Downgrading from a Grapple Saw Truck

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
What kinds of jobs are you referring to by “not able to do the same jobs with different equipment and crew?” Emergency storm damage in general or huge trees resting on houses, etc.?

It doesn’t take us long to move brush and wood and clean up the yard. That’s why I’m not necessarily in a rush for a mini or bobcat. We have a system down for cleanups. My interest in the lift, and I’ve considered a brand new lift versus used, is because it would help me to take on a broader range of jobs, get into bigger removals, etc. while increasing efficiency in addition to the pruning work.

Even if a job can be done climbing, a lift or bucket does increase efficiency. And with a lift you can do more than with a bucket in my opinion. I don’t really want to be driving a bucket truck on people’s lawns and leaving big tire tracks. With a lift any indentation / marks would be much less significant than the bucket truck. Plus getting into tighter areas, backyards etc.
The answer is a Lift with 6 individual 2’x6’ texture/smooth translucent AlturnaMats. You will leave zero trace and in no time flat.
 

arborandearth

Well-Known Member
Location
Chico
When I hear that someone want to get out from under a treemek and into a stump grinder, I think there is a lot more to the story than grinding is simply more profitable.

Here is an example - I met a guy with Kansas license plates with a brand new log loader in a grocery store parking lot. Seeing my truck signs, he asked me if I had any work or ever needed a loader? My first question, seeing his out of state plates was - "Are you licensed, bonded, and insured in CA?"

His answer - "damn, that's what everyone asks."

He then explained how he bought the rig after he heard about the wildfires and drove out here thinking he was going to be able to just drive up and start getting work from contractors, gov, and home owners.

He was pretty upset about all the "regulations", hoops to jump through, etc. He also hinted he would work for cash. I looked at the rig of explained that we do a lot of small work and require all the "regulations and hoops".

I wished him luck. Not sure why some people take huge financial risks without looking into the big picture first.
 

southsoundtree

Well-Known Member
Location
Olympia, WA
Simple examples, no impact work with a crane, moving heavy wood, moving and decking millable logs, unclimbable hazard trees, quickly perform projects in a partial day instead of a week, effectively prune parking lots of trees...


Do you think that an ironed-up crew doesn't have their processing game down as well as you?
 
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VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
There’s a bit of a myth that equipment means overhead. Personnel is the greatest overhead. If you work alone or with 1 or 2 hired hands long enough, you will come to the realization that your expense is already greater than a good piece of equipment...sometimes by a lot.

I’m not saying to deny people in favor of hydraulics. I’m saying that integrating the two makes a HUGE difference. This is why I bought a Spider Lift and a Spider Crane. It’s a true 1-2 punch for a small residential tree care business.
What kind of spider crane do you run ?
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
I understand what you’re saying but the fact of the matter is more equipment and more employees means more money out. You just have to balance it and do enough work to make sure you make enough.

At the same time, a smaller company who has less expenses can still make good money but not have the extra pressure of making thousands of dollars of payments each month if work slows down due to unforeseen circumstances or time of year, etc.

Again, I’m NOT arguing less equipment is better, I’m saying people should build their business around what they want to do. If you want to build a big business then obviously more equipment is probably what you are going to be wanting to do.

But someone with a truck and chipper or truck and dump trailer can be profitable and still provide a good quality service.
Do you say "no" to work? I'm not being facetious, just honestly asking. I was in your shoes just three years ago in November of 2017. My Lift was on the TCIA Trade Show Floor in Columbus, while i was buried in a back log of hot Oak Trees. I had a bag of rope and a small chipper. The Lift was the catalyst for growth, but without the right support equipment beneath it, your Lift will spend too much time sitting while you clean up the wood you just put down.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
I’m not trying to compete with bigger companies. I have the perfect size equipment for my niche.

Of course I turn down work. Mostly because it’s not something I’m interested in. I don’t want to do large removals, not because I can’t but because I don’t want to. I focus on pruning or small-medium removals.

If a storm damage job arises or bigger job arises that I see as an opportunity, I capitalize on it if I think it’s worth it. But I don’t chase them.

But I’m by no means struggling to keep up. My cleanups by hand versus a mini are not slow or hindering my efficiency.
When you're cleaning up brush on a pruning job, you are correct that a mini is more of a problem than a help.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
Depends on the size.

I clearly don't use it for an orchards.

Rarely do I prune one tree.
Definitely depends on the size! I've made pruning cuts with my crane. A 9" diameter, 40' long lateral 5' above a slate roof is still a pruning cut. ;) Totally agree. I'm just trying to sympathize with monkey24, that's all. If he doesn't see a need, it's not there. I, on the other hand, love the right balance of mechanization.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
Hoeflon C10 from UPEquip. Unreal...for my market and the tree size we regularly encounter.
I like that little crane, looks very capable! Unfortunately 70% of the trees we work on are taller than it is, so it wouldn’t help us much. I wish someone could build a crane like that, with those capacities, but twice as tall.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
I didn’t say I don’t see a need or benefit because I absolutely do see the benefit but there are plenty of other guys on here and in the industry who are running smaller setups.

But unless you come and watch someone’s operations how do you know how efficient their operation is just because they don’t have a mini to drag brush?
We don't know for sure what your operation is like, but I can bet most everyone on this particular thread has been there, done that. Further, "efficient" is a relative term.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
I like that little crane, looks very capable! Unfortunately 70% of the trees we work on are taller than it is, so it wouldn’t help us much. I wish someone could build a crane like that, with those capacities, but twice as tall.
The C10 is a trunk wood slayer. We definitely encounter trees taller than the crane. Sometimes we zip line tops out, and save the crane for heavier rounds. It can run with a winch (Stick Crane style) or with a simple Hook at the end of the Boom (K-Boom style). I most often run it with the Hook, which means if a pick is taller than the crane, you can still balance it properly and take it.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
I didn’t realize it was such a competition. But I’m not gonna try and justify what I do because quite frankly I don’t need to explain it or try to prove anything.

It doesn’t matter if you disagree or it doesn’t make sense that I prefer a lift over a mini, if it makes sense to me that’s all that matters. I certainly wouldn’t presume to know about all your operations
Maybe you're tying someone else's comments with mine. It's not a competition. You don't need to justify anything. You're not wrong to set up the way you want to. Given the choice, I would also take a Lift over a mini, but not forever. I'm just going off a previous post you made about working "just as efficiently" as a crew with iron. I'm not sure about that.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
I respectfully disagree somewhat because I’ve done large storm damage jobs.
I appreciate your zeal in wanting to do any job with less equipment. I agree. I have been in your corner arguing the same points you are. You can certainly make money doing it the way you are. Hats off. My point was, you cannot perform emergency work like a large company that can field and execute many jobs in a short time, and do it in the middle of a time where you are scheduled out for months. That is what emergency work is.

If it is an actual emergency, before you even get to an estimate for storm work, the homeowner is going to have called many companies, and is likely to hire the first one that can physically do the work.

Though you, or I, "can" perform the job, doesn't mean we are best capable to, or best marketed for. I have taken trees off of houses with no equipment many times. Every time I downplayed the fact that I wasn't using a crane, even though I would have preferred using one, because the client was skeptical of me doing the job, reasonably. Thus, a fully outfitted company that shows up with a crane etc looks, to the client, better. Looking better is a legitimate means of bringing in revenue and selling jobs.

I'm not saying you can't do it. I can do most anything, and did to a degree to prove that I could. To who, who knows.

Barring the line about emergency capabilities, I completely agree with most of what you are saying. No one is trying to attack or disprove you or doubt that there is more than one way to go about making money in the tree industry..

Rock on.
 

VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
The C10 is a trunk wood slayer. We definitely encounter trees taller than the crane. Sometimes we zip line tops out, and save the crane for heavier rounds. It can run with a winch (Stick Crane style) or with a simple Hook at the end of the Boom (K-Boom style). I most often run it with the Hook, which means if a pick is taller than the crane, you can still balance it properly and take it.
If you don’t mind?
How much does that retail at?
 

bck

Member
There’s a bit of a myth that equipment means overhead. Personnel is the greatest overhead. If you work alone or with 1 or 2 hired hands long enough, you will come to the realization that your expense is already greater than a good piece of equipment...sometimes by a lot.

I’m not saying to deny people in favor of hydraulics. I’m saying that integrating the two makes a HUGE difference. This is why I bought a Spider Lift and a Spider Crane. It’s a true 1-2 punch for a small residential tree care business.
Spider crane ?...
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
What’s killing the oaks in MA? I’m in CT and just started hearing about this.
Probably Bacterial Leaf Scorch or Oak Wilt? We have a lot of BLS around here these days, bad enough I think when we run out of Ash trees we will be taking down all the Oaks.
 

oceans

Well-Known Member
Location
MA, USA
What’s killing the oaks in MA? I’m in CT and just started hearing about this.
Compounding stressors. There was Winter Moth pressure for years on end. Then came the cycle of Gypsy Moth, which emerge and feed after the trees are trying to recover from the Winter Moth defoliation.

The trees with enough left to make another push after double defoliation were met with drought conditions.

It was just a perfect storm of pests and climate. Most have shed their bark by now, and many are beginning to fall over now that the root systems are gone. It’s a rather heart breaking mess.
 
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