Brian Hartel Sr. and Brian Hartel Jr. work together at the family business. (Staff photo by Samantha Sciarrotta.)
Brian Hartel Sr. and Brian Hartel Jr. work together at the family business. (Staff photo by Samantha Sciarrotta.)

When Brian Hartel, Sr. first decided to open up his own tree service business in 1995, it was just him, a dump truck, and a wood chipper.

Now, 17 years later, HTS Tree Care Professionals has five full-time employees including his son, Brian Hartel, Jr., several trucks, and high-quality equipment.

“I’m proud of the accomplishments that my son’s had and that I’ve had,” Hartel, Sr. said. “I like the direction that it’s going.”

Hartel, Sr. said he started the business to build a future for his family. His wife and son are both employees. He said the family aspect is what sets his business apart from other similar companies.

“I think it’s going to have a future for [Hartel, Jr.],” he said.

Both men foster a love for trees and for the work they do. As New Jersey industry standards have changed, they have adjusted accordingly. Both father and son are New Jersey certified tree experts and certified arbors for the International Society of Arboriculture.

Hartel, Jr., who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in ornamental horticulture, landscape management, and contracting, has a municipal certification. Hartel, Sr. has a utility certification.

“The industry as a whole has changed over the last 15 years,” Hartel, Sr. said. “We’ve attained all that. It’s just a sense of pride in what we’ve been able to accomplish.”

When the business first opened, the specialties were tree removals and pruning. Now Hartel, Jr. said that while those services are still among the most popular, the business is heading into new territories.

“We’re getting into different things and different markets and trying to figure out new ways to keep doing it,” he said.

They have started doing work with a crane, planting trees, tree evaluation, and landscaping. They are even working with fertilizer and disease and insect sprays.

Hartel, Jr. said the customers are most responsive to their fleet of equipment.

“When we come to a job, sometimes we can get things done faster because of that,” he said. “We have a lot of good employees who know how to drive and operate all of the equipment. It helps out a lot.”

Hartel, Sr. said all of his employees hold many of the same qualifications as he and his son do.

“At some point, there’s always a certified person on the customer’s property,” he said. “We try to have personal contact with the customer at all times.”

The business has a lot of local clients, but they often travel. Hartel, Jr. said they have done jobs as far north as Carteret and as far south as Cherry Hill.

Born and raised in the Hopewell area, the Hartels stay faithful to their roots.

“For me, it’s all about being a part of the community,” he said. “It’s being able to service our community and give back to our community.”

Recently, the Hartels donated $25,000 worth of service working on the new football field at Hopewell Valley Central High School.

Hartel, Jr. said he hopes to someday become partners with his father.

“It keeps getting bigger,” he said. “This is what I like to do. I love trees, and I love my job.”

HTS Tree Care Professionals can be reached at P.O. Box 366, Pennington, NJ. Phone: (609) 737-1682.