Commercial tree care business tackles big jobs in Wisconsin
There’s something about growing up on a farm that makes it impossible to sit still for too long. Chuck Brintnall became accustomed to long, laborious days as a farmhand, so hard work is his default setting.
After working for 11 years as a road contractor, Brintnall found himself in search of a new challenge — and, of course, more work. It was around that same time that his brother-in-law was looking to sell his tree care company, T&T Tree.
Big work, small crew
When Brintnall bought the company in 1992, he started out small, working part time on residential jobs. Not unlike Brintnall’s own career path, T&T Tree eventually saw value in changing course and now functions as a strictly commercial operation. The company’s clientele consists mostly of road construction, building demolition and reconstruction businesses. T&T Tree also does work for both the city of Milwaukee as well as a neighboring suburb called Wauwatosa.
With a résumé as extensive as Brintnall’s, it’s difficult to believe him when he proudly states how many people he has on his crew.
“We’ve got six employees,” says Brintnall. “We’re trying to cover a lot of ground this year with only six guys.”
Keeping it in the family
One of those six employees is Brintnall’s son, Bryan.
Brintnall says introducing his son to the logistics side of the business — payroll, workers’ comp, insurance, fuel and taxes — has been a lot of fun.
“Bryan is starting to understand why we really hustle,” says Brintnall. “He’s starting to understand why we do a good job, why we want to retain our clients and why we want to be the first name on their list.”
He’s hopeful Bryan will take over the family business in the next decade.
Higher expectations for equipment, service
Part of the reason six employees can do the amount of work T&T Tree takes on is thanks to the equipment in the company’s fleet. The crew makes good use of its BC2100XL brush chipper, SC1152 stump cutter and a WC2300XL whole tree chipper for tough, industrial jobsites.
“My crew really likes the Vermeer equipment,” says Brintnall. “It looks uniform and it’s reliable.”
One of the biggest differences in Brintnall’s productivity came in the smallest packages. When he purchased the BC2100XL, he opted for the Tree Commander™ remote control option. The crew appreciates the functionality it offers, and from an efficiency standpoint Brintnall says the remote has helped decrease idle time.
“With the remote control, our fuel use is down,” says Brintnall. “I’d estimate it led to about a 10 percent savings, maybe even a little higher.”
Brintnall appreciates that with Vermeer equipment he’s getting equipment and a service team that work as hard as he and his crew.
“I’ll tell you right away that the Vermeer equipment is top of the line,” he says. “But what really keeps us going back to Vermeer is the dealership and the factory follow-up on any problems that might come up.”
The service he’s come to expect from the Vermeer dealership is something Brintnall wasn’t able to find with other manufacturers.
“We had a couple different brands of chippers back in the day,” he says. “I didn’t like their electronics, and the dealer wasn’t willing to work with us.”
Frustrated with other options he explored and in need of a brush chipper, Brintnall walked into Vermeer Wisconsin, where a sales representative arranged to have a BC2100XL brought to a jobsite for a few days.
“The brush chipper never left,” says Brintnall. “We kept it and have been Vermeer customers ever since.”
Keep the phone ringing
Brintnall says he’s enjoyed success because he surrounded himself with great people and makes his clients’ needs his priority. It’s important to Brintnall that he and his crew do things the way his customers want them done. He says that’s the reason clients call them first and won’t even bid the job to competing companies.
“We’ve got good equipment — we’ve got talented individuals,” says Brintnall. “If a client calls us, they know we can perform and get the job done.”