Full time tree service & working another full time job

thetreemdkc

New Member
As the title states, I’m curious if there are any other business owners who do both arborist work and another full-time job as well? My intention with the other job is to allow me to reinvest my money back into my business while also not having to worry about my monthly expenses as much. This other job would be working on a golf course (i went to school for turf & horticulture so I’m somewhat familiar with golf turf).

The course also expressed significant interest in having me do there tree work in house(the city that operates the two courses have a few newer Bandit chippers, Vermeer tow behind stumper and a brand new Palfinger grapple truck!) Like i stated above my goal for this is to allow me to heavily reinvest into my business and grow my customer base so that I can slowly and carefully grow and hire people without the risk of falling on my face. (Also Another side plus is that I would be able to qualify for ISA certified arborist Municipal specialist since it’s a city-managed property)
Sorry for the rambling, any feedback is greatly appreciated!
 

Bango Skank

Well-Known Member
I tried, got hired with DuPont in 07 and kept running a tree service with a partner. Lots of money, but zero free time and a struggle to spend any time with my kids. Plus I was holding my partner back from his full potential. So ended that business and now I'll go work for him sometimes, just because I genuinely enjoy tree work.

I plan to make another attempt, sole proprietorship this time, so I could take on as much or as little work as I want. The plant is 4 days on 4 days off so I get plenty of free time now. Just gotta find that happy medium.

So I guess the takeaway is partnerships can be tough, and if you're a parent you might miss some good stuff while you're burning the candle at both ends.
 

TREEXPERTSCT

New Member
My partner and I are both Sales managers at a auto dealership and we opened our tree company up April 23rd 2018 as a side business, we started with a total investment of $3000 each by purchasing a old beat up f350 dump body and it is not easy working 7 days a week and putting a total of about 80 hours between the two jobs however it allowed us to reinvest all of the money back into the business, our plan is to make the move to doing tree work full time come May 1st. Running it on the side and reinvesting had allowed us to purchase all of our saws, climbing gear, international chip truck, a 19" woodsman chipper and a bobcat with a grapple all from company money so now we will be going into the business with very little overhead so we can keep more of our profit. I dont know if your plan is to move into it full time or not but if you are then its worth keep up the grind for now of working the two jobs so you can start debt free and owning your equipment before you need that money to pay your self because then it will be a lot harder to purchase the necessary equipment
 

thetreemdkc

New Member
I tried, got hired with DuPont in 07 and kept running a tree service with a partner. Lots of money, but zero free time and a struggle to spend any time with my kids. Plus I was holding my partner back from his full potential. So ended that business and now I'll go work for him sometimes, just because I genuinely enjoy tree work.

I plan to make another attempt, sole proprietorship this time, so I could take on as much or as little work as I want. The plant is 4 days on 4 days off so I get plenty of free time now. Just gotta find that happy medium.

So I guess the takeaway is partnerships can be tough, and if you're a parent you might miss some good stuff while you're burning the candle at both ends.
Appreciate the advice! For now, I'm a young enough guy to work like an animal (26) I'm sure that'll change soon enough lol Single, with no significant other or kids to think about for the time being and my close friends understand the treelife schedule is pretty hectic at times. My plan is to find and hire good arborists (or train if needed) to help me manage the business as we grow.
 

thetreemdkc

New Member
My partner and I are both Sales managers at a auto dealership and we opened our tree company up April 23rd 2018 as a side business, we started with a total investment of $3000 each by purchasing a old beat up f350 dump body and it is not easy working 7 days a week and putting a total of about 80 hours between the two jobs however it allowed us to reinvest all of the money back into the business, our plan is to make the move to doing tree work full time come May 1st. Running it on the side and reinvesting had allowed us to purchase all of our saws, climbing gear, international chip truck, a 19" woodsman chipper and a bobcat with a grapple all from company money so now we will be going into the business with very little overhead so we can keep more of our profit. I dont know if your plan is to move into it full time or not but if you are then its worth keep up the grind for now of working the two jobs so you can start debt free and owning your equipment before you need that money to pay your self because then it will be a lot harder to purchase the necessary equipment
Very awesome and congrats!!!! Sounds like you guys are set up to dominate the market with that line of equipment! My main focus is to heavily invest so that I have the necessary equipment to do a lot of production work very quickly. I have the basics to do my work very well but I'd like to get a bigger chip truck and chipper to start with and take it from there (were a truck & dump trailer operation since I don't have any more room to park a chipper & chip truck at yet) I'm confident once I get a chip truck and chipper things will start to go much smoother. Also keeping my debt as low as possible will be a big help once I start looking for a house in the next year. Appreciate the advice! Just needed to hear it from others that it is possible to do both, I'm prepared to work hard and really see the fruits of my labor!
 

TREEXPERTSCT

New Member
Very awesome and congrats!!!! Sounds like you guys are set up to dominate the market with that line of equipment! My main focus is to heavily invest so that I have the necessary equipment to do a lot of production work very quickly. I have the basics to do my work very well but I'd like to get a bigger chip truck and chipper to start with and take it from there (were a truck & dump trailer operation since I don't have any more room to park a chipper & chip truck at yet) I'm confident once I get a chip truck and chipper things will start to go much smoother. Also keeping my debt as low as possible will be a big help once I start looking for a house in the next year. Appreciate the advice! Just needed to hear it from others that it is possible to do both, I'm prepared to work hard and really see the fruits of my labor!
Yea we are both married with two kids so your definitely in a better position to work both jobs and grind it out than we are lol, Also we did luck out with our employees my cousin has been a climber for years so he was the foreman and ran the jobs while we were working at our day job it is hard to find someone you can trust if you cant be on the jobs but we lucked out big time, also another cousin of mine owns a large tree company for over 10 years in my area and he has been my go to guy for advise over the past year, and i still talk to him almost everyday bouncing ideas off of him and learning from his mistakes so I don't have to make them, one piece of advise that he gave me that we have stuck to was by the better and biggest equipment upfront like bigger chipper, bigger truck, bigger bobcat, best gear etc.. even if it takes a little longer to save up the money to do so you are better off waiting rather than rushing, he told me his first couple of years he would by the smaller stuff that he can afford at the time then sell it within six months to get bigger equipment but would lose his shirt every time he would have been better if he waited a little bit and just bought the bigger stuff upfront and would have saved tons of money over time
 

Kris Anderson

Active Member
Don't do it for long. I was working with a tree company in town and started a tree company with a business partner. Had no money so had to build it from scratch while supporting a wife and kid. Money was great but working 7 days a week for a year and a half has taken a toll on me. Your single so that's good and young, that will help too. I'm 35 now but will be going full time working for myself this April. My advice is buy gear that makes your job easier and don't cheap out. Headsets, srt gear, petzl zig zag, portable winches , physio, help when you can get it. All these things helped me tremendously working 7 days.
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
I currently work for the state of Indiana full time and have been running my tree service for about 5 years. I certainly do not put in 40 hours working on trees but there was a time where I would put in 24-28 hours on a weekend. Since then I have gotten more efficient in doing trees and I have gotten better equipment to the point where I can keep completing the same amount of work but hardly have to work on Sunday. So I can spend that time with my wife and daughter.

My goal with my business is to one day go to full time but in the meantime try to put all of the money back into equipment as my full time job pays the bills. If I decide to continue working two jobs this long, I will switch over to trees full time in 3 years as I will have become vested in a pension with the state and all of my tree equipment will be paid off.
 

thetreemdkc

New Member
Don't do it for long. I was working with a tree company in town and started a tree company with a business partner. Had no money so had to build it from scratch while supporting a wife and kid. Money was great but working 7 days a week for a year and a half has taken a toll on me. Your single so that's good and young, that will help too. I'm 35 now but will be going full time working for myself this April. My advice is buy gear that makes your job easier and don't cheap out. Headsets, srt gear, petzl zig zag, portable winches , physio, help when you can get it. All these things helped me tremendously working 7 days.
Yes for now being single & young has its benefits lol! That's My plan is to aggressively reinvest more money into getting the best equipment I can for my guys. I'm pretty well set with my gear (thank you teufulberger & treestuff!) but I always add to my gear collection when needed or when treestuff has a sale. Right now I'm anxiously waiting for the city to finish my background check so I can go and complete my physical and drug screening.
 

thetreemdkc

New Member
I currently work for the state of Indiana full time and have been running my tree service for about 5 years. I certainly do not put in 40 hours working on trees but there was a time where I would put in 24-28 hours on a weekend. Since then I have gotten more efficient in doing trees and I have gotten better equipment to the point where I can keep completing the same amount of work but hardly have to work on Sunday. So I can spend that time with my wife and daughter.

My goal with my business is to one day go to full time but in the meantime try to put all of the money back into equipment as my full time job pays the bills. If I decide to continue working two jobs this long, I will switch over to trees full time in 3 years as I will have become vested in a pension with the state and all of my tree equipment will be paid off.
My goal is similar, I'd like to be running 1-2 pruning crews in the future, 1 landscape maintenance crew, 1 landscape, hardscape & irrigation team, and two individuals for turf managers) I feel once I'm able to really reinvest into better equipment that makes us more efficient it'll help out a lot. Appreciate the advice and words of wisdom, I was extended an offer and I'm just waiting for my official start date. 2019 should be an interesting year!
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
My goal is similar, I'd like to be running 1-2 pruning crews in the future, 1 landscape maintenance crew, 1 landscape, hardscape & irrigation team, and two individuals for turf managers) I feel once I'm able to really reinvest into better equipment that makes us more efficient it'll help out a lot. Appreciate the advice and words of wisdom, I was extended an offer and I'm just waiting for my official start date. 2019 should be an interesting year!
Make sure you look into your worker's comp insurance, you may be required to have a couple of policies to cover that.

I work by myself and keep busy with removals and trimming so I haven't branched out much to other services.
 

thetreemdkc

New Member
Make sure you look into your worker's comp insurance, you may be required to have a couple of policies to cover that.

I work by myself and keep busy with removals and trimming so I haven't branched out much to other services.
I've already got two additional policies that were with me when I first started my business. My already existing Landscape & irrigation customers have made up and referred almost 60% of the tree maintenance work was doing now (large shade tree Removals, pruning, cabling & bracing, PHC, preservation, stump removal, planting, etc) Also got my applicators license beforehand as well and that's helped out a ton.
 
I did. Worked 40-60 hours a week, plus my tree service. It’s stressful, it’s frustrating, and it’s time consuming. I worked 90-120 hours a week 7 days a week in the summer. I rolled with a chainsaw in hand from sun up to sundown, and did a lot of flashlight estimates. Then did saw maintenance, sharpened chains, inspected gear, burned brush piles from jobs, sold firewood, bought gear and supplies, etc at night. Trying to get back to clients and getting out for estimates in a timely manner is difficult and can lead to unhappy clients or broken promises.
I do not have a partner. I’m the sole proprietor and climber for my very small company so I have to be at every job, and do every estimate. I have no friends or family in the tree biz. I came from a logging background and decided it looked fun. Got into climbing and took off with it, i knew it was what I wanted to do for my career. I’ve learned all I know from experience and caution.

I did it my first year. Now days, I subcontract some, and run my business. I quit my full time job and work there only as a subcontractor when they need help.
Much less stress, much more enjoyable, and much better money because I have the time to run my business the way I should. Happy clients, happy workers, and happier life.
Plus, expecting my first kid in a month so being home to enjoy family time with my wife has been something I never had my first year in business. Was it worth it? Absolutely. But it is not easy, and if I had it to do over again I would have done things a little differently.
Good luck!
 
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