Distinctive Tree Care
Dtc 1 64ece4e0f0754

Fleet star of social media show

Dec. 18, 2023
Distinctive Tree Care showcases its fleet in action to drive success.

Putting your best foot forward is always a sound approach, and it’s not a lesson that has been lost on Jason Yerke. For the president of South Windsor, Connecticut-based Distinctive Tree Care, showcasing the business he built and building a community around it has become a means of helping drive growth.

“Using social media to attract attention has given us the ability to create an audience of potential customers who now know who Distinctive Tree Care is and what we do,” Yerke said. “We have over 51,000 followers and 1.4 million likes on TikTok. We've garnered so much exposure that there have been multiple occasions where we're driving down the road and people start honking at us.”

Taking center stage in Distinctive Tree Care’s social media postings is the fleet that the tree service company puts to use every day. In the operation today are four Kenworth T880s used to haul logs from job sites, a triaxle T880 dump truck, and eight Freightliners fitted with Terex buckets.

See also:  Freightliner eM2 production begins

The T880s at Distinctive Tree Care are supplied by Kenworth Northeast in Brockton, Massachusetts, and are outfitted with 50-yard Brandon debris bodies and Rotobec grapple log loaders from Barry Equipment, a construction equipment supplier in Webster, Massachusetts. The company’s bucket trucks are supplied by Custom Truck One Source, which sources chassis and outfits them with customized service bodies and aerial units.

Distinctive Tree Care also fields specialized equipment. To efficiently remove dead and dying trees from highways and parks, for example, the company has eight Sennebogen self-propelled tree care handlers fitted with telescopic booms, grapples, and 32-inch harvester saws. With the machine, a large tree can be taken down in four cuts, and up to 200 trees can be cleared in a day.

Once trees have been felled and cut into smaller pieces, the next step is to transport the logs and debris for processing or repurposing. “That requires a heavy-duty truck that is designed and specified for hauling large loads, often reaching their maximum GVW of 80,000 lb.,” Yerke said. “The trucks also have to be reliable and durable because they work every day, so we look for dependable equipment that’s essentially purpose-built for our needs.”

To handle heavy payloads, the T880s at Distinctive Tree Care are equipped with a wide track front axle rated at 22,800 lb., dual Meritor RT46-160P rear axles rated at 46,000 lb., and a Chalmers 800 Series walking beam-style rear suspension. Under the hood are 565-horsepower engines with up to 2,050 lb.-ft. of peak torque. Specs also call for seven-speed automatic transmissions to enhance drivability.

Safety is also a concern for Yerke, who is quick to point out the inherent dangers of tree work. “Our drivers need maximum visibility when working on roads and job sites with ground obstacles,” he said. “What we’ve found is that the panoramic one-piece windshield in the T880 provides a superior forward view of surroundings. Additionally, with the debris box hindering the driver's view, aerodynamic side mirrors that are cowl-mounted at a lower and more forward position help optimize rearward visibility.”

“We also go all out to ensure that our trucks are equipped with every bell and whistle possible, which helps with driver retention,” Yerke related. “Our drivers take great pride in the trucks they are assigned to, treating them as if they were their own. We even go so far as to put their names on the doors.”

Yerke, who started Distinctive Tree Care in 1997, seven years before he could even afford to buy a new truck, began with whatever equipment he could afford. Since 2004, the company has experienced remarkable growth, expanding from 20 to 60 employees, and securing contracts worth nearly $20 million annually.

According to Yerke, that success can be attributed to a fleet that is always ready for prime time. “Our equipment tells people that we mean business,” he said. “Making our trucks the stars of the show and showing them in action gets their attention, but the videos are more than just entertainment. The type of equipment you operate impacts every aspect of business in the tree-care industry, and with our fleet we’re good to go and ready to make money.”

About the Author

Seth Skydel

Seth Skydel, a veteran industry editor, has more than 36 years of experience at fleet management, trucking, and transportation and logistics publications. Today, in editorial and marketing roles, he writes about fleet, service and transportation management, vehicle and information technology, and industry trends and issues. 

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of FleetOwner, create an account today!

Sponsored Recommendations

Leveraging telematics to get the most from insurance

Fleet owners are quickly adopting telematics as part of their risk mitigation strategy. Here’s why.

Reliable EV Charging Solution for Last-Mile Delivery Fleets

Selecting the right EV charging infrastructure and the right partner to best solve your needs are critical. Learn which solution PepsiCo is choosing to power their fleet and help...

Overcoming Common Roadblocks Associated with Fleet Electrification at Scale

Fleets in the United States, are increasingly transitioning from internal combustion engine vehicles to electric vehicles. While this shift presents challenges, there are strategies...

Report: The 2024 State of Heavy-Duty Repair

From capitalizing on the latest revenue trends to implementing strategic financial planning—this report serves as a roadmap for navigating the challenges and opportunities of ...