Im new to the business, but never climbed before. Any advice?

owScott

Well-Known Member
This is exactly the content and response I was looking for. No attacks, just sound advice and guidance on what to do.

The concensus seems to be to do one of two things:
  1. If I want to do the job first, its best that I go out and work for someone for a bit so that I can learn the basics of climbing, rigging, felling, etc.
  2. If not climbing, go out there and find a good climber, pay them great money and focus on the business, selling jobs, etc.
I dont mind working 70 hours. Im working close to 60 right now trying to work my full time job plus my business. I am single so dont have responsibilities so I can focus weekends on all of this.

Thank you man. I appreciate this advice.
How do you think work gets sold? Just show up and give them some random price. No you look at the tree and estimate time and what it takes to get the job done. How are you going to do that if you have no experience even doing the work? There is no book formula for this. Don't you get that? All this business process talk is useless without knowing what you are looking at. Can you please explain how you will get around that cold hard fact.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
This is exactly the content and response I was looking for. No attacks, just sound advice and guidance on what to do.

The concensus seems to be to do one of two things:
  1. If I want to do the job first, its best that I go out and work for someone for a bit so that I can learn the basics of climbing, rigging, felling, etc.
  2. If not climbing, go out there and find a good climber, pay them great money and focus on the business, selling jobs, etc.
I dont mind working 70 hours. Im working close to 60 right now trying to work my full time job plus my business. I am single so dont have responsibilities so I can focus weekends on all of this.

Thank you man. I appreciate this advice.
Sigh, I guess I'll weigh in here...been following this thread.

Some background on me: I have an associate degree in forestry (graduated in 1998). So I had a the book knowledge, and thought I knew how to do this job. I learned pretty quickly I didn't know shit. The book knowledge is great (would luv to hire a grad like I was), but is just a foundation. Right after graduating I started working for a certified arborist, and quickly learned that this field is more about experience, and then applying that book knowledge to it. I worked for my former boss for 4 years, before he offered to sell me the tree trimming/removal part of the business...that was 16 years ago. I've always had a good client base, and made decent money (but never much in the bank after taxes etc). 6 years ago I got married, and my wife took over the phone calls etc, which really ramped up our work load. We don't answer the phone, but all calls get returned within 24 hours. Probably for at least the last 3 years we have been booked out 6 months in advance (all year around), and for at least the last year our message says no new clients....though if they leave a message we will respond and do a proposal etc.

I'm a 2 man operation...so I'm on every jobsite. Obviously I have the work load to add more crews, but that means 2 things. 1). Finding good workers...which is really hard to impossible. 2). Most times when the boss isn't on site, quality goes down (unless you have really really good employees.

I feel that most times in this field you have 2 options. Either doing a good high quality job (for both the tree and the client), or getting rich at the cost to your clients, employees, and the tree's your working on.

I know guys that have been in this field their whole lives, but still don't know the proper way to trim a tree. I've had a employee for 5 years (that grew up in the field) that I couldn't fully trust out on his own...both to do it right and safety of himself and the customer's property). He thinks he knows it all, and would claim to be a top bad ass climber. He isn't.

Bottom line for me is.
Book knowledge doesn't really teach you how to trim/remove a tree correctly, it just gives you a foundation. There are a infinite amount of variables that have to be taken in (tree species, objectives, growth pattern, tree age, tree health, etc). A lifetime of being in this field doesn't really teach you how to trim a tree correctly, if you were never trained correctly (and continue to learn on a daily basis). The the main hang up for me, for your quest, is you don't know what good work is. What is your base for qualifying a tree is trimmed/removed correctly (especially trimming)? How will you know if your climber is worth his money?

If your response to these 2 questions is that the client is happy and your making money, that does not mean your doing it right. It just means money is your driving factor, and not trimming a tree correctly (to promote its health etc). That is why a lot of people on here are probably upset. Trees are our passion, money is secondary. I strive to make a customer happy and meet their goals for a tree (first thing I ask at a proposal appointment), but if those goals are outside what is best for the tree I walk away...in a non removal situation.

If you are doing it for the money, buy a company that is already established with clients and employees. And pray that they are doing it right and won't sink you. Maybe buy into the Monster Inc franchise.
Or start working from the bottom for a certified arborist company and learn all the ins and out of this field. But you may want to plan on more than 5 years till you start making good money.
 

SomethingWitty

Arkansawyer
PS I feel asking a potential customer the prices of your competitors is just wrong, and unprofessional...at any point in the process.
Man, you have some conversations with the customers for a few years and you'll know what the competition is going to price a given job.
It's not terribly distasteful to hear "Well, Juan's top-n-drop said they would do it for $400 less" because people present those things. Especially when they would rather have you than someone who couldn't prove any knowledge on a bid.
Explaining that you're getting what you pay for doesn't always work (and that is fine with me) but it always happens after they try to talk you down to the lowest price that they have gotten.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Man, you have some conversations with the customers for a few years and you'll know what the competition is going to price a given job.
It's not terribly distasteful to hear "Well, Juan's top-n-drop said they would do it for $400 less" because people present those things. Especially when they would rather have you than someone who couldn't prove any knowledge on a bid.
Explaining that you're getting what you pay for doesn't always work (and that is fine with me) but it always happens after they try to talk you down to the lowest price that they have gotten.
Key word is asking. If they volunteer the information, that is different. If they are doing it to barter down a price, it is them who is being shady and unprofessional.
 
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swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
Man, you have some conversations with the customers for a few years and you'll know what the competition is going to price a given job.
It's not terribly distasteful to hear "Well, Juan's top-n-drop said they would do it for $400 less" because people present those things. Especially when they would rather have you than someone who couldn't prove any knowledge on a bid.
Explaining that you're getting what you pay for doesn't always work (and that is fine with me) but it always happens after they try to talk you down to the lowest price that they have gotten.
A removal is a removal. Custy wants cheapest. Sometimes they get a deal and nothing broken. But mostly wreckage occurs and time rattles on causing total disruption and anxiety. A professional prune on valuable trees is a whole different ballgame. It is like chalk and cheese.
 
Sigh, I guess I'll weigh in here...been following this thread.

Some background on me: I have an associate degree in forestry (graduated in 1998). So I had a the book knowledge, and thought I knew how to do this job. I learned pretty quickly I didn't know shit. The book knowledge is great (would luv to hire a grad like I was), but is just a foundation. Right after graduating I started working for a certified arborist, and quickly learned that this field is more about experience, and then applying that book knowledge to it. I worked for my former boss for 4 years, before he offered to sell me the tree trimming/removal part of the business...that was 16 years ago. I've always had a good client base, and made decent money (but never much in the bank after taxes etc). 6 years ago I got married, and my wife took over the phone calls etc, which really ramped up our work load. We don't answer the phone, but all calls get returned within 24 hours. Probably for at least the last 3 years we have been booked out 6 months in advance (all year around), and for at least the last year our message says no new clients....though if they leave a message we will respond and do a proposal etc.

I'm a 2 man operation...so I'm on every jobsite. Obviously I have the work load to add more crews, but that means 2 things. 1). Finding good workers...which is really hard to impossible. 2). Most times when the boss isn't on site, quality goes down (unless you have really really good employees.

I feel that most times in this field you have 2 options. Either doing a good high quality job (for both the tree and the client), or getting rich at the cost to your clients, employees, and the tree's your working on.

I know guys that have been in this field their whole lives, but still don't know the proper way to trim a tree. I've had a employee for 5 years (that grew up in the field) that I couldn't fully trust out on his own...both to do it right and safety of himself and the customer's property). He thinks he knows it all, and would claim to be a top bad ass climber. He isn't.

Bottom line for me is.
Book knowledge doesn't really teach you how to trim/remove a tree correctly, it just gives you a foundation. There are a infinite amount of variables that have to be taken in (tree species, objectives, growth pattern, tree age, tree health, etc). A lifetime of being in this field doesn't really teach you how to trim a tree correctly, if you were never trained correctly (and continue to learn on a daily basis). The the main hang up for me, for your quest, is you don't know what good work is. What is your base for qualifying a tree is trimmed/removed correctly (especially trimming)? How will you know if your climber is worth his money?

If your response to these 2 questions is that the client is happy and your making money, that does not mean your doing it right. It just means money is your driving factor, and not trimming a tree correctly (to promote its health etc). That is why a lot of people on here are probably upset. Trees are our passion, money is secondary. I strive to make a customer happy and meet their goals for a tree (first thing I ask at a proposal appointment), but if those goals are outside what is best for the tree I walk away...in a non removal situation.

If you are doing it for the money, buy a company that is already established with clients and employees. And pray that they are doing it right and won't sink you. Maybe buy into the Monster Inc franchise.
Or start working from the bottom for a certified arborist company and learn all the ins and out of this field. But you may want to plan on more than 5 years till you start making good money.

Thats the other thing. I came in here looking at tree service from a business perspective. Many here look at from an arborist perspective. Many here are super passionate about trees and doing whats best for a tree.

But from a business point of view, we are here to serve customers. Serving them sometimes means that you are going to top out that tree and leave it ugly but you will explain to them the consequences of doing it and if they still are adamant about topping it off, you do it. Because from a business perspective you are there to serve their needs.

Some will argue that long term you are doing them a disservice. I don't agree with that as long as you communicate the consequences of their actions and have them sign off on it.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
Thats the other thing. I came in here looking at tree service from a business perspective. Many here look at from an arborist perspective. Many here are super passionate about trees and doing whats best for a tree.

But from a business point of view, we are here to serve customers. Serving them sometimes means that you are going to top out that tree and leave it ugly but you will explain to them the consequences of doing it and if they still are adamant about topping it off, you do it. Because from a business perspective you are there to serve their needs.

Some will argue that long term you are doing them a disservice. I don't agree with that as long as you communicate the consequences of their actions and have them sign off on it.
Ding ding! And you wonder why you are getting so much hate.

Unlike a lot of service type businesses, the tree field is a repeat customer business (just not daily/weekly). It is a long term repeat business. To be properly done a tree will get maintained every 3-5 years...i have a lot of customers that I've been in their trees 4-5 times now. In fact most of my original clients, from 2002 and before, I still do all their tree work.

I'm as busy as I am because I do what is correct for the trees and not just a whatever people say. They want to be told how to manage/take care of their trees, because they recognize that they are not the professional. I've never heard a complaint about our work, or a bad word of mouth review (other than being extremely busy). People know to call us, if they want it done correctly.

As in construction etc, there are codes to follow so things are done right for the long term safety and benefits to the customer. Sure they aren't rules of law in the tree field, but they should be in many ways. Personally I feel if someone tops a tree and it then dies, the company (Arborist) should be held partially responsible...so to if that response growth later fails and causes damage etc.
 
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SomethingWitty

Arkansawyer
One day this snooty lawyer had us pruning his trees. We communicated what we were doing a total of three times to him and his wife. It was an hourly gig with a budget of $1000.
He came out roaring about how that wasn't what he wanted. Then told me to just finish what I was doing and he'd just have someone else come back and hack them off at the trunk. I let him know that it was still hourly and we understand if he'd like for us to stop, and that we were only about halfway through his budget. He said "you better just go do your damned job"... I laughed and started pulling gear and informed him that I am not his employee. We got the hell out of his yard.
He didn't like that I didn't want to play his game and disappeared briefly into his house (this is where I assume he slid a gun into his pocket.). When I saw him next, I was toting the last of my gear past the sidewalk from the driveway to the door and he started name calling. I think he shouted that I was a smartass? I dunno. I noticed his demeanor change and knew better than to give him any legal grounds to "defend himself". He wasn't that bold or vicious before he slipped off for a couple of minutes, and I was gritting my teeth before he left. That's the only source of confidence that I could imagine him finding.

Anyway, I still am not his monkey. I won't work for anyone who is that nasty to me and to the nature of my work.
I'm not sure why I thought about it, but I haven't shared it on the buzz yet. Seems as good a place as any.
 

climbhightree

Well-Known Member
He came out roaring about how that wasn't what he wanted. Then told me to just finish what I was doing and he'd just have someone else come back and hack them off at the trunk. I let him know that it was still hourly and we understand if he'd like for us to stop, and that we were only about halfway through his budget. He said "you better just go do your damned job"... I laughed and started pulling gear and informed him that I am not his employee.
Did he get someone else? I dread jobs where I'm concerned about unrealistic expectations...i try to be very clear about what we can and cannot do at the proposal time.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
One day this snooty lawyer had us pruning his trees. We communicated what we were doing a total of three times to him and his wife. It was an hourly gig with a budget of $1000.
He came out roaring about how that wasn't what he wanted. Then told me to just finish what I was doing and he'd just have someone else come back and hack them off at the trunk. I let him know that it was still hourly and we understand if he'd like for us to stop, and that we were only about halfway through his budget. He said "you better just go do your damned job"... I laughed and started pulling gear and informed him that I am not his employee. We got the hell out of his yard.
He didn't like that I didn't want to play his game and disappeared briefly into his house (this is where I assume he slid a gun into his pocket.). When I saw him next, I was toting the last of my gear past the sidewalk from the driveway to the door and he started name calling. I think he shouted that I was a smartass? I dunno. I noticed his demeanor change and knew better than to give him any legal grounds to "defend himself". He wasn't that bold or vicious before he slipped off for a couple of minutes, and I was gritting my teeth before he left. That's the only source of confidence that I could imagine him finding.

Anyway, I still am not his monkey. I won't work for anyone who is that nasty to me and to the nature of my work.
I'm not sure why I thought about it, but I haven't shared it on the buzz yet. Seems as good a place as any.
Been in that boat on a day rate when man shifted the goalpost. Started firing instructions. Hello. Fuck you charlie brown rich prick. I am a fucked up human. Go get my fucking cheque for work done and carry ya rasshole skunt mofo. Man swooped in house cut me a cheque. And I peeled rubber out his driveway...fuck assholes. I am far from soft.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
My name is Paul not Pussy. Do I look at 52, bday on monday like I give a fuck about rich white collar soft hand pricks....2019-05-11 18.21.21.jpg
 
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