biggest pain in the ass is the people that have the industry knowledge – because they come in and before you know it, they're trying to tell you what to do,” Malik says.
Instead of seeking out candidates with specific experience in plant care or pest control, Malik and the team at Joshua Tree Experts look for something else: team players who can “work hard and play hard,” and who are focused on improving and adapting their businesses for success.
“My best employees that have been with me for 15-plus years have come into this industry, they have no (tree maintenance) knowledge, but they’ve got the values and they believe in the brand,” Malik says.
Weeding out the wrong candidates
For Malik, being intentionally selective about the team at Joshua Tree Experts has been a critical part of the brand’s success over time – a strategy that requires knowing when to turn away candidates and employees who aren’t the right fit.
“You're gonna get a lot of people contacting you that are not going to fit your brand. Be prepared to say no to them,” Malik says.
Although Malik emphasizes the importance of having franchisees whose values align with the brand, the team at Joshua Tree Experts doesn’t limit franchise sales only to wealthy candidates. To ensure opportunities are available to aspiring franchise owners from all walks of life, the brand sells franchises according to two models: one with a lower barrier to entry designed for “wealth builders,” and a model for “wealth growers,” designed for high net worth individuals focused on scalability.
Still, choosing the right people is only half the battle when it comes to franchising. Beyond good recruitment practices and weeding out bad-fit candidates, Malik stresses the importance of retaining quality franchisees and staff after they’ve joined the team.
“Recruiting is a big buzzword that everyone talks about. No one talks about retention,” Malik says.
At Joshua Tree Experts, retaining good people involves developing strong relationships with franchisees and corporate team members – and laying a strong foundation for supporting franchisees in their success as business owners.
“Be prepared to really nurture the relationships and the candidates that are coming through, that you're talking to that are going to be the rock star,” Malik says.
Laying the groundwork for success
At Joshua Tree Experts, nurturing relationships starts with providing a solid framework for new franchisees to succeed from Day One.
“Our onboarding – the training that we supply – is developed to give (franchisees) an overview of arboricultural services, lawn care tactics, pest control education, then developing the team that already has that experience,” Mailk says, explaining that franchisees aren’t expected to provide tree care but rather run their businesses effectively.
In addition to providing new franchisees with access to a comprehensive onboarding program, Malik says Joshua Tree Experts also provides marketing and sales support including a call center that handles leads through a one-step sales process that allows franchisees to focus on business development – something the team at Joshua Tree takes seriously.
“I'm very strict. If you don't measure it, you can't track it. So we have a certain set of KPIs which are going to be around client retention, total sales, total leads. We have about 15 KPIs that we have opted in to say, hey, hit within this bracket, make this scorecard and that's when you grab your lawn care,” Malik says, explaining that it usually takes around a year for new franchisees to hit the KPIs necessary to expand their initial services beyond plant health care into lawn care and pest control.
To keep customers satisfied and coming back – and to ensure franchisees’ income remains stable – the company also offers subscription services for clients to maintain their properties year-round, in addition to general tree care. Those subscriptions account for around 60% of the company’s recurring revenue, according to Malik.
Although Malik says he never imagined the small business he took a chance on 18 years ago would have grown into the 70-person franchise brand it is today, he says the risk was worth it in the long run.
“I believed in myself – and I still do. I'm very confident. I'm very developed in that sense. I don't let a lot of negative people talk me out of stuff,” Malik says.
To learn about franchising opportunities at Joshua Tree Experts, visit https://www.treecarefranchising.com.