How To Start A Stump Grinding Business

How to start your stump grinding business in 5 easy steps:

  1. Plan your Stump Grinding Business
  2. Form your Stump Grinding Business into a Legal Entity
  3. Get Stump Grinding Business Insurance
  4. Define your Stump Grinding Business Brand & Create your Website
  5. Set up your CMS & Scheduling Systems

Unfortunately there is a lot more to starting a stump grinding business than just buying a stump grinder and getting to work. That’s why we’ve put together this simple guide to starting your stump grinding business. These 5 simple steps are an easy roadmap ensuring your new business is well planned out, marketable, and legally compliant (locally and federally).

STEP 1: Plan your Tree Stump Removal Business

Before you ever get started a clear plan is essential for the future success of your stump grinding business. It helps to map out the specifics of your business and discover potential pitfalls & unknowns. Some things that you may want to consider are: 

  • How much will it cost to start your business and how much are monthly operating costs?
  • Who is your target market – locationally & demographically?
  • What are your rates & how will you calculate them?
  • What is the name of your business?

Since we are – we have already done some of this legwork for you!

For many the entry cost for starting a stump grinding company is reasonable. Typically all in between $25,000 – $75,000

When we got started, Chris paid $5,800 for his first truck, and $11,000 for his first grinder & trailer. On top of that he had other administrative & operational costs, plus safety equipment, and insurance that added up to another $10,000 putting him all in at $26,800.

The ongoing expenses for a stump grinding company are also manageable. They include vehicle maintenance, grinder maintenance, insurance, administrative costs, and fuel (for both the truck, other machinery, and grinder).

The target market for this work is anyone who owns or manages a property with trees or stumps. You can target commercial & residential clients, in both rural and urban areas depending on where you live.

Some owners decide to charge a lump sum and others charge by the inch (measuring at the stump’s widest point). Most businesses have minimum fees for smaller stumps.

STEP 2: Form Your Stump Grinding Company Into a Legal Entity

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

(Note: It’s very important to secure your domain name before you register this llc name if possible to ensure you can use it)

Establishing a proper & legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your stump grinding business is sued and it also allows you to properly purchase insurance coverage to protect you, your employees, and your customers.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. or act as your own.

You will then need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes prior to beginning operations. First you can apply for a free EIN through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article,  What is an EIN?.

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed.

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. 

Once completed you will then be able to open a business bank account, which is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. 

Additionally, it can help you leverage better rates and more access to loans! It also allows for you to set up accurate and optimized business accounting practices to account for revenues in and out of your business.

STEP 3: Get Stump Grinding Business Insurance & Proper Permits or license if Needed

Your business will need the proper license, permits, and insurance to operate. If you fail to properly acquire these things, large fines, legal ramifications, and a full business shut down could be the result.

Depending on your location state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a stump grinding service.

In addition, certain local licensing or regulatory requirements may apply.

Business Insurance is also needed to protect you, your business, your employees, and your clients.

STEP 4: Define Your Stump Grinding Brand & Create Your Website

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

How to promote & market a tree stump removal business

Chris also used cold calling and word of mouth to gain more customers. After finishing a job, he asked any neighbors who have stumps in their yard whether they’d like the stumps removed. As long as business owners can provide a quote on the spot, this can generate more business without increasing drive time significantly.

How to keep customers coming back

Businesses can set themselves apart from the competition by offering estimates via text. If customers send in a picture, experienced business owners should be able to judge how much the job will cost and give the customer a quote. Even if business owners occasionally underbid, they’re able to save a lot of fuel and time by not driving to customers’ locations simply to give estimates.

After defining your brand, creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites – full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than a week or so to have up and running.

Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder!

STEP 5: Set Up Your CMS & Scheduling Systems

Stump grinding business owners will keep their ongoing costs down by utilizing a CMS system and more importantly a scheduling and route scheduling system. By doing this you will be able to batch multiple jobs together on each day, minimizing don time and more importantly minimizing gas costs. Through experience we have learned that with effective and efficient communication most customer’s aren’t overly concerned with when a job is done as long as it’s completed in a reasonable timeframe.

We’ve reviewed the top scheduling tools in another post so be sure to check it out. 

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