A national tree service company that prioritizes customer satisfaction and the environment. That’s the reputation Monster Tree Service, the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise, has earned since founder Josh Skolnick started the company in 2008. Our professional and certified arborists are committed to making the world a more beautiful place by helping our customers make their trees stronger and healthier.
In less than a decade, Monster Tree Service has grown to 29 outlets in 10 states by partnering with fantastic franchise partners around the country. Our system is expanding rapidly as homeowners are actively searching for our best-in-class tree services, ranging from tree removal to tree/shrub pruning/trimming to comprehensive plant healthcare services. These homeowners realize that trees, shrubs and lawns do more than add value and beauty to their home. They also provide shade, shelter, and privacy, while creating more oxygen for the atmosphere. Monster Tree service is more than a business, it’s a mission to create a healthier environment for everybody.
We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished as one of franchising’s most exciting emerging brands and we’re launching this blog series to celebrate the Monster Tree Service franchise owners who’ve helped us extend our reach and impact to hundreds of communities across the country.
Our first franchisee in focus is Rich Baldyga, owner and founder of Monster Tree Service of the Research Triangle (the Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill area of North Carolina). Rich has quickly become one of Monster Tree Service’s greatest success stories. Tired of the corporate grind after 30 years of running, buying and selling high tech firms, and all the associated travel, Rich was anxious to make a change for his wife and two young children. In 2014, he partnered with Monster Tree Service, the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise, after moving to the Raleigh, NC area. He has already earned “Franchisee of the Year” honors in his first few years and is looking ahead to even bigger goals.
We recently asked Rich to share with us some insights into buying a franchise, his background, and the single, greatest influence on his life. Here’s our detailed interview with Rich (if you’d like to see more franchisee profiles like these, please visit: monsterfranchising.com/blog).
Q - Rich, tell us a little about yourself, first:
Rich Baldyga (RB) – I grew up in Cherry Hill in South Jersey. Great environment, lots of hard-working folks, including my dad. He was a brick mason, but he also picked up other jobs when he could to better provide for his family. I tried to emulate his work ethic. I had a paper route at 8 years old, when you had to be 12 to get one. No one ever asked and I never told!
I started working with my dad at 11, doing the same jobs the older workers did: digging footings, laying brick, pouring concrete for driveways, and building chimneys. Chimney construction is a lot like working in trees for Monster Tree Services: you have to start at the bottom, and as you work your way to the top, it gets hotter and harder! My dad always stressed an honest day’s work, for an honest day’s pay, and I took that mantra to heart. I’m passing that on to my kids now.
Q - What about your previous professional career in high tech?
RB – For 30 years, I was deeply involved in several big-name tech firms as a CEO managing start-ups, and as a deal broker for other major players. I worked for people such as Ross Perot, founder of EDS and Peter Karmanos, founder of Compuware. It was an unbelievable experience at the time, but I was moving a lot, plus travelling even more.
I was living in San Francisco when I met my wife to be, Cristina. She was working at a tennis club where I was a member. We both loved tennis. In fact, I proposed to her at the French Open, and we honeymooned at the Australian Open.
Once our two kids came along, I wanted to spend more time with them, and not be chained to an airline schedule, or the other demands of my business world. That’s when I decided I really wanted to investigate working for myself.
So how did you take that step?
My sister lives close to Raleigh, so we decided to move there because we loved the weather and the cost of living was much lower than San Francisco. Plus, the schools are top-notch and the beach is close. It made a great base of operations.
I worked with a franchise consultant, who helped me discover which franchises could be a successful match for my business skill sets and personality. After doing my own due diligence, I was attracted to Monster Tree Service, the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise, for multiple reasons: 1) it was a fairly new franchise that offered great training and support, 2) I’d be outdoors again, doing physical work, and 3) the company was bringing environmentally friendly professionalism to an industry which pretty much featured a couple of guys in a pick-up with chain saws in the back. I signed on in February of 2014, calling my new franchise Monster Tree Service of The Research Triangle.
You got off to a very fast start, right?
I did because I started selling with Monster Tree Service before I had even completed my training! I figured with my sales background, I would get the business, then figure it out. So, I had $20,000 of business just waiting for my team and I before I had even opened the doors!
My first year, 2014, I made nearly half a million dollars in just 8 and a half months, and was voted “Franchise of the Year”. I have steadily increased business every year since, and am hoping to break the million-dollar barrier this year and become the #1 highest selling franchisee with the nation’s first and fastest growing tree service franchise.
I am to the point where I will be adding a second crew to my Monster Tree Service of The Research Triangle team. Plus, I will be adding and upgrading equipment.
Our client retention and the referrals we get from local customers have been phenomenal! People love what Monster Tree Service of The Research Triangle stands for: protecting the environment while promoting healthy tree growth. They also like the fact we are professional and trustworthy: we do what we say we will do, and then leave their yard in pristine shape, making sure to pick up after ourselves. I think my dad would be proud.
Are you interested in escaping the corporate grind and jumping into franchise ownership like Rich Baldyga? If so, the Monster Tree Service franchise opportunity may be a perfect fit for you. To learn more, please visit www.monsterfranchising.com.