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What changes have you seen in the arbor business over the last 20 years?

Technology is absolutely the biggest change I have seen impact the tree trimming industry over the last twenty years. Before it was just a pen and paper that you had at your disposal to accomplish everything from bidding to work orders to invoicing. Now we have computer software programs that make it much easier to enter data and retrieve information allowing us to market to our customers and track sales and trends for all our tree work. The software available to us now made the industry more streamlined. It makes the business of tree work easier, not only from the bidding process, but from a business standpoint of job costing, tracking proposals of work sold and what has been proposed. Our systems allow us to break things down by service provided like tree trimming, tree removals, stump grinding, deep root fertilization, etc. Before you could never really do that. Now you can separate your work out from residential to commercial or general contractor bids which allows us to track where our sales are coming from. Software and computers have made it a lot easier in the tree care business over the last two decades.

The interesting thing is that the equipment used is basically the same as it was twenty years ago. The arbor care business is still just a labor-intensive business. A chainsaw is still a chainsaw, a truck is a truck, the chipper is a chipper. I will say that many of the tools we use have become more efficient and safer over the years. There have been some changes in how we climb trees, and perform our work by increasing our efficiency and safety in the process. The tree care industry has learned from our collective experiences of what works and what does not. The products used for services like deep root fertilization or tree root barriers have changed and gotten better as well. We have more options available to us which allows us to tailor the fertilization needed for a particular tree better than before.

If you had to pinpoint one specific advancement that helps you do your daily job, what would it be and why?

The use of a laptop. It allows me to be more portable which means I can be more efficient in proposing work to customers and responding to team members to get the work completed.

As I look forward to the next 20 years of arboriculture, I think we will see the same trend. What it requires to get the job done cannot change much because of the nature of the business, but technology will continue to make it more efficient. There is always talk and ideas in the tree trimming business of lasers becoming a way to trim trees in the future but I think it is still going to be a labor intensive business. There would still have to be tree care equipment onsite and labor to do the work. I could see the potential for drones being used to look at trees and help in the bidding process, but I think none of that will replace the face-to-face part of the selling process. You can’t replace the expertise of an arborist onsite when it comes to the best care for your trees.

Embark Services has the experience