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Climbing The Ladder When You're Tired of Climbing Trees


KateH

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With 20 years' experience in the industry, we are well aware that there comes a time in every climbing arborists' life that being up trees for a living becomes harder.

 

Often that moment is what pre-empts the conversation we then have with climbers about next steps but it pays to think about this before that moment arrives. 

 

There are several ways that experienced climbers and groundsmen can advance their careers. There are lots of options, whether it's going on to become a tree surveyor, a planning officer, a practical assessor, a teacher or college lecturer, an expert witness, and lots more - there's something for everyone in the arb industry.

 

The thing is that decades of experience and chainsaw tickets usually just isn't enough. However, a bit of forward planning and some extra time and effort will gain you the qualification you need to progress higher while your feet are on the ground. Watching who's about you on a daily basis in the arb world and seeing what draws your attention might help you decide a direction.

 

The following links will take you to the Arboriculture Association website and they offer a wealth of information and support in this area. For a simple page of the possible careers in this sector click here and for a more detailed, clear view of the qualifications needed for different roles it's here. You can also access a list of training providers which offer suitable courses across the UK here

 

We would love to hear from education providers and those who have gone on to qualify at Level 3 or above in the arb sector about other options that will enrich this blog. We'll keep it updated so that it's useful on an ongoing basis.

 

In the meantime it's really worth thinking about what your plan is for when climbing looses its shine. We're here when the time comes and we usually have a good range of technical as well as practical jobs available.

 

Please comment if there are roles you think should be included above or if you have any questions.

 

Kate & Beccy 😊

 

Tree Officer1.jpg

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If you can’t climb anymore, you get another climber to do it for you and cash the chèque.

The majority of competent climbers pretty soon figure out the only way to make any real money is to start their own thing. Once that’s running ok there is no other way of making any real coin.

They don’t dream of surveying stretches of rail side sycamores as a surveyor or meeting the public as a TO, or anything else.

It’s climbing or cutting/felling or maybe milling or hedge laying and the like or nothing,

 It’s the only thing worth doing in the industry.

 

You’re just a form filler/box ticking wage slave otherwise.

 

 

 

 

 

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Thanks Mick, I appreciate hearing your opinion. I guess it’s a trade-off between a traditional, reliable job (with holidays, a pension and benefits) and running your own gig. 
I know from experience that owning and running a business is harder than it seems on the outside. I’ll be interested to hear what other people say. thanks for commenting 👍 Kate 

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1 hour ago, KateH said:

. I guess it’s a trade-off between a traditional, reliable job (with holidays, a pension and benefits) and running your own gig. 

I run my own gig. I have more holidays then if I work for someone, a very good pension from the company and more benefits then I could ever get being paye. 

 

It has taken me a long time to find a business model that works well for me and make a good profit but in tree work having your own thing is the only way to make real money. 

 

I have yet to see a job advertised that puts you in the 40% tax bracket working for someone else. 

 

It is a good idea to look forward in any career, especially something like tree work that does take a toll on your body so thank you for some very helpful links. 

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Thanks for commenting. I’m really glad you’ve found a model that works for you. I guess at some point I’ll be asking about how you keep good arborists when being your own boss is so appealing. I’m not saying that with any irony. It’s just such an interesting industry and I’m trying to grasp how it works. Cheers, Kate 

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1 hour ago, Mick Dempsey said:

In other words you’re not climbing the ladder, you’re sliding down the snake.

Nice analogy. I guess it depends what you’re after. I’m hoping to hear more opinions. It’s an interesting thread. 

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long time reader first time poster, I agree to an extent with both views.I only contract climb and earn great money wise but how long will it last and how long will I last?  Have considered lumping some money in and getting machinery and trying to get decent staff(hard at the mo), but am from the southern hemisphere so will prob move back there and very scared of that commitment if honest, both moving back and starting a company and starting here. 

 

If I was to make a career and settle here the only way would be to go at it like Mick Dempsey and start up now it will bet tough for a few years and no doubt it is very/will be daunting, appreciate all the info gained over the past couple of years from everyone.

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3 minutes ago, KateH said:

I guess at some point I’ll be asking about how you keep good arborists when being your own boss is so appealing. 

This is a huge problem, yes. It's a big constraint on business.

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3 minutes ago, Dan Maynard said:

This is a huge problem, yes. It's a big constraint on business.

Hi Dan, having been a boss I can say with some certainty that it’s not for everyone. Some people would rather not have the stress, responsibility and all that comes with the - not guaranteed - benefits. To be able to sleep at night and plan based on actuals has its attraction too. Maybe there’s room for some realism here? Thanks for raising the issue. Kate 

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7 hours ago, Dan Maynard said:

This is a huge problem, yes. It's a big constraint on business.

Things have certainly changed in the last few years, a skilled labour shortage means good guys can pick and choose.

 

Firms are now tempting guys with loaders, big chippers and the promise of ‘good work’ (even ‘job and knock’) in advertisements rather than just an opportunity to work.

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Hi Mick, is 'job and knock' being allowed to scout for work local to a comissioned job that has finished for the day and then doing work for cash with the company machinery? I'm just guessing but that is what it sounds like.It sounds risky and complicated 🤔Maybe I'm totally off beam though.

 

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No.

 

Job and knock is going home when you finish the job not working to a set number of hours.

 

In other words you graft hard to finish the day a bit early and then have the rest of the day off.

 

 

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Ah! Thank you for clarifying Rich! I had knock as knocking on doors not knocking off 🙄 I'll be in trouble for thinking the worst now. A shorter working day does sound nice. Hope you have a good long weekend 👍Kate

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13 hours ago, gsl said:

long time reader first time poster, I agree to an extent with both views.I only contract climb and earn great money wise but how long will it last and how long will I last?  Have considered lumping some money in and getting machinery and trying to get decent staff(hard at the mo), but am from the southern hemisphere so will prob move back there and very scared of that commitment if honest, both moving back and starting a company and starting here. 

 

If I was to make a career and settle here the only way would be to go at it like Mick Dempsey and start up now it will bet tough for a few years and no doubt it is very/will be daunting, appreciate all the info gained over the past couple of years from everyone.

Thanks for joining in, that's certainly a big decision. I don't know where in the Southern Hemisphere you mean but chatting to an Arb company in Australia this week I heard that the situation is similar over there. There aren't enough arborists who want to work for other people in traditional employment. I guess there are several possible solutions to this. One would be to work out how to raise pay rates in the industry; my guess is that to do this would be very complicated and need to be lead by employers. Maybe I'm wrong there though. Good luck whatever you decide. Kate

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Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
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