My name is Mark Russell. I am an ISA Certified & TRAQ (Tree Risk Assessment Qualified) Arborist. I’ve been in trees for 21 years. So in my opinion, here are the Top Five things that you need to know before you hire a tree service.
- Credentials– The tree care industry has ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) who offer education programs, such as ISA Certified Arborists, Tree Risk Assessment Qualified. These credentials are important because it shows that the company that you’re about to hire has gone through the effort of educating themselves to the latest standards in proper tree care.
- Customer Reviews– Reviews are the great equalizer. There are many options to look up such as Google, Facebook, Angie’s List, Yelp etc. Two things to keep in mind is first: How many do they have and are they good? And secondly: On those negative reviews, how do they respond? Do they welcome negative feedback as an opportunity to make their systems better and say thank you? Or do they argue with their customer? ( This may be an indicator of how you will be treated if the job doesn’t go as planned).
- Pricing– In tree work there specially two different services: pruning and removal.
- For pruning, to make sure that you’re comparing Apples to Apples, they should document what type of pruning they are doing in the quote. You should know how big are the cuts, how far out on the limbs are they gonna go, what size in diameter are the dead branches they are guaranteeing that they will prune out?
- For Removal It’s a little more simple. You just need to make sure to document what your yard will look like After the tree removal is done. Are they going to keep your yard in pristine condition? Or are they going to drive heavy equipment forcing you to plant new grass and new landscape? A super cheap price on removal often time leads to a lot of damage because they’re trying to get the work done fast.
- Insurance– In tree work there two types of insurance that are typically looked at and they are general liability and workers comp. General liability covers your house or property if the tree goes in the wrong direction. Workers compensation is the more expensive type of insurance, but it covers the medical and time off of work if a worker gets injured on your job site. Above all Else, don’t just take their word for it! Pick up the phone and call the insurance agent that’s listed on the paperwork. You would be amazed at the number of people that don’t do this. Verify that the policy is in effect prior to starting the job.
- Equipment– Trees are heavy and there is specialized equipment that can not only make the job go by quicker and safer, but also can save your Landscaping in the process. Bobcats are good, unless they have wheels and it has been raining. Wheeled Bobcats 10 to sink In wet ground. Tracked Bobcats are much more expensive, but they do much less damage in certain cases. Also, grapples on the Bobcats that swivel can cost over 15K, but when the machine approaches a pile of brush, they’re swiveling (spinning) action means that the 8000 pound Bobcat does not need to spin and tear up your grass to pick up the pile. This is just one example of many. Having a well-equipped tree service oftentimes indicates a company that has invested in the right tools to do the right job.