How Many Landscapers have recently Subcontracted a Tree Moving Co

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by steven_ucf, Sep 12, 2008.

  1. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    I am asking because I was trying to do some market research. I would like to start a tree moving business with a 90" tree spade. But, before I drop $$$ I was trying to get a feel of the demand. The thought of spending >60K on a piece of equipment and not having any business scares the crap out of me.
  2. BrandonV

    BrandonV LawnSite Platinum Member
    Messages: 4,606

    60K on a spade? used I suppose. If there is already someone in you area doing it honestly I would think about it hard, there are only so many trees that need to be moved unless yall are in period of growth w/ high end houses or commercial stuff. Either way it is challenging business, we got into basically to help move our large material at the nursery. If we were in a market more like atlanta it'd be great but your clientele is very limited in our parts... milwaulkee may be very different, I don't know. good luck either way!
  3. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Yes, 60K is definetley used. It is about as low as you can go without buying someone elses junk.
  4. Travel'n Trees

    Travel'n Trees LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 631

    See how busy your competition is and how much they are getting around here we are too cheap. And insurance is high.
  5. LTL

    LTL LawnSite Member
    from Tulsa
    Messages: 98

    We sub out a tree moving business all the time. If the clientele is right it's great easy money. He uses a 90" spade most of the time. Like the others said if there is com'l or high end new development business will be very good for you. Also, one of his 90" spades is for sale. 125K I think.
  6. Az Gardener

    Az Gardener LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,899

    I use one from time to time. I talked to him at length on the last job as it was 2 days of moving pines from one part of the property to the other. He said that there are about 4-5 spades working here in Phx. 3 mil people and year around work. With the exception of one jerk they all get along and refer each other when work is busy. I would see if anyone in your town is hiring, that would be a good start.
  7. Mike33

    Mike33 LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,649

    Location, location. My area no one has one but but im in the mountains with plenty of trees which people seemed to cut down. If someone wants a tree they just buy one and plant it. So it wouldnt work in my area but maybe another area would be a good business. I would re-search your area real well and try to find out how much business the other guy does that has one.
  8. PSUturf

    PSUturf LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 663

    I used to do sales work for a large landscape firm in Madison and handled most of the tree spade sales (that weren't part of a larger landscape project). We only averaged about one on-site transplanting job per week with the 90" spade. That's not counting sales of new trees from the nursery. The vast majority of the tree spade work for the 90" as well as two 65" s was for moving trees from our nursery for commercial jobs.

    $60k is really cheap for a reliable 90" spade. Tree spades are expensive to operate and maintain.
  9. steven_ucf

    steven_ucf LawnSite Member
    Messages: 28

    Thanks for the help guys. I know 60k is cheap; from what I looked - it seems to be about as low as you could go without buying a complete piece of junk. You are right maintenance is sooo expense - A new blade is about $7k each, lift track 6k, prob. about 3k or so for new slides and blocks. New tranny 13K, a new engine is about the same, 2k for injection pump, about 2-3k for a new suspension. Not to mention all the misc. crap that can go wrong. And the fact that once you drop all that money into the spade truck you will never get it back out if you try to sell it. Plus, I think the insurance is about $2,000 a year - just for collision, compressive, and liability. And another big chunk of $$$ for errors and omissions. Plus registration in WI is thru the roof. Going rate here is about 180/hr, sounds like a lot - but with all the expenses of running this equipment I doubt I’d ever get rich moving trees. But all I am looking for is making enough to support my wife and I and a couple kids - and enjoy what I am doing.

    PSUTURF - When did you work at that landscaping firm and how many big trees did you sell when you worked there?


    PSUTURF - When did you work at that landscaping firm and how many big trees did you sell when you worked there?


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