The Evolution of a Tree Care Service

Our tree care service has come a long way in eight short years…

bernie saw
Early in our tree service days. The saw pictured in the photo is “Bernie.” It blew up a year after we acquired it.

When we first got our start as a tree care service back in 2010, we were a sight. Armed with little more than two chainsaws, a Toyota pickup, and something we affectionately referred to as the “Afghani Pawnshop Trailer,” we tackled jobs with gumption and gusto rather than horsepower or helpful machinery. When we pulled up, clients likely cringed, but our work ethic proved us worthy of return calls.

One chainsaw was named “Veruca” for the spoiled brat in Roald Dahl’s “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.” She only started up when she felt like it—and she often didn’t feel like it. The other saw was named “Shy Ronnie” for the Saturday Night Live character who only ever found his voice when no one was looking or listening. Shy Ronnie, the chainsaw, ran like a dream…so long as you didn’t look at him.

Today, our chainsaws don’t bear names because they don’t have personalities. They’re not secondhand. They actually run well. This is a good thing, though it’s fun to reminisce about the old saws. We finally gave Veruca away—for free!—and the recipient of this gift came back to complain about how terrible the saw was.

For several years, we didn’t own a chipper. We just loaded our trailer as full of branches as humanly possible and drove the loads to a competitor whom we paid to chip our mess. The system was far from efficient, but it’s all that we knew.

tiny chipper
Our first chipper. It looks so small!

When we finally purchased a chipper, it had a six-inch capacity. It was tiny, and with its narrow wheelbase, it tipped over a handful of times. With this chipper, we took on an 18-day logging project high in the mountains. At the time, it was magical—waking in the night to the sound of bugling elk, watching the seasons change—but now we look back and shake our heads. How did we ever do it?

Instead of the portable winch and skidsteer that we use now to load logs onto our trailer, we once used a hand-crank come-a-long—with varying degrees of success. Often, we’d just have to cut the logs into sizes we could lift by hand without throwing out our backs. One giant cottonwood had to be cut into cookies only four inches thick; we couldn’t lift the rounds otherwise.

tree train
The first iteration of the “tree train.” It’s all different now, with a Dodge, a dump trailer, and a 12-inch chipper. But we’ll always be grateful to the Toyota pickup for pulling ridiculously heavy loads.

Through it all, however, several things have remained constant: Tyler is a skilled climber and arborist; our emphasis is on safety; we love trees; both of us enjoy what we do; we work really hard; and we smile a lot while doing it. Somehow, this formula has worked for us. Every time we’ve decided to take a leap of faith and buy an expensive new piece of equipment, we’ve been met with the opportunity to take on more work and make an even better living for ourselves. Our tree care service continues to grow, and for this we are grateful. We are grateful to all of you in Bonner County who continue to come to us for your tree work needs.

Today, we have an employee whom we can’t imagine working without. And we have a lot of seemingly indispensable equipment: our Dodge Ram, a dump trailer, a 12-inch capacity chipper, a skidsteer, our portable winch, and more.

We look forward to continuing to work and grow in North Idaho—both as a business, and as a family. Thank you for supporting Sand Creek Tree Service!