Tree service crews cannot work from home. Technology might exist one day to send a self-driving truck without crew to a customer’s property, attend to the problem tree via a robotic link, remove and chip all brush and then self-drive to the next job remotely. But such virtual tree work is not currently feasible. Tree work needs human intervention on site. If a tree service crew is not on site, they’re not earning.
A full working week has passed since the joint statement by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) on COVID-19 was published. It helpfully clarified which type of tree work can be regarded as essential and non-essential to both government authorities and members alike. The statement also encouraged tree service companies to review their bookings and bring forward ‘essential’ tree work. The statement also recommended that tree firms postpone non-essential tree work. A reminder of the statement’s key contents is shared at the end of this article.
Tree contractors are also deemed to be at low risk of spreading t e COVID-19 infection according to Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Nevertheless, we began to hear from several tree service clients that they were closing their businesses temporarily in response to the pandemic emergency despite being authorized to operate essential services.
So we wanted to know more about how other clients and the tree service industry as a whole had been affected by the pandemic. After all, the industry now generates some $24bn in revenue each year and employs 284,000 individuals (Ibisworld). This exercise is also helping us to adjust and improve our own tree service marketing support for clients where they are still active.