Success Stories

Grace Tree Service


Tim and Karen Kastning

Tim and Karen Kastning’s entry into business started as two hungry college students in Missouri when they started a lawn care business. While living there, Tim was fascinated by a climber working up in a tree and decided that was for him, so he started a tree service.  Karen said Tim learned on the job and, as she likes to say, “lived to tell about it.”  Now, 25 years later, Tim is a Board Certified Master Arborist, an ASCA member, a Certified Tree Risk Assessor, Municipal Specialist, and Certified Tree Safety Professional.

Grace Tree Service started in 1998 and is the only TCIA accredited company in Idaho (Tree Care Industry Association).  They sell trees in their nursery and handle all aspects of tree care and maintenance. They employ certified tree risk assessors for hazardous tree evaluation, and Tim also works with construction companies for tree preservation and emergency storm work.

The tree service business has its challenges. The seasonality of the business requires good cash flow management for the winter months.  Each year new competitors enter the market and almost an equal number go out of business. Tree service work is technical, strenuous, and dangerous, so it takes years of training to become a skilled, knowledgeable and safe arborist.

Grace Tree Service has become the premier tree service provider in North Idaho because of the business’s expertise and care for its customers.

To give back to the community, Grace Tree Service donates all their firewood to Elderhelp, an organization that helps elderly people in need. Recently they completed a job for the Humane Society at no cost and they donate trees and services to many local auctions and fundraisers.

As the business continues to grow, Tim and Karen saw the need to obtain expert advice to manage the growth, so they turned to the Region I Idaho SBCD. Karen said, “Idaho Small Business Development Center coaching and classes have really helped us develop the knowledge and skills that have helped run our company more professionally & successfully. Our coach, Bill Jhung, constantly encourages us to work on our business on a weekly basis as opposed to just working “in” our business.”

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