All Around Arbor
Running a business

The tree doctor is in: How All Around Arbor grew using QuickBooks

Business: All Around Arbor

Location: Portland, Oregon

Industry: Field services

Business challenge: Finding an all-in-one digital solution to manage the whole business: customers, employees, and work jobs.

Mike Jolliff

Mike Jolliff dreamed of becoming a doctor—one who'd care for people, not trees. But life has a funny way of pointing you in an unexpected direction. For more than 15 years now, Jolliff has been pruning his arboreal skills, building a staff, and growing his tree service business in Portland, OR. 

An accidental entrepreneur and arborist

Jolliff had just graduated from college when he shook up everything about his career trajectory. 

"I realized my degree was going in a direction that I didn't really want to go anymore. It was going toward med school, and I was not really feeling that," Jolliff says. "So I dropped everything and went to work for my uncle in California. I didn't, at the time, really know what he did."

His uncle was an arborist, so for a year, Jolliff learned all about trees and the care and maintenance they require. He seemed to take to it: When Jolliff came back to Portland, he worked for a couple of other tree companies, and then bought a used piece of equipment for $12,000.

"I bought it on loan and started from nothing. Really, it was sort of on a whim," Jolliff says.

And just like that, he was an entrepreneur.

All Around Arbor

Falling into business ownership in the way he did, Jolliff didn’t do anything specific to run his company. Through trial and error, and a whole lot of determination, he learned to get the business on its feet, hire employees, and invoice customers. Yet even though it was the 21st century, Jolliff was running his business the old-fashioned way.

"We were doing paper stuff. Everything including bids and invoices was handwritten and very 1980, up until about probably year three," Jolliff explains.

His wife was the one who started looking for ways to digitize and organize the back end of the business. Even then, it took a while to get to the right solution for the business.

"We were looking for something that was streamlined, quick, easy, and trouble-free," he recalls. That's when they found QuickBooks.

How QuickBooks works for your small business

All Around Arbor’s transition to QuickBooks Online was revolutionary for the business.

"Once we got it figured out, things really started moving. We saved a ton of time on bid writing and invoicing." Jolliff continues, "It was definitely game changing as far as how our clients perceived us, too."

In fact, if Jolliff could give himself one do-over in his business journey, it'd be getting the business into QuickBooks Online sooner.

"It would've fast forwarded me quite a bit had I started using a program like [QuickBooks Online] at the get go," Jolliff says. "I just jumped into it and learned as I went." 

All Around Arbor's modernization began with QuickBooks Online, which gave Jolliff access to crucial accounting, invoicing, and reporting features. QuickBooks Payments eased the process of getting paid. QuickBooks Payroll kept his employee data and paydays organized.

QuickBooks Payments was the piece of the business puzzle that he didn't know he was missing until he began using it, and everything fell into place to make the business run more smoothly.

"We use the GoPayment app, and we use Intuit for payments. We use invoices and invoice tracking. That really helps. It also tracks our revenue numbers in quick tables that we can reference to see how we're doing," he notes of the product capabilities.

Linking together bids, invoices, and revenue on the customer-facing side using QuickBooks Payments, plus employee services through QuickBooks Payroll has been the right combination for All Around Arbor.

"[QuickBooks products are] all connected. I think that's huge," Jolliff says. "It's not just for bid writing and invoices, and tracking numbers, but [QuickBooks Payroll] is also a software we use for all of our employee information, for payroll and payroll tracking."

Getting employees paid on time and remaining compliant can be a big stressor for small business owners. It involves employees' livelihoods, as well as state and federal agencies for unemployment and income taxes.

All Around Arbor

"I'm a numbers guy, but I think for most business owners, that's probably the scariest part. Payroll in general, but also taxes," Jolliff says. "[QuickBooks Payroll] tracks everything for you and it tells you when things are due. As long as you're staying up on your reminders, QuickBooks does it for you."

Whew. That's a huge sigh of relief for other accidental entrepreneurs still in the figuring-this-business-thing-out stage.

The biggest benefit of QuickBooks Online for Jolliff is the mobile app that allows him to track important information about customers and jobs on the go.

"Being able to pull up the app and access customer and job info…Having it all right there at your fingertips in a simple and easy format is the best thing about QuickBooks to me, personally," he explains.

Move, manage, and grow your money

No matter what stage your business is in, QuickBooks can help you manage your business finances.

On-the-job experience: Becoming a boss

As the founder of a business that requires teams of employees, Jolliff suddenly found that he was also a boss—not exactly a title that he was thrilled to have. 

"Growing up and working, I hated most of my bosses," Jolliff says. (If you're an old manager of his reading this, we're sure you were one of the good ones.) 

He decided to take a different kind of approach to managing the couple of dozen employees that he has on staff at any given time.

All Around Arbor

"I realized very quickly that I didn't want to be that kind of boss. I think finding that balance of friend and boss is important in order to be a good boss," Jolliff says.

To his pleasant surprise, being the boss has been the most rewarding aspect of All Around Arbor.

"Knowing that I'm, it seems, positively affecting these people's lives and families, is probably the biggest driving force for me as a boss and as a person," he says. "Knowing that I'm creating a good job and a good place to work for these people."

As he looks at the future of his business, it's not exponential growth that Jolliff seeks. It's maintaining high standards for the work and a fulfilling workplace for his staff.

"My biggest concentration is…keeping what we have going and strong, keeping the quality good, and employees happy," Jolliff says.

QuickBooks customer paid for their time.

Disclaimers & Product Information

QuickBooks Payments: QuickBooks Payments account subject to eligibility criteria, credit and application approval. Subscription to QuickBooks Online is required. Money movement services are provided by Intuit Payments Inc., licensed as a Money Transmitter by the New York State Department of Financial Services. For more information about Intuit Payments' money transmission licenses, please visit

Mobile apps: The QuickBooks Online mobile and QuickBooks Self-Employed mobile companion apps work with iPhone, iPad, and Android phones and tablets. Devices sold separately; data plan required. Not all features are available on the mobile apps and mobile browser. QuickBooks Online mobile access is included with your QuickBooks Online subscription at no additional cost. Data access is subject to cellular/internet provider network availability and occasional downtime due to system and server maintenance and events beyond your control. Product registration required.

This content is for information purposes only and information provided should not be considered legal, accounting or tax advice or a substitute for obtaining such advice specific to your business. Additional information and exceptions may apply. Applicable laws may vary by state or locality. No assurance is given that the information is comprehensive in its coverage or that it is suitable in dealing with a customer’s particular situation. Intuit Inc. does it have any responsibility for updating or revising any information presented herein. Accordingly, the information provided  should not be relied upon as a substitute for independent research. Intuit Inc. cannot warrant that the material contained herein will continue to be accurate, nor that it is completely free of errors when published. Readers should verify statements before relying on them.

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