The right people and the right equipment
The right people and equipment are critical to sustained success for any tree care business. Bryan Stanage has a sharp eye for both, and though he’s done things that in some ways break the mold compared to other tree care businesses in central Florida, he’s evolving and growing his business based on close attention to personnel and the equipment they operate.
Stanage, owner and operator of Stanage Tree Service in Orlando, Florida, is the third generation of his family to work in the tree care industry. He’s operated his company since 2006 and became an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist in 2011. Though competition for tree care work can sometimes be tight in his area of central Florida, Stanage has been able to secure a consistent base of return customers over the years, and work with facilities like a large retirement community in the area that helps him stay busy year-round.
The human element of Stanage’s success
He attributes the steady stream of work mostly to the professionalism with which he and his employees approach their customers and overall business.
“We’re just trying to do new things, to be different than other companies,” Stanage said. “If you have a company that looks professional, does good work and you’re always learning, it will really set you apart.”
That starts with his people. Growing up with a father and grandfather in the tree care industry, Stanage was able to begin learning about the business at an early age. Today he strives to be the same kind of mentor to his employees that his family has been to him.
“I had a mentor when I was a young man and he pushed me. I didn’t see what it would do for me at the time, but I got it and now what? It took years for me to understand why he did it and what it meant, but my father opened doors for me and created opportunities I wouldn’t have had if he wasn’t there pushing me,” Stanage said. “My goal is to build up my employees as arborists and multiply what I’m doing. I try to be a real leader, not some kind of slave-driver. There’s nothing I ask them to do that I wouldn’t do myself.”
“It’s so humbling, and the most awesome feeling to see what I know we could do together, and all these guys working with me have totally bought in,” he added.
How machinery fits in
The right people are a huge component of Stanage’s success, but having the right people operating the right equipment completes the loop. Stanage uses equipment that’s come to be the industry standard for jobs like large tree removal and chipping, namely larger skid steers, chippers and trucks. However, because he has customers that require being able to maneuver in tight spaces and is important to getting the job done, he’s found major value in the Vermeer S925TX mini skid steer. And, he’s not the only one.
“I have one really good employee who said he needed more help on the ground. I told him and the whole crew: ‘I’m going to invest in more equipment soon. Here are your options: A big grapple truck or a mini skid steer and a dump trailer,’” Stanage said. “After they watched some videos and figured out what it could do for us, they all agreed on the Vermeer S925TX. So, I bought it in place of another employee or two.”
After purchasing the mini skid steer and training his crew how to use it, Stanage said the results have been staggering. The small machine has opened up new doors for business, creating more flexibility for his operation than he ever thought possible. In an area where the tree care industry is steeped in a “bigger-is-better” mentality, the precision and maneuverability of the S925TX has allowed Stanage to get more work done in shorter timeframes.
“Just this morning, I had one employee do two men’s worth of work with the S925TX, and it took him around 20 minutes for a job that would otherwise have taken two hours,” Stanage said. “Other tree care guys around here don’t understand why we would buy something this small, when in reality, this small machine has opened up a lot of big opportunities for us.”
Training ties it all together
Stanage has the right people and the right equipment, but the key to making it all work well is having the training and expertise to make those people and machines work well together. He learned at an early age the importance of industry training, and he impresses that value upon his employees. As a result, they’ve become less employees and more managers themselves.
“All of the training and education through the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) that I’ve learned on things like structural pruning have allowed me to educate my own crew. Two of them are already arborists in training. I’m having them follow my footsteps and doing the same things that I’ve had the opportunity to do over the years,” Stanage said. “I like to start guys who are green with no experience. My guys have bought into the arborist world. They’re invested the time and energy. It’s crazy to see these guys follow my lead and learn what I’ve learned.”
Learn more about the S925TX and other Vermeer equipment here.
This article contains third-party observations, advice or experiences that do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Vermeer Corporation, its affiliates or its dealers. Vermeer, Vermeer Logo and Equipped to Do More are trademarks of Vermeer Corporation in the U.S. and/or other countries. © 2018 Vermeer Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
Post Topics: Brush Chippers, Compact Utility Loaders, CTX100, CTX50, Innovation, ISA (International Society of Arboriculture), Mini Skid Steers, New Products, S450TX, S725TX, S800TX, S925TX, Stump Cutters, Stump Grinders, Video