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Tree Trimming and Removal vs Stump Grinding Business

bcr091

bcr091

New Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
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4
Location
Utah
I made the rather stupid and impulsive decision about 6 months ago to quit my construction job and start a tree company. I love running chainsaws and have quite a bit of experience with them from wildland firefighting and have gotten a lot of technical rock climbing under my belt. I bought a bunch of tree climbing gear and learned on the trees at my house, bought a dump trailer, took some ISA classes and got to work....

What I'm now realizing is that I am an idiot. Trees are not simple, and running a business isn't either. There is always someone who will do the work cheaper (and probably better) There are a million aspects to both arboriculture and business management that I know very litte about. There are also a million tree companies that already exist where I live in Salt Lake City. There are not, however, a lot of stump grinding companies. The one grinding company that I have used on bigger stumps I couldn't grind with my portable grinder I was not impressed with. It got me thinking that maybe as a single member LLC with a lot to learn, stump grinding might be a better business to get into - at least until I know a hell of a lot more. Essentially, I am just wondering if anyone else has been through a similar experience and what they ended up doing, or if anyone has advice/comments on the feasibility and financial prudence of starting a business that does only grinding.

Thanks
 

ATH

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You've gotta figure out:
*what do you want to do...what gets you excited?
*what can you do well? why should I hire you instead of XYZ? Maybe you can get there sooner. Maybe you clean up the grindings, fill with soil and plant grass better than others. Maybe you cause less damage than others. If, for example, you are doing the grinding only, perhaps find another company and offer to sub-contract their stumps. For example, we don't do many removals. Not enough to justify buying a grinder, so I'm more than happy to have a company I can call to take care of those. They just do stumps, so they aren't any threat of competition. My clients all have nice things to say about them, so I have no hesitation about sending them on a client's property. they make me look good by doing a good job and treating people well.


The secret to success in a service industry in 2021:
-show up
-don't be a jerk
-offer reasonable prices (don' need to be cheap...just not crazy expensive when you are starting out)
 

Del_

Career arborist
Joined
Feb 18, 2002
Messages
28,156
Location
U. S. of A.
My advice is to beg for your construction job back.

You can do stumps in your off time. There's little money in them anyway.
 
bcr091

bcr091

New Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2021
Messages
4
Location
Utah
You've gotta figure out:
*what do you want to do...what gets you excited?
*what can you do well? why should I hire you instead of XYZ? Maybe you can get there sooner. Maybe you clean up the grindings, fill with soil and plant grass better than others. Maybe you cause less damage than others. If, for example, you are doing the grinding only, perhaps find another company and offer to sub-contract their stumps. For example, we don't do many removals. Not enough to justify buying a grinder, so I'm more than happy to have a company I can call to take care of those. They just do stumps, so they aren't any threat of competition. My clients all have nice things to say about them, so I have no hesitation about sending them on a client's property. they make me look good by doing a good job and treating people well.


The secret to success in a service industry in 2021:
-show up
-don't be a jerk
-offer reasonable prices (don' need to be cheap...just not crazy expensive when you are starting out)

Thanks for the insight ATH! Honestly, I really love climbing trees and running a chainsaw/felling, but I have had mixed results with making money at it given my set up and working alone. I think with stump grinding I could be competitive however because 1) I always call in locates and am very cautious, 2) I actually do clean up after myself and protect property around me and 3) I answer my phone and am responsive (which has not been my experience with others who stump grind around here). The biggest issue with grinding is that I don't currently own a large machine - I only have a handlebar grinder, so I would need to buy a larger one...but I'm not currently getting enough business to justify the expense.

Del, thankfully at least where I am located, jobs are not even remotely hard to get right now, so I do think I could go back to construction if needed. Working trees on the side, especially during the winter, might be what I have to do...but I sure would prefer to just do my own thing.
 
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ATH

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Nothing wrong with starting small. The other bigger operations can't afford to do a $75 job for a 12" stump.
 
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