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How to start a tree surgery business

Welcome to the money-making world of tree surgery. If the question you typed into Google was 'how to start a tree surgery business?', then welcome! Here's our definitive guide on how to start your own tree surgery business!

While tree surgery is seen as the treatment of trees, it really revolves around boosting the safety of both society and nature.

Fulfilling this duty gives a real sense of pride and satisfaction in what you do for your day-to-day work. If you enjoy working outdoors, and you’re practical, you’ll end up with a smile on your face.

If you already have your own tree surgery business, then you’ll know exactly what we mean. You’ll have the ability to choose which projects you wish to pursue, the hours you work and how your service operates.

If you’re interested in the profession, check out our guide on how to become a tree surgeon

Whether you’re just setting up a tree surgery business or you’re growing something existing, this guide covers the necessary steps. From equipment and credentials to business planning, you’ll have everything you need to hit the ground running.

What does a tree surgeon do?

If you’re already a tree surgeon, keep scrolling to find out how to get your new business up and running!

In a nutshell, the role of a tree surgeon is to treat and maintain the health of trees.

However, other responsibilities come into it. And these may be potential routes for specialising your service.

These include:

  • Planting trees and vegetation
  • Assessing tree health and treatment
  • Tree hazard surveys and inspections
  • Pruning and removing branches
  • Felling and removing trees.

What skills do I need to start a tree surgery business?

Bear in mind that many of the tasks can be physically demanding. That said, there are useful skills for excelling in tree surgery, in both a professional and business sense. These include:

  • Attention to detail
  • Networking
  • High level of customer service
  • Knowledge of public safety
  • Ability to problem-solve
  • Good communication skills
  • Remaining calm in stressful situations

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how to start a tree surgery business

How to become a self-employed tree surgeon

While you can operate without formal credentials, it’s best to cover yourself with renowned qualifications. Possessing qualifications can be ideal when running your own business.

Providing evidence of your skills and expertise will convince customers to hire your services and increase your business opportunities.

To find out more about the key credentials that clients look for, read our guide to finding a tree surgeon.

For a general idea, here are several types of qualifications that can be sufficient:


  • Forestry
  • Arboriculture
  • Woodland ecology and conservation


  • Firstly, Level 2 Certificate in Arboriculture
  • Then, Level 2 Work-Based Trees and Timber
  • Also, Level 2 Felling and Processing Trees
  • And don’t forget: Level 3 Diploma in Forestry and Arboriculture


  • Arborist Apprenticeship
  • Forest Operative Apprenticeship

All of these count and are important when setting up a tree surgery business.

Required gear for your new tree surgery business

Possessing the right equipment is crucial to providing a reputable service.

Why? Because it gives you the means to complete projects with maximum efficiency and quality. This will in turn be reflected in customer satisfaction.

The most important tree surgeon tools include:

  • Chainsaws
  • Woodchippers and shredders
  • Secateurs
  • Strimmers
  • Hedge cutters
  • Ropes and harnesses
  • Stump grinders (yes!)
  • Climbing spikes

Get your tools for less

Checkatrade members can save around £500 per year on business essentials

Start saving

How much do tree surgeons earn?

Our guide on how much do tree surgeons earn has the full lowdown, but here are the highlights. The average tree surgeon’s salary varies depending on experience:

  • Newly qualified and trainee tree surgeons earn around £16,000 a year.
  • More experienced individuals earn on average £21,000.
  • Senior tree surgeons or those who are specialised can earn anything from £28,000 a year.

As a self-employed tree surgeon, you can potentially earn even more.

One of the main ways to maximise your earnings is through an effective business plan.

For example, providing specialised tree surgery services gives you an edge over other businesses, increasing demand for your services. Read on for more information about this.

So, you're starting a tree surgery business?

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How do I start my own tree surgery business?

There are several key components to a successful start-up. Here are the things you need to think about:

Business plan

You’ll first need to consider business ideas. Finding a niche based on your expertise or providing a high-quality service is key to having success in attracting clients.

For example, you may be highly skilled in the planting of trees and make this your main selling point.


You must legally register your business and decide whether you want to operate as a sole trader or a limited company. Each comes with different terms.

Operating as a sole trader generally comes with less admin and fewer expenses.

Meanwhile, operating as a limited company will give you greater financial protection. So it’s best to conduct research and decide what route is best for you.


Finances will need to be considered and kept for running a business. This includes documenting income, expenditure and relevant taxes.

Start-up costs can be expensive, so it may be useful to consider taking out a business loan initially. If the thought of all this bookkeeping sounds a little overwhelming, consider hiring an accountant for help.

Read our guide for more advice on accounting services.


Marketing is essential for growing a customer base. From the start, you need to make sure your business logo, slogan and name all appeal to your target audience.

On top of this, online presence is an effective platform for promoting your business. If you sign up for a Checkatrade membership, your service is readily available to over three million site users monthly.

For more advice on marketing strategy for new businesses, read our guide to setting up a new start-up. You can also receive our free marketing guide by popping your email into the form below.

tree protection tubes

How to grow a tree surgery business

As mentioned above, marketing is an essential part of growing your tree surgery business. When it comes to marketing, there are two distinct types: traditional and digital marketing.

Let’s take a look at what they both involve.

Traditional marketing

Traditional marketing includes any marketing or advertising that you do which is not online.

Also referred to as print marketing, traditional marketing directly targets your desired customer base to showcase the services you offer. It can include:

  • Brochures, leaflets, and flyers
  • Mailers
  • Adverts in newspapers and magazines
  • Sponsorships
  • Signage on vans, clothing shop fronts

Although traditional marketing is sometimes overlooked today, it can be a powerful tool to boost brand awareness in your area. It can also help to grow your tree surgery business.

So, you're starting a tree surgery business?

Pass our checks and be seen as a trusted tree surgeon to hire by customers

Get started

Digital marketing

Digital marketing is an essential part of growing your tree surgery business. With so many people conducting online research before choosing a company to work with, you must do some digital marketing.

A good digital marketing strategy should include:

  • Company website
  • Social media profile
  • Google My Business profile
  • Online customer reviews
  • Membership in an online trade directory

These are all tried and tested digital marketing methods. If you do only one, however, make sure that it’s joining an online trade directory like Checkatrade!

Boost your tree surgery business with Checkatrade

Checkatrade is the #1 trade directory in the UK, with one of the largest databases of trusted traders.

Checkatrade members visible to thousands of homeowners searching for trades like tree surgeons every year. As a member, you can also benefit from the ‘tick people trust,’ giving homeowners confidence in your services.

So, you're starting a tree surgery business?

Pass our checks and be seen as a trusted tree surgeon to hire by customers

Get started


How long is tree surgeon training?

This will depend on the route you take. University courses can run for a year or two, while other training courses may be completed in a matter of weeks.

Those wanting to become a self-employed tree surgeon without qualifications will have to commit to several years of training experience.

Is being a tree surgeon a dangerous job?

Using tools such as chainsaws and working at the heights surgeons operate, there is certainly a risk of injury.

That’s why it’s important to be fully trained and have the correct equipment to reduce the likelihood of this happening. Insurance policies are likewise crucial here because of the dangers involved.

Is tree surgery profitable?

Today, there’s increased awareness of protecting the environment, meaning people are becoming more inclined to use services that preserve nature.

Because of this growing demand, a tree surgery business has the potential to thrive.

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