View Full Version : With all these droughts, how do we expand?

10-11-2002, 08:14 PM
I have several friends in the business. With the severe droughts the last 2 years (and the threat of future ones) we have had the discussion of how to grow the business.

Water features? Lighting? Hardscaping? Irrigation?

The answer is, I believe, TREE WORK!

I have 4 tree Co's that I use as referrals. They are all booked solid for the next 4-6 months.

Drought or no drought. Trees ands shrubs continue to grow and we can profit from it.

To make it worth the venture we would need a chipper, a truck with a box and a few chainsaws. Tree & shrub pruning/trimming techniques can be learned easily with the right materials.

Think about it.

10-11-2002, 10:04 PM
My idea exactly a couple of years ago...until I checked the insurance costs. Yea, hello??? Thanks...but no thanks!

We will ride out the weather...El Nino's, droughts, Fall hurricanes that come up the East Coast, all part of the biz with lawn care.

Darryl G
10-11-2002, 11:36 PM
Matthew - I disagree that it can be leared easily. Climbing around in a tree running a chain saw is not something that is easily learned. It's really easy to get yourself killed if you don't know what you're doing. I think it's one of those professions where you need to be taught by someone who knows what they're doing.

Also, you don't necessarily need a box truck and chipper. I worked for a climber who worked out of an S-10 pick-up with a cap on it. Brush was chipped by an independent chipper guy. Wood was either put out on the curb to be taken by those burning it, left on-site, or he'd have a landscaper buddy who sold wood pick it up.

Around here, you need an arborist license to work on live trees, and you need experience to get it.


Randy Scott
10-11-2002, 11:52 PM
I'm with Darryl on this one. You are kinda insulting the true arborist professionals by saying anyone can learn it easily. I do some light pruning and raising up of the canopies, but that is it. I've dropped a couple trees and took down some bigger limbs and it scares me a little. Those branches twist or spin and they are coming right at you if you don't know what you're doing. It can be learned, but it's like anything else in the industry, it takes time and experience to get good.

10-12-2002, 02:00 AM
i had the tree class and woody plant id class and its not very easy. try to learn 15 trees and shrubs in 7 days, what they look like, size, shape, ect..... not easy stuff, then actually taking down trees thats a whole different ball game. trimming, not so hard, unless you have to climb.
look around your neighborhood how many yards are stiff brown, due to differnt reasons? i bet a good amount, ever think about doing lawn renovations, or fall aerations, and over seedings. there is lots of ways to expand within this industry that with the same ammount of customers you can make close to the same ammount of money with extras than adding the same amount of customers on.

10-12-2002, 07:46 AM
Make a mistake in our biz and its most likley a lost finger or two or a toe...make a mistake in that business and your wife is calling the underatker...oh...and did we menton power lines??? My tree guys are also booked solid...I wish them all the success in the world...they dont make allot more than we do and they pay enormous insurance costs and have many risks we dont have on a daily basis...cut one tree down the wrong way and it falls on a car or house or worse yet a kid?? and my tree trimmer was telling me last week that a competitors foreman fried himslef last month on a power line he thought was turned off...and this guy he said was climbing trees for 20 years

10-12-2002, 02:00 PM
1) Sell in irrigation.. makes drought's negligible (except is water restriction areas)

2) Lawn restorations..

Friend of the family has a tree business, does not get out of bed for a job under $2K..


10-14-2002, 08:10 PM
Guess the part I might have mis-judged is the insurance. Never really got any quotes on it.

I've done the work before, so my opinion is that it is not really that complicated. Remove dead branches. Remove crossing/inward growing branches, suckers.

Never "top" them:dizzy:

But what about the blacktop sealing???

10-15-2002, 12:25 AM
round up the rest of the yard for uniform color!!

10-15-2002, 10:29 PM
Ya still don't get it. The part you really missed is the skilled labor required to do the work. You not gonna invest in equipment for fill in work. It needs to be a full time event to be done right and profitable. Equipment is no biggie. People are the biggie.

Try selling your maint work on an all inclusive contract for clean ups, mulching, leaf removal, mowing, pruning etc. For mowing, use a good average as to the number of times per year. Bill a percentage of the annual toatl for all services each month. Get a good initial payment before you start. You gott ask for what you want.

Darryl G
10-15-2002, 11:11 PM
I plowed the last 3 years for extra money (before I started my lawncare/landscaping business) but I think I'll skip it this year. We don't get much snow, insurance is high and it's really rough on the truck.

I'm thinking of working the counter at a local dry cleaners where I worked about 25 years ago. The pay isn't bad, the work isn't hard, and many of the customers are well off so they don't maintain their own lawns. I could do some marketing while I work, and hopefully pick up a few customers for the spring.

Painting is another possibility. I've already got everything I would need except a roller extension, and I've done that work before too. Can't say I really like indoor painting (rather do outdoor) but I'm not sure I can afford to be picky.

Or...I might just sit around and get fat waiting for spring.

Actually, I've got plenty to do around the homestead, so it's not like I won't have anything to do.

10-16-2002, 06:49 AM
Maybe I'm all wet but heres my perspective...with green leaves still clinging to the trees and the grass growing like its April, I will be working easily into mid December...granted I dont live in new England or the upper midwest but it gets cold here in PA too...so lets say I hang it up in mid December. Heres what happens after that.
1. take a weeks vac with my wife..someone I dont see much of
2. take a couple turf classes at Penn State
3. repair the equipment
4. market some for next year
5. get the paperwork ready for taxes
6. do a "jobs done review" to refine my estimating for next season
7. REST for a couple of weeks....we need it dont we

With the winters we dont seem to have, its quite conceivable to start cleanups/edging etc in mid Feb. So for me this brief time off is a necessity in order to get the body, brain and the business in order...just my 2 cents