Proffitts go ?out on a limb? to acquire tree service

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JULIE ANDERSON
Since taking over operation of Bowers Tree Service April 25, Scott and

Jennifer Proffitt of Hillsboro plan to make Proffitt?s Tree
Service a

full-time business.



?We had been looking for something for us for self-employment,
either

part-time or full-time, for a year now,? Scott said.



They investigated everything they heard about, but nothing seemed
to

fit until they found the tree service.



?(The other businesses) weren?t something I could do or she could
do,?

Scott said. ?It was more like we had to put in several years of

training before we could actually run the business. But this is

something I?ve done off and on my whole life, but never for hire.?



Scott had been working with Gene Bowers for a little while before

purchasing the business.



The Proffitts plan several changes for the business.



?We want to expand,? Jennifer said. ?We are looking to do this
full

time. Gene only wanted to do it part time.?



Scott said Bowers worked 20 to 30 hours a week and never did
contract

work.



?I?ve been taking on anything,? Scott said. ?Everything people
have

called about, I have tried to get to. I have been real busy and
there

is more business coming in.?



He said two to four jobs will fill up a day.



With all the work, customers have about a one- to two-week waiting

period. This will change with the summer help starting soon, the

Proffitts say.



Scott has hired a college student and teacher to help him over the

summer.



?Once we have two more people, it will go a lot faster,? Jennifer

said. ?We will get to people a lot faster.?



The Proffitts may be looking for full-time employees.



?If any of this contract work takes off, I will be looking for one
or

two full-time employees and possibly buying some more trucks,?
Scott

said.



He would like to have a few employees so he could still work with
the

railroad and manage the tree service between trips.



Expansion will be slow, though, because he has to train new
employees.



Scott said it was not a difficult job, but workers have to know
what

is safe for the trees, especially when pruning.



Currently, the Proffitts are doing all of the work themselves.



Scott does most of the work on the trees while Jennifer does the

office filing, bookkeeping and check writing. She occasionally
helps

the ground crew.



The Proffitts offer several services, including tree removal,

trimming, stump removal, pruning, iron treatments for oak trees
and

cabling to hold a tree together.



?We do a lot of little things, too, like cleaning up dead wood,?

Jennifer said.



To keep up with the work, Scott wants to purchase additional
trucks.

They have a bucket truck, chipper truck, a stump remover and pull

saws.



In order to keep enough work for employees year round, Scott has
sent

letters to all of the surrounding small towns, as well as Flint
Hills

Rural Electric, letting them know about his service.



?I can remove during the winter, but no one thinks about it until
they

see the leaves come out on their trees in the spring and they?re

working on their yard,? Scott said.



He said he would rather prune and remove in the winter, when it is

cooler.



They have not gotten into spraying yet because they do not have
enough

time.



Spraying also requires a license to use many of the chemicals.



Scott said someday he may pursue that.



The Proffitts moved to Hillsboro seven months ago when the
railroad

Scott worked for out of Pratt closed and he began working out of

Herington.



?We looked around everywhere, from Abilene to Marion to Council
Grove,

and we just liked Hillsboro,? Scott said. ?The school system
brought

us here, plus the town is trying to grow.?



They have three children: Tyler, 5; Tara, 3; and Paige, 1.



Since moving to Hillsboro, the Proffitts have enjoyed getting
involved

in the community.



Jennifer helps with Mothers of Preschoolers and will be the
director

next year for the morning session. She also is helping with
vacation

Bible school at Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church.



They enjoy being outside and like to have their neighbors over for

cookouts.



?We didn?t have to try to meet too many people,? Scot

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