Monthly Archives: July 2015


Sometimes I think about the structure of a business and I wonder if production labor could be brought back to America with a more horizontal dynamic. That is, a company owned, operated and managed by its labor force rather than having a large pool of unskilled or narrowly skilled labor managed by a smaller group of white collar workers. With the contemporary system, you see businesses like tree service or maybe a restaurant with the people that perform the actual labor on one hand and the owner or management on the other hand. The wages of the entire labor force are probably not even close to what the few people in management are making. But is their job really that more important that it justifies the discrepancy in pay?

If you imagine what it would take to familiarize the labor force of a tree removal with all of the management details required to run that business, you probably imagine putting a few dozen workers through a university which would take upward of a million dollars. Nobody is going to want to bear that cost because it would take years to make up that investment in profits and the benefit of the company being run that way is unclear at best. But does it really take a college education to perform some of the management aspects of a tree service or any other business that requires manual labor being supervised by management?

Goals of Management

Look at the typical goals of management, using tree care as an example. Whether it's a small, locally owned business or a large national corporation, they still have to generate their own business through advertising, minimize costs, schedule and coordinate their labor, sign the checks, order supplies, maintain equipment and everything else. But the thing with management is, all of these tasks at some point are going to be performed by somebody with little or no specialized education. The owner isn't advertising his tree service and maybe not even the marketing manager. They are going to have an assistant or maybe even a secretary make the phone calls to order a tree service ad, or put up a tree service billboard or whatever it is. The owner isn't out there checking the condition of the saw blades or making sure the oil in the work truck has been changed, some regular hourly tree service employee is going to do that.

So why can't the employees all do this stuff? They often know better than the managers what condition the equipment is in. They know how long a tree service job is going to take at a given location and they can coordinate their work day around it. They know what tools they need to perform a certain task and any tree trimming employee is in a position to talk to the general public about what services their business has to offer. But employees in most companies have little to gain from stepping into management duties because they aren't rewarded any further than the same hourly rate they get no matter what.

Horizontal Structure

With a more horizontal structure where every employee was privy to the condition of the business, the direction of the tree service company, the need to generate more jobs and income, the drawback to contributing as an employee is gone. If the company does well then the employee does well. This way, an employee has motivation to perform better tree stump removal work or get the word out to everybody they meet about how great their tree service is, they would take pride in their tree cutting equipment and treat the tools and uniforms and everything else that costs their business money like it was their own.

One could say, “How do you keep a crew of a few dozen people focused when they all have their own ideas on how a company should be run?” Everybody is different and every employee would naturally gravitate toward certain areas of the business where they would be most effective. The people who like to talk and generate excitement could contribute to advertising. The more meticulous, orderly people would be happy to schedule and coordinate tree company crews where a manager might find the work tedious and tiring. But the one thing that would keep even a large workforce focused on a common goal in a tree surgeon business would be as simple as this: The faster you get jobs done, the less of a beating our equipment takes, the less waste of resources and manpower and time there is and the more jobs you generate through advertising, the more money you are going to make this year.

I think any tree trim worker could learn to hustle in any facet of the business with the dollar out there as a motivator.

I'm learning a lot from my friend Marty who owns a tree trimming & cutting business in Macon, GA for over 44 years. Here's his site:


As you know I'm learning about a great deal about tree climbers and understanding their daily struggle here is a passage from one of the guys that came and worked for us in the last post.


The other night there was a humongous thunderstorm that woke me up at around three in the morning. I had all my windows open in the bedroom and I could hear the rain pounding and the thunder was booming like there was a fireworks display going on right outside my house. The lightning was shooting down right above my neighborhood and through one of my windows I even saw the electrical transformer on a pole behind my house pop. My eyes were still adjusted to total darkness so the flash just about blinded me.

The next day, I could already see the tree service guys coming out to take care of the fallen branches and a couple of trees that had fallen over. The tree service crews come out with their chainsaws and trimmers, drag the logs over to a big wood chipper and throw them in. I think the power utilities have their own tree service division where they have to trim back trees from where they have grown into areas where there are power lines stretching across.

That's probably a big source of business and income for a tree service business. The power utilities recommend that people keep their trees a certain distance away from their power lines. If a tree is thirty feet tall, it has to be kept thirty feet away from any place there are power lines. Luckily for tree service businesses, the power utility will place power lines in an area regardless of the height of trees in the near vicinity and homeowners will plant trees that will later grow high enough that they can later need to be cut down or trimmed back. So there will always be a need to clear these trees away or cut them back from being a potential hazard.

That can be a hefty fee for a homeowner, having to pay for tree service because their oak has grown up into the lines and created a condition where the tree is either potentially threatening to fall on the power lines and take them out or preventing the utility guys from being able to access the power lines or a pole because the tree is in the way. The best way to deal with this problem is to plan ahead and only plant trees in a way that they would never create this hazardous condition and never need the tree service in the first place. A lot of homeowners can't do this because the large trees are already on the property when they purchase the home and they kind of just hope that they will never need any tree service on account of the power lines.

Another thing I wonder about is the safety precautions the tree service employees have to take when working around power lines. When you're up in a tree working, you don't want to come into contact with any power lines for your own safety. But the tree service guys would also have to pay attention and make sure that they're not going to cut down anything that's going to fall onto a pole or a transformer or a power line and potentially cause thousands of dollars in damages. Tree service is a good business to be in when you're the owner operator but I doubt the employees take home enough to be able to throw five or even ten thousand dollars to the utility because they caused some kind of problem while they were working."

What a great adventurous roller coaster right? What's cool about tree service is that every day is different!"

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Image processed by CodeCarvings Piczard ### FREE Community Edition ### on 2014-01-07 03:13:23Z | |

Through the years I have studied successful local businesses and tried to reverse engineer their success, how did the big  companies leave the rest behind and become so successful, how did they break free from the average consumers to the massive levels of successful they are handling these days? What was their secret?

I have wondered about this days and night and when it comes to success local business like a tree service you first have to know the skills and everything there is to know about the talented and dangerous profession of all time.Tree service you have to be the only presence in customer's mind that you can resolve any tree problem regardless of scale,size and location.

Tree Service companies rely on their pure techniques to get the job done and they put their life on the line every time. This is a dangerous job that requires focus and dedication. They are out there in the blistering heat taking down trees for what appears as though they are only making few hundred on the job and you get that tree taken down quickly and simply. You really need to have courage and commitment to be able to do what they do and I have tremendous respect for their work.

When it comes to tree service I rely on great reputation and years in business also it is important to make sure they are licensed and insured. Last summer I had a big oak that needed to be taken out and called these guys

The guys came to our house with 3 crew members and they moved extremely fast. They gave me a quote in 10 min and they proceeded to take the tree down in 1 hour flat. I was very impressed by the way they carried themselves and how they climbed to the top of the tree and started taking down braches one by one as if they've done it 10,000 hours already.

Then I thought about the book that talked about how you have to put in the 10,000 hours if you are going to reach a level of mastery worthy of people paying you good money for so I asked these guys, how many hours did they actually put into their tree service?

They told me they've been in business for over 40 years, go figure, they have reached their mastery and they are doing incredible work to that is truly worthy of the common folk paying good money for.

So when my friend tells me he wants to start a tree service empire, I tell him about the story of these guys whom did business with me couple years ago and how I felt very reassured by their service because they appeared to be the experts. And he tells me yes, that is the number 1 crucial thing in tree service is you have to first learn the ropes and it takes 5 to 10 years before you can call yourself a true tree service company.

Even in my business of promoting local business I would have to agree, there really is something to putting many hours of practice in and becoming a true master at something. Similar to guys that put in 5 years of washing rice before they are able to set food in the kitchen to make sushi, not that washing rice takes skill but it takes the due diligence of learning about discipline that makes someone great and trains that person to pay attention to the little things because its the little things that counts.

I continue to learn about successful local business because I am someone that wants to one day own my own successful business. And hearing about my friend with his big goals and vision really inspires me to go out and dream about my future and really gets me excited about the possibility of really taking things to new levels soon.

To check out the guy that did my tree few years back click here