Starting a Tree Trimming Business

Starting a Tree Trimming Business

Next Insurance Staff
By Next Insurance Staff
Aug 25, 2019
7 min read

If you have experience in the tree care business industry, starting a tree trimming business can be a great way to add flexibility and success to your life.

A tree cutting business can be a great option—there will never be a lack of trees needing attention. In many regions, there are not even enough arborists to meet demands, and waiting lists to cut down dead trees or trim dangerous limbs keeps growing.

Tree care is already shaping up to be a $29 billion industry in the U.S. in 2019, showing more than 6% growth over the last five years. There seem to be no signs of the field slowing down, so now could be the perfect time for starting a tree cutting business.

In a nutshell

Here's what you need in order to start your tree trimming business:

  • Get initial capital to invest in essential equipment and in legal fees of setting up your tree trimming company
  • Get certified: Obtain a certification as an arboriculturist. Check your state licensing regulations
  • Setup your tree service company: Select your business ownership structure, create a business plan, and check tax laws
  • Create a marketing plan: Find out who your target audience is and what sets you apart from the competition
  • Get business insurance

What are Tree Trimming Business Essentials?

Starting a tree trimming business will require having the initial capital to sink into professional equipment.

You'll also have to pay fees and costs associated with legally setting up your own company and protecting yourself against liability. Additionally, you'll be expected to meet local rules and regulations regarding your legal right to operate.

Expect to invest in tree trimming essentials, including:

  • Vehicles
  • Safety gear
  • Tree care equipment
  • Office supplies
  • Branding and marketing materials

Certification and Licensing

Wondering how to start a tree trimming business? Start with making sure your skills and documentation are in order.

You can obtain primary certification as an arboriculturist at many locations across the country, along with ongoing education to stay abreast of tree trimming industry procedural and technological advancements.

Each state has independent licensing guidelines for contractors, which can include tree care specialists, landscapers, and arborists. Look up state contractor licensing requirements for your state or states where you intend to operate.

Tree Trimming Company Setup

It's best to think ahead for the long-term when setting up a tree trimming company.

Do you want to run the company solo or with your kids? Grow it into a multi-branch company or franchise with multiple employees? Think about where you want to be in five years, ten, even fifteen—then build a business framework now that's capable of supporting future goals.


If you plan to stay a sole operator, a sole proprietorship may be all you need. However, if you think you might want to work with others, it might make more sense to incorporate or set up an LLC.

If you are going into business with someone else, be sure to plan for succession. Too many start-ups wither and die because one party leaves and the other can't afford to buy them out.


The kind of company you create will determine your tax structure.

Be sure to check local tax laws to find out if you have to charge sales tax for your services. Having a CPA or tax attorney on retainer can help keep everything on the level.


Insurance coverage is vital with any business, but most notably, one that involves a high level of personal risk and potential liability, like tree trimming.

You will need business insurance to help protect you against various risks. There are several different types of business insurance, but as an arborist or landscaping contractor, the two that will be most important are:

  • Commercial auto insurance: This generalized insurance provides the protection you need when you use one or more vehicles for business purposes. It is also a legal requirement in many areas.
  • General liability insurance: This insurance provides financial protection if you are held responsible for the most common accidents that can occur at a business, such as a customer injury or damages to someone’s property. It also provides coverage if you are forced to defend an accusation of libel or slander.

Importance of having a business plan

Potential lenders will require a well-written business plan. An effective business plan will detail both short & long term goals, show a path to financial success, and include realistic first-year and long-range sales and profit projections.

If you anticipate a need for staffing and office space, remember to include that. And don't forget the necessary equipment to keep you in business. Make sure you have a financial 'cushion' to get through a few lean months here, especially during the first few years.

Tree Trimming Branding and Marketing

Branding and marketing can make or break your new venture. To build your tree trimming business income, target the right audience, and create a unique selling proposition setting you apart from the competition.

Business name

Come up with a unique business name that reflects the kind of service you deliver and inspires trust. If you are well known in your area and want to keep the business in the family, you may want to use your family name.

Business cards

Your tree service business cards should have your phone number and name as the most prominent text.

Don't clutter up the card with too much information, and don't make the background design too busy. Your goal is to create a memorable, easy-to-read business card. Consider magnetized business cards that people can stick on their fridge. This is a simple and effective way to ensure prospects see it at regular intervals, encouraging them to reach out for a consultation.

Marketing options

A combination of on and offline marketing is the best way to build a solid customer base.

Because tree care service providers typically operate within a small radius, it's important to make sure you are visible in your local community. Whenever possible, participate in local events and donate to charities or community-based causes.

On the digital side, a high-quality website with strong SEO will make your company easy to find online. Social media platforms can help grow your audience and share helpful tips and information regularly.

Protecting Your Dream

If you're considering joining the more than 30.1 million small or medium-size business owners in the US, by starting your own tree cutting business, Next Insurance can help you get the right insurance coverage for your next adventure.

Starting a Tree Trimming Business


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