• 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-10-2018
    You said it. I know here in southwestern PA where we just moved to because of the non-compete I have from the sale, it's tough to find any good people because everyone around here can make $2500 a week on the pipeline or on a gas well pad, without the stress of climbing trees every day. Larry, the guy in Chicago, says he sells at least 2 semi-loads of wood every day. (I'm assuming 5 days a week.) He says he always keeps in mind that there's a dozen other guys that would gladly take his spot if he doesn't get it done today. I don't know for sure if all he told me was true, but it looked like it from what I saw, and I don't think he had any reason to BS me. Everyone gets to where they want to be and kind of levels off, and that's cool, that's everyone. Most people either have a great team or a great system, but imagine what could be done if you had both. :) Imagine what a great team could do with a great system. We've had times where we had a dozen people working with us, and times when it was just 2 guys. If I have a choice, I'll take buying a great piece of software over the work that goes into finding the right people that get the job done right all the time... if it's cheap enough :)
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-10-2018
    I agree with you entirely. He's also in Chicago, not everyone has that kind of work volume in their immediate area. I could never have done 40 crews in Fort Wayne, there was only $10,000,000 a year in tree work in the whole corner of the state, and too much competition to get all the work. There are only maybe a dozen cities in the world where you could makes something like that work, and it still took him 50 years to get there. Also, you make a great point, that it's your people that make your business work. Long as you have great people, they ARE they system. Lose them, and you gotta find someone who performs like they do. Just like a great climber; Rodney can do in 3 hours what my last climber did in 2 days. But having a bucket truck helps level the playing field, for a lot of jobs. There's still a good bit that require a good climber... or a big crane. :) But that's the point of my system. It takes the workload that GREAT people can do and makes it so anyone can do it. So if your competition doesn't steal your people, they could still deliver the level of customer service you deliver with average people because they have a great system. Kinda like how the guys that work at McDonald's aren't college grads, or even particularly hard workers, but they can still get your order out in under 60 seconds....usually. :)
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-10-2018
    I 100% agree with you. We always try to talk to the customer, and if you're there an hour, you probably got the job. We also try to be in the middle which if you've got any experience doing trees at all, should be about where you end up. 4 days would be a nice week. If you have a 50% conversion rate and work four days a week, that's not a lot a quotes to do unless you're running multiple crews. I got to talk to a tree guy in Chicago that's been doing trees for literally 50 years. He says he's got 40 crews running 5 days a week. He sells at least 2 semi-truck loads of firewood a day to the big box stores. He's got 2 secretaries that handle the office work and I think he's still on paper. I dunno how he does it, but I'd love to find out. :)
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-08-2018
    Well, I looked at jobber before we really got into building this thing. From what I remember they didn't do quote routing their invoices couldn't match our quote forms. We took deposits on larger jobs and I don't think they did that. Their scheduling sucked back then, I heard they integrated it with Google Calendar so it might be way better now. The big thing I really didn't like about them was the price. We were already paying $600 a year for quickbooks plus payroll, and I'm a cheap bastard. They didn't really have anything that wasn't already in QB. And I've never really like the QB online thing. I'm old school. I want to own it and not have to pay monthly for something. If it's gonna be a monthly thing it better pay for itself this week. I could tell you 50 things I LOVE about my software, but that's the thing. I don't know my software is better. I only know how it worked for me. I don't know how anyone else does things. I remember when I thought $5k - $7k was a good week. Then I found out with some tweaking of how we did things that $7k a week could be the low end and a good week was $13,000. Then I tried to keep it between $10k and $13k a week consistently, and started running a second crew. I know I sold my business with no equipment, no gear, no saws, no employees, no contracts, no property. Just the website, the name, and the ability to use the software I used to run it. You'd spit your coffee out if you knew what I sold it for. :) I don't know if you guys are doing $350k a year in trees, but I know there are a lot better tree guys than me out there. I know Rodney climbs circles around me all day long. I know we work way too damn hard for what a lot of tree guys get paid. I don't care if you're in a bucket all day, it's WORK work. Then having to go do quotes after all that...sucks. Or getting the call at 8:30 pm on Friday night while you're enjoying pizza with the kids and some guy calls cause a tree just fell on his house. So you go make it safe for him and come back the next morning to clean up. Saturday morning.... no sleeping in. :( I just want to make ya'lls life easier. Help you get your stuff done faster and get home to your family. If I can help a bunch of tree guys do that, I'll be happy. I put my heart into building this software for my business and I hope it helps a lot of others. I don't know what I sound like to ya'll but I'm not here to sell my software, I'm just passionate about helping guys get their shit done and get home to their families. I can make it do whatever ya'll think would help you. If you could make your own, what would you want it to do?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-08-2018
    Makes sense. I really like that you guys meet the customer. I found that gives the highest closing rate, and makes your customers love you. Doing quotes most evenings we would just call them when we were headed to their house. If they weren't there AND we really wanted the job, we might stop back or call and schedule something. We found you couldn't really rely on anything the customer said most of the time. One lady said she had a huge dead tree leaning over her house. We got there an it was a 20' dead ash tree 8 inches at chest height growing towards her house. With the software, we could easily knock out 8-10 quotes in two hours if most weren't home. When we were on paper we'd have a stack of quotes to do, sort them by zip code (not that that really helped), and put as many as we could into Google maps at a time. So you save up your quotes for Fridays and Sundays? I always thought Friday evening was the worst time to find people home. Love Sunday evenings though. Everyone's got time to talk. :)
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-08-2018
    Makes sense, that's a lot of how we did things in the beginning. 50 quotes a week was pretty standard, more in the spring and fall. Storms we might get 150 calls in a weekend. Getting to all the ones we could, or just prioritizing them was kind of a nightmare, so we needed the routing to keep up, plus seeing the quote info right there let us prioritize a 3 large trees quote request over a 3 small stumps quote. We had as many as 4 guys running quotes evenings and weekends, but everyone wants to spend some time at home after a hard days work, so asking anyone to stay out til dark doing quotes wasn't gonna happen. I grew up near Fort Wayne, but didn't know any of the streets in the additions, so we really needed Google maps. Thanks you, I really appreciate your help understanding how ya'll do things.
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-08-2018
    Does anyone keep track of their "pipeline" numbers? Like how many quote requests / quotes done / jobs received / gross receipts. We keep track of those numbers so we can catch it fast if our numbers drop that way we never run out of work. Like when winter starts and other guys start dropping their pricing to winter rates, we notice because we get a lower percentage of the quotes we do until we either lower our prices a bit or up our marketing spend so we get more quote requests to keep the work coming. Anybody else do that?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-08-2018
    So you at least have to enter the customer info 3 times. Once on the quote, once in your gps, and once in quickbooks. How do you get the home advisor leads? Do you have a quote request form on your website? Is there a limit on the number of addresses you can add to your Garmin active route? Would it "freak out" if you added 25 or 50? Does it tell you the best route to take or does it take you to them in the order you put them into it?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    so he did't give the customer a quote form? did he just write down his contact info for the folks that wanted to think about it?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    Sounds like a lot of work. I like the single entry method too, saves a lot of problems. Who knows how to spell the customer's last name better than the customer? And phone numbers get put in wrong often. When we started using our system, we started getting the customer's email on the website and on the phone. Now it's a habit and 2 clicks and the quote is in their inbox. Saves us a ton of time. I think one of the best features of what we use is our quote routing. Used to be you could put 15 addresses in google maps and get a optimized route. Then they wouldn't let you put in that many. When we have 50 quotes to do, you can spend a fortune in gas and time driving all over creation. That's why I'm asking everybody, how do you do your quote routing now? Do you use google maps or something else? what do you do when you've got 25 quotes or more and you can't map them all?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    what did he give the customer, do you know?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    So you write it out on the quote form, then scan it and email it?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    We started out on paper, and still keep some in the truck for "emergencies". How do you route your quotes since you use paper? Do you find yourself backtracking a lot? I don't know how it compares with Arborquote, and I don't have an I phone, all my stuff is android, but their site didn't say anything about a lot of the features I built into mine. They do have the "transgrid compliant" quoting that we don't. What we use exports to customers to Quickbooks via an excel file, so you don't have to put all the info into QB. Our quote request form on our website saves the quote on our site and emails it to us, and also drops it into our quote software, so we only put quotes in that come from calls. Once they're in, we can email them the quote, the invoice, and the paid receipt. No scanning and everything they get is in PDF. Do you fill out the quote form sheet and then scan it and email it to the customer?
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    06-07-2018
    For about 8 years now I've been working on software to help me manage my tree business. Last October I sold 2 Guys Tree Service in Fort Wayne, IN but I couldn't stop working on the software. I had a bunch of things I'd always wanted to do, but never had the time, and that's what I've been doing for the past 9 months. I want to make this software available to anyone who does quotes before they do jobs. But I only know how I did things with my business, and how the few other tree guys I knew in town did things that they would share with me. So what do you guys think about using software, like a mobile app that routes quotes so you're not wasting gas, or manages quotes, jobs, scheduling, customers, payments, quickbooks, etc. do you guys use anything like that? does it work well for you? if you don't use anything like that, but you'd like to, what would you want it to do? how much should it cost? I really want to know everything you think about software for tree businesses. I appreciate your feedback, and thank you in advance.
    28 replies | 425 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    08-26-2017
    Just thought I'd mention for anyone who doesn't know's benefit. Those sites are good looking, but need a good bit more work done to them on the technical side. Most website visitors now days are going to our sites on mobile devices, so the search engines rank sites that are good on mobile devices higher than ones that aren't. Something to keep in mind if your business is like mine and gets most of it's new customers from the search engines. You can check out what Google thinks of your site at: https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/ Making a great looking website is nice. Getting lots of traffic to it is even better. We recently spent a good bit of time on our site, getting it up to "good" so we get more mobile traffic, seems to have increased our quote requests by about 20% so far. Just my two cents. :)
    59 replies | 2689 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    08-26-2017
    When I started trees we knocked on doors at first, until we realized they either wanted us to do it for free or ridiculously cheap. They didn't see the problem, that's why they hadn't called somebody, and you don't get paid much to solve something that ain't a problem. When it becomes a problem, they'll call someone, and pay more now that's it's their idea/problem. These days I think $100 bucks on adwords ads will get you a lot more than the same amount of gas and time driving all over creation looking for dead trees.
    78 replies | 3866 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    08-10-2017
    I had a couple guys try to pick it up. That particular log was almost 4' and 20"-24" something like that. They were big guys and the pile was maybe 100' away. I always like to keep a big guy on the crew, not just tall but stocky. The big guy we have now we call him "Sas" short for sasquatch. Mainly cause he'll carry good size small trees mostly upright to the chipper. Like he's bigfoot walking through the woods and it started raining and he just grabs a tree and uses it like an umbrella. It's funny if you saw it.
    61 replies | 3439 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    08-09-2017
    Ah maybe 100 - 200 pounds. Something they couldn't pick up was all I was looking for. Usually they'd flip it end over end to the pile, then when it was "against" the pile they'd look at me, like "that's all you wanted, right?" Usually I'd just stare at them, till they figured out I meant ON the pile, not "next to", "beside", "leaning against". I just wanted to see if they could follow instructions, really. Matter of fact, I used to tell my guys when they started out: "If you don't follow instructions, I'll fire you. If you won't follow instructions, I can't keep you safe on the job site, and I am NOT going to be the guy calling your parents or wife or girlfriend and saying, "Bob died today". I'll fire you LONG before you get the chance to do something stupid."
    61 replies | 3439 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-28-2017
    A few years back we started doing things this way: We put an ad on CL or somewhere. Everyone that calls gets an interview. I schedule them all at the same time. 30-40 calls means 1 or 2 will show up. When they get there I point to a big log that's about 30' from a pile of logs. I say, "Put that log ON the pile." If they get the log ON the pile, they move on to the next step. I pay em' 50 bucks for their first day. They go out with the crew, the crew decides if they like them. I tell them, "Your job is to impress the crew, when ya'll get back, I'm gonna ask everyone if they want you on the crew". If the crew likes them I hire them. As for experience, I don't think anyone has it. One guy came recommended by a guy I trusted, said he had 15 years experience doing trees. First day he dropped one tree on the neighbor's driveway and a few hours later dropped a tree on the neighbor's house. Then he walked off the job. I don't believe anyone can do anything until I've seen them do it. Just My 2 Cents
    61 replies | 3439 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-28-2017
    I have 3 daughters, my youngest climbs for fun. She's got more guts in a tree than half the guys I've trained to climb. And on after hours jobs, or when we're short a guy, she works right along side the guys on the crew and never complains about the rain. She's been doing that since she was 12, and I'm proud of her. I'm not sexist, I say it to make a point. Heck, one time I told a guy that was taking his sweet time splitting wood that if he wanted to do women's work, I had some dishes in the house he could do. He looked like he was gonna hit me, but he got the message.
    50 replies | 2502 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-28-2017
    2GuysTrees replied to a thread JR in Odds and Ends
    I have a buddy that never would wear a helmet in the tree. Last year something happened with the rigging on a crane job he was helping a friend with and he got hit in the head by a falling log. He was unconscious for 30 minutes, lost hearing, movement, and feeling on the left side of his head. Very lucky to be alive after that. He went out and bought the most expensive helmet he could find. Safety usually is only a big deal after you know that you know that you need it, then it's non-negotiable. What amazes me is not that safety is a non-negotiable, big deal to some people, but that most people won't learn how big a deal it is from someone else's experience, even thought that someone else does the same thing they do every day.
    18 replies | 925 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-25-2017
    It'd be nice if they had those everywhere.
    53 replies | 2305 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-25-2017
    I used to have a half dozen "white boys" working for me. They all worked VERY hard on the job site. Might sit around for an hour first thing in the morning if I let them though. New guys always asked if we were working today when the forecast called for rain. Every time they'd ask, I'd ask if they were a girl, then walk away shaking my head, turn around and say, "If you're in the tree an you're worried about lightening, you can get outta the tree, otherwise we're working". Now my crew is pretty mixed. Sometimes I have to ask the white guys if they're supervising when they're standing around, but all in all they all work really well.
    50 replies | 2502 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-25-2017
    Very Cool, might borrow some stuff from what you posted. Nice work!
    53 replies | 2151 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-25-2017
    I've only been doing trees for 7 years, but from the day we started we get half down on jobs of $400 or more. I've had 2 or 3 people complain about it in 7 years. We can be booked out 2 weeks, have a major storm come through, do that work, and not lose a single job. The first sentence on my forms says, "I understand that scheduling is dependent on the weather and a lot of other factors outside of everyone's control." My quote forms say: "I understand that scheduling is dependent on the weather and other factors outside everyone's control. I hereby certify that I am the property owner, or am authorized by the property owner, to contract 2 Guys Tree Service for the work specified above. By signing below, I authorize 2 Guys Tree Service to perform the work and personally guarantee payment. I further understand that payment is due by cash or check upon completion of work, and that Jobs quoted at $400.00 or more require half of payment upon signing." That has saved us a lot of headaches. We make some exceptions, especially for storm work/insurance jobs. I'm up for all the competition in the world, but I gotta make sure I can pay my guys at the end of the week, they have families to feed. One more thing to mention.... heard a story a while back about a couple getting divorced. She owned the house and had a favorite tree in the backyard. He was getting booted and before he left, hired a tree guy (not me) to take down her favorite tree. Big lawsuit. That's why we have that property owner stuff on there.
    53 replies | 2151 view(s)
  • 2GuysTrees's Avatar
    07-24-2017
    I liked it. I also appreciated the "if they be true craftsmen" part. Obviously there was a good bit of thought put into those words.
    14 replies | 699 view(s)
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Tree Removal In Fort Wayne

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