Contractor Profile: Joshua Malik, CEO, Joshua Tree Experts, Stockertown, Pa.
Green Industry Pros: How did you get into the green industry?
Joshua Malik: I was in high school, and right after I graduated, I started with a local tree care company in 1992. I've been in the industry ever since.
Green Industry Pros: Tell me a little bit more about your company.
Malik: I had been doing tree care for 13 years when I launched Joshua Tree. From 2005 to 2017, we were doing general tree care and plant health care services. We launched our lawn care department in 2017 and our pest control department in 2020.
When I got in the business in 2005, a lot of our competition was focused on bigger tree removal, and we found our niche in the market. Our mission statement is making the home environment safe, healthy and beautiful, and we really do that through our focus of preservation work.
Green Industry Pros: What have been some of your successes throughout the years?
Malik: We’ve had a lot of successes, so it’s hard to know where to start. We’ve grown to a 65-plus person company and hit more than $7 million in sales last year. We’ve been focusing on developing our people with a lot of inside training, certification and licensing training. We try to pass that on to our clients with education them on the processes and timing we’re using. We’ve done so well that we opened up a second branch location in 2021.
Green Industry Pros: What is your favorite tool to use to help grow your company?
Malik: We have old-school values, but we use new-age technology. We believe a lot in software. We have a CRM, SingleOps, that works from the first contact with a client through the sales process. All of our people use it—technicians, managers, customer service team, operations team—and we’re able to build reports and produce hourly rates, and it all syncs flawlessly with QuickBooks, which is a big time saver.
We also use an HR software, a recruiting software that helps us market to job boards seamlessly. We use technology for everything from our GPS systems for tracking driver safety to email to the Google Drive platform.
Green Industry Pros: What’s your favorite part about being in the green industry?
Malik: I love arboriculture and caring for trees. When I was younger, I was a big thrill nut, and I loved to skydive and rock climb and motocross race, so climbing trees sounded like a fun job. My first eight years I spent in the field as a climber and crew leader, so it’s really cool to go to a property and instantly see the value of the work you’ve provided. If you’re pruning trees, you can really see the aesthetic value, and if you’re doing a removal, there’s obviously that instant satisfaction that you’ve made a difference in making a house safe.
Green Industry Pros: On the flipside, what do you think the industry could use more of?
Malik: It could use more people. Right now, a lot of the work is on the employer. If there was a way that companies could gain the interest of local universities that are providing horticultural or arboriculture programs, that would be really helpful.
Green Industry Pros: Building on that, where do you see the green industry going in the next five to 10 years?
Malik: I think it's going to continue to grow, and the equipment that’s coming out that focuses on safety and the safety of employees is a very positive foot forward.
Green Industry Pros: What advice do you have for those just starting out?
Malik: The biggest thing is to start looking at the bigger picture. Planning is super important, and it’s not just a one-year plan. If you can focus on the next three to five years, that’s going to give you a path to success. And then build in a really good culture. Younger people want a culture and want to be involved with something and want to know they’re having an impact in the success of the company. You’ve really got to focus on those people.
Green Industry Pros: What are your favorite things to do outside of work?
Malik: I am a big outdoorsman. I love to mountain bike, camp, hike and hunt. At my house, I’m outside more than inside. We just moved into a new house, and the first project we’re doing is putting in this big outdoor living space.
Green Industry Pros: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Malik: This industry can be very rewarding both financially and personally, but business entrepreneurship is a mindset. You need to know there are going to be highs and lows, good days and bad days. Sometimes things can get hard, but you have to have that balance in your mind that you know things are going to turn around.
Also, trying to predict what’s going to happen in the next months or years is going to help your business thrive. Having a really good vision for the business and being able to communicate that with your people gives them the sense that they have a lot of purpose in the in the business.