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It's My Job: 28-year-old enjoys business of trimming, removing trees

Bear Bowles of Bear's Tree Service grinds out a large ash tree stump in West Fargo. The 28-year-old started his business during his freshman year of college. David Samson / The Forum

FARGO - If you know a joke about "Fargo" and wood chippers, Bear Bowles has probably heard it.

Bowles, the 28-year-old owner of Bear's Tree Service of Fargo, recently talked about being a young entrepreneur and how he got into the business of tree trimming and removal.

Q. How did you get into the business?

During my freshman year of college I decided to buy a stump grinder and try it out. I really liked doing the stumps a lot, and I eventually bought enough equipment where I can pretty much tackle any tree job. ... I just wanted to start my own business and do something where I could travel and didn't have to be tied down to one spot.

Do you haul the trees and branches away for customers?

I haul the trees all the way out. I keep a lot of the ash firewood and sell it in the wintertime to people around Fargo. It works out pretty well. Instead of just throwing the tree, I split it up, and it makes really good firewood. ... I hate to take down trees steadily, but a lot of the time we're trimming trees and caring for them. Getting the dead wood out of there helps the trees grow and makes it nicer. Also, sometimes trees are just a danger. They might be cracked or leaning toward somebody's house. Then they have to go.

Is your work seasonal?

I usually start working in early April and work as long as I can through October and into November. This year the weather was so nice that I had the best March ever. I've had a great, long season this year.

Do you give quotes?

Yes, but I don't really give estimates over the phone. I really have to go there and look at the tree and see what I'm up against. I need to see the access to it. I need to see if we can get any equipment to it or if it will have to be climbed. ... We can't always get a bucket truck into somebody's yard. Sometimes it's because of fences and sometimes it's because people just don't want a truck on their yard. Every situation is different.

What are some of the challenges of your job?

Breakdowns are a challenge. Weather can be a drag sometimes, too. If it's too windy we can't do much. If it's really wet we can't really do much either because the trees are too slippery.

What do you like best about what you do?

I enjoy working outdoors and meeting different people. There are so many nice people around, and it's fun to work for them. I enjoy doing what I do.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Angie Wieck at (701) 241-5501