To safely move tree stock to various locations.
Some developers want the place to look like it's been there a hundred years, and the best way to do that is to plant large trees. Golf courses and casinos routinely call for large tree installations prior to opening. Seven Oaks Country Club in Bakersfield purchased 60 acres of rolling hills in Tehachapi, a rural community less than an hour away. Mature oaks and pines were then carefully moved by transportation engineers and transplanted at the golf course, producing the effect of a mature forest.
Don Walker recognized the opportunity 20 years ago and has been hauling trees ever since. "What I like about it, they (trees) add something to the place" says Walker, owner of Don Walker Trucking, Inc. in Camarillo, on California's central coast, home to many commercial nurseries. He owns a 40 ton rig valued at $100,000, and unloads trees with a fork lift.
"I haul lots of trees to Vegas. Vegas always grows. A new casino wants huge trees" explains Walker, who charges $1,000 for a typical haul from Camarillo to Las Vegas for six hours travel one way, plus unloading. Years of experience and a true love for trees insure that his tree loads arrive safely, without getting wind damaged or losing their leaves. "Palm trees are fragile. They'll break in the middle. You need to know where to brace them. Sometimes you only get one or two trees on a truck" says Walker, who carries $50,000 cargo insurance, just in case.
Baron Brothers Nursery in Camarillo have in house drivers, trucks and cranes, and on occasion sub out to professional transportation engineers truckloads of trees going long distances or consisting of large orders.
Typically, transportation engineers have a high school education with on the job training or a diploma from a trailer school. A clean driving record and a commercial driver's license (Class A or B) is required, as are drug and alcohol tests. Hours are irregular and cargo insurance is prudent.
Beginning as a salaried employee for a commercial nursery is a good alternative to fronting start up costs of $100,000 or more for large rigs.