• On January 1, 2020, the "tree branch" of the company Tarzan Boomspecialisten officially became a general partnership, with Frans and Christiaan now being the two proud co-owners. Tarzan Boomspecialisten VoF is now our full name!
• Two of our Tarzans began 2020 on sick leave. Fortunately, Annemiek recovered nicely during the year, but Diederik was unable to work for us at all. Sadly, had to leave us. Because of his issues, he needed to start an alternative career. To this end, he started the HBO study ‘Social Pedagogical Care Provider’ last October. We miss Diederik in the workplace, but we think he will become a valuable addition to the social sector. And we wish him the best of luck!
• Of course, we also had to deal with the influence of Covid19. Because we always work outside in a small team, we were able to continue our work with minimal additional measures. Extra sick leave now needs to be given to anyone with mild flu or common cold symptoms who would, under normal conditions, just continue working.
• Despite a slight dip financially, we’re not too worried about the future, although in these strange times there are general uncertainties.
Having two captains on one ship requires good cooperation and we certainly succeeded this last year, satisfactorily overcoming all the challenges that presented themselves to us. Testimony to the experiences of Frans and Christiaan:
Frans: “I think it's a fine asset being able to discuss business matters with an equal partner and to take decisions together. It was also a bonus that several things, which I used to "do myself", have now been taken over by Christiaan. It feels like a kind of marriage: at first, I had to take care of the children alone, our Tarzans, and now I have a partner who assists me with it all.”
Christiaan: “My first year as an independent entrepreneur was certainly a good experience. To a large extent, my activities have hardly changed. I am now more involved in the decision-making process, and I keep a closer eye on the financial picture. I’m happy with this quiet start as things are becoming more challenging in my private life, what with a baby and a puppy. It’s rather a lot of headaches to deal with in just one year, but I still feel good about it all. There are certainly ups and downs, but it is nice that you’re not in business alone (or in private life!).”
Name - Sietse Bakker. Age - 34 years. Raised - in Purmerend. Lives - since his student days in Amsterdam. Loves- crazy about moving, and preferably with a ball. "From a young age, I have been an enthusiastic footballer."
Sietse: “After studying Communication Sciences at the University of Amsterdam, I made several professional meanderings. From the ABN AMRO head office on the Zuidas in Amsterdam to an IT start-up. Then behind the bar in a restaurant and a nightclub and from there, on to corporate events. But it was time for a new challenge.
Working outside in, and with, nature seemed in some way positive to me. Being physically active is also satisfying. Tarzan then came my way and it all gelled, not to mention the fantastic team I now work with. The trees and the climbing generate good energy and enthusiasm. I’m so happy and look forward to expanding my knowledge and skills in tree care.”
Last summer Tarzan was approached by the Hortus Botanicus in Amsterdam. They had commissioned a tree safety inspection and a survey, which was carried out by a colleague company. The conclusion was that deadwood needed to be pruned from twenty trees and a Ginkgo Biloba removed. It was up to Hortus to find a suitable partner to do the work. For this, they were advised by a few well-known names within the tree community of Amsterdam. Thanks to our fame, the name of Tarzan Tree Specialists was soon being mentioned, and that in turn lead to a fantastic commission for us.
After the initial contact, we agreed that Christiaan would go to the Hortus to see precisely what the work involved. Our contact, Reinout (head of the garden and the collection) met Christiaan at the entrance and promptly took him on a full tour of the garden. It was a pleasant conversation. Reinout and Christiaan were able to tell each other much about the trees they passed. Among other things, they discussed how they could make some trees feel more comfortable. By moving paths, for example, so that visitors can no longer stand on their root base. And it was discussed whether or not it’s a bad thing if a supported tree fuses with its support.
After the conversation, they drunk a cup of tea at the orangery and tried to agree on a set price for the whole job. For us as arborists, pruning such tree collections is a great opportunity. Christiaan did his best to come to a good agreement, and it worked! An appointment was immediately made to schedule the work. A month later, at nine o’clock in the morning we were waiting at the rear entrance to the Hortus, that is, two climbers, Kaj and Christiaan, and a good ground woman, Annemiek. It was going to be a tough day. We had to clear about twenty trees of deadwood, of which four, the pin oak, king nut, hazel tree and sycamore would take the most time due to their mature size. During the work, we carried out a crown check and examined whether any growth defects were present that could eventually endanger visitors, for example - broken branches or weak spots in the branches or trunk. We eventually discovered a cavity in the plane tree which we later secured with crown anchors. And in the king's nut, we found evidence of storm damage that was simply not visible during inspections performed at ground level.
We pruned a whole day in this exceptional tree collection and succeeded in giving all trees the proper care and attention. We thought it was a pleasant form of cooperation and we hope that we will be asked to return in the future to help keep these trees safe and healthy for the Hortus Botanicus and its many visitors.
Tarzan and the Nature Conservation Act. Many people think that trees or shrubs can’t be pruned or cleared during the breeding season between March 15 and July 15. Fortunately, that is not the case, otherwise, it would not be possible for us to work in the great outdoors during this period. The new Nature Conservation Act (in force since 1 January 2017) presents us with a solution in the form of a code of conduct.
Flora and fauna are present all year round (not just in the breeding season) and must therefore be protected all year round. We do this by working with a code of conduct that has been established by municipal, provincial and national bodies. For example, due to our many activities in Amsterdam, we often use the code of conduct of the municipality of Amsterdam. Outside the city, we regularly use the Stadswerk code of conduct. These codes of conduct contain tools that we, as a company, can apply and so prevent unnecessary damage to flora and fauna.
As arborists, we check for the presence of protected flora and fauna before commencing any of our jobs. We have a checklist. If no protected flora or fauna is present we can carry on withour activities, even during the breeding season. If we come across something during our activities (despite our prior check), we then try to limit any possible damage. Sometimes we can continue with the job, albeit in a different way, and sometimes we have to stop the work "until the bird has flown".
Let's focus on fauna (animals) right now. Everything that can physically move falls under this term. What we as arborists mostly deal with are birds. According to the Nature Conservation Act, all birds are protected, including the city pigeon, crow, and magpie. Sometimes there are exceptions. Let's just stick to the most common exception the urban pigeon.
|The following is prohibited according to the EU Birds Directive:||EU Birds Directive|
|Killing and trapping||3.1.1|
|Damage, destroy or remove the breeding and resting place||3.1.2|
|Damaging, collecting or, possessing eggs||3.1.3|
|Disturbing protected species||3.1.4|
|Disturbing a species that is not endangered||3.1.5|
A general obligation of care applies. That is what the last line in blue in this table is about. The city pigeon is one of the most common birds in our country. If we disturb this city pigeon, its species (the city pigeon) is not endangered. So by law, we are allowed to disturb this city pigeon. But ... suppose this city pigeon is breeding in a tree, and we have noticed this but still want to prune the tree. We will then prepare a plan to prevent and limit all the points mentioned from 3.1.1 through to 3.1.4). We then apply the relevant code(s) of conduct for that specific location. And with that plan in place, we’re allowed to carry out our pruning work. So in some cases, a tree can even be pruned during the breeding season with a breeding city pigeon in it, if it is really necessary.
We often work in locations without a rear entrance (such as enclosed gardens) where we later have to carry (pruning) waste through a house. We often used large blue plastic bins for this. That worked pretty well, but those bins also had disadvantages.
Last year we had a bright idea! - I’m sure you’re familiar with those large bags, the so-called "Big Bags", with sturdy handles and usually filled with a cubic meter of sand or similar. These bags can be folded, take up little space, are very strong, and have a large capacity. Unfolded and filled, they are far too heavy and cumbersome to carry through a house.
What now, we thought, if we take the idea of such a bag but reduce its capacity by 90%? The result turned out to be a fantastically useful product. Not only for our work but also at home, for example, as a paper, firewood, (dirty) laundry, shopping and, refuse bag. We would also like our customers to be able to enjoy this fantastically handy item.
That’s why we’ve had a thousand of these bags specially made for us and they proudly display the Tarzan logo. We’re quite happy to give these bags away to any customer who needs one, they come complete with a description of all the other fantastic things you can do with them, such as beanbag, lampshade, baby and cat bag.
Don't you have one yet? Just ask!
• Chris became the father of a little Tarzan, named Hugo!
• Frank and Kaj both passed their European Tree Worker Exam in one go.
• On 12 July 2020 in Het Parool, an article about our work featured a full-page photo of Kaj and Christiaan pruning the crown of a chestnut tree.
• Kaj used to work in the hospitality industry.
His nickname there was "Swedish Porn Star".
• Annemiek and Frans climbed trees very early with a rope! (They were 10 and 4 years old when they tied themselves together with their brother and sister to make huge trips through the crowns of the Yew trees in the Braakpark in Amstelveen.)
• Chris’ special walk was also noticed at the Forestry School.
His nickname there was "the penguin".
Vugt's four brothers and sisters always loved being outside. We grew up with a large garden at the Braakpark in Amstelveen. And our parents allowed us to build huts to our heart's content, make fires, jump ditches, raft, and climb trees.
We were also never afraid to help out with "tough" chores to earn a little cash.
In this picture, you can see us helping Aunty Ria in the garden.
Hanneke (11 years old) at the gate, Annemiek (10) under the window, Harm (6) at the door and, Frans (4) in the middle. Annemiek had not yet discovered the secateurs, otherwise, she would have started pruning the bushes. Frans started to delegate at a young age.
Kaj: “Tandje erbij!” = You have to work harder!
All: “Please give (Trijntje, Sientje, Chris, Kaj, Frank, Jan, Piet, Klaas, Beppie, Natasja, etc.) to me!” = Please give me that chainsaw (all chainsaws have their own name).
Frank: Kokoška = “Chicken” in Slovenian. By which Frank means: Wimp! Used to challenge a colleague to go just that little bit further.
Annemiek: "I'm not lazy, but I’d rather not work." = It's time for a break.
Chris: “Zak, Steen, Amstel!” = Put it in a bag, add rock and throw it in the river.
Used when you don't know what to do with something
We try to keep the price of our services as low as possible. We don't like increasing our rates because we do understand that the cost of a job sometimes represents a significant amount of money for our customers. The green sector, in general, is quite poorly paid which is strange when you consider all the training courses we need to follow, appreciate how difficult the work is, and how dangerous it can be. Additionally, the regulations governing our work are becoming increasingly complex and therefore expensive. For some reason, we are also experiencing far too few commissions during the summer months. This is something which we don't fully understand because most trees are simply better off being pruned during the summer!
All-in-all, this has resulted in some minor rate adjustments as of February 1, 2021:
• The standard hourly rate for tree specialists will continue to apply during the summer period from 1 May to 31 August.
Outside of this window, the standard hourly rate will be increased by 7%.
For the heavy work or high climbing jobs, our current price is no longer in balance with the specialised effort which we need to make. Working in large trees and towing trunks around is not exactly easy. Therefore we need to raise the surcharges for the higher and heavier jobs, for example, trees higher than 10 meters and trees thicker than 30 cm):
• Surcharge for climbing work: € 30 (€ 36.30 incl. VAT) per hour
• Surcharge for manual transportation of thick wood: € 10 (€ 12.10 incl. VAT) per hour
Lately, we have observed that our stump grinder and branch shredder require extremely regular and sometimes quite expensive maintenance and repairs to keep them safe and reliable. The fuel consumption of these machines is also considerable. Therefore, a slight financial adjustment on our behalf appears prudent:
• Stump grinder up to 60 cm including call-out costs and operator: € 225 (€ 272.25 incl. VAT)
• Shredder (18 hp, narrow gauge): € 50 per hour (€ 60.50 incl. VAT) (minimum 2 hours)
For years we have kept the costs for the removal and disposal of green waste in check. Unfortunately, the machines we use to process all this green waste are also becoming an increasingly expensive investment for us.
Here too we have made adjustments:
• Disposal costs: € 30 per m3 (€ 36.30 incl. VAT)
Our pick-up, specially built in 2010 for working in the city center, is no longer allowed into the environmental zone so a new vehicle must be built. This drives up the cost for working within the environmental zones and is reflected in the new surcharge for working within the Amsterdam Ring A10:
• Working within an environmental zone (Ring A10): € 25 (€ 30.25 incl. VAT) per visit.
The complete overview of our rates can easily be found on our website www.tarzan.eu
(Press the Englisch Flag and then press: “what are our rates”).