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Tree care company grows business with hard work and hard-working equipment

Treewise Men Customer Story

Drew Bedingfield, a former firefighter, started doing tree care work part-time in 2012. Now, his business, TreeWiseMen Tree Service, in Bluffton, S.C., runs three high-production crews of at least four tree care workers each.

“I just started out with a small truck and a lot of hard work,” says Bedingfield, “and we just arrived here today.”

“Here” is a busy, local tree service company doing residential and commercial removals, pruning, stump grinding, and plant health care. Bedingfield feels the company’s size is a benefit for customers, “It’s large enough to serve any of your demands but small enough to where, if there is a problem or issue, it gets addressed quickly and efficiently.”

TreeWiseMen currently has 12 people in production, two office staff members, one full-time arborist, and one full-time sales representative. Bedingfield credits his growth to hard work, good people and hard-working equipment, including his fleet of Morbark® machines. His company has three Morbark chippers — two Beever™ M18Rs and a Beever M14R (an older model Morbark has replaced with the M15RX) that typically run every day, according to Bedingfield — as well as an MXD86 track stump grinder and a Boxer® 320 mini-skid steer, plus a handful of other support equipment: “everything that you’d need to get a big job done quickly,” says Bedingfield.

“Morbark’s been a household name for a long time,” adds Bedingfield. “They’ve got a great reputation. I was already considering them before I realized there’s a dealer in Savannah (Georgia), which is very close to us — about 30 minutes away. Once I met Josh, the sales rep for Morbark, he really sealed the deal for me.”

TreeWiseMen

Enter Savannah Equipment Specialists
Savannah Equipment Specialists also has been in business since 2012, and you could say Savannah Equipment and TreeWiseMen grew together.

Savannah Equipment carries the full line of Morbark chippers, stump grinders, and Boxer equipment, as well as parts and arborist supplies. “Anything (tree care workers) need to get a tree on the ground and get her chipped up, that is what we strive to provide,” says Josh Walters of Savannah Equipment Specialists.

Savannah Equipment takes a consultative approach to equipment sales, which has helped the company grow and to become a Morbark gold-tier dealer in 2016.

“I like to go out and be more of a consultant than a salesperson,” says Walters, “put ourselves in (tree care service owners’) business to where they want to do business with us. We depend on each other for business and, you know, it’s a good, natural cycle to be in there. If we take care of all of their needs on a daily basis, they can grow, which means they buy more from us; we all grow together.”

That consultative approach was part of why Bedingfield works with Walters.

“So I met Josh — he actually called on me when I was first getting into the tree care industry,” says Bedingfield. “I purchased an M14R from him. He was very knowledgeable, made me feel very comfortable about the purchase. And after putting 2,000 hours on the equipment, Morbark continues to sell itself.”

“Drew is a good story,” says Walters. “Drew started out doing tree work part-time. Everyone’s got to start somewhere, and he started out right. He grew his business, and we helped him from the beginning, from when he first just needed some arborist supplies.”

“We helped him get in his first chipper, and he’s taken it from there,” continues Walters. “He’s a very aggressive, young guy, and he’s done very well. He’s put good people in place. We’re going to keep providing the solutions he needs every day, and we’ll keep growing together.”

Hard-working equipment
A good relationship with a local equipment dealer, who provides high-quality advice, equipment, parts, and service, is only part of the equation. If the equipment wasn’t top-notch, the business would not be successful.

Bedingfield says he does significant market research before purchasing equipment, and that research drove him to Morbark equipment.

“Morbark just has a really great resale value, and they have great reviews, and it’s easy to see why,” he says. “They last a long time. And it’s not just the equipment; it’s also the dealer service that stands behind the equipment.”

“In this area, we process sweet gum, pine, royal oak, any red oak species, a handful of live oaks here and there, hickory trees,” Bedingfield continues. “The challenges that we see chipping large wood is the feed rollers definitely take a beating. We feed a lot of our chippers with a machine, so the chippers withstand a lot of abuse, whether it’s long pine limbs or very twisted hickory tops or whatever else may be. The infeed system is very strong.”

Bedingfield heaps similar praise on his new MXD86 stump grinder from Morbark as well: “I recently took possession of a new D86 track stump grinder, and that thing is absolutely amazing. Previously I had a G42 — great bang for the buck, but for commercial, large-scale stump removals, the D86 is just better suited. Every day we do stump grinding, and we might grind anywhere from 15 to 20 stumps a day, some of them being huge blowovers with an exposed root system. That machine just eats right through it!”

TreeWiseMen also added a Boxer 320 mini-skid steer to their equipment fleet, and Bedingfield appreciates its ease of use and labor savings.

“I took the Boxer 320 into consideration and ultimately purchased that unit because it did so well in back yards,” Bedingfield says. “It’s very turf-friendly. It’s very user-friendly. It was priced right, and it’s a great addition to the large chippers that we use. The 320 mini-skid that we have has saved us a ton on labor, especially because it helps to evacuate wood and limbs and debris from back yards quickly and efficiently.”

Bedingfield says Morbark will play a large role in TreeWiseMen’s future growth: “In the future, I look for additional Morbark equipment, expanding crews, and expanding our capacity to serve our current clientele and also our future clients.”