How to Start a Tree Service Business

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Training, business license, skill, and equipment is the short answer to how to start a tree service business. And not only you but many arborist aspirants are also finding this answer.

The tree service industry is ever-growing, and so is the arborists’ demand. Even the statistical report by Careerexplorer defines the growth rate it. There are 54,500 arborist in the U.S, which are expected to grow by 11% at the end of 2026.

And irrespective of your experience as an arborist, you are just this article away from making money out of the tree care business.

So, let’s get started

What is Required to Start a Tree Service Business?

You have to consider a few essential factors before starting a tree-trimming business. Tick off these things from list would make your efforts worthy with desirable results.

1. Certify yourself as an arborist

Knowing how to climb a tree is essential when starting a tree care company. Go through the climbing tutorials by climbing Arborist to learn the safety and technique.

That’s one of the ways to get skilled in climbing trees.

Another method is to find a company offering training or internships as a tree arborist.

Wait, let us save you time. Here is the list of experts that offers training and certificate:

You can even apply at the International Society of Arboriculture to become a certified arborist.

Lastly, if you work as a tree care subcontractor, you gain hands-on experience.

2. Prepare a business plan

A business plan is crucial before commencing any business. A well-prepared plan satisfies both short and long-term goals, especially seeking investors for your tree service business.

So, what should your tree service business plan include:

  • Tree service business name, logo, and contact details
  • List of professional tree care services
  • Pricing plans
  • General liability insurance
  • Overhead expenses

3. Set up a business bank account

Since you are running a tree service company, you need a business account to track all the business expenses, payroll, and income.

You can add Quickbooks online to simplify your tax filing and accounting system. Besides, you can even subscribe to InvoiceOwl invoicing software (discuss it in a while) that comes with Quickbooks online sync.

Once you set up a business account, you must also get a credit card. Doing so will separate both business and personal accounts.

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4. Acquire capital & business license

Acquiring business capital means you must know how much capital would be required to buy:

  • Insurance
  • Equipment
  • License fees
  • Permits
  • Branding
  • Marketing
  • Operational costs
  • Employees salaries
  • Supplies

Now comes the issue, how will you raise capital? So, you can:

  • Request business loans: Apply for a business loan or line of credit from your bank.
  • Avail of government funding: Explore funding programs online to raise finance from small business administrations.
  • Use a credit card: You can even leverage business credit card limits to kick-start your tree removal business.
  • Apply for small business grants: Raise capital through state and federal-level business grants.
Requirement for Tree Care Business Business Capital
Business License & Registration $200
Tree Care Business Software $250
Business Insurance $200
Tools & Equipment $15,000
Business Cards, Website, and Uniform $250
Total $15,900

These expenses are a one-time fee; once you set up your business, there will be more income and less expense. And it would take a maximum of 3-4 months to get back your principal amount invested in the business, which means you would start making profits.

5. Obtain business insurance

Accidents are unpredictable, and when you deal with sensitive equipment, you cannot blame anyone for any mishap. Besides, Insurance is also compulsory in the United States to run any business lawfully. Here is the list of insurance you must know and buy the one that applies to your tree trimming business:

  • Commercial property insurance: reimburses damage caused to your property and tree care equipment
  • Worker’s compensation insurance: reimburses employees’ injuries
  • Commercial auto insurance: reimburses damage caused to company’s vehicles
  • Business income insurance: manages cash flow for your business despite incidents or disaster
  • General liability insurance: compensates damages or injuries caused to client’s property
  • Professional liability insurance: compensates claims caused in financial lawsuits

These are some crucial insurance policies; you must sit with your insurance provider and plan insurance policies best suited to your tree-cutting business.

6. Register your tree care business as a legal entity

Running a business requires government registration, and a tree service business is no exception.

Here are the steps on how to register your business:

Choose your business structure
  • Liability Company
  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnership

Note: Most business owners choose an LLC business structure since it has limited liability if sued.

Choose your business name and logo
  • Register your business with local, state, and federal authorities.
  • Pick a name and logo that is easy to remember and visible on your business’s social media platforms, website, business cards, and uniform.
Apply for the contractor’s license
Apply for taxes
  • Get your employer identification number through the Internal Revenue Service.

Note: An EIN is essential to open a business bank account, raise a business loan, or establish business credit.

7. List down tree services

As a tree service provider, you must list down the services that you will be offering to your clients. Here is the list of tree care customer services you can list down:

  • Stump grinding
  • Stump removal equipment
  • Tree removal
  • Tree trimming
  • Tree pruning
  • Deadwooding
  • Tree inspection
  • Tree planting

8. Buy tree care equipment

Not all tree care equipment is necessary to buy; it depends on what tree care services you provide.

Logging sawClimbing ropesLaddersBull ropesPole sawClipsStump grinderSaddleBucket truckEar protectorBush hogsClimbing bootsMini skid steersHelmetsBucket truck1.15Wedges-Bush hogs-Orange cones-Oil can-Block trailers-

Tree Care Equipment Safety Equipment
Chain saw Eye guards

9. Start a website & promote

Most tree service businesses have started their business website and social media channels. The new-age way of marketing has turned the tables for them. The slow and steady customer flow has gradually increased by doublers.

Other reasons to build a website for your tree care company are

  • Your business could scale up rapidly with an online presence
  • Explore social media accounts for promoting your tree care
  • You don’t need a developer to build a website, so it is budget-friendly to create website

10. Add invoicing software

As discussed in the “set up bank account” point, you must subscribe to invoicing software that comes with accounting software sync. InvoiceOwl is software with Quickbooks online sync, so whatever invoices you create automatically get synced to the platform. Learn more about InvoiceOwl and add it to your assets list.

So no switching between the tabs; just open one software and execute invoicing and accounting tasks on the go.

Enjoy Some Leisure Time With Tree Invoicing Sofware

Since tree services don’t make you free, InvoiceOwl does it by automating your invoicing tasks.

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You are halfway through becoming one of the tree service providers that are certified, trained, and skilled. The other half discusses how to monetize, what prices you should charge, and how much profit margin you can consider. So, wait for a while.

How Much Should You Charge for a Tree Service?

Most tree service companies have a price range between $100 to $1,400. The price depends on the job complexity, the time it takes, and the risk it involves. When the job demands your time, and if there is an equal risk, you can increase your tree service price.

And when other tree care companies skyrocket their prices, try lowering your prices; it will give you a competitive advantage. Besides, the chances of customer retention ratio might also increase.

Sometimes you can even keep your service free of cost to attract customers. The free business model works in the inception stage of the business.

Now that you know the factors to consider when pricing tree removal services, you must also know the profit margins in the tree removal business.

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. How much should a tree service company costs to start?

    It might cost you somewhere around $10,000 to $50,000, which includes the following costs:

    • Business license
    • Liability insurance
    • Disability insurance
    • Warehouse
    • Equipment insurance
    • Worker’s compensation fund

    Moreover, the costs also include safety equipment, business websites, uniforms, and visiting cards.

  2. Is it good to become a certified arborist?

    Becoming a qualified arborist will set you apart from other tree service professionals and help you book more work in this competitive industry. It will also help you stay safe in often dangerous work environments. To become an ISA-certified arborist, visit the International Society of Arboriculture (ISAs) website and apply for eligibility.

  3. Is a tree service a good business to start?

    Yes, starting a tree service business is one of the ever-lasting small businesses. Since trees would require regular maintenance, the demand for arborists never diminishes. You can start by registering your tree services under a limited liability company to get less risk if sued.

  4. How profitable is a tree service business?

    The tree service business is a highly profitable and successful business since it attracts $100,000 – $200,000 gross annually. And deducting all the expenses, you would still be left with an annual profit of $50,000. These numbers are when you initially start your business; once you are settled, the gross income spikes up to $540,000 – $1,150,000, out of which, 10% goes to total revenue.

  5. What skills are required to start a tree service business?

    Apart from basics, you must be well-versed with

    • Free felling
    • Knot creation
    • A-1 climber use
    • Tree rescue
    • Pressure cutting
    • Chainsaw usage
    • Equipment usage
    • Hardscaping laws

  6. Is there growth in a tree service business?

    Yes, the tree care service has exponential growth and a promising future. Most arborists are local businesses, and the lack of knowledge of property owners keeps this industry in demand. If you catered to local regions, you could grow with a solid business plan and multiple services.

  7. Who would be the target audience of a tree care company?

    Both commercial clients and residential clients are your target audience since anyone can hire you for any tree bracing services.


We hope we answered your question on how to start a tree business. The steps in this article are well-researched, so you can follow them and act accordingly. It has everything from competitive analysis to how to become a board-certified master arborist and business management to how many employees you should hire.

Author Bio
Jeel Patel
Jeel Patel

Jeel Patel is the founder of InvoiceOwl, a top-rated estimating and invoicing software that simplifies the invoicing and estimating processes for contractor businesses. Jeel holds a degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of Toronto, which has provided him with a strong foundation in business principles and practices. With understanding of the challenges faced by contractors, he conducted extensive research and developed a tool to streamline the invoicing and estimating processes for contractors. Read More

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