Is anybody dumb enough to buy a tree service?

CanaryBoss

Well-Known Member
A buddy of mine was talking to me yesterday about this “national” tree service he is helping to plant in a city and he was saying to me that in a year or so they would probably just buy out a big tree service in that city.

Anybody know a big tree service that has sold for what the seller wanted? Forgive me guys, but I think if your smart enough to have a few million your probably not dumb enough to buy into the tree business (I’m shooting at myself here too).

I would like to think that if I wanted to walk away one day I could find some investor that wanted to double his money, but is that really possible? I think not for a large size service.

Go!
 

Chaplain242

Well-Known Member
Can’t remember the number of businesses that I have seen bought by a new owner, only for him to make some immediate changes that annoy the worker base so that many leave within months of the changeover. Takes a steady and astute mind to buy a business and make it work...
 

CanaryBoss

Well-Known Member
Can’t remember the number of businesses that I have seen bought by a new owner, only for him to make some immediate changes that annoy the worker base so that many leave within months of the changeover. Takes a steady and astute mind to buy a business and make it work...
My point exactly. Tree work is so worker driver. It’s not like it’s a software company or something. Seems impossible
 

Stephen Moore

Well-Known Member
Yeah for sure! A company is a company. It might make sense on many levels to buy out competition, for reasons not the least of which is buying equipment for pennies on the dollar and still being able to write it down!
Then you get a staff that is already trained and an infrastructure in place. You get clients and the ability to improve relationships with them.
But most importantly, you eliminate competition by buying them out.
 

Crimsonking

Well-Known Member
A buyout I knew of was handled by hinging the decision on the agreement of the top worker. If he stayed, the larger company would buy. They looped him into the process, and it worked out well. This method made the worker a main influence in the operation thereafter, for which I am grateful, as he had profound impact on my perspective and career as an arborist.
 

CanaryBoss

Well-Known Member
Interesting. I guess I would just think if someone had millions or the ability to get funded for millions, they would get involved in something a little less risky. If you already own a tree service, it makes sense. Thee is one or too around here I would buy for sure, just based on clientele and market share
 

Scheffa

Active Member
I think with the tree game, because generally the owner has so much to do to with the day to day runnings of the business or is on the tools with the crews themselves, it is hard for someone to invest in a tree business of small to moderate size.
I know with my business, I have contracts, regular clients, a great team of staff 13+ myself.
To anyone else my business is worth nothing except the cost of equipment.
The contracts my company has depend a lot on my ability to manage them and work with the crews the ensure that everything is done correctly, safely, productively.
Our team are excellent, a big part of that I believe is because I am on a crew every day with guys working with them, teaching them, listening to their ideas etc
 

Serf Life

Active Member
I guess I would just think if someone had millions or the ability to get funded for millions, they would get involved in something a little less risky
Exactly. Also one which has less billing headache, I know more well off carpentry business owners than green industry bosses, they bill one client for months and quote out a handfull of projects per year.
 

RBJtree

Well-Known Member
In 2006 I worked for a company who had recently been bought by a non-tree guy. This company ran 4 crews and had a good number of trucks and equipment, a sales staff, office staff, mechanic... could basicly run its self. I thought the guy that bought the company must be nuts and would quickly regret this purchace. I have no idea what he paid for the company, whether it was a cash deal or he financed. But he played it cool while he learned about the business and made changes slowly. The company has grown and seems to be doing well. Our ranges don't really overlap so I don't see them around much. They were already the largest primarily residential company in the area. They were investable/purchase worthy for a business investor because the company could get and complete work profitably without the owner. Still a gamble, but light years ahead of a company that relies on the owner to function.
 

bck56

Member
If you build a business up the right way it can be very attractive to companies like Bartlett and Savatree. A local company around me sold to Bartlett and I’m sure he got a pretty penny. To answer your question, yes you can sell your business and get a good buck as well. Sell it now before the next depression, I mean recession.
 

benfuest

Member
It must work though. Many tree care companies have grown through acquisitions. It worked for The Care of Trees who was then acquir d by Davey. Bartlett and Sav a Tree make it work too
I was working for Davey at the time, giving presentations all over the US and Care of Trees were present. I think the aquistion process requires not just big bucks but a sensetivity and respect. Both were evident in spade fulls.
 
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