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If you’re looking to start your own business, a tree service company may be an excellent option. Tree service businesses are in high demand, and this industry has a lot of growth potential. But starting a tree service business isn’t easy – it takes hard work, dedication, and knowledge.

Below, we’ve outlined ten steps you need to take to start a successful tree service business.

We’ll cover everything from how to start a tree service business to which tools and equipment you need to succeed. We will also provide some helpful tips on marketing your new business so you can attract new customers right from the start.


Step 1. Decide on a Name for Your Tree Service Company

The first step for business owners wondering how to start a tree service business is to decide on a name. This is especially important for a tree service company, as your name will be one of the first things potential customers see. Try to choose a name that is catchy and easy to remember. Your name will play a big part in your overall marketing strategy, so make sure you spend some time brainstorming before making a final decision.

Once you have a name, you can start to envision what the branding for your company will look like. Branding includes:

    • Your company tagline: Other than your business name, this short and memorable phrase encapsulates what your company does.
    • Your company logo: This will be used on all of your marketing materials, from business cards to your own website banner ads.
    • Lawn signs: These are a great way to get your name out there and attract attention from potential customers.  And if you need help with branding your company, RealGreen offers custom printing services for all of your marketing needs.
    • Vehicle decals: If you have a work truck or van, put your company name and logo on it. This moving billboard can generate a lot of word-of-mouth marketing for your business.

Step 2. Develop a Business Plan

Once you’ve decided on a name for your tree service company, the next crucial step is to develop a comprehensive business plan. A business plan serves as a roadmap for your company, outlining your goals, strategies, and financial projections. It’s an essential tool for attracting investors, securing financing, and guiding your business’s growth.

Your business plan should include several key components:

    • Executive Summary: This section provides an overview of your tree service business, including your mission statement, objectives, and the products or services you’ll offer.
    • Company Description: Here, you’ll delve into more detail about your tree service company, including its legal structure, location, and any unique selling points that set you apart from competitors.
    • Market Analysis: Conduct thorough research on the tree service industry in your area, including your target market, competitors, and potential growth opportunities. Identify the demand for tree services, customer demographics, and pricing trends.
    • Organization and Management: Outline the organizational structure of your company, including the roles and responsibilities of key team members. This section should also highlight any relevant industry experience or qualifications of you and your management team.
    • Products and Services: Describe the tree services you’ll offer, such as tree trimming, removal, stump grinding, or emergency storm damage cleanup. Highlight any specialized equipment or techniques you’ll use to provide high-quality service to your customers.
    • Marketing and Sales Strategy: Detail your plans for promoting and selling your tree services to potential customers. This may include digital marketing tactics, such as website development, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing, and traditional advertising methods like flyers or direct mail campaigns.
    • Financial Projections: Estimate your startup costs, operating expenses, and revenue projections for the first few years of your tree service business. Include a break-even analysis and cash flow forecast to demonstrate the financial viability of your venture.
    • Funding Requirements: Determine how much funding you’ll need to launch and operate your tree service business successfully. Consider sources of financing, such as personal savings, loans, or investment from partners or investors.

By developing a well-thought-out business plan, you’ll not only clarify your goals and strategies but also increase your chances of success in the competitive tree service industry.  You can use a template and online business plan creator to make the process easier..

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Step 3. Get a Business License & General Liability Insurance    

To form a tree service company, you must choose between a limited liability company (LLC), corporation, sole proprietorship, or partnership. Each has its benefits and drawbacks, so be sure to research before making a final decision.

Getting Business Insurance

You will need business insurance to protect yourself and your employees. This will help cover any damages or injuries that may occur while on the job. Be sure to talk to an insurance agent to determine what coverage is right for your business.

Workers’ compensation is a type of insurance that benefits employees who are injured or become ill due to their job. It is mandatory in most states, so include it in your business insurance policy.

💡Pro Tip: Stay Compliant
Most states require certain types of business insurance, such as worker’s compensation. Staying insured keeps you compliant with laws and regulations, as well as protects your assets.

Step 4. Set up a Business Bank Account

Once you have your tree service business license and insurance, you can set up a business bank account. This will make it easier to keep track of your finances and stay organized. Plus, it will help you build credibility with potential customers.

Remember to keep your personal and business finances separate to avoid any legal issues down the road. Some problems you can prevent by doing this are:

    • Personal liability: If you combine your personal and business finances, you could be held personally liable for the debts of your business.
    • Complications with taxes: It will be easier to file your taxes if you have a separate business bank account.
    • Difficulty obtaining loans: Lenders will be more likely to give you a loan if they see that you have a different account for your business expenses.

Step 5. Purchase Tree Service Equipment and Hire a Team

The most crucial step for those wondering how to start a tree service business is often purchasing the necessary equipment. It’s essential not to skimp on quality here, as your equipment will be tested daily.

Tree service removal equipment needed may include:

    • Pruning shears
    • Loppers
    • Hedge trimmers
    • Safety equipment
    • Chainsaws
    • Pole saws
    • Bucket trucks
    • Chippers
    • Stump grinders

In addition to purchasing equipment, you will also need to hire a team of employees. Be sure to carefully screen all candidates and only hire those with the necessary skills and experience. You may also want to consider offering training to your employees to learn how to use the equipment properly. Some tips for hiring the best tree service employees include:

    • Visiting trade school or vocational programs
    • Checking with professional associations
    • Asking for referrals from other businesses in the industry

Step 6. Determine the Services Offered

Before you can price your professional tree care services, it’s essential to clearly define the range of services your business will offer. Consider the specific needs of your target market and the expertise and resources available to your business. Common tree care services include:

      1. Tree Trimming and Pruning: Offering regular tree trimming and pruning services to maintain tree health, shape, and appearance. This may include removing dead or diseased branches, shaping trees for aesthetics, and promoting healthy growth.
      2. Tree Removal: Providing tree removal services for trees that are dead, diseased, hazardous, or unwanted. This may involve safely cutting down trees and disposing of the debris, including stump grinding or removal.
      3. Stump Grinding: Offering stump grinding services to remove tree stumps left behind after tree removal. Stump grinding involves using specialized equipment to grind stumps into mulch or sawdust, allowing for easier removal or incorporation into the landscape.
      4. Tree Health Assessments: Conducting tree health assessments to diagnose issues such as disease, pest infestations, or structural problems. This may include recommending treatments or preventative measures to improve tree health and longevity.
      5. Emergency Tree Services: Providing emergency tree services for situations such as storm damage, fallen trees, or hazardous conditions. This may involve responding quickly to mitigate risks and restore safety to the property.
      6. Tree Planting and Transplanting: Offering tree planting and transplanting services to help clients enhance their landscapes or relocate trees to more suitable locations. This may include selecting appropriate tree species, preparing planting sites, and ensuring proper care and maintenance.
      7. Arborist Consultations: Providing professional arborist consultations to assess tree health, provide expert advice, and develop tree care plans. This may include recommendations for pruning, fertilization, soil management, or disease management.

💡Pro Tip: Price Smart
Setting competitive but profitable prices can make or break your company.  Calculate your costs and research competitor pricing in your area.  This tree service guide may also help.

Step 7. Price Your Professional Tree Care Services

Once you have established the services your tree care business will offer, the next step is to determine how to price them effectively. Pricing your services appropriately is crucial for ensuring profitability while remaining competitive in the market. Here’s how to approach pricing for your professional tree care services:

    • Research Competitors: Start by researching your competitors to understand how they price their tree care services. Consider factors such as the types of services offered, the quality of work, and the pricing structure. This information will help you gauge market rates and identify opportunities to differentiate your business.
    • Calculate Costs: Determine the costs associated with providing your tree care services, including labor, equipment, materials, insurance, permits, and overhead expenses. Calculate your overhead costs, such as rent, utilities, and administrative expenses, and allocate them to each service to ensure they are accounted for in your pricing.
    • Consider Profit Margin: Set your pricing to achieve a healthy profit margin that covers your costs and generates sufficient revenue for growth and sustainability. Factor in your desired profit margin when determining the price for each service, keeping in mind that higher-quality services may command higher prices.
    • Account for Value: Highlight the value of your professional tree care services to justify your pricing to customers. Emphasize the expertise of your arborists, the quality of your equipment, and the safety measures you implement to ensure excellent results and customer satisfaction.
    • Offer Packages or Bundles: Consider offering service packages or bundles to provide customers with options that meet their needs and budget. Bundling services together can encourage upselling and increase the overall value of your offerings while simplifying pricing for customers.
    • Provide Transparent Quotes: Provide transparent and detailed quotes to customers that clearly outline the scope of work, pricing breakdown, and any additional fees or charges. Transparency instills trust and confidence in your customers and helps avoid misunderstandings or disputes over pricing.
    • Review and Adjust: Regularly review your pricing strategy and adjust as needed based on changes in market conditions, costs, or competitive pressures. Stay flexible and responsive to ensure your pricing remains competitive and profitable over tim


Step 8. Establish a Digital Marketing Plan for Your

Tree Trimming Business

Now that everything you’ve done the first four steps for how to start a tree service business, it’s time to start marketing your business. With the rise of the internet, digital marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach potential customers. This is because it allows you to reach many people with minimal effort. Plus, it will enable you to target your marketing to those most likely to use your services and collect data so you can see what’s working and what isn’t.

    • Creating a website: Make sure your website is professional and informative. Include photos of your team in action and list the services you offer.
    • Setting up social media accounts: Use social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to reach out to potential customers. Be sure to post interesting content that will engage your audience.
    • Engaging in local SEO: Optimize your website for local search terms such as “tree service [your city].” This will help potential customers find you when searching for tree services online.
    • Running ads: Invest in some online advertising to reach a wider audience. Google AdWords is an excellent option for this.
    • Being a part of the community: Attend local events and get involved in the community. This is a great way to network and meet potential customers.

If you aren’t very tech-savvy or don’t have the time to invest in digital marketing, don’t fret, many digital marketing services can help you. These businesses will create and manage your digital marketing for you to focus on running your business.

Direct mail is a great way to reach potential customers in your area. This method can send out postcards, flyers, or even coupons. Include your company name, logo, and contact information in your marketing materials.

You can also use direct mail to stay in touch with your current customers. Send them updates on specials or new services you’re offering. This will help keep them loyal to your business. For help creating direct mail campaigns, check out RealGreen’s mail service here.

Step 9. Promote Your Tree Care Business Through

Direct Mail

Direct mail is a great way to reach potential customers in your area. This method can send out postcards, flyers, or even coupons. Include your company name, logo, and contact information in your marketing materials.

You can also use direct mail to stay in touch with your current customers. Send them updates on specials or new services you’re offering. This will help keep them loyal to your business. For help creating direct mail campaigns, check out RealGreen’s mail service here.


“As your business grows, you’ll need to find

ways to make it run more efficiently.

Tree service software can help you do just that.”

Step 10. Get Tree Service Software to Manage Your Business

As your business grows, you’ll need to find ways to make it run more efficiently. Tree service software can help you do just that. This software can help you manage scheduling, billing, and employee performance.

While many different options are available, choose user-friendly software that will meet your business’s specific needs.

RealGreen’s arbor care software is an excellent option for tree service businesses. It offers all the features you need to manage your business, including:

    • Tree service scheduling: A system to schedule your jobs is essential for keeping your business organized. RealGreens software makes it easy to schedule appointments and track employee availability.
    • Billing and invoicing: Keep track of what you’re owed with RealGreens invoicing software. You can quickly generate invoices and accept payments online.
    • Routing and GPS: Never miss a job with RealGreens GPS routing. This feature will help you plan the most efficient route for your employees.
    • Property estimates: Win more jobs with RealGreen’s estimating software. This feature allows you to create estimates for potential customers quickly

Ready to Start Your Tree Service Business?

Starting a tree service business can be a great way to become your own boss and make a good living. However, it’s essential to remember that this is a business, and there are specific steps you need to take to succeed.

By following the tips outlined in this article for those wondering how to start a tree service business, you’ll be well on your way to creating a tree-cutting business that will thrive for years to come. For companies who want to take their operations and marketing to the next level, RealGreen offers a variety of software that can help tree service companies. Schedule a free demo today to see how RealGreen can help your business grow.


How much does it cost to start a tree service business?

The cost of starting a tree service business can vary depending on factors such as equipment needs, licensing and insurance requirements, and marketing expenses. On average, startup costs can range from $10,000 to $50,000 or more.

Do I need any specific qualifications or certifications to start a tree service business?

While formal qualifications are not always required to start a tree service business, obtaining certifications such as arborist certification or tree care industry certifications can enhance your credibility and expertise in the field.

How do I price my tree care services?

Pricing your tree care services involves considering factors such as the type and complexity of the job, labor and equipment costs, market rates, and desired profit margin. Conducting market research and competitive analysis can help you determine competitive yet profitable pricing.

What equipment do I need to start a tree service business?

Essential equipment for a tree service business includes chainsaws, ropes and rigging equipment, safety gear (helmets, gloves, harnesses), climbing equipment, wood chippers, and vehicles for transporting equipment and crew.

How do I find clients for my tree service business?

Building a client base for your tree service business involves networking with local homeowners, property managers, and landscaping companies, as well as implementing marketing strategies such as online advertising, social media promotion, and targeted mail campaigns.

How do I ensure safety while performing tree care services?

Prioritize safety by providing comprehensive training for employees on proper tree care techniques, equipment operation, and safety protocols. Conduct regular safety inspections of equipment and job sites, and ensure compliance with industry safety standards and regulations.

How can I expand my tree service business over time?

Expand your tree service business by diversifying your service offerings, investing in additional equipment or specialized training, targeting new markets or customer segments, and building strategic partnerships with complementary businesses such as landscapers or tree nurseries.

Schedule a free demo today to see how RealGreen
can help you grow your lawn care business!

Kelly Mozena

Kelly Mozena

Senior Content Strategist Kelly Mozena has spent more than two decades helping companies connect to consumers, including some of the largest and best-known brands in the United States. She draws from a diverse portfolio of industry experience to help WorkWave’s clients achieve their real-world business goals.