"Incredible things in the business world are never made by a single person, but by a team."
Steve Jobs, Co-founder, Chairman & CEO of Apple
Marc Doyle started the business in 1984. He was one of the first companies in NZ to specifically offer an “urban tree service”. Chris Corfe, the current owner and managing director, took over the company in December of 2009, seeing the growth potential.
Having previously worked with Marc Doyle himself during his studies, Chris met many regular customers and enjoyed building new relationships.
During the first year of ownership, Chris worked part-time for another company whilst developing a business plan to grow Marc Doyle Treework. Chris’ dad, Robert, helped by working three days a week, apparently working him very hard!
We had some pretty cool equipment from Marc, the original owner. However, Chris was enthusiastic about modernising the operation and incorporating some of the elements learnt whilst working in the UK as an arborist.
A particular critical change was purchasing a small truck and chipper, enabling our team to access residential sites easily. Chris and a friend, who knew how to wield a welder, worked long hours during evenings and weekends, modifying an old tipper truck to suit the business needs.
It was the first real step in the right direction for Chris and the team since taking on the business.
In June 2010, Chris decided to rebrand the business. The company’s new image benefited immensely by giving it a unique and modern look. Slowly, Marc Doyle Treework invested in more recent equipment to work more safely and efficiently.
Over the next couple of years, Chris juggled climbing, quoting and admin work during the days, evenings and weekends. Like many business owners, it was a lot of hours and hard work.
In 2012, Chris and his wife had their first baby boy, Finlea. This was a major motivating factor for him to work towards a better work-life balance. At that point, he said:
“I promise I will never work weekends and evenings again”.
A bold statement. Chris may have slipped up a few times, but he's done reasonably well at keeping the promise!
To enable Chris to work Monday to Friday only and sensible hours, the team needed to grow and take on some workloads. As a result, full-time arborists joined the team. Having staff was a new and exciting challenge, allowing Chris to concentrate on the sales and administration work.
It was a real turning point for the business. We had built a reputable brand that created a good volume of work to employ 2-3 staff. We made great relationships in the community and strengthened the brand while creating employment.
The whole experience was more enjoyable whilst enabling family time and more flexibility. The running of the business was going well, although finances were complicated as you would expect in the early days of business.
Fast forward to 2015; Marc Doyle Treework is finally starting to take shape! Chris spent more time building relationships with clients. In addition, he purchased more equipment like a truck, chipper and stump grinder.
“It started to feel like an organisation rather than a job,” Chris stated.
A large property management company called Responsive Maintenance Limited (RML) approached us in 2016, contracting to Kāinga Ora Homes and Communities (KOHC), previously named Housing New Zealand.
The sudden large volume of work was a welcome boost, precisely what the business needed! We were forced to do things more efficiently in the office and on-site. As a result, we concentrated on the management process, safety, equipment, and our most important asset, our people.
Chris wanted to expand, creating an energetic team with high-quality work to keep everyone busy. He knew there were many challenges ahead. The list of steps to get there was daunting. The time had come to get some help.
In 2018, Adriana joined the team, initially taking over all administration and HR tasks. It was a massive relief for Chris and quickly improved the business and customer experience.
In time, Adriana became our systems strategist and culture manager. She helped design and implement systems and organisational processes to improve our efficiency further. Implementing those systems made a big difference, and to this day, we continue to update and adapt them to our current needs. Adriana also focused on the culture in the workplace as we want to create an unbeatable place of work for our people.
Chris quickly realised that you couldn’t do everything yourself. If you do, you do everything at 20%, and you go nowhere fast.
Since 2020, we have run three to four crews full-time. Dan, our commercial manager, looks after half of the operations while Chris concentrates on maintaining residential and commercial relationships.
We have invested in good quality equipment. As a result, we are working safely, quickly and efficiently with new machinery. In addition, we moved to a new yard in 2020, and it has had a positive impact on our business and people. It is a healthier and happier place. Our systems and culture in the workplace continue to improve.
In 2021, it was exciting to bring a marketing manager on board to focus on creative communication and marketing strategies to help our brand grow further. Bianca, our marketing guru, joined the team in June 2021. With her talent and passion for design and communications, we now could showcase our awesome business and culture with our ever-growing followers and new clients.
“What a journey so far!
For me, reflecting on the past is crucial. It’s been important to remember where it all started, recognise the wins along the way, and think critically about the things that didn't go so well. I've learnt the biggest lessons from stuff-ups and bad decisions along the way and try to remind myself of that when it gets tough. Sometimes you don't realise you've learnt something until years later.
“Don’t make the same mistake twice” resonates.
The last 12 years of business has been an incredible learning experience, and we're not finished yet. It has been a lot of fun and continues to be as we grow. I am a very social person and enjoy getting out and meeting clients. I've spent a lot of time getting to know all sorts of people over the years, finding solutions to tree problems and building lasting relationships. It has been the real driving reason for our existence, although the most enjoyable and rewarding part for me has been the opportunity to grow a team.
Watching our people engage genuinely and enjoy one another’s company in our workplace is the most rewarding part. So we have put a lot of focus on ensuring our workplace is positive and encouraging.
If you know what's important to you and you choose the right people, it happens on its own. We’ve been a part of some real success stories over the years. Watching people grow and improve is very rewarding. We know that one day our people will leave us and move on, so it's our job to make sure they’re better equipped for work and employment than when they started with us.”
Christopher Corfe, Managing Director at Marc Doyle Treework
We are so thankful for your support over the past decade. We are looking forward to new challenges and another great ten years ahead!