Preparing Your Tree Care Equipment for the Winter Season
For tree care businesses, winter means the end of the busy season and a time to store equipment and tools until the spring thaw. It’s tempting to rush through the organization and storage process to get rolling with your seasonal business plan for the winter months. However, it could cost you later, if tools are damaged in the cold because they were not properly maintained prior to storage.
At Arborgold, we work with tree care companies across North America, and design field-based business software to optimize operations and productivity. One of the ways we help our tree care business clients is by providing access to customizable inventory support.
Working with lawn care and landscaping companies as long as we have, we’ve learned a lot about tree care equipment and the importance of proper maintenance. To help you get your chainsaws and wood chippers ready for storage, we’ve created this guide.
Give Your Tools a Thorough Once Over
No matter how frequently you use your tree care equipment, it’s important to inspect each tool before storage. Small knicks and damaged blades might result in rust and corrosion as the winter months progress. Trying to avoid the expense of repair before storage could lead to costs of equipment replacement after storage. It’s well worth the cost of upkeep to have the equipment serviced before a problem presents itself.
You should also sharpen blades that require sharpening, so axes, saws and pruning shares are ready to use when you need them. Keeping your tools sharp is another way to reduce unnecessary wear in the off-season and will save you time once business picks back up.
To ensure your tools look the same when you take them out of storage, we suggest focusing on all removable and moving components, including:
- Spark Plugs
If you notice damage, the best plan of action is to have the tool repaired, or the damaged component replaced before winter. As spring nears and business resumes, you won’t want to be waiting on missing or broken parts.
Clean Your Tools
Working with trees means dealing with sap, and sap hardens when it dries. Whether your machinery is covered in sticky residue or has hardened sap on the blade, you should thoroughly clean the tool before retiring it for the season.
Cleaning tree care equipment is a tricky business. Blades are sharp, and motorized equipment can be extremely dangerous to handle. Especially when you need to reach the internal opponents. Be sure that all power sources are disconnected, and spark plugs are removed before attempting a cleaning.
After cleaning your tree care equipment, wipe your tools down to dry them and remove any excess liquid. Water is the enemy of chippers and chainsaws, as it will cause corrosion as the moisture freezes and thaws throughout winter depending on the temperatures in your storage facility.
For chain saws and other tools with moving parts, oiling before storage will prevent the equipment from seizing.
Dump or Stabilize Your Fuel
For successful lawn care companies, there can be a lot of residual fuel in chainsaws and other gas and oil-fueled machinery. Before storing these devices, you should clear the lines.
Leaving gas in your tree care tools could result in freezing or clogging of the fuel lines, which might damage your tools.
Fortunately, small amounts of fuel can be drained and disposed of following your local waste management guidelines. If there are large amounts of fuel, however, and you don’t want to waste it, you can add stabilizer to preserve the fuel and prevent oxidation.
Stabilizers often give your fuel shelf life of about 2-years, although most brands likely won’t recommend you leave them that long. For a winter rest before tree care season commences, however, it’s a perfect solution.
Select Appropriate Storage
If you own a tree care business, you probably have storage space for your inventory. If you use a warehouse or garage with internal heating, you are a step ahead. Leaving tools outside, or in small unheated toolsheds could lead to freezing and unfreezing throughout the winter season. This could be detrimental to mechanical components, which might malfunction following the spring thaw.
If you don’t have access to a heated storage space, you can protect your tools with insulation. Much the way your company wraps clients’ shrubs and bushes prior to the winter frost, wrapping tools keep them from experiencing the brunt of the cold snap. You can also buy specialty cases for many mechanical tools to safely store them throughout the off-season.
If you rent a storage space from a third party be sure to keep mechanical tools off the ground in case of flooding, or pests. This is good advice for personal storage spaces as well.
Check Out Arborgold Software and Take Our Tour Today
General business software is adequate for many companies, but field-based businesses like tree care, landscaping, pest control, and snow removal are unique. Your company serves clients by sending employees into the field to plant, maintain, prune, and discard trees and tree products. This means your team isn’t sitting in an office where they can openly communicate, and you can manage their tasks.
Having access to your tree care equipment inventory at the touch of a mobile screen lets you see which machines are in the field and at which job site. You can also maintain products like oil and gas and see when they need to be restocked to maintain consistency. This makes it easier to share your tools between staff members and complete tasks on time.
Field-based businesses are special, and special businesses deserve software with a CRM dashboard, automation process, and customizable apps that work for you.
If you run a field-based business and are interested in learning more about Arborgold and our streamlined approach to tree care business software, we want to hear from you. Discover the difference Arborgold can bring to your field team and take our tour today.