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Top Ten Things to Consider When Hiring a Tree Company
Whom to hire for a service professional to provide work on your residence can be a difficult decision. There are many variables and factors, especially when it comes to difficult and sometimes dangerous jobs like tree service. This article explores a top ten list of things to consider when hiring a tree service company. These articles are very informative and important to know when getting estimates for tree work.
1 – Security
Safety is the most important aspect of tree work to consider when hiring a tree company. With the risky nature of our business, a safety-first culture and tone at a tree company is critical. Make sure the tree company you hire has a certified tree care safety professional on staff, follows industry safety standards, safety policy, and the company holds regular safety meetings.
2 – Certified, licensed and fully insured
Another important thing to look for in a qualified tree care company is that the company is fully insured with workers’ compensation and liability insurance. The tree company must have a minimum of 1,000,000 each occurrence and 2,000,000 aggregate for General Liability and 500,000 for workers compensation. It is unwise for a homeowner to hire a tree service that is not insured for many reasons, the most important being – do you value your home, car and belongings? If so, then make sure you hire a company that is fully insured!
Being licensed and certified are both equally important. Most of the time, it is OK for a tree company to hold a business license in the city or county where they are located, but some cities and counties also require licensing in their jurisdiction. For certification, both ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association) certify individuals in Arboriculture. A tree care company you are hiring must have an ISA Certified Arborist on staff and a TCIA CTSP Certified Tree Care Safety Professional.
3 – Reputation and longevity
Any service company that performs work on a residence should have a good reputation. There are “so-called” tree professionals out there who will take your money and run. Never pay a tree service upfront for a job, not even a deposit. Deposits are frowned upon by true professionals in our industry. To determine if the company you are considering has a good reputation, some good questions to ask are: How long have you been in business? How many certified arborists do you have on staff? Can you provide references? Do you own your equipment, especially your crane? Another way to determine a company’s reputation is to look at websites such as Angie’s List or Consumer Checkbook. However, the best way is to talk to your friends and neighbors – chances are they’ll have stories to tell, good and bad! A company like JL Tree Service Inc, which has been in business for over 35 years and has worked for both homeowners, businesses and municipalities, is likely to provide quality tree service.
4 – Equipment
We all remember the old saying; it’s not the arrow but the indian! Well, this is definitely true as woodworking requires a special talent. However, good equipment is absolutely necessary to get the job done efficiently and safely. Make sure a tree company has equipment such as bucket and chipper trucks, shears, flatbeds, chain saws, etc. that are relatively newer and well-maintained.
5 – Employees
Ask how many employees a tree company has. Since tree work is very dangerous and requires special talent, it is critical that the right guys are there to do the job right. Who wants an amateur or unskilled worker to fell a large oak tree on their house? Not me! A good and reputable tree company should have at least a few top climbers with over 2 years of experience in large removals. A company like JL Tree Service Inc has over 18 top tree climbers with years of experience in large removals and crane removals, 3 certified arborists and 1 certified safety professional on staff – that’s what you want to look for.
6 – Location
How far a company is from your location may not seem very important, but it is. A tree company appraiser should factor in the cost of travel time as part of the cost. If the company is close to your residence, of course the cost should be better as the travel time is less. A tree company located within 10-15 miles of your home is probably sufficient. We all know fuel prices aren’t cheap these days!
7 – Industry Standards
The tree care industry has OSHA and ANSI standards to follow such as guidelines for safety, general work procedures, tree pruning and more. Make sure the tree service you hire follows ANSI standard pruning. There are many arborists who prune trees improperly and recommend poor tree maintenance. There are many different types of trees and each tree responds differently to a different set of tree pruning methods. Make sure a certified arborist or qualified professional gives their professional opinion. Capping and cutting trees too hard are examples of improper tree care.
8 – Accept all forms of payment
Be careful who you hire. Some tree trimmers who drive by looking for your business are most likely uninsured, only accept cash, and are unprofessional. Many tree companies will provide a free estimate. If you get 3 or 4 estimates, they will vary widely. For example, you can get a low bid for $1,800 and a very high bid for $4,000. A few others will be close and between around $2,800 and $3,200 – these are most likely the two companies you’ll want to give a lot of consideration. It’s not always best to go with the lowest quote for tree trimming, as there are many factors discussed in this article. Take a closer look at all the offers and ask questions! A company like JL Tree Service Inc accepts all forms of payment including all credit cards.
9 – Services provided
If you are a customer with a good amount of tree work to complete, make sure you are hiring an actual tree company. There are many ‘tree cutters’ out there who do not have the proper insurance for tree work. Be careful who you hire, especially for larger and more dangerous trees. Most professional and reputable tree companies offer landscape related services such as emergency tree service, tree removal, tree pruning, stump grinding, tree fertilization, tree planting, tree preservation, landscaping, maintenance of terrain, snow removal, etc. .
10 – Recycle wood and waste
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten a call from a customer or municipality saying – “Can you go give me a price to haul the trash that a contractor left on the curb?”. Yes, a random tree trimmer cut down a tree and didn’t include wood and debris hauling in their price, but didn’t tell the homeowner – that’s why the price was so good! Now the homeowner has to deal with the garbage removal because the City or County will not pick up the garbage that a contractor leaves behind. Make sure that hauling or leaving wood and debris is clear and written in the proposal.
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