To All Authorized Members,
The first quarter (Q1) of 2023 certainly started off with a bang for HMI and the members of our network. As you may recall from my year-end 2022 recap, HMI’s Authorized Members (AMs) sold 50% more work last year than they did the year before. Well, in Q1 2023, HMI received 40% more emergency tree removal claim assignments from our clients than we did in Q1 last year, and the network was able to generate almost 50% more sales from the assignments we received…so, the trend continues. Truly extraordinary! Aside from the continuing growth of our tree removal service, there has been a lot going on at HMI as you will find in my summary below.
During Q1, HMI supported five separate deployments in Florida, Texas, and California to provide our clients with professional tree care services on both residential and commercial properties. Wintertime deployments are especially valuable to members of our network that are located in areas of the country where work typically slows. And, while wintertime deployment opportunities used to be a rarity for HMI, I am happy to report that demand for our services required winter deployments in each of the last six seasons. As HMI’s customer service team (and many of you) can attest, there really is no “off-season” for us anymore.
To help drive even more work to our members, HMI has been working to on-board three new programs. Two of the programs are designed to expand and optimize HMI’s relationship with carriers that are each ranked inside the top 10 in the country. HMI has worked with both carriers in the past, but in a limited way. The third program is with one of the country’s leading restoration companies. Their offices are in need of professional tree care services when assigned claims that involve tree damage. This program reflects HMI’s most aggressive pursuit of tree removal claim assignments that bypass our traditional channels and end up with a general contractor. If successful, this may represent one of the most valuable programs that HMI has established. These programs should come on-line in late Q2 or Q3.
As you all know, HMI developed its Tree Removal Cost Guide to inform our clients about the range of costs they should expect to pay for storm work completed by professional tree care companies in our network. HMI surveys our network members regularly to make certain that the guide is reflective of accurate costs. Recently, Gretchen Piechottka sent a survey to each company in our network asking about current labor and equipment costs, and if any adjustments to the Guide are warranted. I want to thank everyone who responded to the survey or spoke with us directly about pricing pressures being felt around the country. We hope to have our guidelines updated by the end of this month and a new Guide will be distributed to everyone. Please contact Gretchen Piechottka if you don’t receive an updated Guide by mid-June.
HMI has continued investing heavily to promote our commercial contract services business which has resulted in multiple jobs for members of our network on golf courses, resort properties, municipalities, campgrounds, school campuses and even ski resorts. While many opportunities come to HMI through an insurance claim, increasingly we are generating leads for non-claim work as well, such as landscape enhancements, plant healthcare, and hazard assessments. This month, HMI exhibited at a large community managers show in Dallas to promote the use of our network to support a broad range of services, including tree care, landscaping, storm preparedness and response, and more.
On behalf of everyone at HMI, I want to thank all of our network members for the outstanding responsiveness and professionalism demonstrated during a record-setting start to 2023. Together we have established HMI as a high quality, consistent and reliable partner for insurance carriers and their clients. It is clear that the standards we have collectively set for the services we provide are what our clients need and deserve. There is no doubt in my mind that 2023 will be another year of strong growth as more and more carriers realize that there is a way to protect their clients from poor workmanship and questionable ethics, which are unfortunate realities faced by too many homeowners in the aftermath of a storm. I am proud to be associated with the best in the business.
Finally, please join me in congratulating Doug Malawsky on becoming a Certified Risk Manager (CRM). HMI is often asked for guidance on strategies to mitigate risks through services or proper insurance coverage. As a CRM, Doug is now able to formalize the role he, and HMI, are able to play in risk mitigation services, many of which will require assistance from our network… together we grow!
Thank you all. Stay safe!
President, Horticultural Asset Management, Inc.