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Business Owners & Managers

Should Your Lawn Care Business Offer Tree Care Services?

Prudent lawn care business owners are always looking for ways to increase revenue by expanding the services they offer to clients.

Some services, such as aeration, fertilization and weed control, are a natural fit and easy to add on to a regular mowing program. Increasingly, however, lawn care companies are getting requests for tree care services.

Should your business expand into this potentially lucrative market? The answer is…maybe.

Before deciding to offer tree services, consider a few key questions:

  • Does your company own the necessary equipment and if not, are you willing to make that investment?

  • Does your business have the existing resources and staff to manage an increased volume of work?

  • Can you provide your employees with the necessary training to safely perform the additional tasks required?

If you're ready to branch out into tree care, follow these four tips for a successful transition:

1.Start small

To begin with, offer lighter tree services that don't involve climbing or require specialized training and equipment. The pruning and trimming of shrubs and small trees are popular services with homeowners and offer added value to your existing lawn care clients.

If you expand into specialized tree services be prepared to expand your staff as well.

While your lawn care teams should be able to handle additional tasks like aerating and fertilizing, or even light pruning jobs, expect to hire additional staff with experience climbing, felling trees, and operating boom trucks and chippers if you plan to offer these services in-house.

2.Be selective

Know which tasks fall within the limits of your expertise and equipment and be selective about which jobs you accept.

In the case of difficult, dangerous or highly technical trims, or the removal of large hardwood trees or stumps, consider subcontracting to specialists in the field.

This approach allows you to offer a range of convenient “one-stop shopping” services to your clients while minimizing your investment and risk.

While the potential profitability of bigger jobs can be tempting, honestly assess whether they are jobs you can complete efficiently.

For example, if you have to fill and dump multiple loads because you don't have a chipper on site, how much will the extra time and resources used eat into your profits?

3.Choose the right equipment

Even light tree work requires high-quality, professional-grade tools. Ensure all equipment is appropriate for the task, maintained properly, and operated correctly by your workers.

Heavier jobs may require specialized equipment such as chippers, stump grinders and industrial chain saws.

While the initial financial investment may be daunting, it can pay off quickly if you plan to specialize in this type of work, as tree services typically carry much higher profit margins than lawn and landscaping services.

Rental and lease programs are a lower cost option that may be more appealing as you build your tree care customer base.

4.Play it safe

No matter how big or small the job, safety should always be a priority.

Ensure that you provide your staff with the correct tools and training for the job, along with appropriate protective gear and equipment.

The added risk comes with added costs as well; make sure your insurance policy covers your company for the additional services.

Have you added tree care to your core services? What tips would you share? Share your thoughts in our forum, and hear from other pros like you.