5 Steps for Starting Up Your Own Tree Service. Tree trimmer truck

Steps for Starting Up Your Own Tree Service

If you’ve ever watched an established tree company work, you might assume it started out exactly the same way you are seeing it today: established. That probably couldn’t be further from the truth. The amount of times I’ve heard an owner of a tree service say he or she started with nothing more than a pick-up truck and a saw has happened more times than I can remember.

Looking from the outside in, sometimes it’s hard to remember, or even imagine, where people started. In case you’re thinking about starting up your own tree service on the side, or even full time, here is a great list we’ve put together to show how anyone, if they take the right steps, can easily and reasonably start out and progress in business without breaking the bank immediately.

These 5 tips for starting up your own tree service apply under the assumption that you are educated in the basics and safe practices of tree work, and that you have the minimum amount of gear required to enter a tree and perform work.

The Bare Minimum: Chainsaw and Pick-Up Truck Set Up

than 75% of the climbers or owners you know probably started out in this way, taking on jobs here and there. Do not be intimidated by large equipment or crews. There are jobs for you and money to be made with this basic set up!

The key to step one in starting up your own tree service is simple: start small. Large removals are not going to be your top priority. Try to FOCUS on getting smaller pruning jobs, dead wooding trees, and always encourage the home owner to let you perform a ‘leave all’ job by explaining you can cut their wood up into reasonable lengths, but can save them hundreds of dollars by having them do the bulk of the clean up themselves. By leaving the heavy loads, this will save you A TON of lifting and gas/time in back and forth travel to get it all out of their yard.

than likely the client will want all the brush removed, as it’s the most difficult to deal with, and this is going to be the part that isn’t fun for you’ but it can be done. Rent or borrow an additional trailer if you can and load that bad boy up with as much brush as you can, strap it all down, and collect your check.

Remember, by starting small you can easily make some extra income without having to start out heavily in debt. Allow these jobs to pile up, save your money, and begin preparing for step 2!! OR! If equipment and a large crew isn’t for you, but hard work and climbing is, then you may want to consider being a contract climber! This is a great system for those who like to travel and get different experiences throughout the year working with various crews for days or maybe even weeks at a time! But that’s a whole new conversation!

Dump Truck and Chipper!

As soon as you can, progress to this step. MANY people stay at step two for YEARS, and that’s because it’s fool proof. First off, your chipper! The second you get on a job and see that huge branch go through that chipper and land in the back of the dump truck box you are going to want to throw a party! No more fighting and stomping on branches and strapping them down. That limb just became a tiny piece of dust, not to mention limbs 10x the size of that tiny branch you fought with on the last job can also be disposed of through the chipper!

This set up is going to save you SO MUCH TIME in travel and will now allow you to charge that extra money you were trying to avoid before. Now stress to the client how much of a mess will be left after you drop the tree and how you can easily clean up their whole yard for them as if you were never there! Understand your situation and while being honest with the client, work towards jobs you are best set up for: big or small. This step in starting up your own tree service will do SO MUCH for you.

A Mini and a Dump Trailer

When you hit this stage, you’re going to feel like a rockstar! You basically just came up with a business-related reason why you get to invest in a new toy that will NO DOUBT make your jobs unimaginably easier. Where do I even start on why this step in starting up your own tree service is so awesome? First, the mini can honestly do the work of five men and it never calls in sick.

The mini, paired with the dump trailer, gives you the ability to now move LARGE wood so much faster and get the whole job cleaned up in half the time. Not only is the machine saving your back, it allows you to fit more jobs in in one day. The more work you can do, the more money you can make, so this is a Smart decision for so many reasons.

The Bucket Truck

Ok. So now you’re really looking to be efficient when starting up your own tree service. Climbing everyday was fun, but now it’s time to get in and get out! Not to mention, day after day after day of climbing can wear on even the best fit person, so this is a great way to give your body a break while still beating the clock. This also allows that person on your team who’s a hard worker, but not the best climber, to really excel.

With this piece of equipment, you just upped their skill level, allowing your crew to take on jobs it couldn’t before, which opens up more time for you to go bid jobs, tie up loose ends, or possibly run two crews simultaneously.

This is also a great investment, depending on the type of work you normally get. If you’re constantly trimming trees next to sidewalks or driveways, this may be a better choice for you up at step two, but moneywise, it is considerably more costly than a dump trailer.

The Spider Lift or Crane

Now we’re playing with the big dogs and talking money. In and out. Again. When starting up your own tree service, you have to spend money to make serious money. If you’re big into removals, these pieces are NO brainers.

The amount of time they will save you is incomparable. When a crane can come in a pick up a 40 ft tree in one pick, we’re no longer talking tree work, we’re talking construction with trees in tight spots. Using a crane on removals is one of the best decisions a larger tree service can make. The investment in the crane will easily pay for itself in a year’s time!

As for the Spider Lift, this equipment will open up possibilities you never thought possible when it comes to tight setups and small backyards! Some of these lifts can fit through a 36′ gate and still reach up to 80 feet! A winter’s worth of Oak pruning in Michigan could easily pay for this machine AND it will make the pruning easier! Awesome!

Happy Growing (and Trimming)

Hopefully you picked up some helpful tips and ideas on starting up your own tree service. You can grow your company from a pick-up truck and saw setup to a high end, full scale removal wrecking crew! Keep in mind this isn’t a definitive list of how to grow your company and in no way are we telling you that this will guarantee you money! We are just giving you some ideas and would also LOVE to hear your ideas and Комментарии и мнения владельцев in the section below! Thanks for reading and CLIMB ON!




The tree removal industry has faced a number of challenges – safety, property damage, operational inefficiency. over, the skill level of operators can vary significantly. And, perhaps, most significantly, the quality of equipment makes the biggest difference of all. After all, not everyone will invest in a high-quality Heila knuckle boom to make their jobs easier.

Reducing risk

Tree removal jobs are also inherently risky when performed in any built-up area. Whether it is cutting a dead tree in a residential setting or clearing a tree from land marked for commercial use, there are almost always space constraints. It’s when improper handling of equipment can cause damage. And, especially with older equipment, it is very much the operator’s skill that stops a tree from toppling onto an adjacent building.

A smaller footprint

Today, one of the biggest challenges the tree removal industry faces is the collateral impact it leaves behind. Having to access adjacent land, leaving tire tracks on the grass and having to bear neighbours’ ire are common issues. Even the risk of property damage is very real.

With advanced knuckle boom and grapple trucks, a lot of these can be reduced significantly. Greater reach and control over tree handling can really raise your tree-cutting capabilities and decrease time spent on administrative formalities such as access permissions.

New grapple saw technologies are helping change the face of tree-cutting. It is about to become a whole lot safer, faster and easier for all concerned.

New knuckle boom and grapple saw tech is bringing unheard of levels of agility and ability.

The advancement is evident through two technologies: the knuckle boom and the grapple saw. Together, they can help you raise your tree-cutting game.

Setting the grapple saw to ‘auto’

Let’s first talk about grapple saws. Development has not only focused on easing the burden on operators but also making maintenance less expensive. Here are some features you should definitely look for in your next knuckle boom crane with grapple saw.

  • Automatic tension adjustment – Instead of having to manually crank pressure on the chain, modern grapple saws can do it themselves – on the fly. It’s especially beneficial as the fine adjustments increase the performance and longevity of the saw blade. Great if you put your saws to extended use.
  • Auto-return and cut-off – An auto-return saw blade is a very handy feature to have. It greatly increases safety for personnel working around the equipment. Near misses with swinging grapple hooks and spinning saw, blades are too common. This can make your site a much safer place.
  • Lubrication systems – The joys of automation once again. Whereas traditional systems were mostly, ‘turn it on and let it flow’, newer systems are much more sophisticated. The amount of lubrication can be changed on the fly without any intervention to ensure optimum temperatures and lubricant use.
  • Remote operation – Perhaps the most important development has been remote operation. Totally wireless control over the grapple saw means the operator can position him or herself exactly as needed. It is a fast-changing space, too, with greater control and more automated systems under development.
steps, starting, your, tree

The humble knuckle boom crane

Knuckle boom cranes are the workhorse of tree removal companies. With enormous numbers of configurations of knuckle boom for sale, operators can find exactly what they need.

Booms like the PM knuckle boom truck offer a wide range of motion, allowing you to manoeuvre your grapple saws into oblique spaces too.

What’s more, with the strength of knuckle lift systems, operators can rely on one or just two machines to cut and extract trees, rather than a full complement of staff to manage tag lines and individual cranes.

With more capable craning mechanisms, you are able to reduce the footprint you leave on the property too. Cranes can be parked further away, reducing the risk of tire marks and damage to soft ground. Smaller cranes are also able to pass through narrower alleys and operate in more confined areas.

Vast selection of knuckle boom grapple saw

Bik Hydraulics is your one-stop-shop for all types of cranes. Our inventory consists of a vast selection of trucks and crane combinations. Grapple saw technology has evolved at a Rapid rate and we offer a wide selection of grapple saw types and capacities

steps, starting, your, tree

Tree trimmer falls to his death as boom truck lift arm collapses in Iowa.

During February 1999, a 62-year-old self-employed tree trimmer died after falling 35 feet from the bucket of a boom truck and landing on the frozen ground. The 2-piece hydraulic lift arm was in an extended vertical position when a hydraulic safety valve on the main hydraulic cylinder snapped off, causing the lift arm to collapse and the bucket to immediately fall to the ground. The victim rode with the bucket and was thrown out of the bucket after it hit the ground. The man died shortly thereafter from hepatic rupture and internal bleeding.

RECOMMENDATIONS based on our investigation are as follows:

#1 Hydraulic fittings should be designed to withstand the stress and fatigue encountered in normal use.

#2 Engineering interventions should be developed to prevent boom lift fall in case of hydraulic failure.


In February 1999, a 62-year-old Iowa man was killed while working as a tree trimmer. The Iowa FACE program became aware of this in December 2000, while reviewing fatality data sent from the Iowa Department of Public Health. Iowa FACE gathered additional information, and in June 2001, one investigator met with the owner of the boom truck, who was working with the victim at the time of the incident. Photographs were taken of the broken boom truck where it was stored on the owner’s property.

The owner of the boom truck normally worked as a maintenance man, and did tree work on the side, averaging 3-6 days of tree trimming work per month. The business was conducted year around, weather permitting. The victim was self-employed working part-time as a tree trimmer. He had been doing this type of tree work, and maintenance work for most of his life. A third man was usually hired, giving them a work crew of three.

There were no safety programs, nor written policies in place for this business. All three workers were handy with tools and machinery, and kept the machine in good operating condition. The men had been friends for several years, occasionally working together for tree trimming work or other odd jobs.

The victim was very experienced in the operation of this boom truck, having worked with it since 1994. They had not experienced any major problems with the boom truck, and the owner was known to take immediate action to repair any hydraulic leaks, worn hoses, etc.


The boom truck was built in 1962, originally designed as a military de-icing unit for use at airports. It had a cage large enough for two workers, with a capacity of 320 kg (700 lbs) (see photo). It was purchased used at an auction in 1994, and was in excellent condition for its age. The previous owner was a cement ready-mix plant, which used the machine for building maintenance. All hydraulic lines on the truck were filled with automatic transmission fluid.

How to Make 1,000 A DAY Landscaping. Trimming Trees. Arborist Ladder

The boom was mounted on a double-axle straight truck. The bottom arm was 355 mm (14 in) diameter steel pipe 6.1 m (20 feet) long, and the top arm was 305 mm (12 in) diameter steel pipe 7 m (23 feet) long that tapered slightly to where the steel cage was attached. This gave the machine a vertical capacity of over 15 m (50 feet).

A single heavy hydraulic cylinder provided lift for each of the two lift arms. The lower, and heavier, hydraulic cylinder had a safety valve (see Photo 2) attached to the upper end of it, designed to prevent movement of any hydraulic fluid if the vehicle suddenly lost power or hydraulic pressure. This hydraulic cylinder was power-up and power-down, and was in a retracted position when the lower boom was fully raised. In Photo-1 the main hydraulic cylinder is not seen, being enclosed within the rectangular white box, which pivots on the main truck bed.

The heavy safety valve was connected with a 13 mm (½ in) threaded nipple to the top of the lower hydraulic cylinder, and had metal hydraulic tubes attached to its sides. The valve was machined out of solid steel and was approximately 75 mm (3 in) long, 63 mm (2½ in) high, and 50 mm (2 in) wide. This valve and the related fittings were protected from falling limbs due to their position under the main arm and within the steel housing around the cylinder (see Photo 1). When the lift arms are raised, the cylinder is retracted, and there is high pressure in the top portion of the cylinder.

On the day of the accident, the victim was in the elevated bucket trimming a 12 m (40 foot) tree using a small chainsaw, while his two partners were working on the ground. The truck was positioned on a city street and they were taking down a tree in a residential area. It was a rather warm day in February, with the temperature above freezing, with a slight amount of snow on the ground.

steps, starting, your, tree

The victim was working off the back of the truck at a height of ~11 m (35 feet). They had been on the job for about 30 minutes doing routine work, tying off and cutting branches. The victim was re-positioning the boom when the safety valve suddenly snapped off where it enters the cylinder, hydraulic fluid shot out, and the elevated boom immediately fell to the ground. The victim was not handling a heavy branch or putting unusual stress on the boom at that time. A police officer at the scene, who was directing traffic, stated that he heard two pops, like something was breaking, then noticed the boom move back and forth a few times before it crashed to the ground. There was no apparent incident that could have put unusual stress on the safety valve, rather it appeared to break due to long term wear and fatigue.

The bucket, with the victim still inside, landed on the ground in the residential yard, causing a 4-inch depression in the soil. The victim was thrown out on the ground, and was noted to be breathing abnormally. He soon lost consciousness due to internal bleeding, his pulse disappeared, and he was declared dead one hour later in the hospital.

On inspection the nipple was cracked off flush with the edge of a short sleeve, welded to the side of the hydraulic cylinder (see Photo 3). The valve was hanging in position, still connected to its metal hydraulic lines (see Photo 2). The owner of the truck inspected the break and said it was a clean break, without evidence of prior cracking or rusting. He had no explanation whatsoever for what may have caused the nipple to snap, for to his knowledge, it had never been damaged prior to the accident. At the time of the inspection, the broken metal parts had rust on them.


The official cause of death taken from the death certificate is: avulsion of celiac artery from aorta, due to or consequence of: laceration of liver. An autopsy was performed, which confirmed this cause of death.


Recommendation #1 Hydraulic fittings should be designed to withstand the stress and fatigue encountered in normal use.

Discussion: This boom truck appeared to be in excellent working condition prior to the incident. There was no warning that the safety valve might break and cause the lower lift arm to fall. The exact location of the break is significant. This area, flush to the attachment point on the cylinder, implies that significant lateral stress on the safety valve was present. This type of break could occur due to metal fatigue from vibration or constant stress applied on the safety valve at this point. Considering the relative weight of the safety valve, and that the threaded nipple was its only connection to the hydraulic cylinder, it is likely that vibration over time caused metal fatigue where the nipple enters the cylinder. Anticipating such breakage through maintenance would be very difficult. There was no testing conducted on the broken metal parts, however fatigue appears the primary reason for the failure. Considering the constant stress and vibration from hydraulic fluid, as well as possible bumps from objects, it appears that the size and weight of the valve was excessive to be supported only by the 13 mm (½ in) pipefitting nipple. This size hydraulic element would likely require a fixed installation with solid brackets or other means to eliminate the vibration stress.

Recommendation #2 Engineering interventions should be developed to prevent boom lift fall in case of hydraulic failure.

Discussion: In this case, designers attached a safety valve to the cylinder, to prevent accidental lowering of the boom in case of hydraulic failure. However, there was no protection if the safety valve itself should fail. Other engineering means could be developed, such as a dual hydraulic system where one system could still work if the other system fails. Mechanical support systems may be possible as well. Relying entirely on the proper function of one hydraulic system appears to create an excessive risk in a machine such as this lift.

Fatality Assessment and Control Evaluation — FACE

FACE is an occupational fatality investigation and surveillance program of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH). In the state of Iowa, The University of Iowa, in conjunction with the Iowa Department of Public Health carries out the FACE program. The NIOSH head office in Morgantown, West Virginia, carries out an intramural FACE program and funds state based programs in Alaska, California, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, Oklahoma, Texas, Wisconsin, Washington, and Wyoming.

The purpose of FACE is to identify all occupational fatalities in the participating states, conduct in-depth investigations on specific types of fatalities, and make recommendations regarding prevention. NIOSH collects this information nationally and publishes reports and Alerts, which are disseminated widely to the involved industries. NIOSH FACE publications are available from the NIOSH Distribution Center (1-800-35NIOSH).

Iowa FACE publishes case reports, one page Warnings, and articles in trade journals. Most of this information is posted on our web site listed below. Copies of the reports and Warnings are available by contacting our offices in Iowa City, IA.

The Iowa FACE team consists of the following: Craig Zwerling, MD, PhD, MPH, Principal Investigator; Wayne Johnson, MD, Chief Investigator; John Lundell, MA, Coordinator; Lois Etre, PhD, Co-Investigator; Risto Rautiainen, MS, Co-Investigator.

To contact Iowa State FACE program personnel regarding State-based FACE reports, please use information listed on the Contact Sheet on the NIOSH FACE web site Please contact In-house FACE program personnel regarding In-house FACE reports and to gain assistance when State-FACE program personnel cannot be reached.


If you have a tree trimming or arbor business, you know how vital it is to have a good truck. But, which is the best truck for your arsenal? Or, would your business benefit from more than one? Read on to find out…

With one or more of the trucks below, you can have a lucrative tree trimming or arbor business. As your business grows, you can increase your supply of trucks in order to keep up with your company and even expand it.

Below you will find the best work trucks for landscaping and arborist jobs and why…

Landscape Flatbed Truck

Flatbed Trucks are perhaps the most widely used work truck in the landscaping business. You have plenty of room to transport your material and equipment and can take limbs, trees, dirt, and debris away from the job site too.

Landscape Flatbed Trucks come in many shapes and sizes. They can be built to specifically accommodate any and all of your needs. Tall stake-bed trucks keep cargo like large trees and bags of rocks from flying out while point tie-downs are ideal for keeping smaller items safely in place. Choose from medium or light-duty trucks available in a variety of lengths with both standard and automatic transmissions and your pick of diesel or gasoline-fueled power.

Chipper Truck

Chipper Trucks are a must-have for tree trimmers, landscapers, and arborists. This type of truck is used to house the chipped particles of trees and branches. Without a Chipper Truck, you’ll be forced to “make do” with another truck which costs time and money. Or, you’ll find yourself paying someone else to tote the chipped particles or tree trunks and limbs away.

The body of a Chipper Truck resembles a Dump Truck. It has an aluminum or steel cubed body and is able to support heavyweight. A removable roof makes for easy access to the area that actually chips so you can load the trees and branches and offload the chipped material too. The frame-mounted hydraulic controls make operating the machine a breeze.

Chipper trucks also include storage compartments that run on either side of the body. They measure from 14 to 20 feet in depth. The truck can be up-fitted to have mounted shelving units. Bodies range from 9 to 18 feet in length but the average size for tree trimmers and arborists is 12 to 15 feet.

Boom Truck

Having a Boom Truck, or Bucket Truck, at your disposal will help you immensely in your endeavors. Forestry Boom Trucks have a hydraulic boom lift that can reach up to 50 feet so you are able to access those hard-to-reach places with ease.

No longer will you need to turn down jobs that require long reaches to inconvenient areas. In fact, you can specialize in being the company that “can” if you want to. Bucket Trucks are available in a wide variety of makes and models and come in most every spec your business could benefit from such as a part bucket, full bucket, part chipper, and so forth. Whatever you do can be done better and more efficiently with a Boom Truck.

Dump Truck

Do you find yourself outsourcing your dumping requirements? With a Dump Truck, you can put an end to paying for the service and do it yourself. You can even expand your line of work to include more dumping and more revenue too.

A Dump Truck is a broad provider of tree trimming industry needs. It can tow a vehicle or a trailer-mounted loader or tow-behind wood chipper and is able to provide a high-capacity hoist system too. There is a myriad of sizes of Dump Trucks and you can customize them to your specific needs.

Hauling to and from the job site is a common part of any tree trimming and arborist business. A Dump Truck is vital in order to accommodate the requirements in a self-sufficient manner. If you don’t have one, don’t you think it’s time to get one?

Box Truck

While a Flatbed is certainly a lifesaver for work in the landscaping industry, a Box Truck takes it a step further to encompass all your needs. The enclosed bed keeps your equipment and materials protected from the weather and from thieves. You can even create separate compartments inside the cargo area.

05 25 2023 Tree removal and pruning

Box Trucks come in all different sizes. Be sure to purchase the appropriate one for your needs so you aren’t losing money by footing the initial cost and extra fuel one that’s too large brings or that you aren’t stifling your business by going too small.

There are many brands of Box Trucks on the market. Some are better than others. The most important thing is that you look for one that serves your individual needs for a price you can afford. Isuzu Box Trucks are quite popular among those in the tree trimming business because of their inexpensive price tag that comes without compromising power or comfort plus they are available in both gas and diesel versions.

MJ TruckNation

No matter what you’re looking for in a Landscaping Truck, we’ll help you find it. We have a wide variety of trucks and are committed to assisting you in every way possible. From our friendly and helpful sales department to our on-site financing, we are here for you. Give us a call at – (561) 220-9992.