6 Steps to Starting a Tree Trimming Service

By | July 3, 2018

 Starting a tree trimming service – Want to start a tree trimming business?  If you’ve been working for a trimming company for a few years and would like a new challenge, consider it. Tree felling is a skill that will always be needed.

When you drive down any street, look to the left and to the right, and what do you see?  You will see trees!   Eventually, 100% of those trees will need pruning, or cut down, because of wear and tear or weather damage.

If you have done tree work for about three or more years for a reputable tree care service and are:

  • An A-1 climber
  • Well versed in knots
  • Tree rescue techniques
  • Working with hazardous trees
  • Understand pressure cutting
  • Chainsaw usage and maintenance and,
  • How to properly dispose of wood and brush

WHY NOT consider going from a tree climber to starting your own business?

Starting Tree Trimming Service – Use Existing Skills

alt="tree care tools"A tree trimming service will entail everything from trimming limbs, taking down trees, removing tree stump to planting trees. If you ever worked for another tree company or been a climber, it might be something worth consideration. You have taken down trees, pruned and dead-wooded tree for years.

You have worked hard, risked your neck for other tree companies, and you realized the financial potential if you could get your own tree work. Now you are thinking about starting your own small business.

Granted, it is a big step from working on a tree crew and starting your own tree care service, so let’s look at the steps that need to be taken.

Your Business Plan

When you come up with a small business idea, you will want to draw up a business plan as this will be the road map instructions on how to write a business plan.  Before starting a small service, it will be advised to receive small business consulting help from the SBA/Small Business Association.

The SBA can help you will all aspect of starting a new business and their site has video training that is very helpful. Take time to determine how you want to start you tree trimming business and where you want it to go.

Trademarking your Business Name

Another good idea is to do a Federal Trademark Search to be certain the name you arrive at hasn’t been trademarked. Trademarking is a good idea later if you are going to build on the name or sell franchises.  A 50 state Federal Trademark is available.

It’s best to hire an attorney to interface with the US Patent and Trademark Attorney because they won’t guide you through the process if you make a mistake. Cost is around $2,500 to file through an attorney for a “50 state knock out” which keeps others from legally using your name in all 50 states. This is the same protection all the big name businesses sought prior to expansion. So, start small but think about the big picture.

Registering your Tree Care Service

With your county: Make sure to register your business name with your state. This does not take much time and is pretty inexpensive.

With your state: A business license gives you the legal right to work in your state. Many people will ask if you are a licensed tree care service when they are looking to hire you for work.

With the Government: Go online or call the IRS to get an Employee Identification Number. You will use this number as your business identification number and will use it to open a business account at your local banking institution. You can register by phone and within a week to ten days, you will receive your certification in the mail.

Tree Climbing Equipment

  • Safety Equipment
  • Cutting Equipment
  • Climbing Rope
  • Helmet
  • Logging Saw
  • Clips
  • Bull Rope
  • Eye Guard
  • Climbing Saw
  • Wedges
  • Climbing Boots
  • Ear Protection
  • Pole Saw
  • Oil Can
  • Saddle
  • Orange Cones
  • Wedges
  • Ladder

Insuring your Tree Trimming Business

Purchase insurance: Insurance will be necessary to protect you from liability in case of damage to yourself, workers and client’s property. The minimum insurance will cover you for about $1 million in damages. You can also purchase insurance against you or you workers get injured.

While you can get away with working without insurance, you will get more jobs when homeowners know your are insured. Your tree trimming business will gain a good reputation and the word will spread that you are professional.  Also consider signing up with a Local Arborist Society.

Promote your Business

alt="insuring your tree business"Advertise your small business:  If you have been doing tree trimming work on the side, you probably have some clients already.

  • Invest in professional business cards and printing out fliers to pass out.
  • You can also advertise your tree care services in your neighborhood penny saver for about $25.
  • Once the word gets out word of mouth will begin to spread through the community that you are available for tree work. Make sure that you have professional looking business cards to hand out to contacts when you meet.
  • Get your tree trimming business listed at Google Local Business Center, for free. There you can write a blurb about you company, create coupons and provide direction to your business.

Finding your Tree Trimming Crew

Hiring employees. Independent contractor: A skilled and highly trained tree crew, will keep your tee trimming business running smoothly, with little or no incidence of accidents.

If you have been doing tree work for a while, you will probably have friends in the business who are looking for extra work. I have found placing an ad in the “general labor” section of Craigslist, very effective in finding people to do tree work.

Screen them and place them in the areas of their strength. Keep the workers that you work well with and are good hard workers. Eventually as you get enough work you will be able to employ your tree crew full time.

Getting Business Leads

Lead Service:  There are services that provide leads for your tree care company for a small fee. Service Magic is one of the companies that provide this service.  They also provide a profile of your business which prospective clients can view. So if you don’t have a lot of contacts this may be a consideration for a while. Service Magic will bill you at the end of each week.

When you have a small tree care business, it is important to always be networking with other people in the business. You can get tree referrals from lawn care professionals and when you find someone who need lawn work, you can refer them. Twenty-five percent of this business is referrals.

You can also ask friends and family if they or someone they know needs tree work.  They can be your first positive referrals when you do a good job.

Selling Wood

During the busy months of tree work, you may not think much about piling up wood, but during the winter months, selling wood can be a great way of making extra money at $150 a truckload of wood with stacking and cutting.

It is always good to keep a tally of clients who have fireplaces and may consider buying a half or whole truck load of wood for you. If you don’t have a wood splitter, consider partnering with someone who does and split the profits.

37 thoughts on “6 Steps to Starting a Tree Trimming Service

  1. Tree Removal Services TX

    Very useful and great article here about tree trimming service. I used to start a business Lindale Tree Care Services here in Texas and start promoting online. I’m glad to get a useful piece of advice’s here. 🙂

  2. John Ferrell

    You said that insurance is needed to protect you from liability. If I was trimming trees I would want to know that I would be protected. Maybe I should ask an insurance agent about different insurances that are needed for different jobs so that I can be prepared.

    1. Treeman Post author

      Yes, John, It is your responsibility to make sure your coverage includes home damage or someone being hurt while working your property.

  3. Chris Winters

    It makes sense that every tree trimming service should know how to properly dispose of wood and brush. We happen to have trees that have gotten to be too full and it looks like they may be in danger of falling over. I think that we should find a service that could trim them as soon as possible.

    1. Treeman Post author

      Hey, Chris, as a tree care professional, you know there are options like using a chipper or taking the extra time to cut and lay out brush on the street that is acceptable to city ordinances.

  4. Trevor

    I used to love climbing trees as a kid, maybe it was meant to be? But on a serious note, getting license and insurance is an extremely important factor in not only staying safe but also closing more deals, as we have customers asking us all the time if we have ours.

  5. Jeremy Minick

    This is a great guide–very clear and easy to follow. I especially like some of the marketing and “recurring revenue” (e.g. firewood) ideas you laid out.

    We’re currently building a series called “How To Build A Tree Service Made To Last” that I think would be complimentary to your post: http://www.minicklaw.com/what-to-wear-to-court/.
    Would you consider linking to our series intro? If you did it wouldn’t just make my day it would make my month!

    We would, of course, love to immediately return the favor!

    Look forward to hearing from you!

      1. Josh Ray

        Thanks for all the imuch usefuk information. Our family is at the start of a new tree removal and trimming business in Southern, WV. We will certainly read the attached link as well.
        In the coning future we hope to utilize our local business to hire for youth summer programs, benefitting both our community, by creating more jobs, and also help with fullfilling hiring needs. Grant funding opportunities will broaden as well.

        We wish each if you the best of luck in your future endeavors.. Maybe we will cross paths again one day.
        Stay safe and God Bless!
        JR, Aaron & Josh Ray
        Ray Family Removal, LLC
        Peterstown, WV

  6. JimsTrees

    Nice and informative article on Tree Care Services, here it all explains what are the processes gone under if anyone wants to starts this services, like to Insuring your tree triming services

  7. Oscar O'Malley

    I really like that you suggested selling wood to make extra money! The tree company I work for does the clean up after cutting down the trees and has a ton of wood in our warehouse. I’ll be sure to pass this tip on to my boss and see if he’d be interested in selling the wood for extra money.

  8. Chad

    There is a youtube channel i found with a guy showing how he started his he has lots of good tips too i found his channel is derriknikkel i think. hoe that helps you

  9. Houston Tree Service

    I like what this article mentions about the six steps to starting a tree trimming service method or maintenance.your description is enough for starting a tree trimming service.It will help the beginner’s.Thanks.

  10. John Johnson

    I have found the following to be crucial during my first year as a tree service business owner.

    – Craigslist (for advertising and hiring new employees)

    – Bank Account (to create business legitimacy, as well as managing and saving the business’s money)

    – Diesel Truck (necessary to pull heavy loads of debris and wood)

    – Heavy Duty 16′ Trailer (necessary to minimize trips to dispose of debris)

    – Marketing Employee or Mentor (someone to handle all your advertising or at least show you how to do it yourself. We use http://www.WebGuy.ga and he provides us with 4 times the amount of work we can handle.)

    – Google Calendar (necessary to keep track of all appointments, such as estimates, jobs, etc)

    If you’re looking for any advice from someone that opened a tree service just over a year ago, feel free to contact me. You can do so by checking out http://www.TreeDoctors.org


  11. Michael DeVault

    What kind of climbing schools are out there for someone wanting to get started? Obviously still working for another company, but I know someone curious about paying to go to a climbing school to make themselves more valuable to companies.


    Hi Houston Tree Service,
    This was a great excellent informative post you have shared on this page about the safety tips of tree removal in uk by using the advance high tech technology especially self driving vehicles but If using heavy equipment to remove limbs, trees, or stumps, always read and follow the directions. Used improperly or with abandon, sharp equipment like chainsaws can pose a serious hazard. Even ill-fitting PPE can cause harm.

  13. Sarah Smith

    I didn’t realize that tree removal services should be insured for a minimum of $1 million in damages. That would be really helpful to have because tree removal could be done close to a house instead of in the back corner like we need it. There is a hollow tree in the back corner of our yard that looks like it is growing mold and we would like to have it removed.

    1. Treeman Post author

      The law on Mecklenburg county has always been at least a million since i can remember starting back since 2003. I have used two bull ropes or cabled the hollow tree to the heavy duty winch for extra precautions. One can never be safe enough in tree work is always my motto. Sarah i would love to do an estimate if you have not already taken the tree down. The tree work phone is 704 449 5986

    1. Treeman Post author

      We love to share because we are passionate about trees and the environment.

  14. tree trimming

    This was a excellent informative post you have shared on this page about the legal right of firewood because all wood belongs to somebody, normally the person who owns the tree it grew on. You can’t lawfully take it away without their permission.

  15. tree trimming

    This was a excellent informative post you have shared on this page about the legal right of firewood because all wood belongs to somebody, normally the person who owns the tree it grew on. You can’t lawfully take it away without their permission.

    1. Treeman Post author

      I always ask the homeowner or business owner before taking anything off someone’s land out of common courtesy and respect for that person.

  16. Douglas County Tree Services

    I know this sounds like a crazy question, but are there any recommendations on here for saws? Is there a particular brand that has a nice blend of performance, affordability, and minimal maintenance? I am looking to stock my crew with good equipment, but I also want to keep my costs down. Is there a particular brand that will check these boxes?

  17. Coeur d'alene Tree Service

    Thanks Treeman for the detailed info. I started a tree service company 2 years ago. Insurance is crucial!! No company should go without it. Like you said, I’ve found that word of mouth is the bulk of my business. I’ve had to do very little advertising. Thanks again, I enjoy your posts, keep writing and keeping us informed! http://www.cdatreeservice.com

  18. Adrian Jones

    It’s great you mentioned that there are ways in order to start your own personal tree care service–while it would involve legwork for getting permits and papers done as well as searching for extra people who can help start out as part of the tree removal crew, the results, in the long run, are well worth the effort. Another thing to keep in mind is to always keep the network of established clients growing so you would never run out of work to do. If I had the chance to start my own tree care business I would be willing to work from the ground up so that I can get my own library of clients as well as a network of people who would want their trees trimmed.

  19. Penelope Smith

    I have about five dead or dying trees on my property at the moment. It is good to know that it would be smart to find a crew who has a lot of experience. That does seem like it would help prevent any disasters while removing those trees.

  20. Gillian Babcock

    My uncle is looking for a tree care company because he thinks the trees look sickly lately and wants to have it cared for. It was explained here that a good tree care company have tree rescue techniques that can be used. Moreover, it’s recommended to hire a professional tree care company for quality services.

  21. Sarah Smith

    Thanks for your information on starting a tree trimming service. I didn’t know they need to have so much safety equipment! It’s great that tree care specialists also take care for their safety. I need to find a tree service for my rotting oak.


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