DeGroat found the tree maintenance, plant health and lawn care franchise when he was looking for a job to support him through a year of police training. However, once he became ingrained with the brand, he saw the vision and decided to take the leap.


Prior to joining the Muncie Police Department and Joshua Tree Experts, I had a history in criminal justice and the military. After earning a degree in criminal justice, I worked as a case manager for the State of Indiana Department of Child Services. I enlisted in the military in 2012 and became a commissioned officer in May of 2015. I thought I would be continuing along a similar trajectory when I joined the police force, but my “temporary” job with Joshua Tree Experts became so much more. When I moved back to Pennsylvania to be closer to family, I knew I would need a job to support me through about a year of training before I could officially become an officer.

During that transition period, I reached out to Joshua Malik, our founder, about a job. He said absolutely, and I started in the lawn care department.

During that time, Josh started telling me about his plans to grow the company, and we knew that growth would expand my role with Joshua Tree Experts beyond what I could balance while also working as a full-time officer. We talked about what that future might look like, and I decided to stay with the company. I liked the path Josh had laid out so much that I withdrew all of my law enforcement applications.

As the company grew, so did my role with lawn care. I came to supervise that department as it grew, and I managed hiring and recruiting while also working as a lawn care technician. I also gained some experience working on the tree crew, as tree care business is more prevalent in the winter than lawn care is, and I wanted to be involved with the company full-time.

After a year-long deployment to Iraq, I came back to Pennsylvania and stepped into the role of Recruiting and Training Coordinator with Joshua Tree Experts and held that position for around a year and a half. Earlier this year, the team approached me about the Director of Franchise Development role, and I was promoted again.

In my current role, I work with candidates to walk through the discovery process as they consider becoming a Joshua Tree Experts franchisee. I work with candidates who both find us organically and those who are referred by a third party, but the process is similar either way. My main mission is to support our candidates and provide the information they need to get to know and love the brand the same way I did back in 2017 when I first started working with Josh and learning more about the mission.

I start by giving them a 30,000-foot view of the brand, then we will dig into the unit economics and go over all of the financials that they will need as well as what they can potentially make. At this stage, we have a workbook that we go through to help the franchisee predict their own success. While the financial representations we have in the FDD are completely factual, much of a franchisee’s success stems from their own work and commitment to the business, and it’s important to make sure that we are on the same page in terms of what they see for themselves and the type and amount of work they’re looking to put in.

Once we finish those steps, we’ll go through the final details like territory mapping and any questions they may have about the Franchise Disclosure Document. If everything is good at that point, the candidate is invited to confirmation day. They will come to see us at headquarters, we show them around and they can see all of the equipment we use. That gives them a much closer look at what it takes, and we’ve found that a lot of people don’t expect to see everything that we have to offer. We have a whole facility and three different operations centers; it really impresses people when they see how structured we are.

This leads to the official Decision Day where they decide if they want to move forward with the opportunity. If they say yes, I help them navigate the funding process, then we have a welcome call. Once this is complete, I turn them over to the support team to continue the process.

What I do is so fulfilling because I know that, even after I turn a new franchisee over to the support team, the support they will receive is nowhere close to being done. We are there for candidates throughout the entire process, and my role is just one segment of that journey.

Just as I have gotten to experience with Joshua Tree Experts, our franchise mission is to enrich the lives of others through brand growth. We want to help people flourish in their own lives whether that be through entrepreneurship, being a crew leader or being a technician with boots on the ground. We want to improve the lives of those who work with the brand by nature of working with our brand.