Winter tree services have always been a hard-sell, partly because our customer’s attention turns elsewhere after that first snow of the year and partly over confusion about when is the best time for tree care.
Since starting ArborScape in 1996, I’ve developed deep and trusted relationships with many of our customers. And as that has happened, more trust me when I tell them how important winter watering is. More of our lawn customers trust us that winter mite control will help their lawns in the summer. More understand that dormant oil is best applied when it’s cooler to prevent burn-out of foliage and flowers. And many more understand that their crabapple tree needs to be trimmed when dormant to prevent the spread of blight to their neighbors’ fruit trees.
This trust was hard-won. While it benefits their trees and lawn to adopt recommended winter services, I also like to think it reflects the growing trust that our clients have in our opinions and practices. Adopting winter services mark the culmination of their trust in my company.
One of the biggest obstacles when a customer begins working with us, is that we know more about the timing of tree care then other tree services they’ve worked with. Even though I’m an ASCA consulting arborist, I’m no genius. Far from it. But as someone who does know a lot about tree care, I’ve observed that many tree services, for whatever reason, don’t give the whole story about timing. It’s likely because of concerns about scheduling with the resources they have instead of scheduling with the best tree care in mind.
What the benefits of expertise look like
At any rate, there is an education process that goes on, and we are frequently telling you things that differ from what most other tree services have told you. Thus, it can be unsettling for customers as they realize that things they’ve been told about their trees aren’t always or never were, true.
It’s not that we know more but I think we care more to figure out how to make the best practices work for you. I take pride that our teams do more with the knowledge they have. While a customer may be uncertain about, well literally everything about winter tree work, as the seasons go by and their crabapple tree thrives, and their trees look way better after a winter of watering, and if their grass responds much better after a winter mite treatment or pre-emergent weed control treatment, they are able to see what the benefits of expertise look like.
Trusting a true professional
As I’ve become experienced as an arborist and a business owner, I’ve had the pleasure of discovering that sometimes the best consultant in their respective field may disagree with a lot of what their less-able colleagues recommend and do. And yes, it may take me longer to figure out whether that consultant or service provider is someone with integrity. But when that integrity and ability is proven, I tell you one thing, I’m going to stay with that person as long as I can.
That happens with me and my team of arborists, I think. It takes customers a little while to figure out if we have integrity and the ability to care for their trees. We may recommend services that you haven’t heard of and we may be more particular about the type of treatment and when it needs to happen. We may disagree with what another local tree service has recommended. So you’re not sure if we are solid.
This process to trust can take several years. But the adoption of a winter service, I think, represents a culmination of that trusting relationship. In other words, we’ve arrived in the eyes of the customer, at that point.
Looking at the list and schedules of our winter tree work for 2014, I estimate that a vast majority of those folks were people who doubted the efficacy of a given winter service, but who now wouldn’t think to eliminate it.
Looking forward to a great winter and holiday season.
– David Merriman – Operations Manager