“I think I want to start a tree service” my husband said matter-of-factlly as we pedaled our bikes along the river trail. The previous weekend he and his brother had cut down a tree, and that one he-man experience was all it took to spark this newfound interest in my dreamer husband. It was the summer of 2013 and we had no mortgage, no kids, no debt, being that I’m a teacher and it was summer, no work for me, and basically not much of a care in the world besides what we would eat for dinner and whose turn it was to do the dishes that night. We would spend most of our time biking along the trail that ran next to our apartment building, me going to the gym, Joey flying his airplanes with the old men from our building, going on dates to expensive restaurants, and planning lots of vacations in the summer. Life was so simple and it was a sweet time of innocence for us and our marriage. Joey worked for a machining company at the time and he absolutely loathed the shift work and isolation that came with standing at a machine all day. He has a lot of energy, and he’s the “life of the party type” so that sort of mundane work, although it provided steady pay and great benefits, was basically sucking the life and his fun-loving personality right out of him. I’m pretty sure I didn’t even acknowledge his comment because it seemed absurd and random to me at the time. I knew his job wasn’t a good fit for his personality and skill set, but starting a business was the farthest thing from my mind at that point. Not to mention, a tree service had to be the most random idea he’d ever thrown out.
As time went on, I noticed Joey searching Craiglist for tree equipment, watching tree guy videos on Youtube, and talking more and more about starting his own business. “I could do it, you know,” he would tell me. It was not that I doubted him. He is actually incredible with anything mechanical, systems, working with his hands, and interacting with people. I knew he possessed many of the skills he’d need to be successful. It was just so random though; a tree service? Not to mention, DANGEROUS! I just had no desire to go to all of the trouble, not to mention money that it was going to take to buy the equipment, get the training, file the paper work, etc. etc. etc. that comes along with starting a business. This was the sort of thing people talked about doing, but didn’t actually do. At least that was how I saw it at the time. “Why don’t you just go work for another tree service and see if you like it?” I’d ask.
He was determined though and as he continued to work his machining job, he created a general business plan and budget for his imaginary tree service. After getting my half-hearted approval to do this as a “side job,” he presented the idea to my brother and sister-in-law. By this point, I was starting to realize he was not going to give up easily. Slowly, I began to warm up to the idea of him having his own business, choosing his own hours, and having more control over his income potential. What I was not warming up to was him quitting his current job, losing the safety net of a steady income and good health benefits, and risking the investment that would be needed to purchase equipment and get the necessary training he was going to need. What was really shocking was when Greg and Kayla actually agreed to move forward with us. I knew at that point this might actually be happening. In September 2013, Joey and Greg filed the necessary paperwork and Bisping & Seyler Tree Service LLC was born. That’s when things got really interesting.
Although they filed to become a business that fall, they didn’t actually cut any trees down until the following spring. In January, we found out we were pregnant with Jonah. Now Joey REALLY wasn’t quitting his job. In my mind, he was just going to have two jobs. It would be great! Once things got going, however, it really proved to be too much for two guys with full time jobs and growing families to try to run a business in their non-existent spare time. That spring, Joey attended ACRT Arborist training school in Akron, Ohio. Paired with the ropes and rescue training from his past, some additional correspondence courses, and his natural abilities, he was proving to be good….no REALLY good at climbing, rigging, and felling trees with seemingly impossibly tiny landing zones. By June, he was determined that he would quit his full time job to see if he and Greg could make the business work to support two families. Greg kept working a few months as Joey and I still had my income to fall back on. Our sweet Jonah entered the world in September 2014, and by October, Greg quit his job to do the tree business full time with Joey. It was all a whirlwind but the stars aligned perfectly so that Joey had almost a full month home with Jonah and me right after he was born and before Greg started the business full time.
PAVING THE WAY
So much has changed since then. I could write a hundred blogs about the ups and downs of running a business. There certainly are positives and negatives. I definitely had my doubts for a long time, even though I know that my husband is an incredibly talented climber, rigger, and feller, and that my brother is very skilled with business and in knowledge of arbor-culture. Now, four years, 1 bucket truck, 4 dump trucks, 1 pick-up, 2 chippers, 1 stump grinder, 1 skid steer, and 1 bucket trailer later, they have more work than they know what to do with and Joey actually enjoys going to work every day.
No doubt in my mind, despite my fears and hesitations, this step was God ordained for our lives. In addition to Joey actually having a job he enjoys, only God knew that 3 years later, our baby girl would enter the world and Daddy having a flexible job and flexible schedule would be a major piece in the puzzle to enabling us to care for her medical needs, and for mommy to be able to return to teaching. The combination of my teaching schedule and his flexibility will allow us to both work and still be the only people who access our daughter’s central line and hook up her IV nutrition on a daily basis. That never would have been a possibility had he stayed in his previous shift work position.
More recently, Joey began using his GoPro camera to film videos for the tree industry. It began as a hobby for him because he has learned so much from studying other guys’ methods and procedures online. He has built quite the following specific to his industry. I’m so excited for him that he recently signed a contract with a large tree equipment supplier for his Youtube channel. He will tell you that his skill and training is not with filming or with video software and editing. But the guy knows his stuff when it comes to climbing, rigging, and felling a tree in a space where you’d think it would be impossible. He and Greg are honest and have integrity and they will do the right thing over doing what is best for themselves. There are many things we wish we had known four years ago when we started our business. Below is Joey’s first sponsored video for WesSpur Tree Equipment about the things he wish he knew when he started his business. If you take a minute to watch it, you’ll notice that his fun-loving personality shines through, especially the beginning. By the grace of God, he now gets the opportunity to do what he loves everyday and to share it with other climbers in his industry. Although it hasn’t always been an easy road, I’m thankful God lead him to a career that is so fitting for his personality and skill set. If you knew the obstacles my husband has overcome in his life and the challenges he faced as a child and young adult, not to mention the challenges we have faced as a family over the last year, where he is today is even more of a testimony to God’s divine intervention over his life. His story proves that regardless of the hand you’ve been dealt in life, you can still dream, you can still go for it, and sometimes it even works!