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This week, Bella McCreary, president and CEO of High Maintenance Trim Co., talks about her transition from the banking industry to leading a company that provides onsite harvesting, bucking, trimming and packaging services.
McCreary has worked with cultivators of all sizes for several years, and overseen trimming operations for harvests as small as 12 pounds to clients with rolling 500-pound harvests.
Cultivators often have difficulty staffing trim teams. While some operators are harvesting every week, some only need help every eight to 12 weeks — which is typically when they call in Bella.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic only made trimming more difficult, primarily due to social distancing restrictions. In an effort to keep both her client's staff and her own employees safe, McCreary had to cut down the size of each team sent to cultivation sites. For example, to harvest 500 pounds, she would typically send a team of 18 to 20 people. Now, she can only send 10.
McCreary sees her business as a service for cultivators that had problems staffing their positions in the past. Traditionally, the part-time/seasonal work lacks a decent wage, which also results in dips in both professionalism and product quality.
She has not just served as a bridge for staffing; when a client finds a good trimmer and doesn't want to lose the employee, High Maintenance Trim will offer the worker a job in the interim. Unlike a staffing agency, McCreary's workers are full-time employees with perks that include productivity bonuses.
McCreary sees her staff not just as trimmers, but as trichome preservers. While some clients have semi-automated harvesting and bucking, many still ask for 100% hand trimming. There are many differences between a machine-trimmed and hand-trimmed bud, and although machines pump out more product, McCreary says that quality is sacrificed.
High Maintenance has remained busy throughout the pandemic and has even had to turn down work, particularly at facilities under construction or at those that don't provide a safe working environment. She often finds herself dealing with quality issues as well. A little bit of mold or a bug here and there isn't necessarily a bad thing, but her teams have run into moldy products. She’s had to leave jobs in the past not only because they were risk to her staff — she's had to tell some clients that they shouldn't even sell the product.
Currently, High Maintenance only trims in California, but McCreary has consulted in other areas and is looking to expand her business model into other states. She thinks that one day, her trichome preservers could become a franchise, like the Molly Maids of Weed.