ArborTimes Winter 2023

“You have to maintain your equipment. Keep it in tip-top shape. Come storm time is not the time to get it serviced.” include auto, inland marine and work- ers’ compensation insurance. “Accidents happen all the time,” says Fain, pointing out examples of storm work-related risks, including damage to property during clean-up, injury to employees, injury to clients, commer- cial vehicle accidents and accidents resulting from electrical hazards. Tree companies should consider the legal ramifications of taking on storm work without proper insurance. “It’s a risk on everything they (business owners) personally own and every- thing they’ve invested into starting this business,” Fain says. Each state has its own regulations when it comes to licensing and in- suring. A tree care company can get fined and ultimately shut down if found operating without the proper insurance, explains Fain. Fain noted that it is important that those getting started in the tree in- dustry consider reaching out to an agency that specializes in serving tree care companies. Working with an insurance agent who doesn’t have those specified carriers or knowledge of writing for tree businesses could put the company at risk. “It’s unique - there’s only a handful of us in the country that specialize in it,” he says. ArborTIMES also reached out to sev- eral tree service experts with many years of experience in storm work, and all agreed that preparation is key before adding storm work to any com-

pany’s list of services. Kevin Wede- meyer, owner of Arbor Valley Tree Service, which services communities in western Massachusetts, explained the importance of preparing a compa- ny long before a storm is even pre- dicted. “You have to set the company up for the year. When a storm hits, it’s too late,” he says. “You have to maintain your equip- ment,” he continues. “Keep it in tip- top shape. Come storm time is not the time to get it serviced.” Wedemeyer says while having the right equip- ment and tools is an obvious necessi- ty, nothing beats having enough per- sonnel. “Have the staff ready to go. If you can’t service your customers, you lose business,” he urges. With more than 20 years in the indus- try, Wedemeyer has experience dealing with both small crews (fewer than ten employees) and larger organizations that have employed up to 90 workers at a time. Having enough manpower is essential, especially for larger jobs. During busy storm seasons, “You’ll get more calls than you can handle,” Wede- meyer says, adding, “It’s not necessar- ily equipment shortage to be worried about.” Wedemeyer explains how addi- tional staff members can help manually remove debris off structures and path- ways when equipment is unavailable. If the company can afford it, Wedemeyer suggests running your service a little heavy with people or networking with other companies to have enough re- sources to manage storm work.

Tree companies can get overwhelmed answering storm calls and may require specialized equipment for the job. It may be helpful to call in resources from outside the area. Photo by elycefeliz @

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