Tree services are a dime a dozen. They advertise in the Yellow Pages, knock on your door after a bad storm, get referred to you by neighbors.
Just because they are a name you’ve heard or your neighbor recommended doesn’t mean they are consistently thorough and good.
So once you’ve narrowed it down to a few companies, received some free estimates (yes, they are free unless in depth consulting is done) and feel comfortable with the potential contractors via their website, phone presence, and courteousness of staff, then what?
Find a Tree Service with Good Reviews
You want to make sure they are the kind of company you’d trust coming to your home. Here are some ways to quickly confirm a tree companies’ reputation.
The Better Business Bureau – The old standby has been updating their website, to provide more detail and background to it’s ratings. A great feature is seeing whether a complaint was resolved. However, the BBB site offers very little direct user feedback, currently.
Yelp/City Search – A dynamic and growing review community, Yelp has millions of folks in their 20’s and 30’s trading well thought out, often humorous reflections and reviews on local services of all sorts.
Being a third party site builds more credibility as the tree companies aren’t paying to be listed and the reviews are first hand and unvarnished. Citysearch is the old standby and may have more listings in your town.
In using online reviews sites, I’d look for a service with a broad base of mostly positive reviews. Expect a reputable tree service to have some complaints but try to find out how they resolved complaints.
Free Estimate Services – The web is full of vendors promising to get you several quotes from local tree cutting services. For example, HomeAdvisor will match you up with tree services in your area, and makes sure that tree trimmers have the legal amount of insurance and proper licenses and certifications to operate. What HomeAdvisor also has a robust database of reviews from past customers.
Angie’s List – Members pay a yearly fee to read and share reviews of contractors, dentists and others. Reviewed companies can’t pay to be listed or alter their own profile. A tree firm can pay to be placed on the first page of results.
I like that AngiesList members are consumers who pay $35 a year for access, putting there money where there mouth is. Members care for their trees, want to find the best arborists and are willing to work a bit to find the right company.
E-Verify – Concerned about illegal immigration? You can vote with your dollar by hiring tree firms that E-Verify, which is (for now) a voluntary procedure that verifies if a company’s employees are legally allowed to work in the US.
ISA/ASCA/TCIA – These are three of the largest professional organizations for arborists and tree services. If a tree service represents itself as a member of an organization, it is very simple to call the local office or visit the website to verify their membership and standing. Speaking from experience, tree trimming in Denver requires a thorough knowledge of city ordinances. Typically tree tree trimming services that belong to these organizations know what they’re doing
Local consumer advocates – Local TV and radio stations are building lists of trusted companies and highlighting ratings and local reputations. Companies do pay to be listed but no company want to be the bad-business-of-the-morning on a 50,000 watt radio station, believe me. That can damage your local reputation big time.