Small Business is Big Business - Local Tree Service

As of late I have been interested in small business. To satisfy my curiosity I have been following a small local tree service company in my hometown, Williamsburg Virginia. Let me be the first to tell you that having a small local tree service in that area is no easy task. During my time studying this company I built a tremendous respect and admiration for small business owners everywhere.
Small Business - Finance Blog - Carpenter

These guys have an amazing service and product. They can do things that many competing professionals can't figure out. They are better than their competition. They also are well organized and manage the business side of things very well. I have learned a lot from my time with them.

Here are the Ingredients to a Successful Small Local Business:

  • Have a Product or Service that is not Easily Reproduced - Master Your Niche
Early on I suggested to the owner that he get into landscaping, it only seemed logical to me. I mean he is talking to homeowners who pay for landscaping all the time. He had the landscaping market face to face every day. So why not expand your business with existing clients? Seemed obvious to me. But I was wrong.

The owner humbled me by explaining that landscaping doesn't have an acceptable return because so many people can do it. There is no real big margin and prices are constantly pushed down because so many folks are in that business. It was a good point. I then thought about it further and concluded that expanding your business offered services could very well lead to immediate revenue increases in this case, however it's not worth it. This guy had a leg up on his competitors because he had a focused tunnel vision approach to improving his service quality and efficiency. He wouldn't have been able to do that if he was trying to figure out a whole other service offering. If that was the case he wouldn't have the competitive advantage that he has today.

  • Hire Good People - Train From Within
Good people are hard to find. Some times business owners may feel like they need to settle on what workers are available at that time. Not this guy. He refuses to sacrifice quality. Here is a great example.

The owner hired a tree climber from New York about 500 miles away. They guy had a lot of experience, moved quick, and efficiently. The owner fired him 48 hours later. I was baffled. He said the climber was not safe enough and failed to make long term sustainable choices. I knew the owner had made a mistake. I mean this tree climber (in another business this would be a top sales person or leading designer) knew what he was doing from what I could tell. I did notice that he had some opposition to bulky equipment belts like the owner climbed with. He sported less ropes and straps, no gloves, etc.

After being fired he went to a competitor. Two weeks later he received a call from the competitor. during the conversation the competitor made a smart ass remark, "thanks for the climber he is making me thousands a day". Less than 60 days later that climber fell out of a tree. He no longer climbs. NO JOKE!!

See this business owner is wiser then his competition. He is patient and spends the time and effort to find and develop good quality and reliable employees. It is a little more costly upfront. But the investment pays out a priceless return. Here is another example.

The owner has trained the guy that bids and runs much of the business side of things from the ground up. It's paid off huge. The loyalty demonstrated from the so called employee (He works and is driven as if he were the owner) is unparalleled. Priceless.
  • Don't Be the Cheapest - Be the Best
The Owner is adamant about getting paid a fair and healthy price for the quality work he does. I have heard him tell prospective clients a 1,000 times, "...well, no, I'm not the cheapest by any means. But no one will be able to do this project better than me." He negotiates from the standpoint "...can you really afford not to have me do this work for you?" Implying that the other companies won't be able to safely complete the more difficult and dangerous tree projects. The best part about his strategy is that he is right, I love it. 

Tree work is dangerous and complicated. People can get hurt, and property can get damaged. He does the work with concise expertise and unsurpassed ability. He also always does a little extra. One could argue that it is built into the price he charges. Either way the results are impressively pleased clients, a great reputation, and a overwhelming referral base.

He has told me that "the quickest way to go out of business is to be the cheapest". Now one could argue that Wal-Mart is the cheapest. But they don't really compete on price. They compete on efficiency.

  •  Invest in the Future of Your Business... ALWAYS
I am often baffled by how much and how consistently the owner reinvests the fruits of his labor back into his business. He is constantly looking, researching, and buying new equipment. I would have trouble mirroring this habit of his even after seeing it work as it does. Another interesting strategy of his is that he spends the most advertising dollars during the slow season. He believes that this is necessary and it helps weed out the competition.

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  1. Thanks for sharing this. Small business is indeed a big business. It was even more harder to handle a small business compared to those who are already big. But we must realize that big businesses started from small businesses too. So, it should be handled correctly and wiselyin order for it to be successful.

    1. This is true even star bucks and mcdonalds started as one store businesses. Small business turns to big business because of good profitable business that grows.

  2. Great Post! Tree service can prove best for you if you have enough knowledge about the different types of trees and eager to learn more in the same field.

    1. OK... Thanks for reading. Keep practicing.

  3. Hiring highly skilled people is 90% of your successful business! Follow othre tips given in the article above. Look in here writing research proposals Thanks a lot!


    1. Good people make a Good business. I agree.

  4. Great post. Managing a small local business is no easy task. Folks who start a business must wear a lot of different hats in the beginning and it can be a stressful experience. Young Finance Guy lays out some great tips here for small business owners.