Small Business Showcase: M&M Trees LLC

Partnering to Make Tree Care Financing Possible

We connected with Oakmont Capital Services’ customer Curtis Nikitas of M&M Tress LLC to learn about the business’ history, the company mission, how he has been navigating through the pandemic, and his experience working with an independent direct lender.

The Beginning of M&M Trees LLC

M&M Trees LLC has been in business for over 16 years, offering various tree services to its Central Massachusetts clients. M&M’s current owner, Curtis Nikitas, began working for the company in 2009 as a college student. In 2013, Curtis purchased a 40 percent ownership share of M&M Trees and, after graduating from college in 2015, became the sole owner.

Since then, M&M Trees has served its customers with a specific mission in mind: to provide unmatched quality work at an affordable price while focusing on customer service (keeping the customer #1!).

What Does M&M Trees Do Differently?

M&M Trees offers tree removal, pruning, and stump grinding, but there’s so much more that goes into running a successful business than the work in the field (although that’s pretty important, too!). M&M differentiates itself by upholding professional standards, including employing a full-time office manager to help with customer relations. Nikitas and his team pride themselves on answering or returning every call within a reasonable timeframe to provide a great customer experience. The M&M team depends on repeat business, obtaining many clients from word of mouth, so everyone knows how critical it is to ensure each experience meets or exceeds expectations.

Nikitas particularly admires two distinct qualities that his team possesses: a willingness to learn and positive attitudes towards safety. “We have a very skilled group of guys who leave their egos at home and are all there to work together to get the job done safely and efficiently,” Nikitas said.

“From hard hats to chaps and everything in between, the guys not only will wear proper PPE but have become so used to it that they feel weird not wearing it,” he added, mentioning that some employees arrive back to the shop with their chaps still on – that’s a commitment to safety!

Why Partner with A Commercial Lender?

Nikitas shared that partnering with Oakmont Capital Services opened doors for his company. “When I had bought the company, I didn’t have much credit or cash on hand,” he said. “Everything I had went back into buying equipment.”

In 2016, Nikitas met Oakmont’s finance professional, D.J. Jackson, CLFP, at the TCIA Expo. Jackson worked with M&M to finance a bucket truck after several local banks declined Nikitas’ loan application due to a lack of credit.

This bucket truck was financed for M&M Trees – with the help of Oakmont Capital Services – and used in a holiday parade.

“I have found that some banks give you the runaround and tell you that you don’t have enough credit, then when asked how to gain credit, they tell you to get a loan,” Nikitas said, “although that ends up getting denied because of a lack of credit.” And the cycle continues…

Luckily, Nikitas’ connection with Jackson following the TCIA Expo led to a deeper understanding of how to overcome that obstacle and ways to build business credit. Jackson works with many tree care businesses and repeatedly goes above and beyond for his customers, lending financing advice (and an ear), plus educating new businesses on building commercial credit. Nikitas was grateful to form a partnership with Jackson, who believed in him and his company from the start.

“D.J. had faith in me and helped me find the right truck,” Nikitas said. “He made everything easy, and in 2020 when we needed to add a bucket truck, I didn’t even shop around. I knew who to call to secure equipment financing.”

As a repeat customer, Nikitas is pleased with not only Oakmont’s fast and easy finance process but grateful to have obtained advice from Jackson, a seasoned equipment finance professional. Outside of their professional relationship, Nikitas and Jackson have developed a strong friendship, sending each other pictures of their children through the years.

“I just had my first child about a year and a half ago, and D.J. always asks how my son is doing,” Nikitas said. “Not only does D.J. help me with lending, but he is also almost like a life coach!”

 “Curtis is a strong business owner. We have developed a personal relationship and keep in close touch. We value him as a great client to Oakmont, and he also values us as a partner to M&M Trees.”- D.J. Jackson, CLFP, Business Development Officer, Oakmont Capital Services 

Journey Through Uncertainty

The COVID-19 pandemic had a tremendous impact on Nikitas and his business. Initially, like many other small businesses in the United States, M&M closed its doors in March 2020 and prepared for the worst. After a few weeks, Nikitas and his team regrouped and devised a plan to keep working safely; this included some employees working remotely, consistently sanitizing equipment and trucks, and ensuring each crew used assigned vehicles.

“Once we were back to work, we exploded,” Nikitas remarked. “I believe everyone being home sparked a mad rush.”

Nikitas noted that as people spent more time at home either working remotely or sheltering in place, they began to realize how neglected their yards were. M&M Trees started receiving a high volume of calls each day. As a result, Nikitas was able to add five more team members to his crew, plus a new chipper and a bucket truck to the fleet.

“We still have not caught up on estimates,” Nikitas said. “My personal record is 38 estimates in one day!”

Oakmont Capital Services could not be happier for Nikitas and his business success! As finance partners, our goal is to help our customers fuel business growth, evolving with their needs. We’re honored to be a part of the M&M Trees success story.

M&M Trees LLC is a full-service tree company serving the Central Massachusetts area. M&M Trees has been proudly serving the local community for over 16 years with one goal in mind, “provide unmatched quality work at an affordable price while keeping the customer number one.” M&M Trees specializes in all aspects of tree work ranging from high-risk tree removal to simple pruning. For more information, visit www.m-mtrees.com.

Oakmont Capital Holdings, LLC d/b/a Oakmont Capital Services is headquartered in West Chester, PA, with an office in Albany, MN, and is a fast, affordable, reputable solution to equipment financing. Oakmont Capital Services is a direct, independent lender, providing commercial equipment financing and working capital throughout all 50 United States. The professional financing staff at Oakmont has combined experience of over 350 years in the industry and is the reliable choice for today’s financing needs. For more information, visit www.oakmontfinance.com

 

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