Questions to Ask When Hiring a Tree Cutting Service

It is important to take the time and do your research before you hire a tree service professional. Asking these questions will give you an idea on who the best company for the job is.

When it comes to hiring a tree cutting service, it’s probably not a good idea to sign on with the first company that you talk to or the one who offers you the cheapest price right off the bat. Tree work is highly technical and potentially dangerous so you need to make sure to find a trustworthy professional to make sure the job gets done, you get your money’s worth, and that your family and property are in safe hands. Reputable companies understand that clients require information before deciding to hire them and that asking questions is the best way to do this.

Asking these questions during the hiring process will help you assess whether the company fits your needs:

1. Are they licensed to operate in your state of residence? Is the license current? Can you have a copy of the license?

Reputable tree cutting service providers ensure that they have the current license to operate in the state wherein they are located. They are ready and willing to provide potential clients with a copy of their current license. If you come across anyone who is hesitant or flat out refuses to give you a copy of their documentation, you should strike them from your list.

2. Do they have liability insurance, as well as worker’s compensation insurance? Are they up-to-date? Can they provide you with a copy of their insurance?
Be wary of companies who say they have insurance but cannot provide you with the documents to support their claim. It is crucial that they have both liability insurance and worker’s compensation insurance, not only for their protection, but also for yours. They protect you from being liable in case of accidents or damages that may happen during the tree cutting process.

3. Are they certified?

Companies that have credentials from either the International Society of Arboriculture or the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) have undergone specific training in their field of work and have the necessary experience to fulfill the requirements of the job as opposed to someone with a landscaper’s license.

4. Will they provide you with a written estimate and work contract?

A company on the up-and-up won’t hesitate to you give you a written estimate. You should make sure to check that the estimate is detailed and includes not only a rough calculation of the job cost based on the information you gave them, but also what other services are covered, such as stump removal and clean-up (some companies include this in the cost while others do not). The estimate should also include how long the work will take, especially with larger projects. It makes sense to get more than one estimate, so you can compare services, cost and length of time it will take to complete the job. Beware of companies that offer services for a lot lower than others; cheap does not always equal a job well done. The duration of the work will depend on the complexity of the job you need done. Be wary of a company that promises to complete the task speedily without gaining a proper understanding of the work. Also, stay away from those that ask for payment up-front. You should never pay for services you haven’t received.

Should you decide to hire a particular company, they should provide you with a written contract detailing everything that you and the company have agreed upon.

5. Can they provide a list of references?

This is something that reputable tree service companies expect potential clients to ask, so most will have a readily available list to facilitate your decision-making process. Be specific and ask for clients that they have worked for in the past month or so which will give you an idea of their current performance. Once you get the list, make sure to call their customers and ask about the work they had done, how professionally the job was handled, how long the it took to complete the work and how satisfied they were with the service the company rendered.

6. How will they approach the job, and what equipment will they use?

The words “topping” and “lion’s tailing” are red flags and any company who practice these should not be considered. “Topping” refers to the indiscriminate removal of healthy top branches in an effort to reduce the size of the tree. “Lion’s tailing” is the over-pruning of a tree by removing branches from the interior of the crown, leaving only the terminal leaves (which makes it look like the tuft of a lion’s tail). This can weaken trees and increase the risk of branch failure.

Spikes should never be used to climb trees unless they will be removed. Spikes create puncture marks that can leave the tree vulnerable to insects and disease.

7. Do they have proper safety equipment?

Reputable companies place importance on the safety of their workers. Their employees should be using hard hats and safety glasses or helmets with face shields, and protective gloves, clothing and boots.

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