So yes, tree stump grinding or stump removal business is an unnoticed business which is being spread all over the Western countries. Among all the unique businesses, stump grinding stands as a one which is easily adaptable by the entrepreneurs. Before going to the business phase, lets understand the need for the business.
This business is in much need since the need for maintaining the unused properties is more. This exactly points out the necessity for maintaining the unused area for future use or for developmental activities.
Feasibility of the business
Next thing to consider before starting the business on a full swing is the feasibility study. As an entrepreneur you should be ready to face all the challenges in the field in terms of finance and administration. An excellent forecast on the survival of the business should be made. Also, assess your abilities if you can stick to the checklist of the business.
The checklist of the business contains the following,
- Labour with extensive experience in the job
- Manpower to manage high number of orders
- Proper and upgraded equipment
- Intense market research about the unused areas
- Strong financial source to survive during unfavourable business conditions
- Finance to expand the business in the future
With this business, entrepreneurs like you all can explore a considerably finite number of opportunities in the market. One added advantage is that, not everybody will start a stump grinding business due to the high setup cost. Thus, there exists very less number of stump grinding companies, but this does not rule out the popularity of the business in the western countries.
Opportunities for this business can be found only if you work hard in the areas of marketing and contacts. These two are the only ways where you can keep yourself engaged and prevent your equipment and tools from being unproductive.
Marketing efforts are very important as this business is not similar to consumer-oriented business. You have to push your service rather than waiting for your clients to come to your place. Some of the ways to find opportunities are,
- Tie-up with property sellers, thereby providing your service to the ones who buy the property which has to be cleared
- Government contracts can be undertaken during recreational projects
- Get associated with architects and builders who will be in need for your service to initiate their work
Why tie-up with building contractors?
Well this could be a dilemma for all of you but, the reason behind is just the costs associated with your stump grinding machines. As said earlier, not all the contractors will decide to invest a huge amount of money in buying a stumping grinder for clearing the stumps.
For a contractor, the costs of it should be considered big as it is just an additional activity to the contractor’s main business. But for people like you all who choose this business as their main business, costs of the grinder should not be a barrier. Thus, the idea here is you have more opportunities with the building contractors who do not really want to buy a stumping grinder.
Procuring a stump grinder
Here we are in the most important requirement part of the business. Stump grinder is an inevitable factor to run this business. Undoubtedly any machine will have various number of specifications and additional features, it is you who should undergo a very good research to buy the right one.
Choose the most appropriate one with additional facilities or the easily alterable one so that you don’t feel out dated in providing the service during the later years of your business. Obsolescence is an unavoidable condition that will intervene all the businesses, but perfect planning and wise procurement can reduce it to some extent.
There are different variants in the category of stump grinders. Thus, the awareness about all the models is also important and it decides the size of your business.
- Handlebar stump grinder
- Walk-behind stump grinder
- Track stump grinder
The above mentioned are some of the varieties of stump grinders.
Handle bar stump grinder
This is a very common variety which is used by most of the lawn care takers. The less cost associated with these handle bar stump grinders has made it more common and to point out the productivity, it is less productive. As the same implies, this has a handle and is completely operator friendly. The operator does the back and forth sweep action for stump grinding.
Track stump grinders
This is the next level of stump grinder, where the operator has the control over the cutting wheels. Adjusting the sweep speed is also possible in this type of stump grinder.
Now, the choice between these stump grinders are made considering your financial ability and the frequency of orders you get. Also, the size of the stump matters a lot during this selection. The cost of these stump grinders ranges from $2000 to $100000 depending on its efficiency and features. Remember, a grinder with additional features is always better than a basic one. This is because, your work can be done expeditiously which will allow you to take more orders within a short period of time.
How much can you earn in this business?
Before you could actually get into the stump grinding business, be aware of the income it can generate. Having this as one of the unique businesses, the demand for it is definitely high. As a rule, you know when the demand is high the price for the same goes up.
Also, the price fixed by your competitors will be an influential factor in fixing the price for your service. The price for grinding is not the same for all the orders. It is highly dynamic depending on the number and condition of the stump. Simple calculations are made before fixing the price.
- The condition of the stump is taken into consideration
- The number of stumps to be grinded
- The loyalty of the customer
- The size of the stump
Having all these in the list, on an average scale the charge for grinding a stump is fixed as $4.5 per inch. For the inches count, the diameter of the stump is measured at ground level. For complete removal of the stump, additional charges can be made. In case of smaller roots, the service can be done for free of cost. The price can be fixed on an hourly basis also, but that will not always be a one favouring you. Anyways choosing this type of pricing will not out your profits down.
In every business, there lies a scrap value which is usually not obtrusive. Even the grinded stump can be converted into money if planned and executed properly. Collect them all and organise a separate team for developing it into mulch. Sell these and make the team more lucrative by assigning various other related activities. Have a through knowledge on how mulch is made. Start preparing mulch and find opportunities with that too.
Second way of increasing your revenue is to rent out your stump grinding machines. This is as simple as renting a house, and it does not really require any special plan or monitoring. Some people will want to do the work by themselves without bringing in an expert.
Also, the work will be less which is again not a profitable one for you if given in your hands. And for those people, you can rent out your handy stump grinding machine. Charges can be fixed on an hourly basis. You can also send your labours to the customer’s place to direct them on the usage if it is new for them.
If you notice, these are some of the areas where you can show your business more attractive than your competitors. The flexibility attached to your business is something which can create more chances for you to be the leader in the market.
Marketing the business
This is where most of the entrepreneurs do not focus and give up the business in its growth stage. Marketing efforts are as important as taking efforts for initiating a business. Get associated with all the workers of the same stream. This states the lawncare firms, landscapers, architects, builders etc. Other than this, to make direct contacts with your customers you can make use of advertisements.
Especially, social media can be a great support for this type of business. This is because a pop-up ad of your business might stimulate the viewer to contact you for stump grinding. But in reality, he or she wouldn’t have even thought of this type of service. Promotional services can also be included and this also comes under marketing. Some of the promotional services are,
- Lawn cleaning
- Cut off till the ground for free of cost
- Lesser price for huge number of stumps
As your business grows, the number of orders should also be managed properly. Create your own website where you can accept appointments and schedule your work. Your business becomes famous not only due to the number of orders but also due to the system you follow.
Stump grinding business is a labour- intensive business. Having enough number of workers can be taken as a strength of stump grinding business. You can make wise decisions with regards to manpower. All that depends on your ability to control and manage your business. For example, you can have workers on a part time basis. Paying them on a shift base will reduce the pay to some extent.
Next idea is to have them on a contractual basis. Thus, till the contract ends the worker will finish all the orders. You can enjoy profits if you get more orders at that period of time. The last strategy is to pay them on order basis. Workers can be paid on the basis of the number of times they were engaged into work.
Process of stump removal
The last part is to know the process of removal. The process is to be taken seriously as you are dealing with sharp tools and machines. It is important for any user to be well versed in the process or usage to keep the grinders well maintained.
- Firstly, the rocks around the stump should be cleared using shovel and mattock
- To make your work easier, chop off the excess tree bark using a chainsaw.
- Level it as much as possible
- Now, a hydraulic lever is used to raise the grinder a few inches above the stump.
- Turn the grinder on and lower it to 3 inches into the stump
- Repeat the process until the stump is 4 inches below the ground
Safety measures for using a stump grinder
Make sure that you always adhere to the safety rules to be followed for using the stump grinder. I would recommend a general training session to be held for all your workers so that they are aware of the usage and handing.
Also, the life of the grinder will be longer if maintained and used following certain set of rules. Wearing a protective gear is always recommended for the safety of the user. Goggles and glasses should be worn to prevent the user from the wood chips that will be generated during the grinding process.
Coming to the end part, this business is majorly needed in the western countries. This is again just an information and not a defined rule. If you are capable of managing this business efficiently, then the location is not a matter of concern. But this does not rule out the need for studying the demand for your service.
Engage yourself more in this field so that the survival of the business can also be accurately predicted. Making it as your main income or side income is again your choice. But, the business will definitely keep you occupied all the time if done properly according to the customer needs. Remember more than all the promotional strategies you adopt, a satisfied customer can only be a great advertisement for your service.