Stefan Karlsson doesn’t run your standard lopping business. Hi-Tech Tree Services provides all your typical tree removal and maintenance needs, but Stefan has cleverly branched out (pardon the pun) and also hires out his equipment to everyone and anyone, from those within the industry through to the broader community.
The business model has been so successful that Stefan has started another business, Brisbane Tree Equipment Hire, reachable by calling (07) 3204 2327 or 0404 845 467, or by emailing email@example.com.
He attributes his success to the one trusted brand that he’s used and that has stuck by him throughout his career: Vermeer.
Stefan is from Redcliffe, on the north side of Brisbane, and actually started off as a motor mechanic. A late, lucky calling saw him happily switch trades. “I went and did a day’s tree lopping and really enjoyed it,” he remembered. “Then a friend of mine was employed cutting trees out of powerlines, so I got a start there.”
The passion and the workload quickly snowballed and eventually got to the point where Stefan felt he could break away on his own. “As I was cutting trees out of powerlines friends were asking me to cut their trees down, so I was doing work on the weekends,” he explained. “I came to realise that there was a market there for it and I could make reasonable money. I had too much work to just do it on the weekends, so I decided to start my own business.”
This saw the launch of Hi-Tech Tree Services in 1996. The company does everything – “tree removal, pruning, thinning, reduction, stump grinding” – but more recently Stefan expanded into the rental game.
“I started the hire service about four years ago,” he clarified. “I had staff that were working for me and they wanted to start their own businesses, but they only had small wood chippers. They’d ring me up and ask me to help them chip some stuff, so I’d send out a machine with an operator. Then it got to the point where they’d ask me, ‘Can I actually hire the chipper off you for the day?’ I began renting them out to other tree companies when theirs would break down, or when they’d get excess work. Like for instance, a tree company now has taken a chipper for four weeks because they have extra work on for the month.”
Hi-Tech Tree Services now hires trucks, chippers, stump grinders and cherry pickers all the way from Gympie to Byron Bay, including the local council. “Even out of the tree industry, we do work with electricians, painters and sign writers,” added Stefan.
Obviously the general public can’t just walk in off the street, hire some machinery off Stefan and go to town in their backyard. So Hi-Tech Tree Services also provides qualified workers when necessary. “I can only hire without an operator to people within the tree industry,” the Brisbane entrepreneur confirmed, “because they have to be ticketed to be able to use the wood chippers. Before they hire them we do an induction with them.”
This brings us to the close relationship Stefan has with Vermeer and how the companies have helped each other over the years.
“I bought my first Vermeer machine in 1998 or 1999,” he reminisced. “It was an 1800 A, one of their 18-inch wood chippers. Now I have seven of their wood chippers with winches. I also have three of their stump grinders – I have an SC352, the smallest one, an SC372 and an SC60TX.”
But it’s not just a matter of providing quality tools for the job. Vermeer and Hi-Tech Tree Services have a symbiotic relationship where they really support each other’s needs.
Stefan obviously reps the Vermeer products he stocks, having trusted in them for almost 20 years. As he proudly stated: “All my chippers and stump grinders that I work with and hire out are Vermeer. I wouldn’t use anything else.” And in return for his loyalty, Vermeer forwards business direct to Stefan. “They’ve definitely helped my business grow,” he said. “When people have rang them asking for a woodchipper to hire, they pass my number on, so other tree companies have hired stuff off me through them.”
Vermeer keeps Stefan in the loop, informing him of “all the new equipment that’s coming out”. Although it seems like these updates might be a bit of a tease at times. When asked if there’s anything he’d like to get his hands on from Vermeer’s latest range, Stefan sounds like a kid at Christmas: “Oh, yeah, there’s quite a few things!”
As they say, success breeds success, with Hi-Tech Tree Services’ clever business model leading the charge thanks to Vermeer and its superior equipment. Stefan concluded he’s grateful that he can hand down the same help to others in the industry.
“I love just building a business, while at the same time helping other tree lopping companies by keeping them going with equipment, because quite often they’d be off the road and out of action if we weren’t able to step in and lend them a hand.”