Joshua Tree Experts
Executive Q&A with Joshua Tree Experts Founder and CEO Joshua Malik
The emerging franchise is set up for success by rolling out its business ownership opportunity in the booming tree care, lawn care and pest control industries.
1851 Franchise: Tell us about the history and founding of Joshua Tree Experts.
Joshua Malik, Founder and CEO of Joshua Tree Experts: Joshua Tree Experts opened in 2005, initially offering plant health care and general tree care. It was a home-based business in Pennsylvania being run out of a small, three-car garage. But the company had a great niche. No one offered our kind of trained certified arborists. In 2009, I bought a good commercial site and expanded with an internal team and infrastructure. Then in 2017, the company added lawn care services, including fertilizer and weed control. That’s when we really began marketing that service, and it paid off. When 2020 came around, we rolled out pest control, monthly visits for commercial sites, quarterly visits and mosquito, flea and tick spray for residential customers. Now we have three services in one: tree care, lawn care, and pest control.
1851 Franchise: What void does Joshua Tree Experts fill? What was missing in the space before the launch of Joshua Tree Experts and how were you able to identify that void?
Malik: I started in the industry when I graduated from high school in 1992. When 2005 rolled around, I was working for a few mom-and-pop shops, but was able to really gather what was working and use it to start my own business. At that point, education and training weren’t being implemented because there weren’t as many certified arborists working for the companies doing tree and shrub spray. I already had all the licenses required to launch that service, and no one was marketing very well. So I got in touch with a local marketing firm to launch my services, and that worked really well.
1851 Franchise: What are you doing well right now? What are your brand differentiators?
Malik: First and foremost, we have an awesome culture. I invest a ton back into the business and everybody within the company understands that. People are amazed at how committed we are to growing. We’re really trying to continue doing well and see steady growth within the business.
Another brand differentiator is that we work in a really cool industry. There’s a lot of pride in getting to work outside and have your office be the great outdoors. It can be really beautiful. It really comes down to giving customers a unique and exceptional experience in tree care. We still have clients we are servicing from when they signed with us 16 years ago.
1851 Franchise: How have you grown in recent years and what are your growth goals?
Malik: We’ve grown steadily over the past year, and revenue is up double digitals in percentage in all three departments and 40% overall for the business. We work in an industry that is really needed right now, and we’re giving people the opportunity to ride the tailwinds of that demand.
We want to sign five franchisees in 2022, five in 2023 and eight in 2024. Ideally we would like to launch those within a five-hour radius of headquarters in Pennsylvania. We have the infrastructure, connections, etc. to grow right now, and we’re in a much better position for growth than many franchise brands of our size.
1851 Franchise: What have been some of Joshua Tree Experts milestones since you launched?
Malik: Sixty-percent of our revenue is from recurring business. Anyone who signs up this year rolls over to next year. We have about $4.4 million already rolling into 2022 through this recurring revenue structure. When we introduce new services, 70 to 80% of customers have signed on as well. Another milestone is the fact that we’ve built an indoor sales team and a huge database of previous clients that we’ll call, upsell and cross-sell. If they join on lawn care, we’ll sell them on pest control. That really helps generate additional streams of revenue.
Additionally, during the COVID-19 pandemic, we were considered an essential business. Last year we went completely digital. We used to have people leave behind promotional materials, invoicing physically, etc., but now we are operating entirely online. We are very fortunate to be an essential business.
We opened our second company branch in 2021.
Joshua Tree Experts has been involved in over 10 years of service at Arlington National Cemetery and I’ve championed the General Tree care service for Renewal and Remembrance for 9 years.
1851 Franchise: Why did you choose franchising over corporate growth?
Malik: I genuinely love developing people, taking new people on and watching them move up through the company while they grow personally. I also love offering great leadership and mentoring. I like that franchise owners may have more of a commitment to the brand than an employee would. In franchising, there’s more opportunity for current staff members to continue to grow. If you are not advancing, staff will look for new opportunities. I love a challenge and my team loves a challenge as well.
1851 Franchise: How does Joshua Tree Experts plan to support future franchisees?
Malik: We have started to establish modules for future franchisee training. We have dedicated someone on our staff to start this, and we’re still working through it. We know that training is one of the most important things for franchisee success. We plan to show our franchise owners everything they need and have the people to provide that support. We are working with a team right now to put together a marketing playbook, for example.
1851 Franchise: What does your ideal franchisee look like?
Malik: The first few franchisees are the most important, and they will be an ambassador for the brand. We love a corporate-minded person — it’s really important for our franchisees to have a corporate mindset because for the first three to six months, they will need to be very involved in the business. After that initial adjustment stage, they can take a step back and work on the business.
We want people who are looking for a big life change, and are coming from an industry or system where they’ve learned how to follow a proven model. We need someone who knows what works, has a hard work ethic, can take direction, has high emotional intelligence and is a good communicator. A franchisee also needs to be able to see this as a partnership and want to be part of our team. We truly are the Joshua Tree Experts family.
1851 Franchise: What are the top markets you’re looking to grow in for 2022?
Malik: We’re looking at the East Coast and states like New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. We want to grow our franchise opportunity just like Joshua Tree Experts did: start with one service and then start to add more from there.
1851 Franchise: Why is now the time to buy into Joshua Tree Experts?
Malik: Trees are a $25 billion industry, and the industry is expected to grow to around $29 billion by 2025. The landscape service industry also hit $114 billion in 2021 and is projected to grow to $129 billion by 2026. The industry is really booming right now, and single-family homes (our target demographic) account for the largest component of that market. It is the recurring revenue that we want franchisees to know can be a great asset to their business. When people figure out that they are a local tree expert, they’ll come to them with questions and that opens up the door to opportunities for franchisees.
For more information on franchising with Joshua Tree Experts, visit: https://www.joshuatreeexperts.com/franchise.