Top 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring a Tree Care Service

When it comes to tree care, some jobs are too big and too dangerous, or just need professional expertise to keep the tree healthy. My rule of thumb: unless you can work with both feet on terra firma, you should hire a professional tree service. Working at height requires proper training and protection due to a number of risky variables such as electrical wires, wildlife, nearby fences, buildings or homes. Of course, hiring a tree service comes with its own set of risks. To get your money’s worth and protect your interests, you need to ask your tree care professional these important questions and make sure you understand and agree with their answers.

  1. Will they provide an up-to-date certificate of insurance and a copy of their work contract? This should be your first and most important question. You want to ensure they are properly insured and that you will not be liable for damage, accidents or injuries.
  1. What are their credentials? Try to hire a company with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Business or one employing a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP). Will they be working in proximity to electrical conductors? If so, they will need to be Approved Line-Clearance Arborists.
  2. Can they provide a list of references? Any quality company will be happy to share a list of satisfied customers. Ask for customers that they have done work for in the past month or so; you don’t want ancient history.
  3. Will they give you a detailed estimate? Get written estimates from three equal companies to compare prices and understand the scope of the job, which leads into the next question.
  4. How will the job be approached and what equipment will they use? You don’t want massive power equipment driving over your lawn and flowerbeds causing collateral damage unnecessarily. If they are going across your lawn, make sure they know the locations of sprinkler heads or other objects that may be damaged. What is their policy if they damage something and is it acceptable to you? It may be a good idea to photograph the area before work begins so you have a record in case there is damage. Make sure you understand how they will clean up during and after the job.

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