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I don’t have much time, but I am having a hell of a time hiring anybody. Let alone anyone of quality. There are many factors as to why, limited housing, small work force and peek construction.

I am getting desperate and had the thought of sending out a mass email to all my clients to put my feelers out there.
I haven’t advertised in the newspaper or Craigslist, but have hung flyers, posted on Facebook, listed via chapter website, local horticulture programs at community college, etc.. I only have gotten 4-6 nibbles since December, most lacking any sort of resume or even call back.


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I’ll second the frustration! We can’t find anyone either, and are willing to pay far too much for entry level help too. I did finally start a new guy yesterday with the intention of him becoming a climber, but we’ve been looking for six months now and have had no real promising candidates show up at all.
Not sure what it's like in your area but I've had pretty good success with homeschoolers. They can't work full time & you only have a year or 2 before they go to college but it's what I've done so far.

Here in the SW Indiana area, there's a strong homeschool network. My wife and I used to homeschool so we knew families. I just reached out to some that I knew.

Not every state or even area within a state will have a strong & supportive group. I just see it as another segment of the population that might provide a good worker.

Hope that helps. And yes, I realize that you were probably just joking around ;).



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@kiteflyingeek; Thanks for the answer, and no, I was not just joking around. I had no idea that there were networks of people who worked together to provide home schooling. I always thought it was independent sets of parents who just did not have much faith in the quality of their local school systems. It is nice that you have the ability to draw from a group that is probably better educated than the average student.

Oh, ok. So, I'll elaborate. Most of the schooling is on the parents. Some teach (lesson plans, the whole 9 yards) but most follow a purchased curriculum. The coops (groups) exist to help round out the R's (reading, writing, 'rithmetic). Things like band, art, computers, gym, etc.

Yes, the education is usually better but it often depends on the family as to wether or not the kid is ready for the crazy & fun work that is ground work. One big thing I've found with home school kids -- most can carry on a conversation with an adult. That sometimes happens with public school kids.



I am very discouraged with the hiring issues here in the Bay Area. I have been looking for 2 years, cant find a single good climber. I am starting to believe this is a dying industry, I just do not see how it can continue with such an incredible SKILLED labor shortage.


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@MTCInc; If you've been looking for two years, maybe you'd be better off finding good raw material, and building one of your own from scratch. Possibly look for "A" students in the local high schools that want summer work that pays really well, or some other similar group. If you train them yourself from the ground up, they will most likely climb in a way and work in a way that allows you to feel comfortable. Nobody ever wants to pay the price of training someone, everyone wants a finished climber for whom someone else already paid that price. I think there is no free lunch. You need to find folks that are interested in having a future, and then train them yourself. Forgive me if this seems harsh, I don't mean it to be.



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I am very discouraged with the hiring issues here in the Bay Area. I have been looking for 2 years, cant find a single good climber. I am starting to believe this is a dying industry, I just do not see how it can continue with such an incredible SKILLED labor shortage.
Those that are worth having, the companies they're at generally know it, and go out of their way to make sure they're happy enough to stick around. Unless you get lucky and snag someone that's relocating for personal reasons, you're best bet is to find someone mediocre worth training, or promote from within. You're production WILL take a hit as they're learning, but in the long run having multiple highly capable people on staff makes things easier and more productive as a whole.

Mitch Hoy

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I cleaned house this winter and fired all of my employees. Opioids. It’s like a plague around here.
In the mean time, I have been doing well by networking with other small businesses in my area that are in the tree and green industry and hiring them as subcontractors.
I’ve taken to Craigslist with the attitude that one in ten will be good, and to keep cycling through until I have found a fit. I have already had some success, found a guy that was in the conservation core, and wants to keep his part time gig working with kids at night at the boys and girls club.
I reached out to the local horticultural program. Dead end.
Finding workers in this economy seems to be a hustle. So, hustle?


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@evo, be sure to advertise that you're in the dry part of Western Washington... You're a bit rain-shadowy, right?

Ok, not dry.

I had a neck-down raker position to fill for one week...a guy my employee knew. Turns out he was on methadone. Very Short trial period. He was really confused when I said it was time to go, you're a pain in the ass, don't come back.

Shelton is 22 miles from Olympia, only 12 miles from me. If you need a needle, just go to the park bathroom, it used to be a good park, built by the community.

If downers aren't your thing, it's a meth hotspot, if no longer capital of the NW, or so I've heard.

Machines, mini, Honda/ Simpson capstan, and your skills.

Can you mechanize more? Power your material handling? Electric Arbor Trolley? Mucktruck (SP?)? Mini?

Can you "down-skill" your position to match your needs: driver, material processer, assistant under supervision, rather than pro treeworker until finding a pro.

It's what I've found successful... Keep good employees for as long as possible... often they have another thing going (school, firefighting season, etc).
Use lesser employees to do lower skill functions, and be proficient at doing everything myself. The mini and I can feed the chipper in needed, and a laborer can drag and rake.

Are your rates reflecting the difficulty/ expense of a laborer or skilled ground worker? Do you need to pay $35 per hour to afford life there/ make commuting worthwhile? $30? $25? $40?

It's tough to be limited by the labor-pool!
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You might scope out local housing options, like Airbnb.

When Tyler came for storm work, I looked into this. One
person on air bnb had a vacation mobile home near the Sound for $30/ night, who needed tree work.

Would have been cheaper on a monthly rate.