Tim’s Tree Service


Jul 26, 2011

Reliable and productive Komatsu equipment

Ask Tim Reeves what being owner and president of Tim’s Tree Service, Inc. entails, and he has a hard time coming up with a definitive answer. “Whatever needs to be done, whether that’s estimating, working as a superintendent, bidding or negotiating a project, buying equipment or anything else.”

It’s always been that way, according to Reeves, who founded Tim’s Tree Service almost two decades ago in Lexington, Tenn. He started doing private residential tree work with a chain saw and a couple hired hands. During the past decade and a half, he’s grown out of the private residential market and into large clearing projects for pipeline companies, highway contractors and governmental entities.

“Our speciality is working with pipeline companies to clear the way for them to put in new lines, but we’re willing to work with just about anyone who has a major clearing project,” said Reeves. “We offer a full package of services, including clearing, grubbing, chipping, mulching — whatever customers need us to do.

“We also work with governmental agencies, such as the Tennessee Department of Transportation, to clear right of ways along Interstates and other highways,” he added, noting that Tim’s Tree Service has a contract that puts it on call for TDOT projects as needed. “Depending on the project, it could last anywhere from a day to several weeks, and we could be clearing from the road to as much as 60 feet back from it.”

“Never let them catch you”

Reeves estimates Tim’s Tree Service does about 30 projects of varying size each year, with about 70 percent of those being hard-bid, such as the TDOT work. The remaining percentage are negotiated projects, mainly for a repeat customer list that Reeves continues to build.

“The customers who hire us expect two things, the first is that we’ll do the job to their specifications,” said Reeves. “The second is that we stay ahead of them, meaning we have an area cleared before they get to it to put in their lines. The point is to never let them catch you, and so far, they never have.”

Reeves credits that ability to a staff that now includes as many as 100 part-time employees and 35 full-time personnel, including his father, Joe, who runs equipment, and his son, Timmy, who works in the company’s shop. He splits the staff into as many crews as necessary to complete the multiple projects Tim’s Tree Service has going at any one time.

In addition to a solid work force, Reeves said having the right equipment is essential to getting work done on time and on budget. Once he began clearing large tracts of land, he started buying bigger machinery, including Komatsu excavators equipped with various attachments. His latest acquisition was two PC270LC-8s with hydraulic thumbs.

“Any job we do, whether it’s land clearing or excavation, takes equipment that’s productive,” said Reeves, who also owns two PC200LC-8s, a PC228 and a PC160. “That’s especially true in our situation because we have to stay ahead of our customers. We believe Komatsu excavators are the best in the industry because they’re fast, and they have excellent hydraulic power for running attachments.

“Another factor that puts Komatsu at the top of our list is its reliability,” he added. “Our jobsites are often remote, and we’re working in tough conditions with dust and debris. That’s challenging to equipment, but we haven’t had any major issues with Komatsu machines. They’re very durable.”

Tim’s Tree Service handles routine maintenance, but turns to Power Equipment’s Memphis branch for additional help as needed. Reeves has also purchased other products from Power Equipment, including Timbco (now Komatsu Forest) 445 feller bunchers. “Power Equipment does an excellent job for us,” acknowledged Reeves. “Every time we’ve called, they’ve responded quickly, and our Territory Manager Jimmy Spence is great to work with. We consider him more than our salesman. He’s a friend.”

Hard work pays off

Last year Reeves added a new component to the business, opening Clear Pro Inc., which will handle major pipeline work in various locations from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico.

Even when Reeves first started transitioning away from residential tree trimming, he never expected to be doing jobs that large. One of his first big jobs was clearing about 20 miles of right-of-way along Highway 22 between Lexington and Milledgeville.

“I expected to grow,” said Reeves. “But growing to the size I am now was never really my goal. I believe much of the growth has come as a reaction to customer requests to do more. I’ve always believed that hard work would pay off, and it has.”