Starting a Tree Care Business: A Success Guide

Table of Contents

Starting a Tree Care Business: A Success Guide

Trees play an important role in our lives by providing oxygen, reducing air pollution, conserving soil, and beautifying our surroundings. With the growing demand for tree care services, starting a tree care business can be a profitable and rewarding endeavor. This guide will help you launch a successful tree care business, whether you are an experienced arborist or just starting out.

Starting a tree trimming business if you have experience in the tree care industry can be a great way to add flexibility and success to your life. A tree-cutting business could be a great option because there will never be a shortage of trees that require attention.

There aren't even enough arborists in many areas to meet demand, and waiting lists to cut down dead trees or trim dangerous limbs are growing. Tree care is already projected to be a $29 billion industry in the United States in 2019, with more than 6% growth over the previous five years. There are no signs of the industry slowing down, so now could be an excellent time to start a tree-cutting business.

Do I need a license to start my tree service business?

Getting your arborist certificate will help you build a strong reputation as a professional tree service provider and develop skills you’ll use on the job.

Write a business plan

Writing a business plan helps you start your tree service business on the right foot and make decisions in line with your goals.

A business plan will also help attract investors if you need financing to get up and running. Your tree service business plan should include:

  • Cover page with your business name, logo, and contact information.
  • Executive summary that gives a quick overview of your business
  • How much money do you need to get up and running, and what sets you apart from the competition?
  • Business overview with a summary of your business history and structure.
  • Tree services list and pricing strategy, showing what your business will offer customers.
  • Market analysis identifies who your potential customers are in your service area, what tree services they need, and how much they’re willing to pay for tree care services.
  • Competitive analysis describing what makes your business different from competing arborist businesses in your service area.
  • Marketing plan that shows how you’ll attract potential customers to your tree care business.
  • Financial plan that details the money coming into and going out of your business for the first year (including a budget, sales forecast, and any staffing costs)

Conduct Market Research and Create a Business Plan

Before beginning a tree care business, it is critical to conduct market research and understand the demand for tree care services in your area. Consider factors such as competition, equipment and supply costs, and labor costs. With this information, you can create a business plan outlining your objectives, strategies, and projected budget.

Obtain the Required Licenses and Insurance

Obtaining the necessary licenses and insurance is required before starting a tree care business. A business license is required, as well as liability insurance to protect you and your clients in the event of an accident or property damage. Consider getting workers' comp insurance to cover any employees.

How to Obtain a Tree Service Permit

While a tree service license is not generally required to become an arborist, some states, such as California, do. It is critical that you check with your local and state agencies to determine whether you will require one. The licensing requirements differ from one state to the next. To give you an idea, a tree service license in California requires a minimum of four years of journeyman-level experience and passing a two-part state exam administered by the Contractor State License Board.


To operate a tree removal business, you do not need to be certified as an arborist. You can only hire people who have received tree care training. In this industry, most training is done on the job. However, you can obtain certification from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) by participating in their training programs.

Setting up your Accounting System

Open a business bank account and a business credit card for your tree service. It is critical that you keep your personal finances separate from your business finances. You must also set up an accounting system to assist you in creating, managing, and overseeing the budget. This also allows you to set and adjust your rates as well as file your taxes. You can do this yourself or hire an accountant to do it for you. Aside from accounting software, we recommend getting third-party service business management software like Blinksale. Accept bookings, schedule jobs, track hours, and submit quotes and invoices with this software. It will assist you in running your business more efficiently.

Obtain the Required Equipment and Supplies

The equipment needed to start a tree removal business will depend entirely on the services you plan to offer. Tree care necessitates the use of specialized tools and supplies, such as chainsaws, tree pruning tools, ropes, and safety equipment. Invest in high-quality equipment that will last for a long time and perform well in a variety of environments. A truck or trailer may also be required to transport equipment and supplies to job sites. You’ll also need tree service management software to accept online bookings, quote and invoice jobs, schedule work, communicate with clients, and get paid.

Recruit Experienced Workers

Having experienced and knowledgeable employees is critical to the success of your tree service company. Consider hiring experienced arborists who can care for trees in a safe and efficient manner. Administrative staff may also be required to handle paperwork, scheduling, and billing. When you’re ready to add new tree service, expand your service area, and take on more work, you’ll know it’s time to hire your first employee.

Promote Your Company

You must effectively market your company in order to attract customers. Create a website, business cards, and flyers to promote your services. Consider local newspaper advertisements, social media marketing, or door-to-door sales. To generate referrals, connect with other local businesses. Tree care companies' primary marketing channels are typically word of mouth and referrals. However, because you are just getting started, you will need to do more to get your company noticed. This entails spending money on both offline and online marketing.

Make use of social media to increase your visibility. Having a web presence is also beneficial. People who search for your services on Google will find you easily. You can create fliers and professional business cards to distribute. To spread the word in your community, you can even place an ad in your local newspaper or offer coupons or free estimates. Optimizing your Google reviews listing with online review management software will gain you more customers.

All of these activities cover the fundamentals of establishing a professional tree service business. Take note that success does not come easily. To get there, you'll need to invest time, money, and a lot of effort. However, if you have a solid plan and stick to it, you increase the chances of your company succeeding.

Provide Outstanding Service

Finally, to establish a positive reputation and generate repeat business, provide exceptional service to your clients. Respond to customer inquiries as soon as possible, complete jobs efficiently and effectively, and follow up with clients to ensure their satisfaction.

To summarize, starting a tree care business can be a difficult but rewarding endeavor. By following these steps, you can start a successful business that provides valuable services to your community while also having fun working with trees. Best wishes!

Ready to get paid faster and grow your business?

Try for free