Using a Tree Service

There are several things to consider when selecting tree care services.


Trees are biologically complex, constantly undergoing changes. They are subject to similar problems that afflict us, such as bacterial, viral, and fungal infection. Due to their complexities of structure and form, correcting problems is often a challenging task. Diagnosis and choosing a course of treatment usually should be done by professionals. It is helpful to remember that “when you pay peanuts, expect monkeys.” The cheapest price is not the primary factor when looking for the services of a heart surgeon. Similarly, the lowest price is not what is in the best interest of your trees. Price is only one of many factors to consider when selecting a tree service. If a crew is working out of the back of a pickup, it is more than likely that they do not have the proper experience, training, insurance, workers compensation, licenses etc. They are able to work for less as their overhead is minimal. Most arborists encourage potential customers to get other estimates with similarly qualified tree services; those prices are usually similar.


Estimates should be given in writing. For many tree service companies, the written estimate functions like a contract. Although it is generally wise to sign contracts for major jobs, often medium and small size jobs often use the written estimate as an informal contract. The written estimate should itemize all the proposed work. It should be very specific: does the price for a removal include disposal of firewood, or does pruning mean a 5% or 25% reduction of the canopy. Itemizing each task separately is helpful because customers often change the order and delete or add items prior to the completion of the work. Clear communication on estimates reduces confusion such as, “I thought this was also included in the price.” If the estimate states that the canopy will be raised to 10 ft in height, then there is little room for disagreement. Specific numbers and measurements prevent potential conflicts. If extra items are to be added to the original estimate, then those should also be written down. A reputable tree service does not add extra charges after the fact, such as dump fees.


Major pruning or removal in inherently a dangerous job, and property damage is always a concern. When trimming or removing trees, care must be given to protecting buildings, landscape and paved areas from damage. Skilful roping techniques when lowering branches are extremely important. A good tree service rarely has mishaps, and if damage to property occurs, they will correct the problem. It is important to note that many companies, particularly those without insurance, simply walk away from the job in situations of excessive damage. This is another reason that it is wise to deal with an established tree service company that is concerned about its reputation within the community. Tree services that work occasionally in a particular community are often less concerned about frustrated customers as they can readily move on to another area. It is important to make sure that people working on your property are fully covered with current insurance. Homeowners can be held liable if someone who is uninsured gets injured on their property. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to make sure that they have checked for insurance coverage.