Alex Llamas: High Aptitude
By James Florence, Diamond Certified Resource Reporter
ALAMO — When asked how he got involved in tree service, Alex Llamas recounts a unique opportunity that combined his handy aptitude with his love for altitude. “When I was in college, I got a part-time job helping a retired teacher maintain his property, which he had turned into a public park,” he remembers. “He taught me everything he knew about pruning and maintaining trees. Plus, I did a lot of rock climbing back in the day, so climbing trees was just natural for me.”
Despite these influencing factors, Alex didn’t pursue tree service as a career after college—not right away, at least. “In college, I majored in concrete engineering, and after I graduated I got a job as an estimator with a concrete repair company,” he explains. “However, not long into the job, I got laid off. That put a bad taste in my mouth—I didn’t like the idea of being dependent on someone else for employment. That’s why I decided to start my own tree service company. I got a $5,000 loan from my dad, bought liability insurance and printed some business cards. That was in April of 2012, and my business has continued to grow during the last five years.”
Today, as owner of Llamas Tree Service, Alex says his favorite part of his job is seeing the long-term results of his work. “Unlike a lot of tree service companies, we always try to do what’s best for the tree when we’re pruning or performing other types of maintenance. When a customer calls us for service again a couple of years later, it’s rewarding to see how the trees have progressed and how healthy they are.”
A resident of Concord, Alex says he appreciates the close-knit character of his longtime hometown. “This is where I grew up, so I have a lot of family and friends here. A lot of times, they ask for advice or help with their trees, so it’s nice to be able to give back in that way. I like being part of this community.”
Outside of work, Alex likes to take advantage of all the Bay Area has to offer. “My wife, Pamela, and I stay pretty active in our free time,” he affirms. “We do a lot of camping in the summer and enjoy checking out different national parks. We also enjoy the city life and going out to restaurants and concerts.” Additionally, Alex likes spending time with family and friends at barbeques and similar get-togethers.
In regard to his professional career, Alex espouses the importance of respect and communication. “Wherever we’re working, I always remind my guys to treat the customer’s property like it was their own,” he says. “I also place a high priority on client communication by making sure we listen to them and understand their needs. I think those two aspects—respect and communication—are the keys to customer satisfaction.”
When asked the first thing he’d do if he were to retire tomorrow, Alex says he’d take his love for altitude to an exotic location. “I would go tree climbing in the jungles of Mexico. There are massive trees there with huge spikes on their trunks, and I’ve always wanted to climb one of them.”
Ask Me Anything!
Q: What kinds of music do you like?
A: I’m very eclectic in my tastes—I go from classic country like Willie Nelson to Mexican corridos and salsa.
Q: Are you an early bird or a night owl?
A: A little bit of both—it depends on the time of year.
Q: What was your favorite toy as a child?
A: A rope. That may sound weird, but a rope is very versatile—you can use it to lasso a cow, climb a tree or whatever.
Q: Do you collect anything?
A: I collect rocks, pine cones and cross-sections of wood.
Q: Who are your favorite comedians?
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A: Dave Chappelle, George Lopez and Carlos Mencia.