Local tree service adapts to skilled labor shortage with technology

Okla. (KOKI) — With workforce shortages, some businesses say they’re having to evolve and adapt to meet daily demands.

Todd Rickert, owner of Rickert Landscaping and Tree Service, says it’s become a challenge to not just find workers but also skilled workers. He said the tree removal process requires specialty jobs where people need to have a proper driving record and the right capabilities to do the task safely. Rickert said, “It’s not like colleges are putting out a hundred new tree climbers every year.” He added, “It’s more of an apprenticeship type thing where we train or have other employees that work for other industries and cross over.”

Rickert said there’s becoming less and less of these skilled workers. He said the pay is not the issue and said workers can make about $50 an hour while doing storm work on the weekends. Rickert believes it may just be a lack of interest in the job. He added, “It doesn’t matter how much we offer to pay. We may not attract new workers.”

In order to make for the loss, Rickert says the business recently made a large investment that cuts down the number of people needed on a job and allows them to cut and remove a tree by simply using a remote control. Instead of needing four people for one job, Rickert says they can get the same job done with just two, and in less time. He said the truck makes their projects more efficient and safer for their employees. He said the truck is the first of its kind in Tulsa.

Rickert said even with the technology, they are still in need of people. He added, “a lot of our employees have been with us for five years or more, so it’s not like we have a high turnover, it’s just attracting new skilled workers is the challenge.”

For more information, you can visit the business’s website at FixMyTree.com.