Gerasimek's Tree-mek

colb

Well-Known Member
I've been driving around now looking at trees from a treemek perspective, they definitely can reach a ton of trees and would be much faster and safer than a lift or a crane. For larger operations I can see investing in one, especially if it can double as a log truck. That replaces a log truck, lift and or crane. For smaller guys I can see it as well and being contracted out by other companies will most likely keep you busy. I would contract one out if the numbers made sense.
I can see the competitive edge that they have.
The problems I see are the initial cost. Whats the total nut on a new unit on a new truck?
I think they are still limited, if you have one you'll probably have to specialize in the removals that they can access. Lot's of jobs we did last year these would be pretty much useless, and even if I had one I wouldn't be able to justify the cost. Whats a monthly payment on one of these with insurance?
It's still new technology, I don't know if they are proven yet. The more moving parts the more leaks and issues and ext...that means down time. Repairs are probably an unknown.
If you're doing just big removals with these, can you still get by with just a two man crew? I do see bigger wood being an issue because they can only cut 18". You still have to rig up bigger wood to remove it.
Can you get into trouble cutting bigger pieces or will there be issues with chronic stress on the boom?
If you have one, you'll probably need the biggest chipper you can get to keep up with production and eliminate ground work, which is the idea. Bigger chipper, bigger truck more money.
But if you have the work lined up and makes you more competitive and its making a return I really cant argue with the guys that own one.
Keep reading the treemek posts. You're getting there, lol.

Treemeks do not excell at hauling wood. Arborist prime is the only one I've seen loaded, and even its dump plus dump trailer cannot possibly hold a day's work.

Remember that treemeks come with a remote control.

Both bigger and single-operator businesses can monetize a treemek, but they are especially nifty for single operators.
 

Steve Connally

Well-Known Member
For comparison's sake, my insurance was less than $2k/year, with the tag being under $1k.year, $107k down (excluding the mountain of incidental stuff), and $3200/month for the payment. $295k for the truck (PK40/PJ10 D/D).
How can your insurance be that low? Doesn't seem possible. Unless you own it completely any insurance company wants commercial vehicle, general liability and inland marine on the boom. I did a lot of comparing and shopping. 11k a year is rite in the ballpark for a crane operation/tree operations with the income I projected. Something sounds a little amiss here. I also have a riggers policy for lifts for hire, inland marine for all the extra stuff on the truck not covered otherwise.
 

Lumberjack

Well-Known Member
How can your insurance be that low? Doesn't seem possible. Unless you own it completely any insurance company wants commercial vehicle, general liability and inland marine on the boom. I did a lot of comparing and shopping. 11k a year is rite in the ballpark for a crane operation/tree operations with the income I projected. Something sounds a little amiss here. I also have a riggers policy for lifts for hire, inland marine for all the extra stuff on the truck not covered otherwise.

I think you meant unless you own it completely, and FINANCE company wants...

The boom's value was listed as installed equipment on the truck with the total value equaling or exceeding my purchase price. I didn't have a riggers policy. Looking back I believe the vehicle policy on the crane was $1533 for a year; I forget what the general liability is on the tree service, but around half that. My grapple truck's policy was a little lower than the crane's.
 

RoyalTree

Active Member
I think you meant unless you own it completely, and FINANCE company wants...

The boom's value was listed as installed equipment on the truck with the total value equaling or exceeding my purchase price. I didn't have a riggers policy. Looking back I believe the vehicle policy on the crane was $1533 for a year; I forget what the general liability is on the tree service, but around half that. My grapple truck's policy was a little lower than the crane's.
Awesome prices. What a difference it makes from one place to another. Even from one zip code to another makes a big difference sometimes. My premium went down almost 300 per month when we moved yard about 20 blocks because we fell in another zip code.
 

Lumberjack

Well-Known Member
Awesome prices. What a difference it makes from one place to another. Even from one zip code to another makes a big difference sometimes. My premium went down almost 300 per month when we moved yard about 20 blocks because we fell in another zip code.
It also matters dramatically how the vehicle is classed. If you call up the insurance company running your mouth about your awesome crane, you’ll pay crane rates. Oh it can tow a trailer? It must be a tractor, add more money.


I called Progressive, gave them an accurate description, and they decided the Mec was the same as my grapple truck best I can tell, just worth 3x more. The grapple truck was classified as something in the excavation field as they said that was the best fit. They decided the Mec was essentially the same, just more capable in terms of reach.

The Mec is used for trees, which qualifies it for both a farm tag as well as farm sales tax (1.5% vs 7%). It’s a game, don’t run your mouth that you know more than the person your dealing with... know more than they do and make corrections in your favor. Like when getting the tag and the woman behind the counter tried charging 7% sales tax... ummm no ma’am! She huffed back to the tax assessor, I followed her a few minutes later, he agreed with me.
 

Steve Connally

Well-Known Member
Yeah most of that wouldn't fly in virginia. Totally doesn't qualify for farm tags. The finance company wants specific coverage on the boom. The insurance company wants a load chart, DMV wanted the drawings and photos of the truck. I chose to go with underwriters who understand our trade. No fooling them. I was just curious. Honestly, with the amount of investment i've made and the risk involved, i'd rather have the rite insurance instead of the cheapest. Thats one area of my life i've never cut corners on and for various reasons i'm glad.
 

Lumberjack

Well-Known Member
Yeah most of that wouldn't fly in virginia. Totally doesn't qualify for farm tags. The finance company wants specific coverage on the boom. The insurance company wants a load chart, DMV wanted the drawings and photos of the truck. I chose to go with underwriters who understand our trade. No fooling them. I was just curious. Honestly, with the amount of investment i've made and the risk involved, i'd rather have the rite insurance instead of the cheapest. Thats one area of my life i've never cut corners on and for various reasons i'm glad.
I didn’t cut corners on insurance, it was signed off on by the finance company, their 3rd party auditors, Progressive, my commercial insurance agent, and my wife and her team (seperate insurance agency). Both Progressive and my commercial insurance agent have E&O on the line to make sure they’re right or I’m covered.

The truck totally does qualify for farm tags, just like vehicles related to logging, but I guess both the local tax assessor and the tax assessor on the state level didn’t know what they’re doing, even with video of the actual truck working playing on their computer, an invoice for the truck in their hands, and 60 years of combined experience assessing tax liabilities in the state of MS. I had no desire to pay $20k extra in taxes because the first person I came across didn’t care to think. The truck is called a TreeMec, it is made to harvest/remove trees, it even came with log bunks! Yes it can be used with a hook to move material, but so could my excavator and grapple truck.... doesn’t make either of those a crane either. How much will you have to make using your machine for specific crane work to make enough profit to pay for your “crane” premium?

Why does the DMV need a drawing? You don’t need an overweight permit, they don’t care unless it falls in that category. I remember you being in a panic about not being able to register your truck because the DMV said you needed a new VIN, but it turned out that person didn’t know what they were talking about either.



I have no doubt the people you dealt with have you believing you’re entirely on the up and up... then again they get paid commission on selling insurance premium so... yeah. Granted things are different from state to state, but some people you can just see coming. I prefer to have a general idea of the answer before I ask the question, while always being interested in learning something new.

Good luck with your endeavors, hopefully you don’t need to test your insurance either way! (y)
 

Steve Connally

Well-Known Member
Believe me I had done plenty of research. In Virginia it does not qualify for agricultural or farm use but that’s VIRGINIA. Panic is a little over the top. I was researching option for gettting a title on it and how to title it as mobile equipment instead of a truck. That would have saved a ton of money but to have a currently titled truck retitled as mobile equipment takes more than my say so. I insured through ArborMAX and am happy with the direction my agent took things. The boom is clearly described and listed as a crane not a material handler due to the length and capacity. No way I could provide it any other way because they needed all the information on it to write he policy. All they had to do was look at the model numbers and then check the palfinger website. It clearly says crane. DMV is now trying to decide what kind of plate to give me. I applied for apportioned but now they think I don’t qualify and want to give me mobile equipment plates after all.

Contrary to what you may think, I’m not the sucker they see coming. I do actually do my research and do my best to be informed prior to dealing whith these people so the assumption they can see me coming ruffles my feathers a little bit.

I’m obviously not as smart as you are Carl but I’m certainly no sucker in a panic. Insurance premiums are a cost of doing business and they’re factored into my projections.

Didn’t suggest you were cutting corners in insurance. Just wondered how you were the exception to the multiple people I talked to and were paying about $10k a year for their policy and you pay $2k. I couldn’t insure a small tree service for that.
 

RoyalTree

Active Member
Every market obviously has different rules, regulations and pricing as I can not insure a pickup truck for the price Carl paid for a crane. My market is also home to the insurance fraud capital of the us. Agriculture tags around here would only allow us to work on or travel between farms. DOT would eat us alive with farm tags. My brother in law purchased a beach house on the other side of the state and registered all his vehicles at that address. The reduction in premiums almost pays for the house.
 

Lumberjack

Well-Known Member
Every market obviously has different rules, regulations and pricing as I can not insure a pickup truck for the price Carl paid for a crane. My market is also home to the insurance fraud capital of the us. Agriculture tags around here would only allow us to work on or travel between farms. DOT would eat us alive with farm tags. My brother in law purchased a beach house on the other side of the state and registered all his vehicles at that address. The reduction in premiums almost pays for the house.

My F550's insurance was higher than the crane's, go figure that. State Farm on the F550, but they wouldn't insure the crane or grapple truck.


Steve, an apportioned tag is for commercial vehicles over 26klb crossing state lines on a "regular" basis . MS defines "regular" generally as crossing the line more than 12 times a year. On those 12 trips you are suppose to have trip permits for each of the states you're traveling in. An apportioned tag and IFTA registration spread the registration, fuel, use, etc tax to the states pro rata for the miles driven in each state.


Another note on the crane tag, they would have been 3x higher if the vehicles were registered in the city vs in the county.
 
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