I know, I should have called it a "Side Hustle" in AoM parlance, but sometimes it feels like the corporate buzz words that rub me wrong. No, I didn't "reach out" to Steve, I called him on the phone.
I've been looking for low initial investment side gigs to make some cash while giving some of the young guys in my church some spending cash. I was considering doing dead tree removal around my neighborhood as a place to start.
There are at least eight 30' to 50' tall dead trees within three blocks of my house, and I'm sure many more if I expanded the radius. Most of them are far enough away from houses that I could down them without significant risk to nearby structures and power lines. I've used a chainsaw before and have done some hauling with my dad back in the day.
My plan was to offer cheap removal, down the trees myself, drop a trailer nearby, and have the young dudes load up the wood and clean the site while I move on to down another tree. I'd start Friday night after work and continue most of the day Saturday. Costs up front would be trailer and truck rental (if I can't find some to borrow), fuel, and disposal fees.
Here's a page full of worst case scenarios, just for some demotivation/extreme caution: http://www.treecrews.com/subcontractors-registration-bids-contracts...
Here are some of my questions:
What are potential problems with my plan?
What's the best way to market? (I'm planning to knock on doors and perhaps hand the owner a business card with the attractively low removal quote penciled in.)
How do I price my services?
Is selling firewood good for adding some additional profit?
"Side Hustle" has to be one of the stupidest phrases I've ever heard.
But I digress. I didn't see you mention anything about insurance. What happens when the wind comes up and blows a 50' tree on your client's house/car/dog/neighbor/etc?
Duct Tape? :-p I'll look into the insurance issue.
I totally agree. The real question is if the OP actually has the insurance to cover damage to property and accidental death. The cost of the insurance will be based on the person's knowledge of how to do tree removal and time in the field doing it.
Mmm. Depends on how the insurance is structured. Most likely, David's right. Claims-made insurance doesn't make sense for the tree-trimming industry. In other industries, though, insurance costs go up the longer you're in business, because you have more former customers who could sue you.
In addition to insurance, up-front costs could include a business license and some sort of professional certification. The government may treat cutting the trees down differently than selling firewood, so you might have double the red tape.
In my home town, no one can cut down a tree greater than a certain puny diameter without permits and permission from neighbors (even if the tree threatens health or structures).
Find out what comparable businesses charge. Charge 15% or more less.
Interesting I hope that in Oklahoma I won't need a cert or license, but I should know that ahead of time.
Make sure you thank Rebekah for the free legal advice as well.
I'd look up the legal stuff, but Tulsa's city website is down. I don't know how responsive your town hall is to residents and businesses in other contexts, but consider those possible headaches, too.
Funny that. Tulsa's CIO is on administrative leave after taking down our website over two weeks ago due to a false hacking alarm: http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=334&artic....
I don't know enough about Tulsa to know how big of a deal the website is. A scanty website in San Francisco, where City/County employees are surly and services are spread all over would be a huge headache. A scanty website in ritzy Tiburon up in Marin, where services are all in one place (with free parking), and employees are crazy-friendly, is not a big deal.
OTOH, I don't think anyone could do your business and have a 9-5 (or, in Tulsa, 8-4) job in Tiburon, because of strict noise regulations.
Forgot. Employees add a whole other dimension:
"Landscapers" need to be licensed by Oklahoma. I didn't see anything about "tree trimmers" or "arborists," but OK might consider them "landscapers."
Good idea, tree removal is something that people pay a pretty penny for. I knw you probably want to start out as a side gig and not a full fledged business but with a business of this nature you really need to have insurance and probably a bond as well.
Being relatively inexperienced what if you cut a tree that falls into house, powerlines, etc. A bond or insurance would cover that otherwise it's comming out of your own pocket. Also, what if one of these kids working for you or even yourself get injured?
As far as pricing your services first look into what its going to cost to dispose of these trees. Taking down trees or even branches creates a ton of waste both in wood but also leaves. This can get expensive. Find a place to dispose of these materials for you and figure out that price and then all you really have to factor in is gas and whatever you want to price your labor at.
I like the selling firewood angle but keep in mind many trees that look dead are actually still green on the inside. Do you hav a place to dry this wood?
Stump removal is another service you coudl offer as well