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Small residential tree work set up

Discussion in 'Arborist 101' started by Dan@JBT, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. Dan@JBT

    Dan@JBT ArboristSite Lurker

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    hi, setting up a small residential tree work business, I am an experienced and qualified arborist going out on my own for the first time, I’ve got a few saws, all the climbing and rigging gear just working out what set up I want for dealing with green waste I’m currently just hauling away with trailer (I know...) I’m thinking upgrade to small chipper, I don’t have much room and I’m not ready for a yard. Thoughts?
     
  2. The Singing Arborist

    The Singing Arborist ArboristSite Lurker

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    Congrats on taking the leap. I started mine earlier this year. I've been using a single axle trailer so far. It has been limiting to how much I can do in a day, but I can't afford a larger dump trailer or a chipper.

    The benefits have been that it is only $5 to dump it here for a single axle trailer. I built walls on it so it can hold more. And I put a rope under each load, tie the rope to a block at the dump, and pull off the entire load. For the time being, it has worked for me. I do trimming a lot more than removals anyway.

    There is that tinge of being a guy with a truck and a trailer, but everyone starts somewhere. And I would be careful of spending too much money, too early. Get your chipper when your wallet says you can. Getting a chipper also means getting a dump bed on a truck. That all adds up pretty quickly.
     
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  3. Dan@JBT

    Dan@JBT ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks, yeah that’s where I’m at at the moment, but dumping a trailer costs a bit more where I am like potentially $40-$60, I cut and leave firewood where I can, and strap it down hard so I get heaps on the trailer- but that takes time...
     
  4. The Singing Arborist

    The Singing Arborist ArboristSite Lurker

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    I suppose another question then is about your workload. Are your customers lined up around the block for you to get their work done? If they are and you can't get to them because loading and dumping the trailer takes too much time, then maybe the chipper is a good option for you.
     
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  5. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    What kind of work are you doing? Removals would be really hard without a chipper. Young tree training - can get a lot of trees done without. Root collar excavations, don't need one at all. Tree planting? Pest treatments? etc...
     
  6. Dan@JBT

    Dan@JBT ArboristSite Lurker

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    Mostly pruning and small removal at the moment, most of the time if I cut up the firewood I can leave it. I can afford to pass up jobs that are too big and turnover less $ because I don’t have the big overheads of dumptruck, chipper, yard etc. just looking at options...
     
  7. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    You can get a lot of brush from smaller removals and pruning into a dump trailer.

    I've never had anybody care how I get rid of the brush...just that we do. And more importantly how the trees are taken care of.
     
  8. himiler

    himiler If I wake up . . . it's a good day.

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    Don't be tempted to purchase a "smaller" chipper, whatever that may mean to you for your local needs. I'm sure I'm not the only one who used a too small for the job chipper and regretted every moment I had to fight to feed the less than straight and must be too big branches into that mouse. Watch what the good companies are using and doing and have a game plan.
     
  9. Bwoell14

    Bwoell14 ArboristSite Member

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    Congrats on starting. I started 2 years ago with no experience, equipment or much knowledge. I slowly acquired equipment and a dual axle utility trailer. I drool every time I see a dump trailer at the dump. Then I go home and count the cash I have because I didn’t spend it on a dump trailer.

    Keep doing what is working. After a few jobs without the right equipment, it’ll be easier to justify getting it and you’ll know it’s worth it.

    Best of luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Dan@JBT

    Dan@JBT ArboristSite Lurker

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    Thanks for your input guys, the other thing I’m thinking about is a small stump grinder, I’m missing out on a few jobs because they want the stump removed too. I’ve only used larger stump grinders in the past. Does anyone have experience with smaller (cheaper) ones?
     
  11. The Singing Arborist

    The Singing Arborist ArboristSite Lurker

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    I do mostly trimming too with a few small removals. Whenever I have to grind stumps, I wait the month or so to build up the day's worth of stump grinding. I rent a medium sized grinder for about $225 for the day, and make a little money off it. I would much rather trim, but I don't miss out on jobs because I can't grind the stumps. Stump grinders are crazy expensive. I don't think I will ever grind enough stumps to legitimate that purchase.
     
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  12. under_the_hill

    under_the_hill ArboristSite Lurker

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    I found a man who used to remove trees and now he only grinds stumps. Take a look around and see if you can find a stump-only man in your area. He's invaluable because even if I had the grinder, he's got years and years of experience about what's safe to grind and what isn't. I initially sent him pictures or asked him stop by when he was in the area to quote stumps, but I've learned to tell what he'd charge, which saves us both some time. He's also great to bounce tree business questions off of.
     
  13. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I also sub out stumps. It took a few years to find somebody, but now there is a guy who does great work and gets to it pretty quickly. He does other work as well, so technically he is a competitor, but he wouldn't knowingly take business from me...but if a client hires him instead of me, I wouldn't hold it against him. I only do smaller removals, and not many of those, so I couldn't justify owning a grinder either - especially now that I have such a good sub contractor who charges pretty low rates (+/-$2 per foot of diameter). He seems happy with it. I'm happy.
     
  14. coutufr

    coutufr ArboristSite Member

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    2$ per foot diameter?
     
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  15. ATH

    ATH Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Oops...Per inch! That would be pretty cheap LOL
     
  16. benjo75

    benjo75 ArboristSite Operative

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    I use a guy who does only stumps. He's very fair with his prices and usually gives me a little break since I get him quite a bit of business. It wouldn't pay for me to invest $50k in a decent grinder just to use it a couple of times a week. I do a lot of country jobs and they usually just let them rot out. I usually figure about what he'll charge on a job and just add it in on my estimate. If it's more I'll make up the difference. Only happened a couple of times in ten years.

    I do however own a Rayco 1620 JR. I got it given to me with a bad engine. I ground about 200 stumps on my place before it went. I bought a new engine and have been running it for 4 years with no problems at all. I mainly use it on my own place. I'll take it out if the stump is less than 12". Which is hardly ever. It requires loading on a trailer and an extra trip to the job then putting it back up when I'm done. Not really worth it but sometimes I'll do small jobs by myself and use it then. I still have a minimum charge for taking it out. It will grind anything given enough time. I ground out a red oak stump in my yard last year that was about 36". Took about an hour. Way too long on in a customers yard but since it was my own it didn't matter.
     
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