You opened your tree service business a few months ago. You've got reliable trucks and equipment, a competent staff, and a prominent location with good signage. Despite all these advantages, however, business has been lackluster. Since you've got overhead and salaries to pay, you need to get business in the door and more trucks on the road. To begin growing your business, however, you must ensure that the correct "seeds" have been planted.
Things You'll Need
- List of services you provide
- Map of geographic service area
- Staff training documentation
- Equipment maintenance records
- Marketing "door hangers"
- List of local Chamber of Commerce members
- Information on upcoming tree work bids
- List of audiences for tree care talks
Evaluate your services and coverage area. Scrutinize the services you provide, and the geographic area in which you provide them. For example, common tree-related services include tree trimming and removal, stump grinding, chipping and brush removal. However, if you have qualified staff, you can offer more specialized tree care services.
Refine your service area based on available equipment and staff. For example, if you advertise a service area of several hundred square miles, you will be expected to promptly handle calls within that entire area. Depending on travel time and each job's complexity, it may not be possible to provide timely service throughout that entire area.
Ensure that staff and equipment are the best available. Because you are operating a service business, your customers will evaluate your ability to competently provide those services. Send your staff to school to acquire certifications and additional expertise. One valuable designation is the Certified Arborist.
According to the International Society of Arboriculture, a Certified Arborist has passed examinations to prove his knowledge in a variety of tree care fields. Areas of expertise include pruning, planting and fertilization, cabling and bracing, aeration, and disease prevention and control. With a Certified Arborist on your staff, you can expand the services you offer.
Upgrade your equipment. With well-maintained equipment and trucks, you can service customers more efficiently. Well-functioning equipment will also contribute to the safety of your employees.
Search for trees that present hazards. Drive through your service area, and note any trees that present current (or potential) hazards to homes or businesses. When you find a tree-related problem, address it immediately. Leave a "door hanger" marketing brochure at private homes, and contact business owners to offer your services.
Join your local Chamber of Commerce. Contact information for your chamber can be accessed through the United States Chamber of Commerce website. Once you are a chamber member, make personal visits to your fellow members. In addition to offering member discounts, you can view any potential tree hazards and offer your services on the spot.
Bid on government and municipal contracts. Although the bid process is time-consuming, winning bidders can boost their business with these contracts. During slow periods, contract work can keep employees busy. In addition, successful contract completion can be a "feather in your cap" when you are under consideration for future work. To learn about upcoming bids in your area, check into a database that provides constantly updated information.
Provide speakers on tree care topics. Since you have invested in staff education, you now have credentialed tree experts who can speak about tree care topics. Garden clubs, 4-H clubs, high school or college botany classes, and insurance agents can be potential audiences for your speakers. These talks accomplish four goals: (1) Provide exposure to many people with one speech; (2) Promote your tree service as an authority on the topic; (3) Show that your company is a partner in community beautification; and (4) Allow scheduling of tree work for interested audience members.