How to Start a Tree Service Business




If you’re here looking at how to start a tree service business because you’re all in for the idea, that’s great. After all, it can be extremely rewarding and lucrative to start a company in this field. 

Tree services are always in high demand because there is never a shortage of trees that require special attention, and we are not talking about cutting them but rather the opposite: doing your best to take care of them. 

For it, you now need to know more about the industry. Are you unsure of what it takes to start a tree-service business? You don’t have to worry.

We will provide the guidelines and information required to do so. 

However, keep in mind this will require hard work and money, like any other business. So, although this will help make your journey easier and simpler, you need to ensure you’re all-in for working in this business area.

With that in mind, let’s start.

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What Does It Take to Start a Tree Service Business?

You don’t need to be an arborist expert. It is possible to hire others to do the hard work and get down to the details, but if you want to be involved as part of the workers, then you can gain some experience and training by working with other companies for a few months or a few years.

On the other hand, you need to work hard in yourself when it comes to learning, but we aren’t leaving aside the other aspects or factors. 

You need first to know how much money you can expect to spend on your business in order to get it started. What is the cost of starting a tree company?

Next, think about licensing. To legally operate, will you require a license or permit? If so, which type? Thus can vary in every state, city, and even local area. 

You will also want to get an idea of the average annual revenue for a tree trimming company or the specific services you offer, whether you’re a general tree service company or decide to specialize in one service. 

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Start by Learning What Is the Cost to Start a Tree Business

To get your business started, you should be prepared to invest anywhere between $10k up to $50.000, and some people even spend more depending on the scale they want the business to be. 

The cost of your services will vary depending on the number and type of services offered, the equipment purchased, and how many employees are hired to work for you.

If you want a recommendation this early on in the article: don’t go all big at once, even if you have the money for it. 

You should take the time to learn more about the industry business and test the waters to ensure you won’t lose your time and money. 

Also, going all big only means you can end up losing everything in the end if something goes wrong, and starting again will take much longer. 

Thus, we recommend going for the low investment option and just adding some more expenses you find necessary for goals you establish for the business.

Determine If You Need a License to Operate

The answer likely is yes. Your state and local requirements will determine whether or not you need to apply for a license. 

A permit is rarely required for individual arborists, but it may be necessary for tree care companies.

You will need a business license to legally operate your business in your state, county, and city. A contractor’s license may be required separately from your business license.

Start by going to your state’s website and searching for a “business license” search. Remember that permits and licenses must be renewed annually.

Another option is to obtain a certificate from the International Society of Arboriculture. Although it is not required to operate a tree service company, becoming an arborist will strengthen your reputation and show people that you are reliable and skilled.

This will increase your chances of booking work quickly easily and maximize your profits.

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Think About How Much You Will Earn

As a small startup, you can expect to make between $100.000 and $200.000 per year. Your annual profit after deducting business expenses would be approximately $50.000, but this can, of course, increase based on your business’s size and the amount of work you have.

Your gross annual earnings could range from $540.000 to $1 million if you build your business and reputation. You will typically bring home 10% of your total revenues as a business owner.

How successful and profitable your tree service company will be will depend on its sales, reputation, service quality, and management style. People place great importance on customer service and effective management above anything else.

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Analyze the Market

It is necessary to conduct a market analysis and decide what service you offer and how your company will be positioned in the marketplace.

It doesn’t mean you have to offer many services immediately. For example, you can start a tree removal business to test the waters and see if you can expand your services and solutions later on. 

If you prefer to keep it simple and only one type of service is sufficient for you, you can stick with that. However, when it comes to tree companies, and even if you don’t believe so, there is a good chance that you will need to grow your business.

You can expand your services as your goals change and when you have new ideas for your personal growth. Fortunately, this can be done slowly. 

You can do this by subcontracting to other businesses and companies for different jobs. You will also make valuable connections in your industry.

However, whether you offer a single service or are planning to provide multiple services (tree consulting and storm damage repair, parasite treatment, tree trimming and bracing, tree planting and stump pruning and grinding, to name just a few), you need to ensure that your prices can be competitive with others and allow you to make a profit.

What we recommend is that you move slow yet steady in the industry and market. 

Ask yourself questions like: 

  • What services are the most requested in the area?
  • Can you afford to offer more than one or two? 

And any other questions related to determining the market and what you can work around with. Of course, find the answer with your research and ask prospects.

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Once Done, Price Your Services

Keep in mind your competitors’ prices when you are about to set them for your business after working out with the market analysis. Of course, you still need to rely on market data and determine how the industry is moving. Otherwise, you will either underprice your services or the opposite. 

Determine, first, the best pricing strategy for you when trying them out for a bit or for different services and based on what others are doing the most.

Other factors while pricing your services also influence it, like: 

  • Consider your skills and experience.
  • What you are adding to the project.
  • How much equipment is required?
  • The labor involved.

It is important to ensure that you allow enough profit for your business.

You have the option to either charge per hour or per service. You can decide how much you charge per hour. 

Hourly rates range from $100 to $500. You should consider the risk and service level when setting hourly rates.

Before you give a quote or estimate, always do an in-depth analysis of the project and consider the client’s budget or what they can work with so you change the pricing method accordingly when needed.

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Legitimize Your Business

You must ensure that your business is legal in order to run it successfully. You will feel more confident and able to concentrate on what you do best: making money.

You will also avoid legal problems and possible shutting down of your business.

This is why you will need to focus on these tasks:

  • Choosing the right business structure to guarantee you operate according to the law.

You can choose from many business structures: a sole proprietorship, partnership (C corporation), S corporation, limited liability corporation (LLC), and a non-profit organization.

Each structure has its tax filing requirements, which will vary depending on the state.

Most small businesses and startups choose to incorporate an LLC. This is a safer option because the owners are not liable if something happens and a client sues.

You can also opt for an LLC with a single member if you are the sole proprietor. This is a great option for those who are just starting out and don’t know how big your business will grow or whether you would be open to partnering with others.

You can grow and become a corporate executive. 

  • How to get a tax identification number (TIN) from the IRS.

It is easy to obtain a TIN or an EIN, which you can do online.

The nine-digit EIN acts in a similar way to a social security number for your company and is used for tax purposes.

This number is required to open a business account, file tax returns, and apply for licenses and permits.

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  • Registering your business.

Next, register your company with the state. To find out the type of licenses and permits, you will need, contact your local municipality.

Although requirements can vary depending on where you live, your local business development center will be able to help guide you.

Your best resource is usually your county or municipal website.

  • Opening a business bank account and speaking to an accountant.

To make sure that you have a business bank account, visit the nearest bank or your usual one. This will make you appear more trustworthy to clients and creditors. 

It is also important to keep your personal and business expenses separate so that you can have a smooth start with tax records and tax preparation.

  • Getting Insurance.

It is important to have insurance for your business. This protects you in the event of any property damage or claims.

Basic liability insurance is the most important type of insurance you need and workers’ compensation insurance for your employees.

Other policies like health ones for your workers or yourself can be key to saving you money and being there for any accidents. 

In our opinion, tree businesses don’t pay enough attention to insurances, which makes them quite fragile when sues or accidents occur, which can be frequent in the industry—based on a percentage or compared to other niches. 

Thus, learn about the best insurance policies that you can afford and expand them based on how your business grows as well.

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Select A Name & Logo for Your Business

Although it is fun to decide what your tree care business will be called and come up with a logo design, it can be overwhelming.

While it is true that you can change your mind at any time and are not bound to a certain choice, it’s not a good idea to keep switching. It can be a headache to change your company’s name after you have established your industry reputation.

If you don’t have the artistic talent or desire to create your own logo, you can hire a graphic artist to design your business logo.

It doesn’t need to cost a lot and can deliver excellent results.

Also, take the time to come up with a name. 

The reason why so many businesses fail in building clientele is because of their names. As mentioned earlier, you don’t want to switch it so often. 

Think about it: people can recommend you to others, but they won’t be able to find you because you changed your name the last time they knew about you. 

This is only one of the many things that could happen, and in short, all of them lead to losing clients, your reputation, and not growing your business.

Get Your Equipment & Tools

As we mentioned earlier, with the pricing, you will determine your services’ value based on the equipment you have to buy and use as well. 

Now, which equipment do you need to acquire? 

The tree service area requires more work than you think for tools and equipment since you need to deal with removal, trimming, or any other solution that will also require more instruments. 

This is why you need to make a list based on the services you decide to offer and determine the most important tools to acquire. 

You may also want to set a budget for this as you cannot afford to spend most of your capital on it. 

Funding Before Moving on

Finally, don’t think we forgot about one of the most crucial parts: money. 

You will need to find a lender or get a loan to finance your tree service business unless your savings are enough or another financing/funding option is opened for you. 

Fortunately, compared to a few decades ago or just ten years ago, you have more options than your regular bank for this, especially if your credit score isn’t anything to brag about. 

Private lenders or even your family under specific conditions can be your support. 

The first option is what many businesses and startups are relying on as conditions, rates, and requirements are more reasonable than regular loans. 

Just make sure you choose the one that fits your needs the most, and it’s not only appealing because of the amount of money. 

Pay attention to every detail and get your funding with the best terms and conditions for your end.

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Marketing Your Business

Now that you have completed the legalities, got the money, and established the business by this point, you are ready to get started with the rest.

Your business will not prosper despite being the best at what it does.

Word-of-mouth advertising is no longer effective because we constantly change the world we live in. You can do almost everything online today, so think about your online visibility and the online tools that you can use to increase and get leads.

Although you don’t necessarily need one to run a business website, it is a great idea to have one. You will appear more professional, reliable, and trustworthy. It can have a major impact on your marketing strategy.

You can also create your website free of charge, but they often don’t look professional. You must be willing to invest and spend money to make money.

Consult with an SEO agency to help you optimize your search engine results. 

An SEO agency can either help you create a website or optimize it for you. The SEO experts will optimize the website to make sure people searching for your services find you quickly and sometimes even before they are aware they need you.

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Tree Service Software Is the Best Choice to Manage Your Business

You should also consider Tree Service Software to help manage your tree service business. This software will be used to book online, schedule, create quotes and estimates, send invoices, track time, manage your employees, and other functions.

It is important to choose the right software for your business. This will help you save time, organize your data, and provide valuable reports that can be used to track your finances and performance. 

You should find it easy to use, not make them more complicated. So, choose wisely.

The Local Lead Generation Process for Your Tree Service Business

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All right! So, everything is about building properties and generating leads. But how does the process actually take place? Are there other steps I need to know?

The steps I mention below are what students from our local lead generation program follow to generate leads for businesses like yourself. So I’ll help you see what we do. And how if you join our program, you can simply generate leads for your own business (unless you want to start a side hustle and build a laptop lifestyle business).

Essentially, our lead generation can be divided into four steps:

The first is prospecting. You need to take the time to do market research on a niche (industry) and determine how many phone-driven businesses are there.

Keep in mind that this is local research as you need to know how many companies need leads. For example, you may search for “plumbing services Youngstown OH.”

You will find dozens or even hundreds of businesses trying to get themselves in front of the customers by ranking on Map Listings, organic results, and even Ad.

The second step, building. When you find a niche (plumbing, tree services, a software company, real estate…), you will need to start building your digital properties. You don’t need to be an expert in HTML or coding. It can be easy with the right tools.

The third step is now taking time to rank your lead gen website. With the site done, you need to work on SEO strategies and start dominating those Google search results. If you’re new to SEO, it stands for Search Engine Optimization.

To keep it simple, it consists of the entire process of growing a company’s visibility on search engines like Google and generating organic traffic. And remember this, local lead generation is part of the strategies.

Moving on to step four, once you rank the site, you will start getting your ROI and profits. You only need to rent it out to a local business interested in the leads the site generates. You can offer a couple of free leads to their move on with the actual pay per lead.

To review steps 1-4 above, I described it to a normal student who is building a lead gen business to help local service providers generate more calls. But replace the student with you as the business owner. And replace sending the leads to a business to simply siphoning the leads to your personal business.

By the way, fun fact, about 20% of our students in our local lead gen program are actually business owners who went through the program. And they use the skillsets we teach to generate leads for their own business.

An Example of Lead Generation: Home Advisor

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You must be thinking, “if lead generation sounds so good so far, how come I haven’t seen any company?” That’s the thing; there are many out there. You just don’t know they are dedicated to it.

HomeAdvisor is one of the best examples you can find on the Internet as it is a top lead generation company that has spent millions building its brand but also earned even more zeros for this same reason.

They started small as everyone else but invested in building their brand awareness to make people who are looking for home services go to their website and find what they need. They are over 75% of people’s first choice when they need those services.

If you don’t get HomeAdvisor that much or need a refresh, users need to submit their information to request a service and get a professional or expert who can provide it.

HomeAdvisor’s job is to share your information, which makes you a lead, with local companies so they can contact you and offer the service you’re requesting. For sharing this lead information, HomeAdvisor gets paid by the companies. This happens for every single lead they send to multiple businesses.

Business owners who don’t have marketing skills or don’t even know how to have any online presence will always rely on those pages to list their services.  They will save time and effort, but companies like HomeAdvisor can make them spend lots of money as leads aren’t exclusive (one lead is sent to multiple companies after all).

Using Facebook Ads aka Paid Ad Platforms: Do They Generate Leads?

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They DO generate leads. If not, no one would use them.

However, you need to remember two facts:

  1. Paid ads or platforms can be expensive.
  2. They don’t generate “natural” leads.

Whenever someone sees or clicks in one of those ads, over 80% of them did it by accident or are trying to close/report it.

Why? Because they aren’t looking for those services. At least not at the moment.

What those ads do instead is interrupt their time on the platforms. Users aren’t there to find companies or businesses unless they are searching for a specific company’s user, and for that, there’s a search bar. This is why it is hard to convert them to actual customers who will show interest in the companies’ services. Also, you’re limited by a budget.

When using lead generation, everything is organic. You aren’t forcing others to pay attention to your business but rather being there when they need you. This is why Google’s organic traffic will always beat paid ads, and the reason companies continue investing in it, which is a lot cheaper as well.

What Is Local SEO?

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Don’t worry… I didn’t get it at first either. Following the short explanation, local SEO focuses on scaling businesses’ visibility on search engines. However, this is only for those who serve their communities face-to-face.

What does this mean?

Experts and professionals like painters, plumbers, and dentists (but not only them) offer their services to their local customers. Why? Because they can’t deliver them unless they are located in the same area of their customers.

To make sure those businesses get more leads, you need to rank them locally by claiming the business listing on Google to place them on Map Listings. Local SEO also involves online reviews, citation management, and how you manage your entire online presence in the local area.

If you are going to bet on lead gen, you need to adapt yourself to today’s world: The Internet.

Keep in mind that although traditional channels and methods like billboards, warm calls, and pamphlets still work, they aren’t part of your tools. Whenever someone needs a service, they go to Google and search for it.

“Dentist in Miami” or “plumbing services in Orlando,” etc. And you can keep coming up with services or professionals people need and look for. Thus, you need to make sure you’re using Google to get the companies in front of their clients.

Users will always click on the first search results (those near the top), and many of them will be either Ad links (people paid to place their websites there), Map Listing, and then you get websites. Almost all of them are your goal and where you should always aim to place yourself.

Can My Tree Service Business Utilize a Local Lead Generation Strategy?

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If you want customers, you better know you need it. Following the previous explanation, lead gen is all about placing businesses in front of their customers, choosing them over their competitors.

Put it simply – it’s all about closing deals and having clients for those companies to make money. The main difference with the usual methods companies use for this is how lead generation approaches different channels to get them in the right place of the market to get customers.

Those channels are all focused on the Internet as most people are searching for products but also services across the net. The issue is that the Internet is way too broad, and businesses don’t know how to place themselves. They usually try, but they get one common result: losing money and time.

How Powerful Are Organic Tree Service Business Leads from Google?

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For companies looking for customers, it’s everything. For you? Pretty much the same. When you build a business with digital properties, you get to make thousands of dollars a month.

This isn’t a “get started today and get rich tomorrow” thing, but it is HIGHLY scalable, and ROI + positive results are guaranteed. Learning a fairly decent and very needed set of skills to create your digital properties and start ranking them on Google is required.

I have invested in several online businesses over the years, and if there’s something uncertain, whether you will get your ROI or not, even more than the actual profit.

However, this business moved my earnings from five figures a year to a month in ONLY passive income while sitting comfortably at home.

On my laptop. Anywhere. Anytime.

You can look at one of the first sites I built back in 2016, and it continues making me over $1.000+ every month. The best part is that I don’t need to touch it or the rest I’ve built over the years, just like this digital property.

What Makes Lead Generation SO Alluring?

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Here it goes: you can work from home.

The main issue with regular business opportunities is how much you need to invest in staff, equipment, or rent to have a place to sell your products or offer your services.

We all know the hassles of traditional businesses that involve regular expenses, which are extremely high.  Can you afford it? I don’t think so, and even if you can, is it worth it? Now, it isn’t only about the money. You also need to put in a lot of work, and it isn’t only during the first couple of months or years. Usually, it is as long as you continue running it.

You can save yourself those headaches and bone-breaking tasks and expenses with lead gen since it is more about generating leads with digital channels—mainly websites.

Websites can be VERY cheap to build, and with many tools online, you get to do it in a couple of hours instead of days. Any virtual or digital business is scalable and won’t need constant maintenance.

So, let’s summarize this:

  • You save money in regular expenses with traditional and most online businesses as what you need is yourself and digital properties (websites).
  • You can bet on passive income.
  •  There’s no need to hire more people to get started.
  • You can generate leads in multiple industries, which allows you to work on any niche you want.

How Can I Get Started in the Local Lead Generation Program?

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Anyone can start and learn. That’s the beauty of this business model. I knew nothing about SEO, Map Listing, and everything I’ve mentioned so far. It is all about learning the skills, gaining experience, and deciding to take the step.

Remember that this business model will never get old as business owners are always looking for leads. They need to do business and scale their companies. Why not do the same while helping others and still making money?

You can start with this local lead generation course highly recommended for anyone wanting to grow in the business. It is a close training that will take you through each step and make sure you are able to get your ROI, profits and take control of your life.

You will be added to an incredible lead generation family ready to help you 24/7 when asking questions on the group. Anyone is welcome who’s willing to put in the work. Click here to watch the lead gen webinar.

Learn more about local lead generation below.

Take a sneak peek into our proven strategies to build a passive income by building a local lead generation business from your laptop...