Would You Go BIG or SMALL if You Started Over From Scrath?

Lemonjello

Member
Location
Oahu,HI
I enjoyed reading this. You have the idea about islandarb life. It really is the bomb. Here getting good employees is hard. No one likes treework for the passion just the paycheck. I am doing it all even thinking for my crew. That can be a drainer.
Ah yes, the elusive reliable employee... Yes, I’ve checked the morning surf report... to see who’s going to call in
 

evo

Well-Known Member
Location
My Island, WA
I enjoyed reading this. You have the idea about islandarb life. It really is the bomb. Here getting good employees is hard. No one likes treework for the passion just the paycheck. I am doing it all even thinking for my crew. That can be a drainer.
That there is the crux. Very very limited pool and basically hiring any warm blood that shows a glimmer of interest.
Got me a burnt out guy with experience, but he also thinks he knows better than me. Then I got a 45 year old that is living in his sisters shed that can’t work more than 2 days per week. He is asking all the right questions and shows interest though. Some experience in tree work, and learning quickly!
Holding on to both with tooth and nail. Just wish there was more ‘drive’... it’s not that I pay little either. Full medical and $25-35 for ‘light’ tree work on the scale of what most round here do.
 

27RMT0N

Well-Known Member
Location
WA
A few islanders here. I'm in the same boat.... er, island. I live on an island of ~200 people and work on a 'big' island of ~4,500 people that makes up 95% of my business/market. One hour boat ride from the mainland. Talk about a small market and even smaller labor-pool. Good reputations are EVERYTHING here, because everyone knows everyone. I don't advertise, I don't even have a website, and I stay busy year-round. (just wrote the same thing on the 'marketing' thread)

Like evo, 'BIG' just isn't an option in my market. There is one 'big' tree company in my entire county and they have like.... 6 guys. Along with residential, they are doing line-clearance and forestry thinning (20% removal of trees on acreage for example) with the necessary equipment, but the rest of the tree work here is handled by mostly 1-2-man businesses. I can't climb forever so at some point I'll need to hire employees and shift towards management, but I'm not looking forward to that.
 
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marne

Member
Location
TX
On an older thread I wrote the following, fits here as well, even in 2021. For both buddies, nothing has changed:

One of my collegues runs a 7 man crew 2 bucket trucks big chipper and so on. The other one is alone, sometimes one helper, an f150 and an 7x14 tipping trailer, where he cuts the the brush with a 661and this 10 years+. The lonely one only does quality climbing jobs, has all new equipment, is always happy and relaxed and one of the richest persons I know, he does incredibly well, 120k car, beautiful house, model wife and everything paid. The other one is always stressed and on the run behind the equipment and lazy employees, not poor but far away from the focused single.
This helped me making my choice.
 

marne

Member
Location
TX
Stop, one thing changed meanwhile, the solo operator now only works 3 days @ 8hrs per week, is even more relaxed, spends his spare time for hobbies and still keeps his exclusive living standard.
 

JontreeHI

Well-Known Member
Location
Portland, OR!
I just started over in the last month, in a new but old place, was my fourth year independent in Portland Or, now in the Small town where I grew up in W Michigan. Around here, it seems that equipment is king—most outfits are driving removal work to pay for their grapple cranes and spider lifts and bucket trucks etc. There are not many climbers. But a TON of work. Fortunately my family has lots of social connections that have allowed to me to jump right in, I’ve got a few weeks of work on the books already.
my intention is to stay small—the niche exists in a serious way for a “back yard” climber and rigger (me). The past several years in Portland have gone well, but I’ve been more focused on the business side then the hard climbing side, and picking and choosing the jobs I’d prefer, and leaning heavily on friends to complete the bigger jobs (thank you @RyanCafferky ! I can’t remember Will K’s @ here or I’d tag him also.)
Now I’ve got to get back into lots of climbing, but I’m rather excited about it, and so far so good.
I’d love to find a wingman around here, and I think I’ll have to grow one. But I intend to stay small enough, and like Tony has said, focus on building relationships with clients and doing the work the other guys won’t, or can’t , do.
it’s daunting to start over again, but exciting and challenging too.
B00DBCD1-F241-41ED-A6EA-A2A6EB3A2202.jpeg
shipped the chipper over and drove the northern route from OR to MI just like this, overloaded but plenty small! The camper gives
Me the ability to go up north and work as a sub, or across the state and do the same.
 

swingdude

De' Island Buzzer
Location
Barbados
I just started over in the last month, in a new but old place, was my fourth year independent in Portland Or, now in the Small town where I grew up in W Michigan. Around here, it seems that equipment is king—most outfits are driving removal work to pay for their grapple cranes and spider lifts and bucket trucks etc. There are not many climbers. But a TON of work. Fortunately my family has lots of social connections that have allowed to me to jump right in, I’ve got a few weeks of work on the books already.
my intention is to stay small—the niche exists in a serious way for a “back yard” climber and rigger (me). The past several years in Portland have gone well, but I’ve been more focused on the business side then the hard climbing side, and picking and choosing the jobs I’d prefer, and leaning heavily on friends to complete the bigger jobs (thank you @RyanCafferky ! I can’t remember Will K’s @ here or I’d tag him also.)
Now I’ve got to get back into lots of climbing, but I’m rather excited about it, and so far so good.
I’d love to find a wingman around here, and I think I’ll have to grow one. But I intend to stay small enough, and like Tony has said, focus on building relationships with clients and doing the work the other guys won’t, or can’t , do.
it’s daunting to start over again, but exciting and challenging too.
View attachment 75157
shipped the chipper over and drove the northern route from OR to MI just like this, overloaded but plenty small! The camper gives
Me the ability to go up north and work as a sub, or across the state and do the same.
Very cool Jon. Nice seeing you around again.
 

Treezybreez

Well-Known Member
Location
Lancaster, SC
Not having any debt kept me afoat when we were stuck in a hospital because of my son's cancer. I prefer to stay small and slowly aquire equipment. Two weeks ago there was a day my guy called in sick, so I cut and moved over 5,000lbs of tree debris by myself. "I just about have enough for a mini". That's what I kept telling myself as I loaded up my dump trailer by hand. It's hard work, but I make enough to pay the bills, retirement etc. And a lot less stress.
 

climbingmonkey24

Well-Known Member
Location
United States
On an older thread I wrote the following, fits here as well, even in 2021. For both buddies, nothing has changed:

One of my collegues runs a 7 man crew 2 bucket trucks big chipper and so on. The other one is alone, sometimes one helper, an f150 and an 7x14 tipping trailer, where he cuts the the brush with a 661and this 10 years+. The lonely one only does quality climbing jobs, has all new equipment, is always happy and relaxed and one of the richest persons I know, he does incredibly well, 120k car, beautiful house, model wife and everything paid. The other one is always stressed and on the run behind the equipment and lazy employees, not poor but far away from the focused single.
This helped me making my choice.
I am pretty sure I remember you writing this in an older thread that I might’ve made. Good stuff.
 

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