The Making of a MONSTER
You know, sometimes you can just tell if a kid is a born entrepreneur. Even in elementary school, he’s the kid…
- Who simply gets supply and demand – buying candy wholesale to sell at a profit to sugar-starved classmates while stuck in school.
- Who’s a whiz at math because numbers fascinate him…but digging deep into the History books? Ehh…not so much.
- Who sells his entire lunch – sandwiches, fruit, snack, cake, milk – item by item, just to make few bucks to fund his next idea.
- Who is maddeningly restless and always sees the “bigger picture,” even when some friends, adults, and teachers don’t.
That was Josh Skolnick.
THIS is Josh Skolnick today: CEO and Founder of Monster Tree Service, the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise, and literally making money off trees. Still in his early 30’s, Skolnick has already grown Monster Tree Service to an $11 million business with 29 franchised units in 10 states nationwide. He expects to grow the business another 30% in 2017 and plans to award 100 franchise territories in the next four years, increasing system-wide sales to the $100 million mark by 2021.
Not bad for a guy from rural Fort Washington, PA, who never stepped foot in a college dorm and frequently cut classes in high school.
“I launched my first landscaping business at 12 and grew it rapidly by consistently hustling for business and doing a great job,” says Skolnick. “Despite my age, local folks hired me over others because I took great pride in my work and was always dreaming big. That passion and relentless work ethic is what separated me and my company then, and it’s the same key differentiator today. No one will outwork me, our employees, or our Monster Tree Service franchise partners.
“Anyway, by the time I was in high school, I had crews working for me, was making very good money, and had a client list of more than 100 people around the area. Many of those clients were my teachers. Fortunately, just like my parents, many of them realized that my focus wasn’t on school, but on growing my business.”
Skolnick adds, laughing, “And they encouraged me to skip classes during the busy season to build the business because they realized I was probably the only 16-year old who worried more about rain screwing up my work schedule, than the prom.”
Skolnick did, however, hit the books enough to graduate high school in 2002. While classmates went off to college, he concentrated on his local landscaping empire. He bought two smaller landscaping companies, adding their equipment, and personnel. Before he was 20, his full-service client list ballooned to 300. The restless kid, was now a blur, shot out of a cannon.
In 2005, Skolnick had his first “Big Picture A-ha Moment.” Behind on lawncare projects due to heavy spring rain, he was also contracted to mulch more than 300 properties by Memorial Day. With the clock ticking, Skolnick went big. He bought a mulch shooter, which could blast out the stuff at 15 yards per hour – the birth of the first “monster” in Mulch Monsters.
“We’re spraying mulch over the grounds of a massive property here in Pennsylvania and the homeowner can’t believe what he’s seeing,” says Skolnick. “The owner comes out on his balcony to track the action up close for a couple of minutes. With a look of amazement, he yells over to me, ‘You guys are a bunch of Mulch Monsters!’ Boom! We had a brand-new business, and a slick, catchy name, perfectly describing what we did.”
Equipped with a memorable brand name and the same infectious enthusiasm and tireless work ethic he had as a kid business owner, Skolnick was landing jobs in states surrounding PA, including major commercial jobs with big brand names. Before his 25th birthday, Mulch Monsters became so, well monstrous, that Skolnick sold his landscaping business to focus on his new company’s growth.
But that’s just the beginning. Soon after Mulch Monsters took off, Skolnick experienced his second “Big Picture A-Ha Moment” when a former landscaping client needed to get rid of a dead tree on his property in June 2008.
“I knew NOTHING about tree removal,” Skolnick remembers, laughing. “So, I found a contractor to do the job and told him I would supply the equipment. The contractor just shook his head when I showed up with an 18-inch chain saw to cut down the tree. It was so thick, I couldn’t even get my arms halfway around it. No way the chain saw alone would do the job. He told me the equipment he needed, and I ran out and bought it all – ropes, chain saws, wood chippers, etc. – for $2,200.
“I lost my shirt on that one job, but I quickly realized I had uncovered a goldmine. Countless neighbors came up to us while we were completing the job and told us about their own tree issues – asking us if we could help them, too. Before the day was done, we had sold more than $20,000 worth of work on just one street. And just like that, Monster Tree Service was born.”
Fast forward to today and Skolnick is taking a big chunk out of the $17 Billion tree care industry that has averaged 5% year-over-year growth in the last five years. After eight years of smart and sustainable franchise system development, Skolnick has launched an aggressive franchise development strategy (learn more in this press release) in 2017 by signing proven strategic partners like Franchise Fastlane, an accelerated, turn-key, outsourced franchise sales organization, and 919 Marketing, a leading national content marketing and public relations agency focusing on franchise brands.
While there are other national companies and countless mom and pops who provide tree care and removal services, only one company, Monster Tree Service, is the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise offering a full slate of services including tree pruning, shrub maintenance, plant healthcare, and of course, tree removal.
More than anything, it’s been Skolnick’s ability to recognize “A Ha” moments and capitalize on them that has made him a great leader. His vision and passion has already attracted phenomenal franchise owners, like Raleigh, NC owner Rich Baldyga (learn more about Baldyga’s story here), and helped fuel the franchise’s growth to date.
He says he is still the same dreamer he was as a child, and it’s those big dreams, coupled by an insatiable desire to achieve them, that will fuel the continued success of the Monster Tree Service franchise system.
“I am a disruptor, an innovator, and a tireless worker who has developed a high-upside business in a largely untapped industry that fits my skill-set, personality and experience,” says Skolnick. “All of our franchise partners share my passion of providing homeowners with unparalleled service completed by ultimate professionals. I am committed to our franchise partners and will be relentless in making sure Monster Tree Service is a franchise household name from coast to coast as soon as possible.”
For more information on Monster Tree Service franchise opportunities, please visit www.monsterfranchising.com.