Bryce DeLay began Sawtooth Services, a tree trimming and removal service in Nampa, Idaho, in June 2018. The small team at Sawtooth serves the Boise area, specializing in hazardous tree removal. To save on costs and make the work more efficient, they fabricate their own equipment while they pick up state and federal contracts throughout the State of Idaho.
Bryce and his team have been heralded by their customers for their kind attitude and thorough work whenever they’re called in to clean up after a storm or other incident. Bryce and Sawtooth Services are the third-place winner of Nav’s Business Grant, and took the time to answer some questions for us.
How many employees does your business have?
There is one guy working for me who started as a high school intern. He’s interested in forestry and has an awesome work ethic. He’s been a huge help this year.
What do you enjoy about owning your own business?
I enjoy autonomy and I’m not afraid to experiment with new ideas. I love working with diverse customers and providing a needed service related to nature and aesthetics. I love the autonomy and not being confined to one role. The autonomy makes up for the small pitfalls.
What are some of the challenges in running your business?
The brunt is on your shoulders if an employee doesn’t show up or if something goes wrong. We’re facing issues providing work year-round. Most people I hire are young and free of liabilities so that helps. They also enjoy the break. Injury rates are high in this line of work. Despite the risk, I have not thought of quitting yet.
What is the small business community like in your area? Did any local help getting started?
The community is excited and active. My father and Erik Scott from Boulder Creek Landscaping were a tremendous help getting me up and going. There are too many people to name, though, you must learn from everyone.
What advice would you share with an aspiring entrepreneur?
You can do it. Get out there. The smartest thing was moving past the fear of failing.
Where did you get the money to start your business?
I saved money meticulously and didn’t purchase more than I could handle.
Did you have to borrow money at any time?
I borrowed to purchase some equipment and paid it off within four months. I only borrowed because I had the momentum to pay off the debt. A credit card comes in handy if you need to make a purchase you can pay off within a short period of time. The business is at a point where we could benefit from credit and I’m glad Nav offers the necessary connections. (Editor’s Note: MatchFactor users were 4X more likely to get approved for a business credit card. Sign up for a free Nav account to see your MatchFactor scores.)
What cash flow issues does your business face?
Our cash flow may vary depending on the types of work we perform. I have not run into problems yet.
What do you plan to do with the Nav grant money?
The grant Nav offers will be used to construct a truck we sorely need. We lack the funds to upgrade our equipment. This grant is greatly appreciated.
How was your experience applying for the Nav grant?
The staff are incredibly friendly and inquisitive. At this time in our development, the grant they offered was very useful. It motivated me to upload more information about ourselves and the services we provide.
The next round of Nav’s grant opens Monday, Feb. 24. Bookmark the Nav Business Grant page for updates on deadlines and when you can apply!