The entire country is facing an economic state of emergency, and during this summer, tree care companies across the U.S. will certainly be feeling the pinch. For your business to survive, and thrive, in this financial climate, it is absolutely imperative that you remember this: There IS money to be made by those who take a proactive approach.

We could go around in circles debating the pros and cons of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus package), but decisions have been made, money’s being distributed, and it’s time for you to seek out your piece of the pie. It seems (from what I’ve researched) that there will be many opportunities relevant to the tree care industry—from urban tree trimming, to wildfire prevention to utility right of way clearing—and these jobs will be offered by a variety of sources: agencies, states, businesses and municipalities. These contracts will be highly sought-after and competition will be fierce, so it is important that you do your research. See where the money’s going, and when it’s getting there.

The Obama administration has set up a Web site,, which will report where the funds are going, allowing you to track the activity in your state. Another government Web site worthy of a visit is, a database of government-funded, contract jobs. Also check your city and state’s government Web sites. The bottom line with these stimulus jobs is: You can’t sit around and wait for an opportunity to present itself, you need to seek out the contracts and be prepared to bid competitively. You may have to swallow your pride and bid lower than usual to score these jobs, but landing one means secure, consistent work for the duration of the project.

During times of financial stress, budgets will need to be tightened and you may be tempted to skip advertising this season. Please—don’t do it. Yellow Page ads, door hangers, up-to-date Web site, new decals on your truck—whatever it is, invest in advertising. The one sure way to guarantee you will have an unsuccessful season is to avoid promoting your business. Remember, when your competitors don’t recognize the importance of advertising and pull their listing from the phone book, your Yellow Page ad will still be there. When a homeowner Googles arborists in their area, your Web site will look the most professional. Now is not the time to withdraw your name from the market to save a few bucks. I would also encourage you to be active in your community. Volunteer to do some pruning or assist with tree planting for a local park or charity. This will benefit your town and offer another opportunity to introduce your company to the public. Visibilty will get you jobs.

Katie Meyers