Question about being subcontracted by a landscaper/hardscaper

Discussion in 'Hardscaping' started by steven_ucf, Jan 8, 2008.

  1. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Hi,

    I am tossing around the idea of beginning a tree moving or large tree installation business.

    So I am looking for advice from landscapers.

    One Idea I have is to buy a compact wheel loader and buy large ball & burlaped trees from a semi-local (about 1 1/2 hours away) tree farm that sells all sorts of balled & burlaped trees with 55" to 90" root balls for a good price. With this idea, I could buy the trees to order, have them shipped to the customer's location, and handle them with the wheel loader and use a backhoe to dig the holes. I would think that this service would be of value to landscapers who, I don't think; most of them have the equipment to handle a 5,000 to 10,000 ball. The advantage to this is the trees would be shipped to where I need them; they would come on a flat bed so 5 - 15 trees would probably fit on the trailer. Do the landscapers here think this is feasible?

    The other idea is to go with a 90" tree spade. This limits me to moving 1 tree at a time, and hoping to find a local tree farm with the trees I need. However, I can dig my own trees - and also have the ability to move trees.

    Please help. Which layout do you think would be more profitable? Which one do you think that there would be more demand for? Is there more of a demand for customers to purchase a new mature tree or have a tree moved? Do you think these services would be of value to landscapers? Any advice would be appreciated.
     
  2. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,260

    its a very niche market, the loader is a good idea but what's to stop the landscape for saying that's great, I'll rent one myself. spade trucks are cool I love mine, but (your market will vary) most people don't want to throw down for large material. i have a big john, but have been impressed w/ the dakota brand one I've seen here lately too. so i guess my answer is no, not real profitable and most landscapers want to put trees in themselves so they can get paid, now if you ask around and find some architects/designers you might have better luck.
     
  3. cedarcroft

    cedarcroft LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 442

    my area is a fairly wealthy area and there are very few guys making money moving trees around here. however, in the Hamptons which is a very exclusive area, they have a tremendous need for that. people out there buy gajillion dollar houses and then spend millions to have them landscaped and it almost always includes mature plantings and large trees. I don't know the answer to which is more profitable, but bsed on what I said above, I guess it depends on your market.
     
  4. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,260

    oh i know all about the hamptons, guys up there selling oaks and stuff for $15-50k so if you're in that market go for it, though you need to know what you're doing, it's not as easy a planting a 3gal. you mess up and a big tree on a immaculately landscape area dies, it's not as easy a lugging one in to replace it.
     
  5. kootoomootoo

    kootoomootoo LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,369

  6. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,260

  7. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    Thanks for all the advice. I laughed when I read Kootoomootoo's post. No Milwaukee is not quite the Hamptons. Although, Milwaukee does have a lot of nice suburbs and a lot of wealthy people. I appreciate all the advice; Question for TomsCreek: How did you get started moving trees? How much work do you think I would get, right off the bat by running a few ads in the newspapers, contacting general contractors, etc? The payment on one of those is pretty high, so I am a little concerned about not having enough business to make the payments. The good part is both my wife and I work full time, so we can easily afford the payments - but the crappy part is fork'n out the dough when you&#8217;re not raking enough in. I thought about starting off with a smaller spade; but then I realized that everybody and their mother has a 65" or < spade, and they are only charging around $75 - $90/hr. I only know of 1 other 90" spade in the area.
     
  8. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,260

    big john has a wealth of used spades here maybe pick one us where someone thought they'd make all kinds of $ and didn't. I got into by having a large nursery that with the unfortunate incident of my late grandfather contracting Alzheimers we got a lot of material that was too big for out 50" spade, so it was either pay for the dozing or try and move some of it w/ a larger spade. I honestly haven't used it as much as I'd like but as long as I can move 1 tree a month I do all right, I would guess that in the 3 years I've had it I've moved close to 50 trees- they'll last forever at that rate, and considering my 50" vermeer has moved 1000s of trees in its life I expect the big john to be around longer than me. I have not however aggressively marketed it, more or less just using it on projects I'm doing. as far as right of the bat, i just don't know you're area, most people around here would rather buy a 1 gal at lowes and "watch it grow" the trick will be finding someone that needs the service./
     
  9. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    From your experiences are there more demand for people who want Large new trees installed or Large existing trees moved.

    Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
     
  10. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Posts: 4,260

    developers and public works site will have you move stuff, homeowners don't usually have a source of trees so you have to provide that.
     

Share This Page