Can I grind a stump if there is snow on the ground?

The answer is yes...technically. 

I personally don't like doing it, and if a job can wait, I like to put the job off until the snow is gone around the stump, and the ground has re-frozen. 

But...

With that being said, yes I can grind stumps with snow on the ground. My machine is a 4x4, so a little slippery snow isn't a problem unless the stump is on a hill. The snow does make for a messier cleanup however. Usually I blow of the entire area of grass to remove as many small chips debris as I can, but with snow on the ground, I tend to leave more of that behind as the snow hinders my clean up. 

So, in closing if you do have a stump on the ground and want it gone ASAP, call or text and we can schedule something. 

 

Here is to the New year!

Stump Shark has some big plans for 2017. Planning on making it the biggest year we have had. Be on the lookout for Stump Shark's brand spanking new stump grinding trailer. Spot that trailer in a neighborhood and be sure to stop me to find out how you can save on your stump grinding job. 

Stump Shark is also planning on expanding its services. If you want topsoil brought in to fill the hole where your stump grinding was done feel free to ask! Also we will be able to seed and starter fertilize as well! We are also partnered with many Tree services, and landscapers in the area, so anything regarding your yard, feel free to ask and I will get you in touch with a trusted professional. 

Keep an eye out in coupon books and in newspapers for stump grinding ads by Stump Shark, There were be plenty of deals to go around. 

Lastly we are out there right now grinding away so as always, Text a picture, get an estimate!

Winter Specials!

As the leaves fall off the trees and the air gets crisper, many people forget about their ugly stumps as the snow begins to fall. 

Many tree services and stump grinders go into hibernation but not the Stump Shark! As long as the ground is clear and the stump isn't under 4 feet of snow, the Stump Shark is in business. 

And the best part is, because you took the time to read this, just mention the post and receive $25 off any job $150 or more and $50 off any job $500 and more!

Some tips about the stump grinding business

A few days ago I wrote up a few things regarding my business on an entrepreneur blog. I wanted to share with anyone who has thought about entering this business. 

I started a stump grinding business 3 years ago born from me moonlighting in the tree service. You guys even helped me name it Stump Shark. 

Before I get into it I want to mention I am extremely fortunate to have a full time job as a firefighter that allows me to work at the business more than the average 40 hour a week 9-5. But with that being said, this business could be run by someone wanting extra money working on Saturday and Sundays. 

Back in 2013 working part time for a tree guy, I noticed the need for stump grinding in my area. It was the perfect business for me, the startup cost was minimal compared to other business and I could run it part time keeping it simple as owner operated. Also unlike other businesses, I could pause and start whenever I wanted, and at the time I was only looking for an extra 1,000 a month or so. 

I purchased a used truck, used grinder, took out some craiglist ads and I was on my way. 

So here are some tips I have learned along the way. 

First and foremost I wanted to do it. By that I mean I always had the entrepreneurial spirit and truly wanted to run my own business. I knew it would take hustle, I knew there would be bad days, and I knew there would be worse days. I could have kept working for the tree guy for side cash, but what I really wanted to do was stake my own claim and start a business. 

**First tip - Stick to what you know.** 

I had operated a stump grinder before and have done tree work. I knew what the average stump costs and what it took to grind it. It wasn't rocket science, but it was easier for me to start this business being in the tree business vs say a paving business or something else that would require me learning additional skills. I also had some sales experience and knew what that aspect of the business would take. 

**Tip 2 - Talk up your business.**

Early on no one knows who you are. You have to let family, friends, neighbors everyone that will lend an ear that you just started a business. Early on those were the people feeding me jobs. Adding to that I hustled. I talked to other pro's in the area. Landscapers, other tree pro's, general contractors, paving companies. I let as many people know I was in business and that I could be a strategic partner for them. When I found out one of the larger tree guys in my area didn't offer stump grinding I made it a point it meet him in person and pretty much ask him for an audition. It worked and he for the rest of that year fed me a quarter of my business. I want to emphasize on the hustle as it was so important early on. I was even cold calling some people which anyone who has done it before knows how dejecting it can be. I would be grinding at a job, notice the neighbor has a stump and would knock on their door. I hated doing it, but I forced myself to because I knew it would help me grow. If you cant see yourself doing this, rethink entering into a business because growth will become a challenge. 

**Tip 3 - Adopt amazon's policy of customer service.**

Okay I don't know what amazon's policy of customer service is, but I know from personal experience that they treat the customer like gold, and they stand by their products. So that is what I did. I gave my work the white glove touch. I stood by my work, occasionally when you grind a stump you may miss a piece or leave an area high. If I found out that happened I came right back out and made it right. If I underbid a job, I stuck by my estimate and did the job for the quoted price. Early on I would even help people to get a better price. On a few occasions I bid large jobs that would be hard on my machine, but encouraged people to get other estimates telling them someone with a more powerful machine can do it better. Sure I could have "sold" them, but I knew if they found out they paid 100s more for a job, they may badmouth my service in the future. I treated every single customer like gold and it has paid off 10 fold in referrals. 

**Tip 4 - Bootstrap, but know when to spend money.**

When I started, I fully bootstrapped the business. I spent 6200 on a used gas powered grinder with a trailer and 4400 on a used pick up truck. Plus another 200 or so on tools and I was in business.  It was pretty much as little as you could spend to enter the space. I made money my few months, but recognized early on that I could make some purchases that would save me time which saves money. I purchased the 2nd most powerful chainsaw on the market which ran me 1,100 bucks, but it allowed me to cut down massive stumps making my grind time quicker. I purchased a commercial leaf blower that allowed me to clean up 10-15 min quicker. These purchases allowed me to take on more jobs per day which made me more money. There was stuff I wanted to make my life easier, but in the beginning I would only purchase stuff for the business that would increase my bottom line. 

**Tip 5 - Constantly work the business.**

I spent countless hours staring into the abyss thinking of ways to retool the business. I constantly researched upgraded machines, new ways of operating, and new advertising techniques. I was a regular in the forums and talked to other professionals in the space. I set forth goals each year and smaller goals each month. I tested many advertising avenues and expanded the ones that worked. 

**Tip 6 - Find what works and beat it to death.**

For me, I stumbled upon text message bidding and craigslist ads. People loved it, in the ad I explained that they text me a picture and I text back an estimate. It is a little challenging sometimes and 1 out of 10 I underestimate a job. But even if that happens time countless hours saved not driving to bid jobs far out weighs a biding error. I made sure to update the ads and renew them as soon as I was able to. 

**Tip 7 - Ask for feedback and reviews.**

I always ask how a person hears about me. I need to know what marketing is working and what ones need help. In doing so one day, a customer told me he chose me because of my positive reviews. I made it a point from that point on to make sure I had more 5 start reviews than anyone else in my area. Also I found what people liked about me and made sure I kept doing it. I found that people love how responsive I was and easy to deal with. People loved that I actually answer the phone when they call and was punctual. I made it a point to keep doing these things. 

**Tip 8 - SEO is important.**

A few months ago I set out to improve this aspect of my business. At the time I was doing a lot of business, but I wanted more so I set my sight on improving my web presence. I have no idea what I am doing and still don't as you can see by my website TheStumpShark.com but just following the simple guides in this sub and on youtube I was able to get on the 1st page of google, and show up 1 on the google business map. This has been paying off big time the past month or two resulting in a boatload of leads. 

**Tip 9 - If it was easy, everyone would do it.**

That became my motto on the bad days. There will be bad days. Hell I broke down on my very first paying job. Cost $1200 bucks to fix. I hadn't made a penny yet and I was shelling out what I had hopped to make that month. I could have quit that day but I said to myself if it was easy everyone would do it. Let the bad days remind you that if every day was great, everyone would try to do the business you do. It's the hard sifts out the hacks from the people whiling to put in the hard work and effort to make a business successful. 

**Tip 10 - Look for the lesson in everything.**

From the first job break down, I learned tip 9 - If it was easy everyone would do it. From the job my rake broke and I had to leave the job and run to home depot I learned to carry a spare of vital pieces to my business. Even on the days where you have the worst luck, try to find the lesson in it. Let me tell you a story to explain. Early this year I had a godawful week. During a routine oil changed I discovered that the motor on my machine was in the process of a catastrophic failure. I sent it to the shop for what would end up being a $1600 fix. In the meantime with work piling up, I rented a grinder. I got it to the first job and it too broke down. Not a huge deal, didn't cost me money but it cost me a day of operation. While towing it back, my truck broke down on the highway. So if your keeping score, my grinder broke, rented grinder broke, and now my truck was broke. I felt pretty defeated that day. I shook my head when I got home and started the shower so I could wash off the stench of defeat. Standing in the water I chuckled as I attempted to hold my self accountable and see if I could learn a lesson from this. As I dunked my head in the cascading water asking could I possibly learn anything from this horrid day, it hit me like a ton of bricks. "you have to reinvest in the business" 

**Tip 11 -  Reinvest in the business.**

I was in year 3 when "the day of the break downs happened," but after that shower I had a clear understanding of the lesson. I let this happen. I had an old grinder and truck that I was squeezing every penny out. I know the business works, I had proof of concept and the profits to go with it. Because of this I purchased a new truck, trailer, and upgraded grinder. These purchases have kept me on the road, cut in half my grind time, and streamlined my operation. It has given me a more professional appearance, allowed me to be more competitive and most importantly allowed me to bid and get bigger jobs. If the business is working, reinvest and make it bigger and better. 

 

Fall is a great time to plant grass after a stump removal

Now that the harsh summer temperatures have subsided, Fall is a great time to over seed, clean up bare spots, and most importantly, plan grass after a stump removal.

Fall is the perfect time because the days are warm enough to allow for germination, while the nights stay cool enough to allow for dense root growth.

When planting grass after a stump has been ground, it is important to remove as much of the chips as possible from the hole. These chips off gas as they decompose which interferes with the growing of grass. This is the reason you see many weeds where a stump once was.

Once you remove the chips, use fresh topsoil to fill in the hole.

Then seed and cover with straw.

Keep the area watered and enjoy your patch of fresh grass where that ugly stump once was!

The 3 Types of Stump Grinding Companies Out There

There are a lot of different stump grinding companies out there. I am going to break them down into 3 categories. You have the jack of all trades- but also stump grind, Tree guys that own a grinder, and guys like me, the stump grinding professionals. 

I am not going to speak for everyone out there, but I find the quality with a jack of all trades, or a tree guy is usually noticeably lower verses choosing a true stump grinding professional. And I will examine why this is the case.

Sometimes choosing one of the first two results in a lower price on the job, but getting the job done correctly is sacrificed. (I will note however, if you are getting a full tree removed, get a quote from that company for the grinding portion as well. Often if they have a large stump grinder, you can negotiate that cost into the price of the tree removal and get a great deal. Just get the specifics on how deep they will grind, and hold them to that to be sure the job is done correctly.) 

Usually a jack of all trades handy man that says he or she stump grinds will either rent a stump grinder, or blow the dust off an old machine they have owned for years. These machines can lack the power to get the job done right and their operators lack the experience necessary to do a job efficiently. They may not have the equipment to ensure proper clean up is done, or the proper insurance. Choosing them may be a cheap option, but know you get what you pay for. 

A tree guy that also stump grinds is a step up from the jack of all trades in most cases. I find most of the companies that offer grinding own a tow behind large grinder suited for the largest of stumps. This is great, but many times the operator can be an inexperienced or lack the pride that a true stump grinding professional takes in a job. The other downside is getting these guys to show up. Most tree companies are swamped with tree take downs and only grind when the business slows down. This means it could take weeks to get the company to complete the job.  

The grinding professional on the other hand is an expert in his field, has the experience and knowledge to get the job done correctly, owns the equipment necessary to properly clean up after a job, and most importantly has the proper insurance. I know this to be the case in my area because I have chatted up a lot of my stump grinding professionals and found that the majority of the guys that strictly grind stumps take pride in their work, know that their reputation is everything, and possess the proper insurance. 

Ultimately who to select is up to you the customer. I always recommend getting bids from multiple companies with positive reviews and comparing the price they give to the quality of their past jobs.  

 

One thing most stump grinders DON'T want you to know.

Did I grab your attention with my click-bait'y tittle? I apologize about that but I do want shed light on something I will always tell my customers. Something other guys will try to hide from their clients. 

That stump in your front yard by the street might get ground, for FREE!

Yes you heard right. Many towns do their own stump grinding when the tree is located on city frontage. Off the top of my head I can name, Milford, Stratford, Bridgeport, New Haven, Hamden, and West Haven to name a few. Usually the smaller town do not, but if you currently have a stump that resides in the first 5 feet by the city street, calling the towns public works line and asking if they do stump grinding could equal a freebie! Also, this works with the state roads as well. I have personally seen a CT DOT stump grinder.

I have saved a handful of my customers by letting them that "secret."

There are certain pro's and cons. 

Obviously it's free! and if it's it's for me!

Some of the cons however are that, it could take ages for them to get there. I recommend politely calling and getting a ball park range of when they will be there to grind. If they don't show up during that time, I would call again to be sure they didn't forget. 

A second con Is you get what you pay for. The price tag of free might mean you have to clean up some extra chips that landed on your lawn, or that some of the roots that shoot off the stump will be missed. But that isn't saying the public works guys don't take pride in their work. 

So there you have it. One simple call could mean that the stump on your front lawn will disappear for free! Hope that helps and of course if you find that you town doesn't handle the grinding, then call Stump Shark at 203 610 3643!

Blog announcement for Stump Shark Stump Grinding

Welcome friends and visitors. I would like to formally introduce myself. My name is Anthony and 3 years ago I started a stump grinding business that has grown into the into the best and most well known stump grinding service in all of CT, Stump Shark Stump Grinding. 

When I started I had a simple goal in mind, make the customer happy. Over the last 3 years I have stuck to that mantra and to date I have 100% customer satisfaction which I have worked hard to achieve. My customers and clients are the backbone of my business. I have received countless jobs from referrals and word of mouth which is why I take serving my client base so seriously.

Over the last 3 years I have ground 1000's of stumps and spoke with just as many clients about stump grinding. I have become an expert in the field and often share my expertise in online forums and among colleagues. I am planning to begin sharing that knowledge of stump grinding with you, my valued clients as well as anyone else who stumbles upon this page. 

Over the next few weeks I am planning on releasing some blog posts regarding some topics such as:

  1. Tips and tricks to stump grinding
  2. Renting vs owning a stump grinder
  3. Renting vs hiring a professional 
  4. How to use a rented stump grinder
  5. What to ask a professional during the estimate process
  6. The cost of your average stump job

There will be many more as I think of my most commonly asked questions and also I will absolutely take requests. 

So thank you for visiting and reading. Be on the lookout for my first post which is a simple one. "One thing the stump grinding companies don't want you to know."