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How to Start a Tree Cutting Business

Published on August 30, 2022

Knowing how to start a tree cutting business ensures the successful launch with maximized profits and an adequate client base.

Use this complete guide to discover how to start a tree cutting business that’s:

  • Legal from the beginning
  • Profitable for long-term growth
  • Fully staffed with the best team
  • Prepared for the unexpected obstacles
  • Completely equipped with the best arborist software

By the end of this article, you’ll have everything needed to start a tree cutting business that’s successful for many years.

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1. Train as an Arborist

Your local laws and the services you offer will largely determine what arboriculture training is necessary.

For example, does your state require arborist certification and licensing? Keep in mind, even if your state doesn’t require these, it’s important to still seek formal training for both safety and service quality.

In addition, what type of services will your business offer? The services you offer will determine which training is right for you.

For example, here are a few arborist training courses you could take:

  • Line clearance
  • Basic arborist
  • Advanced arborist
  • Electrical hazard
  • Safety professionals workshop

Also, take a look at a few different options for arborist training:

2. Choose a Business Name

The services your arbor tree care business offers will highly impact the right name for your new business.

For instance, if you offer tree and landscaping services, then you’ll want to include that in your business name.

The best business names are often the simplest ones. After all, something that’s short and unique will be easier to remember.

Take a look at a few examples of great business names:

  • [City] [Last Name] Arborists
  • [Last Name] [City] Arborists
  • [City] [Last Name] Tree Services
  • [Last Name] [City] Tree Services
  • [City] [Last Name] Tree Trimming and Care
  • [Last Name] [City] Tree Trimming and Care
  • [City] [Last Name] Tree and Lawn Care Services
  • [Last Name] [City] Tree and Lawn Care Services
  • [City] [Last Name] Tree and Landscape Services
  • [Last Name] [City] Tree and Landscape Services

Before officially choosing a business name, don’t forget to check if the localized domain is available. If it’s not, then you’ll need to choose a different name.

After choosing a business name, remember to create a logo. Freelance graphic designers are a great resource for this.

3. Meet With a Trusted CPA for a Complete Financial Assessment

Before registering your business, it’s crucial to meet with a trusted CPA (i.e. Certified Public Accountant).

This is the best way to ensure a lucrative business with solid finances and long-lasting success.

Use your CPA to help you finalize things like:

  • Goals
  • Pricing
  • Branding
  • Bank accounts
  • Business planning

After the CPA has had a chance to thoroughly assess all of your assets, they can weigh costs to determine if a loan is necessary, when you can go full-time, and numerous other factors.

In addition, a great CPA will also be able to flag any financial obligations or factors you haven’t taken into account.

Pave the way for long-term success and mitigate risk by meeting with a CPA before registering your tree care business.

Plus, by weighing all of your overhead expenses and profit goals with a CPA, they can help you determine ideal prices.

4. Get Registered

After meeting with a trusted CPA, it’s time to register your tree service business.

Fortunately, registering your business with the state is a fairly simple process. Some states only require some light paperwork.

By registering your business, you can mitigate legal risks and protect your personal assets.

In addition, an S Corp (i.e. S Corporation) and LLC (i.e. Limited Liability Company) aids in tax filing, and it also protects personal assets from disputes and lawsuits.

DO NOT WAIT to register your tree service business. Before servicing any properties, you MUST first get registered.

S Corp vs. LLC

Due to tax reasons, the IRS classifies businesses as sole proprietorships, partnerships, C corporations, or S corporations.

Keep in mind, an LLC isn’t a type of classification, so it gets taxed as a different type of business.

Which means, registering your business as a sole proprietorship LLC requires you to pay self-employment taxes (e.g. social security and Medicaid).

In other words, your business’ entire profit for the year would be taxed. In turn, many businesses choose to register as an S Corp.

By registering as an S Corp or LLC, the business owner is allowed a salary. As a result, the business owner’s salary will get the self-employment tax (instead of the total annual profits).

AS ALWAYS, weigh all of these options with your CPA to determine which choice is best for your business.

5. Create a Business Plan

Based on the financial information you’ve gathered from your CPA, and after registering your business, it’s time to create a business plan.

Keep in mind, both new and established tree care businesses should have a formal business plan.

Remember, anyone offering business financing (e.g. loans, grants, investors, etc.) will want to review a formalized business plan.

However, even if you never need financial assistance, a robust business plan keeps the business focused on achieving the overall goals and vision.

In addition, business plans help maintain organization and prepare for unexpected obstacles.

Here’s what your robust business plan should look like:

  1. Cover Page
  2. Executive Summary
  3. Business Overview
  4. Tree Care Services
  5. Market Analysis Summary
  6. Business Strategy
  7. Implementation Summary
  8. Management Summary
  9. Financial Plan

With the right business plan, you can prepare for growth, offer insightful details, and minimize stress.

While a great business plan takes time to create, it’s a vital step in securing your business for future successful endeavors.

Although, bear in mind, this is not a one-and-done piece of documentation. It’s crucial to regularly maintain it with updated contact information, financial updates, and more.

Typically, financial updates are performed monthly, and total revisions are performed annually.

As always, have your CPA review your business plan before finalizing it.

6. Set Up a Business Bank Account

Using your personal bank account is a common mistake new business owners make. In doing so, you open yourself up to financial risks when getting audited and filing taxes.

Alternatively, by setting up a separate business bank account, you can simplify things with your CPA, minimize confusion, and reduce errors.

Even when you’re first getting started, it’s important to keep both personal and business financial assets completely separate.

Check with your CPA and local bank to explore setting up a business bank account.

7. Become Insured and Bonded

Prior to working any jobs, it’s essential to become insured and bonded.

The right insurance and bonding policy safeguards your business against inevitable mistakes. Also, some states might even require it.

In addition, business insurance equips you with extra financial cushion in case of a lawsuit so that you don’t go bankrupt.

Each business’ needs are different, so the right policy for each business varies. Select the right policy for your business based on your budget and coverage needs.

8. Purchase Everything Needed to Initially Start

The tree care services you offer will largely impact the equipment you’ll need. For this reason, start small with a few basic services. Then, gradually expand your services over time.

As a result, you won’t spread yourself as thin in an effort to purchase all of the necessary equipment.

Some basic tree equipment essentials for your business might include:

  • Gloves
  • Ladders
  • Chainsaws
  • Work boots
  • Safety glasses
  • Pruning shears
  • Climbing safety gear
  • Stump removal equipment

Next, you’ll want to find a storage facility for your equipment. For example, until you’re able to afford an office space,you could rent out a small storage space just for equipment.

Finally, you’ll want to find the right truck for your business.

Though, if you decide to purchase a used truck in an effort to stay within budget, it’s essential to ensure it hasn’t been previously used in another business.

9. Start Marketing Your Services

Once you know what services you’re going to provide, and you know what equipment you’ll have, it’s time to begin marketing your services.

Here are a few basic marketing strategies to consider utilizing:

  • Launch a professional website
    • Make it SEO-driven
      • Freelance web developers are a great resource for this
  • Funnel leads into an email marketing campaign
  • Begin PPC (i.e. pay per click) marketing
  • Leverage reviews
    • Respond to both negative and positive reviews
      • Use keywords in your responses where possible
    • Display them on your website and social media
  • Engage in content marketing
    • Host blogs on your website, then share it on social media
    • E.g.
      • You could write how-to blogs about everyday tree care for homeowners
  • Create a video marketing strategy
    • Host the videos on YouTube, your website, social media, emails, etc.
    • E.g.
      • You could create how-to videos about everyday tree maintenance
  • Stay active on social media
  • Place physical ads
  • Use vehicle wraps to expand reach
  • Use flyers and business cards to get amazing referrals

By harnessing the right marketing strategies from the start, you’ll be able to quickly win a steady stream of clients and referrals.

As a result, the best marketing strategies have the ability to give your business the leading authority in your local market with a strong foundation.

Plus, you don’t have to be a marketing expert to get started. Anyone can begin marketing with these simple strategies.

After getting a steady stream of clients, you can determine what your hiring needs are (if any).

Remember, if you end up hiring employees, then you’ll need to obtain an EIN (i.e. employee identification number) if you’re in the US and an SIN (i.e. social insurance number) if you’re in Canada.

Automations is the  #1 way to follow up  with clients. If you’re not using it, your business might still be successful - but it won’t grow. 

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In Service Autopilot, our automations send emails and texts to:​

Every lead after an estimate is completed
Clients after their property has been serviced​
Remind leads and clients to send you customer feedback​
Update outdated or declined payment information​
Inform them when a service can’t be completed due to unforeseen circumstances (i.e. weather)​
Remind them of maintenance tips (i.e. putting a cover on the outdoor faucet before the winter)​
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10. Choose the Best Arborist Software to Launch Your Success

The #1 way to launch your success is by choosing the best arborist software to streamline everyday operations:

When you choose Service Autopilot, there’s no limit to the possibilities for long-term growth, success, and profits.

Grow Your Lawn Care Business... Faster 
(and with Less Stress)​

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Better scheduling

Manage your clients and employees all in one system

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Now You Know How to Start a Tree Cutting Business That’s Successful

Starting a tree cutting business might seem intimidating and complex. However, this complete guide has simplified the process and shown you how to start a tree cutting business using:

  • Proper legal steps
  • Top pricing strategies for optimal profitability
  • Business planning measures for safeguarding
  • Proper training for the highest quality of service
  • The best arborist software available on the market

Finally, you now know how to start a tree cutting business with successful, long-term growth. Take advantage of these winning strategies today!


Related: Landscape Pricing: How to Price Services for Profit


Originally published Aug 30, 2022 7:00 AM

Alyssa Sanders

Alyssa is a Content Marketing Specialist II at Service Autopilot. Her bookworming began after she discovered the Harry Potter series. Her love of books evolved into writing and creating content. When she's not writing, you can find her watching a new sci-fi series or shoving her nose into a book.
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