Starting out

KevinS

Well-Known Member
Location
ontario
Thanks man

What are typical contract climber rates these days?

Know your target market and sales. Know your own work ethic, including back end paperwork, organization, stress management. Have the supports you need in place, you can't do everything: accounting, bookkeeping, lawyer, marketing, maintenance, sales, reception, staffing, payroll. Have written contracts!

I'm just starting out solo, with a very simple and flexible plan. I own everything I need to do the work I want. I have VERY low overhead. I work any time, anywhere, most any profit level; I land work or get a contract, I go. See how things shake out. No commitments; kids, spouse, loans, mortgage... I have no goals this season, just exploring. It has been incredible :love: I'm kinda in a unicorn scenario, I'm not sure I would want to take on the stress with the typical mortgage, family, consumer debt.

Have an offseason plan! Disability insurance!

Best of luck! Hit me up if you want a contract climber. I'll be in your neighborhood on the 18th for a rec climb, with JLS Tree Service, come play :cool:
 

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
Depends how busy or conversely hungry I am. Or how hard they push me, the travel, hotel life... and so on. $350-600 Day rate, up to 8h on-site, 100/h after 8h. Some companies pay cash on top for performance incentives, cut days short when they go well, some treat me like a rented muel. Most value me respecting staff / clients / equipment, enforcing safety, teaching, inspecting equipment, giving a fuck. Few aren't happy with my production, all my fancy shit takes too long, my climbing is slow. Other contract climbers in the GTA make up to $1000 allegedly. Generally, I'm doing contract work mostly for the learning experience, travel, and exposure. I'm still learning different markets, how different companies are structured, what works for them (and doesn't). I want to find my way into some crane work :love:

Quickly finding easier, more fun ways to make better money. With my own sales, piece work for other cool climbers, golf courses, parks/conservation, home builders, island clients or very particular needs. Looking to get a little chip truck and 6-9" chipper this winter, a part-time laborer. I have a few contract climbers / semi-retired arbs that are board with day jobs, but don't want to climb full time; I use when the work is right and I can pay them well. Make the days more fun, then being solo all the time.
 

Reach

Well-Known Member
Location
Atglen, PA
In this area, contract climbers seem to bill $400-500 per day. However, there is a local crane service that has a team of contract climbers that bill $75 per hour, with a four hour minimum charge.

Edit: I spoke with Derrick Martin yesterday, 3x PennDel tree climbing champion and international competitor; he bills $600/day to contract in this area.
 
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owScott

Well-Known Member
Location
Lafayette
$250 for basic can climb and get deadwood. $350-$500 can handle what you put in front of him efficiently. Cant think of any senerio i would pay $1000 for some one to just climb.
 

dspacio

New Member
Location
South County
Thanks for the messages! I am also starting out solo right now...
I got out of tree work a few years ago because I could make more doing carpentry, boat-building, high-end stuff, as a subcontractor. Yet I realize I can't work inside so much. Things slowed down this spring and I started getting asked to do some pruning... and I am jumping right back in the tree game. Still doing handyman jobs too.

What I am sensing is it's important to self-assess my skills, interests, and unique elements compared to other businesses here. I learned tree felling through forestry, firewood, homesteading, learned orchard pruning; my eye is more akin to a biodynamic gardener. this was always hugely frustrating on my old crew, if I tried to leave even ONE milkweed within the edge of an area we were meant to clear..... Yet I bet there are a lot of folks who would Love to invite that kind of worker to their land!

Yet I am not an expert, my climbing skills are beginner, and my tools are basic and small.
The upside is I have worked tightly within small businesses since 2011, including two of my own.

Questions I have are:

Any thoughts on approaching local tree crews to offer work?
(Approaches that work, offer day rate/half day, etc. any insights, things to work into contracts, how firm/long are contracts)

Do folks respond well to door-to-door offer of service?
I know this changes widely by location. This keeps appearing to me as a good approach to begin with in tree-filled n'hoods locally. I make a flier easier than a webpage.. (web page is a good idea I may follow as well)

Jobs I have completed so far have gone well and it is wonderful to be doing the work again! I just needed to figure making a decent rate at it, which I was not getting close to, working for the old crew. So far I am getting good rates, good days, ready to bid high on a job I can't handle alone, and grateful to have a few good contacts to hire alongside for full-size jobs. Glad I can piece work/life/float together with carpentry jobs too.

I appreciate coming back on this forum. came here a few years ago, but First time posting!

Thanks for the whole group on here, the amount of knowledge is massive.

~Michael

(the kind of tree worker you catch rapidly transplanting a blueberry bush out of harms way)
 

Tom Lynch

Active Member
Location
Brockville
$250 for basic can climb and get deadwood. $350-$500 can handle what you put in front of him efficiently. Cant think of any senerio i would pay $1000 for some one to just climb.
Sell a $5000 job with no climber... all of a sudden losing another 500 off the net of a sale doesn't seem so bad. Some companies around here don't really have a strong (or any) climber. they stick to very simple and small scopes of work. Once and while they land something they need help with. A good climber could crank it out in say a day, with nothing broken. Or they could put lose whomever they have on staff and roll the dice.

I have no idea how the companies with no climber even stay afloat.
 

VenasNursery

Well-Known Member
Location
Michigan
Sell a $5000 job with no climber... all of a sudden losing another 500 off the net of a sale doesn't seem so bad. Some companies around here don't really have a strong (or any) climber. they stick to very simple and small scopes of work. Once and while they land something they need help with. A good climber could crank it out in say a day, with nothing broken. Or they could put lose whomever they have on staff and roll the dice.

I have no idea how the companies with no climber even stay afloat.
Very easy brother it’s called technology!!!
We just hired a new guy and he made me promise I would let him climb once a month lol
 

Kenny Sanchez

Active Member
Location
Raleigh
Here is a video I made talking about the pros and cons of each (starting out on your own or working for someone). What's you guys opinion on this?
 

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