Regular inspections done by tree experts can help keep your trees healthy, thus improving your garden’s appearance. A well-maintained landscape can also increase property value. However, the main reason for preventive maintenance is to reduce safety hazards. Strong winds and heavy storms can cause vulnerable or diseased tree to topple over, which may cause damage to their surroundings and possibly injuries.
As part of preventive maintenance, arborists examine trees for signs of disease. Unhealthy trees are the perfect target for harmful insects and other pests. There are cases when unhealthy trees start leaning to one side, resulting in a hazardous condition. Tree experts also look for tree root rot, one of the main reasons for trees toppling over with little warning.
Tree health problems are often associated with changes in the environment. Without proper conditions to thrive, they become prone to developing diseases. Branches and limbs that are dead or decaying can break off and damage the surrounding buildings and vehicles and can even harm people. Fallen trees and large branches can also damage power lines, cause power outages and block roads.
Tree care services offer many treatment options to restore the health of trees. They may use one approach or a combination of techniques to get the best results. They will prune trees to remove dead or decaying branches. The use of pesticides may also be necessary to manage insect infestation. Tree experts will also cut down any dead trees in danger of falling and shore up weak, leaning and aging trees with cabling or other support systems.
How Much is the Cost of Hiring a Professional
The cost of hiring an arborist can range from $200 to $1000. However, prices may change depending on factors such as the type and scope of the job, accessibility issues and the equipment they use to carry out the process.
Whether you need a tree pruned or removed, a qualified arborist can assist you from initial assessment through to completion. In terms of labour, arborists generally charge by the hour but may vary depending on your requirements.
- Arborist services may cost $200 to $1,000 for tree pruning
- $500 for tree removal
- $35 to $45 for stump removal
- $300 to $450 for arborist consultation.
When hiring a professional tree services company, ask for a written quotation to give you an overview of the cost.
What Else Should You Know Before Hiring A Tree Service?
Make sure they are qualified.
You can never be too careful. If a tree removal company does not know how to do their job, you might end up with serious property damage. Ask the company if they have a qualified arborist employed who will be on site. Do not shy away from asking them this, as legitimate companies know the industry is full of non-skilled hacks.
They should be able to produce a Certificate of qualification to prove they are a certified arborist. They should have a minimum of Certificate III in Arboriculture.
They must be insured.
You simply cannot afford to hire a tree removal company that does not have proper insurance. They need to have at the very least Public Liability insurance for up to 10 Million in cover (industry standard). Don’t just site the piece of paper. Ask for a copy and phone the insurer to make sure it all checks out before they start work.
If they injure themselves or damage your property, you are leaving yourself wide open to being liable.
You need to get a detailed quote.
You will need to get a quote from several companies. Three or four estimates should be enough to pick a winner. I mentioned detailed quotes for tree removal or pruning as you need to have it in black and white for what you are being charged for.
If it just says “tree trimming”, that can mean a lot of things. Are you removing a certain number of branches? Which tree? Is it a power line clearances of 3 trees and a canopy lift on another? The more specific you are during the quoting process more likely you are to get the job done to your liking.
Check their online reviews.
We live in the Internet age, and it is very difficult for companies to hide their bad reputation nowadays. Online reviews will give you a clear idea of what to expect from a company. Check for reviews left by customers, and if you spot a significant number of negative reviews, it is a sign that you cannot trust the company to give you a great service.
On the other hand, too many positive reviews can also be suspicious. Look for detailed positive reviews where customers have mentioned what they liked about the service or the company.
It’s worth noting that Amazon and Google have both publicly stated that about half of all reviews have found to be false. The fake ones are normally all positive reviews, so be careful during this part of your research.
Listen carefully to information provided for faults.
You should pay close attention when you are gathering information from a prospective tree removal service. Sometimes, companies have no idea what they are talking about.
Ensure you are not being taken for a ride by asking plenty of questions and making sure they have a solid answer for you. It should not take too long to catch out fraud when talking about trees.
Ask for referrals
Asking for referrals and not just checking online reviews is a great way to get to know a tree company a little better before hiring.
It’s going to be easy to tell if the person on the other line is genuine and if they really do recommend the company in question.
Most companies do give obligation free estimates, but I have heard of cases where some business will try to charge a call outfeed for “tree inspection”.
Be sure to ask the tree service before they arrive at your door if they are providing a free estimate.
It is also a great time to ask if they can provide you with other credentials like qualifications and insurance papers.
10 Important Questions to Ask Your Tree Care Services Pro
In looking for help with home maintenance and repair tasks, one of the best resources, we have as property owners are recommendations from objective third parties. Any company can look good on paper and appear knowledgeable online, but the best, most telling information comes from people and sources that have no personal connection to a particular company.
My experience with a tree service professional could have gone much better had I started my search with Best Pick Reports. All Best Pick companies have been fully vetted to ensure that they provide high-quality service on every job. The objective ratings and candid feedback from customers are invaluable.
But if you’re outside of the areas served by Best Pick Reports, there’s no need to resign yourself to the possibility of a subpar experience with a tree service pro. Ask the following ten questions of every company you interview to ensure that you’re getting all the information you need before money exchanges hands and work begins.
Do you have a certified arborist on staff?
According to the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), an arborist is specially trained to provide proper tree care. You will want an arborist that is an ISA Certified Arborist. These professionals are not only tree experts. They undergo ongoing training in the field.
Which industry organizations does your company belong to?
Aside from being certified, a reputable company should belong to professional organizations specific to their field. You can ask, and most companies showcase this information on their website. This shows the company has the respect of others in the field.
May I see your proof of insurance?
This is a must. In my case, I didn’t do this at all. I didn’t even think about it. The damage caused by the tree company I hired ended up costing a lot of money that I didn’t have. A dead tree cost me the price of the tree removal (twice), the price of repairing a damaged sewer line, and the end of a great landlord/tenant relationship.
It is also vital that any company is compliant with OSHA Work Safety rules, as well as your state’s Department of Transportation regulations. Aside from the basics, each state has its own regulations. In the case of heavy equipment and underground sewer lines, the weight of vehicles and proper operation is essential. If damage does occur, a properly licensed and insured contractor carries general liability insurance to cover those damages along with a flurry of other insurance coverages to protect the workers, your home, and their business.
Will my job require a permit?
Often there are permits required (and in some cases, clearance from your homeowners’ association), and failing to meet these requirements would be a costly mistake to make. Fines from unpermitted work can be steep, and it can cause discord in your neighbourhood. Follow the law, brief yourself on the requirements in your county, and ask the company if they have applied for any required permits.
How long will you honour a quote?
Take the time to ask for a second opinion, but know how long each company you interview will honour your quote. Just like anything else, you have the right to educate yourself. You have the absolute right to explore costs. It’s your money, your home, and your time. And remember, if a company insists that you act right then and there, keep looking. High-pressure sales tactics are not a good sign.
How often do you handle this specific issue?
Ask about the specific problem you’re facing with your tree or trees. If you have a dying tree, ask if it is salvageable. Arborists are trained to bring sick trees back to health. In many cases, you can save that beautiful tree.
What is your history in the tree services industry?
When you’re weighing estimates and choosing a company, you should know how long the company has been in business. You should ask if the company has worked in the area, whether they are a chain, and if they have multiple locations. The history of the company shows their track record with clients, and their longevity certainly hints at their business practices and work performance.
Does your company use subcontractors or temporary labourers?
The use of subcontractors can help a company expand their business offerings without having to train and retain staff. There are definitely pros and cons to using subcontractors, but as a homeowner, it can lead to lost time and resources if the contractor/subcontractor relationship gets shaky.
If damage occurs to your property, subcontractors are not liable, and it can be difficult for the hiring contractor to control and adhere to quality standards when the tradesmen are not employed directly. Subcontractors don’t have a stake in your project or in the company.
What equipment will you be using?
Tree companies, as in my case, can come in with some very large and heavy equipment. If you know where your underground lines are, let the company know. If you don’t know where your systems are located underground, it is important to know what machinery will be driving on your property.
You can have your lines marked by the utility company so the tree service can avoid them, and plywood is usually used on top of lawns to protect both the lawn itself and the underlying systems.
What is your cleanup process?
Some companies will end up leaving some debris behind, while others will clean it up completely. If you want the tree or limbs mulched for your yard or cut up and stacked for firewood, be clear about your wishes and expectations from the beginning.
If at all possible, make sure that those details are written into your contract, and remember that you may pay extra for those services. It is important to know what the expectations are in your contract and whose responsibility it is to clean up after the work is done. This can be a hefty project, and if you decide you can’t take this on, make sure you know beforehand if your chosen company will complete the job by leaving your property as it was before your tree concerns.