Dement Tree Service makes customer approval a top priority

One man’s dream became a reality in 2011 when Joe Dement purchased an established tree company. He restored and improved the company’s services, added to the practices already in place and rebranded the new business as Dement Tree Service. The now thriving company, based in Medina, Tennessee, provides removal, trimming and pruning, cabling and bracing, stump grinding, chipping, hazardous tree assessment, storm damage cleanup and 24-hour emergency tree service.

Sam Spence is the company’s certified arborist. He says, “Our company has a strong focus on customers. We want to know they are pleased with our work throughout the entire process.”

In order to get customer feedback, an online customer survey is located on the Dement Tree Service website. The short survey allows customers to rate the crew, project manager, office staff and the services received.

Within a radius of approximately 60 miles, the company’s service area includes 11 counties and 23 towns in West Tennessee. Considered small by some standards, the company has five full-time employees, and part-time help is added for the busy summer months.

Spence says that 70 percent of the business is residential and 30 percent is commercial. And it’s obvious that customers are satisfied with the work Dement Tree Service performs. Spence notes, “In the three years we’ve been in business, 20 percent is repeat work.”

Satisfied former customers lead to new customers.

“When people see our trucks in a neighborhood, they ask the homeowners about our company and we receive a call. Sometimes the job is a tree that needs removing, a landscape appraisal or a tree evaluation. Homeowners ask about the danger of limbs hanging near a house; a tree, such as a maple, that has divided trunks, which weakens the structure; and disease and pests that attack the tree,” Spence explains.

“Meeting with clients to see what needs to be accomplished is essential to good business practices. Homeowners may want to get a second opinion, which I don’t either encourage or discourage. It’s their call,” says Spence. “We are not overly concerned about price, but have a strong focus on providing the best service possible. We want to be the best, and it’s not always the cheapest.” But, he adds, “You get what you pay for.” With Dement Tree Service, that includes workers’ compensation insurance, drug-free workers, the right equipment and decades of tree care experience.

Proof of insurance

In Tennessee, any company with five or more full or part-time employees is required to have workers’ compensation insurance coverage. However, Dement Tree Service is one of the only tree service companies in the area that carries the insurance.

In working to gain top approval from homeowners, Dement Tree Service suggests that homeowners have written proof of the following to cover worker injuries and ensure they’re working with a professional company:

  • contractor’s license;
  • workers’ compensation insurance;
  • general liability coverage; and
  • proof of workers’ compensation insurance for any subcontractors working on the project.

On-the-job experience

Despite being a young company, there’s no lack of experience on the Dement Tree Service team. Spence says, “One of our employees has 20-plus years of experience, another 15 years, and another five years.” He adds that, all combined, the employees have at least 50 years of work-related experience.

“In addition to being a company that protects our customer by having worker compensation and insurance, we make sure our employees are skilled in tree services,” says Spence. “Training is essential to providing the best service available for our clients, as well as protection for our employees.”

In addition to on-the-job training, employees attend organized trade meetings, workshops and professional seminars. Of course, supervised in-the-field experience is also necessary, as well as safety training.

Safety training includes learning how to work around power lines. For example, following a wind or ice storm, when power lines are down and Dement Tree Service is called out to help clear fallen limbs, it’s crucial that employees know how to safely work in this situation. Spence says, “As a company, we realize the urgency to act fast and work together as a team to restore electricity — all the while protecting our employees.”

In order to master new techniques and practices, Spence attends trade shows and conventions, and takes classes to earn continuing education units in order to maintain certification and stay on the cutting edge of tree services. He says, “Being a certified arborist, people expect me to be knowledgeable when they have questions concerning trees services. I must have the answers.” His certifications include ISA Certified Arborist, ISA Tree Risk Assessment Qualified and TCIA Certified Treecare Safety Professional.

Tools and equipment

The company utilizes a large inventory of equipment to implement their work in an efficient and effective manner. “Providing the right tools and equipment is another way we serve our customers,” says Spence.

“When possible, we buy locally. Purchasing from local vendors helps our business, and we support each other,” he adds. Tennessee Tractor Supply in Jackson, Tennessee, offers a wide selection of saws, ladders, pruners, hand saws, pole pruners, lowering devices and rope — lots of rope — and other equipment for tree service companies. “Another company we buy from is Pinnacle Arbor Supply in Arkansas.”

Finally, one of the simplest and most often overlooked issues, but one of the most important in dealing with customers, being courteous and conscientious on the job. Spence says, “When someone says the name Dement, we want it to be one where our employees handled a professional job and the client can make a positive referral.”

He adds, “One thing for certain, we have customers ready to testify on our behalf. That’s why we rate customer approval a top priority.”