This little guy is the reason Ty Lufkin decided to focus his business on home turf. The remaining photos are taken from various job sites, both local and down south during major storm clean up.

Lufkin Environmental has the equipment, certification and expertise to handle situations from simple tree trimming and removal around your home, to extreme weather emergencies from storms. Regardless of the situation, their customer service is second to none.

By Tara L. Cale

Tyler (Ty) Lufkin and his crew, Lukin Environmental, have made quite a name for themselves in the southern states of the country.  We’re talking about Louisiana, Florida, the Carolina’s and other states that are too often ravaged by severe storms and hurricanes. For the past five years Lufkin has been the main force behind clean up for such storms, providing the best equipment, and best workers, for the job.

The first storm they worked was in Colfax, Louisiana and their work made such an impact, that Ty was asked to manage all 23 crews working the clean up effort. That kind of recommendation gets you noticed. Mobile, Alabama was so impressed that after the storm clean up, Lufkin Environmental was hired to take over tree work throughout the entire county. The same thing happened in Sarasota, Florida.

Why am I telling you this? Because Lufkin Environmental is based in Springfield, and they have changed their perspective, and now want to have the same impact here, focusing on proudly serving their home base of central Illinois. Of course, we don’t have to worry about hurricanes here in Illinois, but there are plenty of tornadoes and severe storms here at home. Lufkin Environmental can handle storm clean up efficiently and effectively, yet they are so much more than storm clean up.

Let me tell you first how I discovered Lufkin Environmental, and then I will give you the back story…

We’ve been needing some tree trimming done at our house for quite some time. We’ve had our trees trimmed a few times in the past, but weren’t too happy with the work, and it seemed a bit high priced. For the past 6-9 months we have been trying to get someone to come and give us a quote on doing the job correctly. Out of about six local companies we contacted, one bothered to show up for a quote, and the price was extravagant… in my opinion. Granted, tree trimming is hard, hot work and we had quite a few very large trees we wanted pruned, and a few we wanted removed completely, plus several stumps that needed removed from past trimmers. So even though I thought the quote was high, that company WAS the only one that showed up to even give us a quote, so I agreed to the price. He told me they were very busy, would get to us in 30-60 days, took my business card and promised to follow up with me. That was over six months ago.  I have never heard from him since.

In the meantime, our trees continued to grow. Many were choking out sun to the yard preventing grass from growing, they were filled with dangling limbs from past storm damage, and unsightly and uneven growth.

Ads for Lufkin Environmental ironically started popping up on my Facebook feed. I ignored them for awhile, because frankly, it looked like a very large company (very nice, professional ads), didn’t say anything about being local, and I assumed the price would be outrageous. But, after more disappointments from those that said they would come to look/quote… and didn’t… I finally clicked on the ad for a free quote. A free quote can’t hurt anything, right?

A few days later I got a response from Ty himself. The first question I asked was “Where is your company located?” When he said Springfield, I inquired further. He was at our house within 24 hours to take a look, had a written quote by the end of the day, with a price half of what the other company had quoted. I agreed to his proposal and his crew was on site just five days later!

Don’t think that I hired Lufkin because the price was cheap (although compared to what we have paid sub-par trimmers in the past, and what the most recent quote we received for this job was, it WAS cheap), although that was surely a bonus. The main reason I hired Lufkin was that by the time Ty and I got done walking our property, with me explaining what I wanted done, and listening to his comments and recommendations, I probably would have paid him double the highest quote we had received… I was that impressed!

Ty first asked what I had in mind for our trees. He explained that I wanted to be too aggressive with some, that removing more than 30% would be detrimental to the life of the tree. Ty showed me how to determine if a tree was healthy, dying, and if one could be saved although it had some problems. He advised me which ones I should remove due to location and health of the tree, which ones I could trim and how much, and which just needed a little shaping to look good. No one had ever provided this type of information to me before. They just asked what I wanted cut, and chopped it off. Or not. Because half of the time they didn’t do what I asked.

That’s just the start of the impressive traits of this local company. I will get to more later. But let me backtrack just a bit, and tell you why Lufkin Environmental, who had a really good thing going with storm clean up down south, is concentrating now on home turf.

Ty Lufkin had no vision of running the type of company that he now so proudly calls his own. He was a banker, flipping houses on the side. His house flipping business often required the services of a tree trimming company. Ty found one he liked, that did a good job at a fair price, and the two men became friends. The owner of the tree company came to Ty one day and asked him to partner with him in the tree industry, explaining that there was good money to be made in the storm clean up arena. But he needed a partner with a little financial backing to get it started. Ty agreed with the vision and agreed to come on board. And the storm clean up gig was indeed good. Even so, for reasons unknown, Ty’s partner bailed on him, leaving him with tens of thousands of dollars of equipment to be paid for.

“I didn’t know trees, at all,” Ty explained. “My forte was managing people, managing the crew, and that’s a big part of this business. So when my partner left me high and dry, I wasn’t sure what I was going to do, but I soldiered through it.”

Ty already had high end equipment, now he needed workers that knew how to use it, with a good work ethic, courteous and professional demeanor, that looked at this as a career, not just a paycheck. Ty was able to hold onto some of the best crew members, and hired more, the best of the best. He paid them above average, and insisted on high standards, working side-by-side with them, learning from their expertise as the company progressed. He also started researching, studying and educating himself, both formally and on his own, to learn all he could about trees and the industry, in an effort to keep this wooden ship from sinking. Lufkin Environmental thrived!

So why did they stop the huge storm clean up jobs in the south? It’s something simple, that everyone can understand. Family.

Ty now has a 6-month old son, Tyson. Many of his crew members have young families or are just starting families. They don’t want to be on the road, far from home, far from their families for days, weeks and months at a time. And Ty discovered that this area is very lacking in quality companies that offer the services provided by Lufkin Environmental – a niche they can fill very efficiently.

“In the ‘tree world’ there are a lot of illegal operators. They hire anyone willing to work for a set pay for a day that don’t really know what they are doing, they have inadequate equipment, and they are not insured. These type of operations give the tree trimming industry a bad name. I wanted to change that, and give the customer more.”

Customer service in the tree industry has always been lacking,” Ty said. “But not with Lufkin. Our crew has credentials, they are paid well, drug tested, courteous and professional with great attitudes. They love what they do and they are happy to be providing our services for you.”

Lufkin Environmental has certified arborists, and crew members that are line (electrical) and skid steer certified as well. All crew members, including Ty, take continuing educational classes annually to stay up to date, and maintain the professional certifications that put them “a cut above” many other tree trimmers.

Still thinking this sounds like an “expensive” company? I already told you that their price was almost half any other quote I had received, but more importantly, Lufkin showed up, and followed through.

Ty explained it further by saying, “Most homeowners will only see us bring a bucket truck, chip truck and skid steer. We make your job site the most cost effective it can be for what you need done. But, we do have specialized equipment if it’s needed.”

“We won’t be the cheapest, and we won’t be the most expensive quote you get,” he continued. “We usually come in the lower to middle range. But you won’t find a more qualified crew, a more professional crew, or a bigger bang for your buck.”

In addition to being 100% recommended by Home Advisor, check out some of the impressive local customer reviews they have received:

“Top notch folks to work with. Have dealt with them several times on major projects and not one issue with any aspect of work with them.”

“Absolutely recommend this company! Ty is very quick and responsive which is always appreciated. As a contractor myself, having a company doing the quality work that I set my OWN standards to, is top notch. Will definitely continue to work with Lufkin on all projects within this company’s wheelhouse!”

“We ourselves are a fully insured and well-equipped land clearing and excavating company. We hired Lufkin Environmental to take care of the overhead trees that we couldn’t quite handle. Ty & Lufkin employees are sure to impress. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone!”

“I had three huge maple trees dangerously close to my home. From the first call to Tyler, I was confident they were top notch.  After accepting the proposal, his crew was on time, and very professional. Chad and Scott made me feel very comfortable when they showed up, and I watched them work, as most homeowners would. This crew amazed me with their accuracy of downing these large maples so close to our home! The job was completed as scheduled and so professional that I will recommend them to all of my contacts. Lufkin went out of their way to ensure that we were happy with every detail, which puts them the highest on a slim list of professional companies that doesn’t just look at the bottom line, but what their customer really wants, and needs. Thank you Tyler, and your crew, for being customer relative!”

If you are in need of tree pruning or trimming, tree removal, bracing/cabling, stump grinding, land clearing or storm clean up, there is only one logical company to call – Lufkin Environmental. Estimates are provided within 24 hours after response to your call/message, and your job will start within one week from acceptance of the quote (Mother Nature willing!). That is because Lufkin has multiple crews, many doing commercial line work (which is not time sensitive), so crew members can be pulled from the lines for residential jobs if needed.

A quick tip from Ty: “Never accept a quote with a price range. Get a solid quote, in writing, before anyone starts your job. True professionals in this industry can provide an accurate quote, and honor that quote.”

Lufkin Environmental covers the entire Buzz readership area. Their website is undergoing some updates right now, so in the meantime, if are interested in more information, find them on Facebook, or call/text for a free estimate at 217-750-2195. I assure you that you will not be disappointed!