Welcome to ArboristSite.com! Log in or Sign up to interact with the ArboristSite community.

ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


  1. Please see this post Click Here Please ask questions if you have them!! I hope this is going to be great for us all.
    Dismiss Notice

Small Trees Only?

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by tim355, Dec 11, 2016.

  1. tim355

    tim355 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    I know a lot of the smaller trees (less than 30' lets say) usually just get hack jobs done by local landscaping companies. Has anyone marketed directly to these types of clients with any level of success? Does anyone work with only small trees with the intention of only doing small trees? How has it gone?
     
  2. Del_

    Del_ I was cured all right.

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    22,540
    Likes Received:
    2,252
    Location:
    NW Georgia
    I would expect such marketing would result in a very hungry existence.
     
    Conquistador3 likes this.
  3. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,558
    Likes Received:
    1,114
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have found good success working with larger clients - commercial or municipal. There is very clear evidence that small investments early in a tree's life results in significantly reduced long-term costs. When you can offer the client costs of less than $50 per tree investment and get 30-40 trees done per day it is a win/win. Individual homeowners understand this too...while 2-3 trees at a time doesn't pay quite as well, it does make a nice "last stop of the day" to fill out an hour in the next few weeks as I have time to pop in.

    City of Cincinnati (who probably has as good of data on it as anybody) has found that a 3-5 year schedule is ideal. Less frequent and you are pruning much more out - leaving bigger wounds and spending more time per tree. More frequent, and you are spending money to visit a tree that doesn't have as much need yet.

    I think it would be tough going to do small trees ONLY (unless you are in the right market for it), but it is a chunk of what I do.

    You might even talk to the local landscape companies to see if they want to pass those off to an expert (if you are an expert...). They probably would do that for some of the trees and handle others on their own.
     
    svk, jefflovstrom, tim355 and 3 others like this.
  4. miko0618

    miko0618 ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    pa
    I don't know if a lot of ours are done by hack jobs. I get calls for them. I think its profitable. I got a removal of a small tree to just the other day. Its a 15 minute job for $175. They can be a nice break.

    Now, if you personally want to make a business of small trees only, you would really limit your market. You can do only small trees but I personally would never get enough.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
     
    Jason Douglas and bikemike like this.
  5. ksvanbrunt

    ksvanbrunt ArboristSite Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2013
    Messages:
    78
    Likes Received:
    65
    Location:
    N. Idaho, for now
    Good topic. I am curious to see more thoughts on this as well. I am planning on going on my own in the spring and focusing on younger trees. Not so much "small" trees, but young trees and really selling the importance of creating structurally strong trees from a young age to mitigate future costly pruning and larger pruning wounds. A nice thing about this will be is, hopefully, I can do all this by myself and not have any employees, keeping my overhead low. In addition to pruning, I will be doing airknife work which, especially in my area, all of the retarded landscapers keep planting trees WAY too deep. As long as I can find ways to educate people of their trees needs, I will be pretty content, business wise working primarily on younger trees.
     
  6. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Columbus
    I also offer structural pruning for young trees, usually quick work and educated clients understand the need. A potential area of growth could be working with or for nurseries as I see many newly dug and planted trees with abysmal structure. Many landscape companies need major help and training with their ornamental pruning too. Many know enough to be dangerous.

    A LOT of PHC work is fungicide apps for smaller ornamentals such as crabs, dogwoods, and hawthorns. Our market is high end residential so plenty of these trees around.
     
    tim355 likes this.
  7. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Columbus
    Perhaps another growth area for arborists is planting small trees and ornamentals. Good work when things are slow and most of us will plant properly.
     
    CanopyGorilla likes this.
  8. miko0618

    miko0618 ArboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2013
    Messages:
    804
    Likes Received:
    190
    Location:
    pa
    I think the perfect place to hang a card would be lowes or home depot. They guarantee their trees if they die. You could pick the tree, haul it and install it. The trees are cheap and if it dies, more work for you.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G930A using Tapatalk
     
  9. tim355

    tim355 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    Thanks for all the replies. I appreciate all the helpful information! For those who offer structural pruning is that something customers look/ ask for or is it something you offer when you place the bid?
     
  10. BC WetCoast

    BC WetCoast Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2007
    Messages:
    2,429
    Likes Received:
    1,581
    Location:
    Vancouver
    It can also depend on your market. In many of our neighbourhoods, there are only small trees. The large ones were cleared years ago and replaced with smaller flowering ornamentals.

    We also get calls for fruit tree pruning specifically for fruit. Even though I prune a lot of trees, I'm not so confident with my fruit tree pruning. Becoming knowledgable in this area, with the increase in awareness of urban vegetable gardening could lead to a small market. Contact some urban garden societies around as well as the retail nurseries.
     
    ATH and tim355 like this.
  11. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2006
    Messages:
    2,558
    Likes Received:
    1,114
    Location:
    Ohio
    Getting better at fruit tree pruning is a great idea. I have picked up bits here and there, but could certainly use more. I have thought that perhaps the best thing I could do is go to an orchard and ask to work there for a few days when they prune. It would likely be pretty low hourly rate, but if it is taken as an educational opportunity, that wouldn't be the worst late winter work. I would think they'd be glad to have somebody who understands trees helping. It is not like you will be competition for them down the road as they are not trying to prune individual trees. Hmmmm....something to think more about.

    One thing I ask when somebody wants a fruit tree pruned "do you consider this an ornamental tree, or is fruit production more important?" Orchard trees aren't the prettiest things out there - you really have to open them up to get sunlight to all of the producing limbs if you want to maximize fruiting. I get about a 50/50 split on the answer...
     
    CanopyGorilla likes this.
  12. crotchclimber

    crotchclimber ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2013
    Messages:
    325
    Likes Received:
    164
    Location:
    Boulder, CO
    Yeah many people don't care about the fruit on their fruit trees so I ask as well. Of course to get a good orchard tree structure it takes yearly pruning for the entire early life of the tree, which rarely happens. Most people plant a tree and then call you ten years later to come prune it when it breaks from snow or something. We can't do a whole lot for structure at that point. I'd say pruning trees less than 30' is close to a third of our jobs around here. We do a lot of fruit trees and crabapples in the winter. Some local companies won't do them (typically low $ jobs) and actually tell the customers to call us.
     
  13. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Columbus
    Most of the time we have to educate the consumer re structural pruning at a young age vs trying to do what you can when the tree is far more mature.
    We also have to take into account pruning for people reasons- crown raising, sight lines, clearance issues etc, while also emphasizing pruning for tree reasons - structural improvements and maintenance, end weight reductions, sanitation, etc. Usually means you have to sell multiple visits over the years rather than over-prune all at once.
     
  14. Jason Douglas

    Jason Douglas ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2016
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    70
    Location:
    Columbus
    Another aspect of younger trees and landscapes is the need to address SGRs before the tree is completely girdled. I hear you about landscapers and poor planting practices and volcano mulching but also remember that nursery container production methods are a huge culprit re SGRs. Furthermore, b&b methods can also be quite problematic on many different species as they often produce roots laterally from the root cut points after havesting. Eventually, these tangentially arranged new roots will become girdlers.

    Another potential service sale avenue in addition to canopy work for younger trees.
     
  15. CanopyGorilla

    CanopyGorilla climber....sawyer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    349
    Location:
    N Western, MT
    I certainly don't advertise or focus on small trees, but it is something I end up selling a lot of. In example, I show up to bid a removal and I will notice other trees on the property and mention early formative pruning. I can usually add to a job.

    The fruit tree thing can be a real headache, most times people have something that hasn't been touched in 5-10 years and they want it to turn into a production orchard tree. I usually tell them that like topping large trees, topping fruit trees is not good practice and that low branch structure is achieved through annual scaffold pruning from a very early age.
     
  16. Bwoell14

    Bwoell14 ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Central Florida
    I'm new to the tree service business and doing it on the side for extra cash. For the most part, I've only been doing small trees. I'm not advertising specifically for this but I think I'm bottom feeding off of the big guys. So far, it's been working out pretty good.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  17. CanopyGorilla

    CanopyGorilla climber....sawyer

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2013
    Messages:
    421
    Likes Received:
    349
    Location:
    N Western, MT
    Make sure you know HOW to prune small trees.
     
    ATH likes this.
  18. pro94lt

    pro94lt Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2010
    Messages:
    1,551
    Likes Received:
    834
    Location:
    USA
    Theirs no need to focus on only small trees unless the big trees scare you, do them both...
     
  19. tim355

    tim355 New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2016
    Messages:
    3
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    USA
    Unless you don't have the equipment to dispose of the large trees and are looking to not incur debt while getting started on your own. I am completely capable of doing big trees (if I had big equipment) but it doesn't make sense if I have to haul it all away in a dump trailer and load everything by hand. I wouldn't make a dime. I am also more interested in preparing the trees to be structurally strong from the start.
     
    ksvanbrunt likes this.
  20. Bwoell14

    Bwoell14 ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Nov 20, 2016
    Messages:
    14
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Central Florida
    Exactly my issue. I don't have the equipment. It's myself and another guy. We can haul it away. We'd been loading it by hand but that's ok if we're getting paid. Trying not to bite off more than we can chew. We're working, making money, learning, gaining experience and doing ok. I'll take what I can get.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    ksvanbrunt likes this.

Share This Page