You’re searching to hire a tree service.
Amazingly, every one advertises that no job is too big or too small. They all have great reviews on Yelp. They’re all known for their outstanding customer service. All you have to do is call the first one you find, because they all seem uniformly great, right?
Believe it or not, some companies actually don’t live up to what they say on their website. The truth is, tree trimming and tree removal aren’t the most common household services to arrange. Most homeowners start in the dark when they need to have a tree trimmed or an ailing ash tree removed. Since it’s largely a seasonal project, by the time you need to do it again, you may have forgotten all the things you wanted to ask. Fear not!
While it can seem daunting to find a qualified company, there are some key questions you can ask. This list will help you get the information you need to make the right decision for your outdoor spaces and your pocketbook.
It’s recommended that you get three estimates to compare costs and service offerings.
Here are the first key questions to ask.
How long will the job take?
– This answer will vary based mainly on the equipment the company brings to bear. Some might estimate three days while the next one estimates three hours. Either way, it’s good to know beforehand.
Will the company provide a detailed estimate?
One of the things ArborScape is most proud of is our latest estimate sheet – it’s taken about a decade to get it just right: understandable, yet with the right amount of detail explaining what’s going to happen to your tree. There are best practices and standards in the arborist’s trade, so the estimate should detail using that language so you can compare to other bids to judge scope of work.
How will the job be approached; what equipment will be used?
No one wants chipper and bucket trucks driving over the lawn and flowerbeds unnecessarily. So knowing how the job will be approached can help you understand the process, and make suggestions that more closely fit your needs. (Also, make sure you understand how the work crew will clean up during and after the job. A great way for a tree service to furnish a cheap bid is to not include removing the debris.)
If your tree is tangled, or close to powerlines, it’s comforting if the tree company you choose has a certified Utility Specialist arborist directing your tree work. Fun fact: powerlines can send electricity ten feet through the air to strike a tree worker – so hire a tree service that knows the safety precautions backwards and forwards.
What are the contract terms, and is a certificate of insurance provided?
– You want to be protected from liability, as well as property damage. A good tree service has these in place from the get-go. The terms of the work contract should provide clarity of specific responsibilities and limits to the company’s liability, and yours.
Can they provide a list of references?
This gets easier and easier with online reviews – or does it? Fewer companies collect written references in the age of Google and Yelp reviews. A popular and well-established tree trimming service is going to have tens or even hundreds of reviews on the major review sites, and yes, maybe an occasional negative review. This should be viewed as a plus over a firm with a few or no reviews.
->Commercial jobs are different, however, so if you are organizing common area trimming for your home owners’ association, or are a professional project manager, most commercial tree services will have a list of references for you to contact.
What are their credentials?
The most well known certification for arborists is earned through the International Society of Arboriculture. There is a general certified arborist designation, which is a big plus for any tree service you are considering.
Read all about ISA certification here: Why Should I Hire a Certified Arborist?