Last year, Tony Uerling became the owner of Monster Tree Service of West Houston. Below, he talks about his entrepreneurial journey from Vice President with international oil company BP, to becoming a franchise owner with Monster Tree Service.
Tony Uerling recently became a business owner of a Monster Tree Service franchise – a business opportunity that is seeing high demand thanks to Houston’s robust tree canopy. Below, in his own words, Tony shares the story of his own entrepreneurial journey…
“I’m married with a 13-year-old son and my wife works in the veterinary field. I got my degree in chemical engineering at the University of Tulsa and joined BP right out of college. I served in a variety of engineering and business development roles for the company. A few years later, I went back and got my MBA at the University of Cal Berkeley in 2006, which helped me move into more of the managerial roles for BP over the past 10 years. I really enjoyed my time working in the O&G industry and was pretty sure that I’d stay there for my full career.”
On Becoming an Entrepreneur
“I guess you could say I’ve had some exposure to small business ownership. My father was a partner and president of his own engineering consulting firm. And the truth is that I’d been thinking about making a career change in recent years. Two years ago, Covid and the volatile nature of the oil market kind of helped push me to make a decision – so I took a voluntary exit from BP with a severance package. I spent the next few months exploring my options and that’s when I crossed paths with Diana Trondsen of FranNet. Thankfully, during my career transition, my severance along with my wife’s income the overall risk of striking it out on my own. As such, we were able to take advantage of this opportunity at that point in time.”
“What I really liked about franchising was the proven business models. After assessing my goals and lifestyle preferences, Diana and I reviewed a variety of opportunities that might fit my goals. From there, it was a matter of narrowing them down, because some of the opportunities had an obvious appeal to me, but a few of the other concepts just weren’t a good fit for me.”
How FranNet Helped
“Diana and I reviewed my assessment results, and it subsequently recommended a wide range of franchise opportunities. We explored each concept, then narrowed it down to just a couple of finalists. With Monster Tree Service, I liked the whole home-services industry – the fact that it’s a static need and continually in demand. I also really liked the scalability of the business model. From my previous experience in the O&G industry, I had some experience managing operations for safety and efficiency. I really did not have much experience with sales and marketing, but I have learned fast. Monster has been a great partner in helping me launch the business, secure the equipment, and get everything up and running. Houston has a very fragmented market in this business sector, especially for the services that we provide. And that’s given me the opportunity to scale up my business with the support of the brand. It’s a great opportunity because the market demand is there – and that goes for residential and commercial both.”
Where Do You Stand?
“I signed my franchise agreement with Monster Tree Service in Feb. 2021 and officially launched the business in July. As for the benchmarks we’re trying to hit, we might be slightly behind the curve in some areas, but I’ve built a great core crew that I know I can rely on. I’m learning more about the business every day, but what I’m most proud of is how we’ve already developed a strong client base. My online reviews have been reassuring, most of whom rate us with five stars. Our customers are satisfied, we’re getting great referrals and even some repeat business – after only nine months of operation. As for the future, near-term, I’d really like to get a second full-time crew up and running. It’s definitely possible, especially as we grow our residential client base and start to add more commercial clients. There is also a great opportunity to help clients manage their overall tree health through plant healthcare services. I hope to keep growing and getting more efficient. It’s an exciting time for us all.”
For more information, please visit Tony Uerling’s business website, Monster Tree Service of West Houston.