Choosing a tree care company is similar to choosing most any professional service. The people performing the work must be knowledgeable, properly equipped, safety conscious and have the experience to perform the service.
Outlined below are a few questions that will help you select a tree-care company that provides quality work at a reasonable cost.
Does the company have current personal and property damage insurance?
To avoid liability for hazards associated with tree work, property owners should verify that service providers have insurance coverage for property damage and personal liability. Reputable companies will have insurance certificates available to show you. If there is any question, you may contact the insurance provider to verify coverage. Requiring that the tree service be insured is not a matter of trust; it is a matter of making sure there are financial resources available if something goes wrong. Tree pruning, climbing and removal are very hazardous activities, especially when working with large trees near electric lines.
Will they provide a detailed written estimate of the work needed and the cost?
Most respectable and professional companies will provide detailed work specifications and explain to you why certain work should be accomplished, along with the associated benefits and risks. Estimates with vague descriptions such as — Pruning $400 —- do not tell you much about the how, when, where and why the work should be done.
Keep in mind that good tree work is not inexpensive. A good professional must carry several kinds of insurance as well as pay for expensive and specialized equipment. Beware of estimates that fall well below the average. There may be hidden costs or the professional may not be fully insured or trained.
Is the company a member of a professional organization such as the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA)? Does the company employ ISA-Certified Arborists?
Membership in these organizations demonstrates a commitment to continuing education and a commitment to stay current with new information and technologies. Certified arborists demonstrate a level of knowledge in the art and science of tree care by passing a comprehensive examination developed by nationally recognized tree-care professionals
and having at least three years of experience. The employment of certified arborists demonstrates a commitment to quality and professionalism.
Will the work be supervised by a CT Licensed Arborist?
In Connecticut, most forms of tree work (except removals) can legally be done only by a licensed arborist. Ask who will be supervising the work and whether he or she has a current license.
Is the cost of the service reasonable?
Getting estimates from several tree care companies will give you an evaluation of costs. Be sure that each company is quoting on exactly the same work. If they recommend different approaches, make sure that you understand why.
Tree care can be rather expensive, especially on trees with large crowns. Most professional services will have similar costs. If there is a divergence of estimates, determine whether similar services are being planned. Professional work usually includes justified expenses. Services done correctly will affect the health, maintenance and longevity of your trees. Substandard work may detract from a tree’s appearance, shorten its life or increase the amount of maintenance required in later years. Although most of the cost associated with tree care is labor, running a business also includes indirect costs such as equipment, insurance coverage and professional training.
Does the company have references for similar work completed?
Tree care can be a major investment. Do not hesitate to ask for references. Companies with a good track record will gladly provide them. Seek references from neighbors, friends and business associates.