Jason Writz, owner of Mountview Tree Experts based in Fort Collins, Colorado, decided to kill two birds with one stone when he started up FreeWoodChips.net.
As a tree-trimming company, Writz was often stuck with a truck full of wood chips that he would have to take to a dump site and pay to get rid of. However, he also knew that wood chips serve as a good organic mulch.
Building his website from the ground up, he created FreeWoodChips.net, which connects tree services looking for locations to dump chips with homeowners in search of some fresh mulch.
Writz has often been called by homeowners asking for any wood chips they happen to have and he says using organic mulch “is the single best thing you can do for your plants’ health.”
His website allows homeowners to enter their phone numbers, addresses and where they’d like the chips dumped. This then goes into a database and creates a pin on a map.
“When a tree company signs in, it populates all the pins, with their current location at the center, and all the homeowner pins around them,” Writz told the Reporter Herald. “Businesses can scroll through all these listing and find a spot that works for them.”
The homeowner doesn’t have to pay anything for the service and the tree-trimming companies pay a $10 fee after selecting a location and receives all the homeowner’s information.
Writz says that the fee is one-fifth or one-sixth the typical fee tree service companies would pay to dump wood chips and the dump sites are closer than the local landfill, recycling cente or a commercial facility.
FreeWoodChips.net comes with several caveats for homeowners who wish to participate, warning that the chips will not be as attractive or uniform as those purchased from a garden center and the participant is required to accept the whole load of chips, which is usually 12 cubic yards.
While this isn’t necessarily ideal for some homeowners, the setup worked just fine for Loveland resident JoAnne Carlson.
“I’ve come across a few branches and things like that, but they were small and easy to pick out,” she told the Reporter-Herald. “Except for the difference in color from what you buy in a bag, it’s not that much different…I wasn’t looking for it to be picture perfect.”
She waited three or four weeks for a tree company to call her, but she wasn’t in any rush. For homeowners who want to be selected sooner, they have the option of including a tip that the business will receive if they pick that homeowner.
Even thought Writz only started the website back in May, his site is already being used across the country, with companies in Wisconsin already using the service as well.