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Open Letter to the arb industry by Kal Hubay

Richard Tregoweth - Tuesday, September 21, 2010

What's happening out there? by Kal Hubay

"Lately I have been looking at marketing strategies to make myself more competitive during these tough economic times.

I have been trying to focus (more) on my local residential market in particular, having been fortunate enough to survive off larger work and commercially based contracts as a sub contractor.

The only negative aspect of this strategy is that I am having to travel out of my own town to do the work.

After sitting down with a pen and paper I came up with some startling revelations!

My first step was to look at how I was marketing my company (Greenwood Arborcare).

It quickly became apparent that an internet site, local paper, online yellow pages etc was costing me a lot of money!

So I started to look at the quotes I was doing. For example, how many residential quotes in comparison to the previous year?

The numbers were slightly down but I expected that, due to current economic environment.

Then I starting playing with financial figures and realized that if I was to get at least 20-30% of the quotes, in comparison to the year previous, I would be on track.

Unfortunately this was not the case. I seem to be down in the 15% category so then I looked at my prices and decided to go and see my accountant.

After the conversation with my accountant, which was not free I might add, I was given a reality check as to why I can't possibly drop my prices. Owing money to the bank is unfortunately something that everyone in business has to cope with, unless you are married to “Bob Jones“.

After looking at all of these options, I then looked at some of the photos that I have taken over the last 6 months of people doing (competitive) tree work.

Now don’t get me wrong, everyone deserves the right to feed their family. But customers also deserve to have their tree assets managed correctly.

In the last year I have come across a staggering number of new companies or operators that I believe are not compliant with current operational treework guidelines.

Below are some pictures that I have taken over the last 6 months while out working, quoting and just doing everyday things.

I'm not pointing fingers at anyone but I do believe the industry has been undermined by eg “Jim the chainsaw man”… and his prices are unbeatable!

I can't compete with these prices, and unfortunately "Joe public" only seems to care about one thing at the moment… and that’s the cheapest price for treework!

Unfortunately, cheapest is not always best, just look at the pictures below to see what I mean!"

Kal Hubay
Greenwood Arborcare
(Wellington)



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