StumpGrinding profit


Oct 17, 2006
hartsville, sc
I'm contemplating purchasing a used stump grinder along the lines of a rayco 50.

My question Is do you find stumping to be profitable enough to justify owning a grinder, for a small operation.

I have an attachment that goes on my bobcat. Just looking into something that is easier to transport.
Ive contemplated the very same thing.....

I currently give all my stump work away, and Im sure Id pursue more of it if I had my own machine.
Funny. I have been giving all of my stump grinding jobs away for the past 4.5 years. I too have been shopping around for a grinder. :lol:

By the number of stumps I do for removals, I would come out making a profit no problem.

I have never put "Stump Grinding" in a bullet point on my yellow page ad in the past, so I can only imagine that I'd get additional phone calls relevant for the grinding. Time will tell, but I would like to use the profits for the stump grinding side of the business to fund the grinder #1, set aside for winter, and possibly fund a Toro Dingo;). Like I said, time will tell...

Watch' ya experienced vets think about that?:roll:
The thing for me is this. As the business owner and main climber, I would not run the machine. I want my skills to be utilized when they are most effective.

I would have my climber/groundie operate it on the Fridays I set aside for doing estimates. This way I can give him a (sort of) break from the harder work and I can make money.

Again, time will tell.8)
I do the same as Willie. I bought a machine and found it to be no more profitable than subbing it out. Plus it took time away from other jobs. I sold my machine three months after getting it I may get another in the future but for now my money is better spent elsewhere.
So far it's been good for me. We now do all our stumps. It helps get the jobs sometimes. I do sub out really big stumps since my grinder is itty bitty.....get a self propelled unless access aint an issue.........
I dislike grinding and I'm the only one that can run a grinder, so that leaves me with getting out of the biz of doing other's stumps. Probably going to sell my grinders (RG50 and RG85) and perhaps get a smaller grinder to manage my (smaller) stumps.
Ive got a grinder and do all my stumps. I also have gotten some stump jobs from some landscapers. Part of my reasoning for getting a stumper is: finishing the job sooner and getting paid sooner; putting myself above the hack/slash guys; not a sub in town thats not another tree serv.

Ive had customers ask me if I own my own grinder as theyve had other estimates from guys that dont and therefore charge more becuase theyve had to go rent the machine.

On the stumps Ive gotten as a sub, I dont charge them anyless than I would have charged the homeowner if theyd have done the tree. Sometimes more since I didnt do the tree. I know several yrs back a lady had me give her an estimate on a removal including stump grinding. she had someone else do the tree and they didnt do the stump. She called us back to grind the stump and I think when it was over, shed have saved money hireing us in the first place. She realized it too.
the guy i use is soley a grinder, i give him all my stumps he gives me smoking prices. i just bid the stump my self and send him to do the job then he tells me what i owe him
I do my own stumps. If I had someone I could call I might do that but I like being able to do a complete job. I really don't enjoy it if I have a bunch to do. I have just completed 2 days of stump grinding and each day I felt really tired at the end of the day. Not the tired like climbing tired but tired like you have driven 600 miles that day tired. If I had to do stumps exclusively I would find another line of work. I'm going to grind a stump for another tree guy at 10:00 this morning as it is a large stump and he only has a doskoe grinder with the 11 hp motor.
Stump grinding can be extremely profitable. Back in the early 90's I did 40 stumps for $40 each at the National Cemetery by myself in one day using a Rayco Jr. towed behind my JD AMT600 (now called the Gator). I like stump grinding, as long as I am using a machine that is quick.
He thinks a Rayco Junior is fast, or he says he likes grinding when he's using a quick machine. The RG85 has 85hp and a chassis big enough to manage it. Not the fastest, but it's pretty speedy.

Just jesting with Wesely basically. :)
the guy i use is soley a grinder, i give him all my stumps he gives me smoking prices. i just bid the stump my self and send him to do the job then he tells me what i owe him

Ditto, we have a guy just like that here. And he's quick, many times he will show up before we're done cutting the tree down. Every once in a while he will have to come the next day, but usually he's there the same day. I usually pay between $40 and $90 for a single stump. The biggest job he ever did for me was $300 and was for about 16 stumps.
the guy i use is soley a grinder, i give him all my stumps he gives me smoking prices. i just bid the stump my self and send him to do the job then he tells me what i owe him

No WC issue there? he has his own certificate?
Personaly I could care less if I ever ground another stump. I would just as soon cut the tree down and leave the stump.

Stump grinders are high maintenace machines. Always changing teeth because of the trash buried below ground. Then comes belts and bearings. If you do the work yourself after hours and put yourself on the clock as if you had to hire someone to do it would cancel any profit you made doing the stump,probaly be in the hole if you tracked all the hours and expense doing stump work.

I have never found single stump removal all that profitable after cutting a tree down. Every tree guy around here has a grinder which means your not going to get more than the going rate even though it may not be enough. Basically having your own grinder gives you a leverage to be able to do the whole job, sub work is unheard of in my neck of the woods unless your broke down and need a helping hand from a competitor.

Doing multiple stumps like Koa mentioned is profitable but that work is not an everyday occurance. These are gravy jobs, if there was more of this type of grinding out there I would quit cutting the trees.

I get my stumps done as soon as the wood is off the site. I don't put it off because then the job is completed and billable. The next day it might be raining and unable to finish and who knows when we will have good ground conditions to finish the work . Same goes for putting stumps off till the slow season like in the winter, just never know how a winter will go as far as weather.
No WC issue there? he has his own certificate?

nope, hes a legal contractor that does his own advertising. he gets a 1099 every year. his minimum is $75 but some times does little ones near his home for $50
Exactly, Willie. That's how several guys around here do it (including myself). By remaining a sole proprietorship or keeping below 3 employees, you can legally avoid the horrendous government mandated ripoff called 'Worker's Comp'. Rates in Florida for tree work are anywhere from 43-68 cents on the dollar. All the big companies that have to have it are losing business and cutting back staff because the market just won't support those rates in the current economy. By being self sufficient and maintaining responsibility for my own health, I (and others like me) can continue making a good living. To hire lots of employees and try to register with every mandated government tax required of bigger companies, you tax yourself out of business. I have no idea how Gigi and John can make a living.

Most of the small tree companies around here sub out lots of stuff. Several of us work together on lots of jobs for a dozen different companies.
dude....time to look at what at what WC covers....................your ass. Despite the local state laws, a good lawyer could still take you for a ride or.....all for all you got. rates are high cause' folks frig up....Even if you have fewer then three employees you can still get sued. Most homeowners policys exclude uninsured contractors,.....meaning if you or one of you employees or subs gets a lawyer they won't back your ace. The truth hurts......sorry to derail this thread but I pay the bucks to cover my guys and I still make money, so WTF......Why would anyone wanna do treework knowing they weren't covered...oh yeah,,,:Othey'll get a lawyer and sue.:what:

buy a stumpgrinder................
nope, hes a legal contractor that does his own advertising. he gets a 1099 every year. his minimum is $75 but some times does little ones near his home for $50

I pays on all subs without a certificate....1099 don't matter
i dont sub illegal contractors. their legit or i dont work em. we have to have comp for even one employee, i ran my guys through a temp agcy. for 9 months till i saved enough to start my own comp. save 1000 bucks a month last summer with my comp as opposed the the temp agcy. our rates are half what brian said
I mean ....all my subs must have a WC certificate............

Stumpgrinders rule...nah they suck...............I use mine to "sweeten" the pot on an estimate........:)