In August of 2008 the WCISA Commercial Arborist Committee sent a 20 question survey targeting commercial tree care firms within the chapter. The intent and goal of the committee is to research, identify and provide useful educational resources for commercial arborists. The committee also believes that by stimulating collaboration and communication between commercial arborists, members working together can grow and prosper. Identification of trends and standard business practices through collaboration can be beneficial to owners and managers of commercial tree care companies. The committee believes that the more cooperation members commit to, the greater the benefit.
A cooperative effort among commercial arborist participating in a survey (if carefully designed) can help owners and managers improve efficiency, marketing efforts, customer relations, and profitability. Many opt out of surveys for various reasons including privacy issues, proprietary policy, time constraints and other unspecified reasons.
Although 94% of all respondents are certified arborists and posses technical know how, many commercial arborists are self taught business managers and owners. Several well established tree care companies employ key personnel to help hone business skills i.e. Bartlett, Davey, WCA et al. Some arborists complain that certain tree care companies dominate the local market yet perform sub standard work. On the flip side many very skilled commercial arborists lack basic business skills. Our survey results indicate several commercial arborists possess both excellent technical ability and proven organizational, marketing and business skills. Veteran marketing experts recommend paying attention to industry leaders.
The results of this survey promise to provide a minimum level of guidance to commercial arborist wishing to increase their bottom line.
The survey results offer a glimpse of the following:
- Sale tools, techniques, and incentives
- Customer service policies - customer/client satisfaction
- Comparative self analysis
- Advertising marketing direction
- Variety of services others are selling
- Current economic conditions
- Business growth, employment hires and layoffs
- Survey Development
The 2008/2009 Commercial Arborist Committee members Mark Porter, Juan Barba, Delfino Vian and Robert Phillips developed 20 questions using a template that offered a combination of multiple choices, and sentence answers. Questions sent to 991 WCISA members identified as commercial arborist yielded 179 responses (18%). The committee wishes to express appreciation to Rose Epperson for her administrative assistance and help with editing along with Torrey Young for technical assistance.
Mark Porter, Chair, WCISA Commercial Arborist Committee
Mark's Tree Service and Consulting, Riverside, CA