Subcontract tree crew...thoughts

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Putting together a 45 yard chip truck that I'm not sure I need. Trying to make myself feel better by justifying uses of it. Maybe once or twice a week it would really help on the larger jobs we do.

Was thinking about hiring it out by itself to other companies with a driver for larger jobs that they might have when it would otherwise be sitting. I could hire a friend with a cdl by the day to drive it. Could take it to the next level and bring 18xp, mini skid, crane (which I would sub), log truck (which I would sub), sub climbers (have several we hire often), ground guys (have several that could be arranged with enough notice), etc. A la carte anything from just truck to the whole show. All new/newer nice legal looking gear and high grade crew.

Lots of guys around here too busy/ can't hire or won't hire professional full time guys or buy certain equipment. They have the ability to bid jobs that they might not have time or resources to perform. In theory, a guy could go around and just bid jobs high and hire this team to perform the job.

I'm sure this is not a new idea, but I'm thinking it could be pretty successful if I could get a high enough rate. If it took off, could justify adding high pay positions to new operators, etc.

All in theory of course. Any thoughts?
 

TreeCo

Well-Known Member
I don't think a super large chip truck is going to be a money maker.

Just about all successful tree companies have their own.

It may appeal to the fly by nighters though.
 

RyanCafferky

Well-Known Member
Putting together a 45 yard chip truck that I'm not sure I need. Trying to make myself feel better by justifying uses of it. Maybe once or twice a week it would really help on the larger jobs we do.

Was thinking about hiring it out by itself to other companies with a driver for larger jobs that they might have when it would otherwise be sitting. I could hire a friend with a cdl by the day to drive it. Could take it to the next level and bring 18xp, mini skid, crane (which I would sub), log truck (which I would sub), sub climbers (have several we hire often), ground guys (have several that could be arranged with enough notice), etc. A la carte anything from just truck to the whole show. All new/newer nice legal looking gear and high grade crew.

Lots of guys around here too busy/ can't hire or won't hire professional full time guys or buy certain equipment. They have the ability to bid jobs that they might not have time or resources to perform. In theory, a guy could go around and just bid jobs high and hire this team to perform the job.

I'm sure this is not a new idea, but I'm thinking it could be pretty successful if I could get a high enough rate. If it took off, could justify adding high pay positions to new operators, etc.

All in theory of course. Any thoughts?
Having a legitimate operation that only uses subcontractors is hard to pull off.

There are many things that subs have to show to prove that they are truly subcontractors and not just misclassified employees.

Here is the first place to start.


I operate as an independent subcontractor. I have an LLC that is licensed, insured, and bonded for the work that I do. I work for many different clients (sometimes 5 different clients a week). I have a substantial investment in my equipment and business (I rarely if ever use my clients tools or equipment). I have a tremendous amount of control of how I do my work and when I work.

If you hand a worker everything they need to do their job, provide them all equipment, tell them when to work, how to work, they have no insurance as an independent company and pay no self employment taxes, that person is an employee and you would need to cover them as such.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Having a legitimate operation that only uses subcontractors is hard to pull off.

There are many things that subs have to show to prove that they are truly subcontractors and not just misclassified employees.

Here is the first place to start.


I operate as an independent subcontractor. I have an LLC that is licensed, insured, and bonded for the work that I do. I work for many different clients (sometimes 5 different clients a week). I have a substantial investment in my equipment and business (I rarely if ever use my clients tools or equipment). I have a tremendous amount of control of how I do my work and when I work.

If you hand a worker everything they need to do their job, provide them all equipment, tell them when to work, how to work, they have no insurance as an independent company and pay no self employment taxes, that person is an employee and you would need to cover them as such.
I hire in so called "contract climbers" often (twice a week every week plus), I am aware of the above. They always meet us at the job (One has a sprinter van with his tools and name on the door), use their own tools, and have their own insurance. In school my commercial arboriculture professor used to say, "if they ride in your truck, they are your employee". I've kept to that.

Similarly, the crane company provides their own licensed/credentialed operator who meets us at the job, obviously using his own tools.

The logger who runs a log truck for me meets us at the job to pick up the logs, is licensed/credentialed/insured, and uses his own tools and meets us at the job.

I also have several employees on payroll, who could drive trucks, run mini, manage the chipper etc. My employees and my equipment are insured through my business. If I ended up hiring in someone by the day to drive a CDL vehicle if I was short, I could easily add them to my payroll, and thus insure them through my business.

I suppose I should note that these subs are people that I have worked with for years and presently almost on a weekly basis.

Also, I am on the hook for the worker's comp for the contract climber. Also my payroll guys of course.


The thought was that, since I already have extra equipment, and have trusted/reliable/credentialed/insured subs available, I could put them to work at a day rate that would be worth it if someone were willing to pay. All without adding an expensive team of new guys. Only mobilizing if the money is there. Which is pretty much what I am doing now with the subs that I use anyways.

Just brainstorming also so I appreciate any holes in the theory being pointed out.
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
Should mention that they all know and work with each other often now anyways. So, just to be clear, I wouldn't just be hiring a bunch of random people and telling them "meet at this address and get the job done"..... Not that sort of thing
 

Sfoppema

Well-Known Member
Location
Central MA
I don't think a super large chip truck is going to be a money maker.

Just about all successful tree companies have their own.

It may appeal to the fly by nighters though.
I can see your logic. Though, I find myself to be successful, and I would hire in a 45 yard chip truck if it were available to me at a day rate that made sense on large jobs. No company within 20 minutes of me, that I am aware of, has a 45 yard chip truck. I don't know everything that is going on, though. A guy in town with a 24 inch chipper has a log truck and 25 yard chip truck. Only does crane work. I bet he would use me on a job that was to generate lots of chips. Or chip more logs to avoid bringing log truck.
Wouldn't know until you had the truck I guess. I see your point, though.
 

Fivepoints

Well-Known Member
I think this would be very local dependant. Here for instance, we have a guy with a large triple axle grapple truck that hauls both brush and logs for tree services. He used to have his own tree service but the hauling has taken over for him. Now hauling for others is all he does. He stays constantly busy.

We have recently bought a tandem axle Mack roll off truck. We are going to set it up as a 40 yard chip truck for ourselves. We will also use it to haul logs and equipment. I have had several other tree services that have asked about us hauling roll off dumpsters for them to help moving logs. None have asked about chip boxes.
 

owScott

Well-Known Member
Location
Lafayette
IMO, removals are so competitive that adding a bigger expense hurts your margin too much. Stck with jobs that you can do with the equipment you have. Cranes being the exception. But even then subbing a crane can make your margin tight if you dont get the right price and aren't really effecient. The contractor, thats me, is the high dollar item. When you add other high dollar items to the job it usually doesnt become too profitable. This is in general, and I am sure there will be exceptions when this added expense will work but for the most part that inflated expense will put you out of the running as low price is the driving point in the removal business.
 
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