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Business owner switches from tech to trees | businessnews

When Bainbridge native Erik Sifuentes wanted a career change, he went out on a limb.

The 39-year-old Oxford resident left life in the tech business to launch Erik’s Tree Services in 2021.

“I worked in computers in the corporate world for a long time, and I still dabble in it, but what I really enjoy is the complexity and problem-solving and the science and nature of trees,” he said.

“This gets me outside the corporate world, keeps me outside and physically fit, there’s a passion for it and (my three-person crew and I) all work together and understand how the trees work and what to do with trees. It’s just that longing to be outdoors and helping people out, that’s what brought me to it.”

Though new to business ownership, Sifuentes said, his interests took root years ago.

“I’ve been using saws and chainsaws privately and doing some jobs for the past 13 years,” he said. “Then, maybe five years ago, I started climbing and cutting. I got really interested in the whole aspect of being in a tree while cutting and what needs to happen, which is totally different from being on the ground.

“From there, I did small jobs (from) word-of-mouth by myself or with a friend,” Sifuentes continued. “I did some contract climbing and there was nothing concrete, but I loved doing it. I was still working full time in the corporate world, then about three years ago I really started transitioning out, and last year, I opened up my own business here.”

Sifuentes said services include tree removal, pruning and trimming, storm cleanup, cabling and bracing and risk assessment, with jobs including commercial and residential sites.

Since launching, he said, the customer base has been branching out.

“We work in Binghamton, Unadilla, Morris, Oneonta, Norwich, Sherburne and New Berlin, so we’ve got a large radius of where we go,” Sifuentes said. “We go pretty much within an hour’s drive to an hour and a half.

“I would say we’ve had a fairly positive response,” he continued. “I always try to communicate (with customers) and everybody’s been great and they love our services. and we don’t just cut trees down; we don’t tell our customers ‘You want to cut this down’ just to make some money. We often talk our customers out of cutting them down if they’re healthy trees and work with customers on how to make the trees safe.”

Sifuentes said he hopes to keep cultivating his passion.

“I’m a closet nerd and a bookworm, and a lot of these concepts and fundamentals of rigging techniques and the mechanics behind how to use arborist blocks and ropes and the forces behind it, you read about it and put it into practice,” he said. “The pulleys and all that stuff, I built using basic knowledge and building blocks; I’m all self-taught and never had any mentors or anything, you just do it. It’s really about understanding and just learning the body language of trees — the physics and the language, because every tree has body language.”

Sifuentes said, as the business grows, he plans to maintain the high-quality service for which he’s become known.

“My crew is great and just keeping those guys happy and satisfied is as important as keeping the customers happy,” he said. “It’s sustaining and maintaining; it’s not taking on so much work that we can’t keep the customer happy, but taking on the right amount to maintain our business. That’s the tough balance. We don’t plan on becoming a large entity at this point. I like having the small shop where, if you talk to me and I come see your tree and tell you what you need, I come out the next day and work on it, not somebody else.”

For more information or to schedule a quote, visit etstreecare.com or call 607-226-8444.

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