Small Business Showcase: Godspeed Tree Service, Inc.
We connected with Oakmont Capital Services’ customer, Bobby Gates of Godspeed Tree Service, Inc, for a Q&A to learn about his thriving tree care business based out of Winston-Salem, North Carolina. He gave us an exclusive interview where we discussed the history behind his tree-care and property improvement business and his experience working with Oakmont Capital Services’ finance professional and CLFP, Tatum Noreen.
“The two words that come to mind when working with Bobby are humble and grateful. I’ll never forget when I was able to give him the approval on the grapple saw truck and he said, ‘This is going to change my life.’ That statement alone gave me goosebumps and is what makes my job so rewarding.”
–Tatum Noreen, CLFP and Account Manager with Oakmont Capital Services
Q&A with Bobby Gates, Owner
Q: Bobby, how long have you been in business? How many employees do you currently have?
A: I’ve been in business for about 26 years. It started with just me and now I have 10 employees.
Q: How did you get started in your industry? Why did you decide to form your own company?
A: I love the reward of seeing a huge challenge, looking directly at it, and working to successfully accomplish the task. Getting paid for a diligent job done (and working on trees) was personally and financially rewarding, challenging, and helpful to my customers.
Q: What’s unique about the services you offer? Are there specific products or services you can mention? If so, what value do they bring to your customers?
A: We love solving people’s problems by bringing the right tools and skills to do a good job. I think these three pieces of equipment bring a lot of value because they allow us to do our job well: a tree mek (a.k.a. mechanized tree removal system), a spider lift, and Avant loaders.
Q: How have you been able to differentiate yourself in such a competitive industry? Is there something special about your company culture or your team that you can share?
A: I started Godspeed Tree Service, Inc by myself with absolutely nothing. This is no small feat, but I did this by telling customers I would do something and then I’d do it (there are others in the industry who don’t necessarily do this.) Buying the proper equipment, learning the right skills, and trusting in God to provide all my needs has kept me marching forward, so here I am. Our team mottos are always do what you say and believe all things are possible.
Q: What are your company goals? How has your business grown over the years? What can you attribute that growth to?
A: By the end of 2024, I want to have 4 to 6 three-man crews. Over the past 26 years, I’ve personally done most of the tree care work by hand only using a bucket truck, a woodchipper, and a skid steer. Six years ago, I went to the Tree Care Industry Association (or TCIA) Expo and saw lots of “dream come true” equipment. It got me thinking: how in the world could a small guy like me have the opportunity to own equipment like that?
Q: How did you find out about OCS and our services? How has working with a financing partner like OCS helped your business grow?
A: I found out about y’all from Atlantic Coast Toyota Lift after you financed an Avant Loader at 0% interest. I never thought in a million years I would have been able to purchase a spider lift and a remote-control tree-mek. I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for Tatum Noreen (my Account Manager) and OCS. Y’all have financed equipment that helps me do my jobs each and every day in a safe and efficient manner. Now, I can work on opportunities I wouldn’t have been able to work on before (I can take down trees that would be almost impossible to remove without this type of equipment!).
Q: What was it like working with your OCS contact/business development officer (salesperson)?
A: Working with Tatum Noreen, CLFP and Account Manager was awesome. When I called and asked a direct question like, “what would a small guy like me have to do to be able to afford a remote-control chainsaw?” Tatum’s answer would be, “let me look over your financial records and get it to the underwriters – we’ll let you know.” After a lot of worrying and wondering if my business credit was good enough, Tatum called and shared the good news – I was approved!
Interviewer: We turned the tables and asked Tatum what it was like working with you, Bobby – here’s what she told us…
Tatum Noreen: Two words that come to mind when working with Bobby are humble and grateful. I’ll never forget when I was able to give him the approval on the grapple saw truck and he said, “this is going to change my life”. That statement alone gave me goosebumps and is what makes my job so rewarding. Bobby also thanked us for the approval, and I had to quickly remind him that it was HIS hard work, dedication, and solid credit that allowed us to do so. I was so thankful he gave us the opportunity! Serving small businesses in the tree care industry is so fun because of the different equipment available and the way it creates efficiencies, opportunities, and safety for customers. Of course, customers like Bobby are also what makes my job so enjoyable. They give me the motivation to give my best each day.
Q: What piece of advice can you give another business owner right now?
A: I’m a first-generation tree service provider. I started Godspeed on my own when I was 22 (and full-time). I’ve learned a lot of hard lessons during my journey. One lesson, in particular, relates to equipment financing. Small business owners: if you’re thinking about taking out an equipment loan, do the math first. For example, most months I plan on working 20 days a month. I take the cost of the monthly payment for the equipment (let’s say it’s $1000 a month) and divide that payment by the 20 days, which would be $50 a day. I need to make $50 a day over those 20 days to pay for that piece of equipment. The best part? In the end, I own it outright! I justify a lot of my decisions based on that simple math equation. After purchasing equipment and working with Oakmont Capital Services, I’ve personally seen the benefits of having the right tools to do the job without needing to rent them or somehow get them from someone else. It’s definitely worth it.
Q: What’s your website url or social media information so our readers can learn more or contact you?
Oakmont Capital Services (OCS), founded in 1998, is a direct lender providing commercial equipment financing and working capital loans throughout all 50 United States. Our seasoned finance professionals work across many industry verticals, helping customers secure funding quickly and easily via a streamlined, virtual process. Our rates and terms are affordable, making OCS a reputable solution for equipment financing. The professional financing staff at Oakmont is the reliable choice for today’s financing needs. For more information, visit www.oakmontfinance.com.