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5 Questions to Ask When Hiring Tree Service


The most recent wind storm has maybe brought your trees to mind. They don’t look damaged, but when was the last time you had them inspected or pruned? Maybe your favorite old tree could use a professional’s eye. If it comes down in the next storm, it could be a hazard.

Think of caring for your trees as the equivalent of going to the dentist for a cleaning. It’s good to have a professional take a closer look at something you see every day. Of course, if your tree is looking sick, if it has been damaged, if it needs to be removed, or if you’ve noticed it needs a good trimming, it’s always best to utilize an expert’s opinion and skills. Hiring a tree service is the safest way to go about caring for your trees. A service will have the required equipment and the experience to avoid injury, no matter what your trees need.

Better to be safe and to hire someone who will know what they’re doing. But how do you even go about looking for a tree service to hire? The important thing is to do your research and gather several quotes.

As a side note: just because you receive four quotes and one is much lower than the others doesn’t necessarily mean you should automatically choose the lowest. There may be a reason it’s so low, and it may be a major detriment rather than a “really good deal.” That one tree service may have left something critically important off the estimate. Maybe they won’t haul away the debris once they’re done trimming the tree. Be sure they understand exactly what you’re looking for regarding the services you require so that you can compare quotes on an apples-to-apples basis.

Here are five questions you must ask when hiring a tree service.

Will the service provide documentation about their business, including certificates of insurance, a copy of their work contract, and their licensing?

This will show that they mean business. An experienced tree service will be able to give this to you as a matter of course. Tree services must be properly insured. You want to make sure you won’t be liable for any damage, accidents, or injuries that arise while the service is being carried out or afterward. Make sure your estimator mentions safety equipment for their workers as well. This includes personal protective equipment such as safety glasses, earplugs, and hard hats.

Will they provide a detailed estimate of the project?

Written estimates are standard in any industry, but the level of detail is important here. Be sure that the tree service representative understands what services you’re asking for and expect. If they think they’re showing up for a tree trimming and instead find a tree that needs complete removal, your estimated price is going to change dramatically.

How will this tree service approach the job? What equipment will they use?vernon-imel-5-questions-to-ask-when-hiring-tree-service

This is a good chance for you to show the estimator sprinkler heads or irrigation systems they need to be aware of. You’ll also want to go over this with the tree service technicians on the day of the scheduled service. After the work is completed, you don’t want to discover your sprinklers require repair afterward.

You should also be aware if there’s an access problem that requires the technician to drive heavy machinery across your lawn because there’s no other way. You may not be able to move your prized flowerbeds, but you can at least try to minimize the damage to them (and prepare yourself in case there’s no other way around them). Be sure to check out what their policy is if they damage something of yours—what if that sprinkler head does get run over? While you’re thinking about it, take pictures of everything before the tree service appointment so that there’s a record in case something is damaged.

Lastly, how will they clean up after the job? Will they take away the debris? Will they use machinery such as a leaf blower? It’s always good to know what kind of noise levels to expect, in case you have someone in the house who might object to that. Maybe let your neighbors know ahead of time as well to avoid any unpleasant scenes if someone’s expecting a quiet morning. A tree service worth their salt will have the tools they need. You’ll be able to rest assured they know what they need and how to use it for your project.

Does the company appear professional?

If the company doesn’t appear to care much for appearances, they may not care much about your property or your project either. Take a look at their website—photos can tell you a lot about what to expect. Do the workers wear uniforms with the company logo on it? You can see a little of how they run their business based on these appearances. You can also ask the service for recent referrals or testimonials you may follow up on. Ask recent customers how satisfied they were with the work completed on their property.

Do they have a certified arborist on staff?

This is one thing you don’t want subcontracted out. If a company employs a full-time arborist or two, it demonstrates that they care about the trees and not just about their bottom line. Tree care is an art and a science. Having an expert is important for knowing the difference between whether your tree can be salvaged or whether it needs complete removal. The prices of each of these services will differ, and so will the amount of stress they might cause you.

An arborists’ expertise also protects your property value—well-maintained trees increase your home’s curb appeal. You can relax knowing that an arborist has the interests of your trees in their highest regard. It’s a win-win all around.

Now that you have a good idea of how to start hiring a tree service, why not give us a try? Call Vernon Imel Tree Service at 503-812-8967 or visit our website. We’d love to answer these five questions and any others you might have!