Arbor Tech, LLC — Making an investment with Vermeer
Sometimes to get where you want to go in life, you have to take a few risks and spend a little money. Barry Collins, owner of Arbor Tech LLC in Moreland, Georgia, knows all about both.
“I actually started off in the landscaping industry in 1994,” Collins said. “I have always done some kind of tree work because I was raised around the industry — not a lot of full removal stuff, because I didn’t have that type of insurance at the time, but I did a lot of pruning and trimming and things of that nature.”
Around 2010, Collins decided it was time to make a change for himself.
“The competition for landscaping just became too great — it seemed like every Tom, Dick and Harry in the area was buying a lawn mower and calling themselves a landscaping company,” Collins said. “I finally said to myself – I’ve been doing this a long time, I’m kind of getting burnt out on it and I have to figure out something different to make a living.”
Tree care took over from then on. Today, Arbor Tech operates a full-service business in tree care and serves a 90 percent residential and 10 percent commercial customer base.
“The first few years started off good — I had a good customer base from my landscaping business, so I was able to sell them on a lot of tree work,” Collins said. “Then I just moved on to advertising in a couple local papers and then there was obviously word-of-mouth.”
Once business really started picking up, Collins knew he was going to need to upgrade his tree servicing equipment.
“I started off with just a small chipper from another brand, but then it was time to upgrade and that’s when I called my local Vermeer Southeast Dealer (Lawrence Strickland),” Collins said. “I did some demos and went from there.”
“The first thing I actually bought from Vermeer was my S800TX mini skid steer, because we were hand-carrying everything — we did that for a long time and I was like, this is killing us!” Collins said. “We had been renting a mini skid for a week at a time, so I finally decided to take the leap. I ended up buying it the same day (Strickland) brought it for a demo.”
After making his mini skid purchase, Collins got to talking to his dealer about his other equipment needs, and they discussed the business potential that a new stump cutter might bring.
“I was subcontracting out all my stump grinding,” Collins explained. “(Strickland) said, ‘You know, you could probably make good with (a stump cutter) and even if you don’t make a lot of money with a stump cutter, you will be offering a full-service tree care company and you’re not giving away money anymore.’”
After the SC362 stump cutter purchase bumped Arbor Tech, LLC to a full-service company, Collins saw an increase in business and was ready to circle back to his original need of a new chipper.
“(Strickland) knew I was on the hunt for a new chipper, so he sold me one of those too,” Collins said. “It wasn’t that our old chipper was bad, it was about how fast we could process the material. With our previous 9 inch (22.9 cm) chipper we constantly had limbs waiting in line to get chipped.”
Once they upgraded to a BC1200XL, Collins and the Arbor Tech team noticed big changes in their jobsite operations.
“Our productivity has probably increased at least 50 percent,” Collins said. “Not only do we accomplish things in a more timely manner, but I also think we’re safer with Vermeer equipment.”
After it was all said and done, Collins said his investments with Vermeer have increased the morale and confidence within his team.
“These Vermeer purchases have really increased morale, because we’re not having to tote heavy logs anymore like we were before the mini skid — and not to mention we look good,” Collins said. “If you look good, you feel good, and we look good going down the road with all of this new equipment.”
This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers.
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