Even for serious yard care DIYers, there are jobs that are just too big. Tree care is one of those things that sometimes calls for the pros. For safety and convenience both, it’s often better to look for a tree service that can come in and handle the big jobs.
But how do you choose a company that’s going to do the job right? Anyone could go to the local home improvement store and buy a chainsaw, after all. But that doesn’t mean they’re competent. We all know that some people tend to, well, exaggerate their abilities.
On the other hand, there are great companies around that will do a fantastic job for a fair price. Let’s talk a bit about how to find them.
The best way to start looking for a tree service is by asking around. Check with friends and family. Ask for recommendations on Facebook.
Odds are, at least a couple people will have hired someone in the past couple years. That’s a great jumping-off point in your search.
You might also see other properties in your area where work has recently been done. If you see the homeowner or business owner around, you could check with them, too, even if they aren’t a personal contact.
Your own contacts are great, and they carry a lot of weight. At the same time, it’s not every day that someone needs to hire someone to trim or take down a tree. So you might not have much success that way.
But online reviews are another great source, and you’ll get far more information. Yelp, Facebook, and others gather the opinions of far more satisfied (or dissatisfied) customers. You’ll also be able to get a taste of the company’s customer service based on their responses.
Once you’ve found a few candidates, you’ll want to make sure they have all the proper licensing.
Requirements will vary by state and locality. You want to be sure they have a proper business license and any other requirements to do this type of work.
Sure, there are some qualified amateurs out there. But if something goes wrong, you’ll have little recourse. And your homeowner’s insurance may not cover accidents, either.
Speaking of insurance, be sure to ask about it!
To get a license, proof of insurance is required. However, make sure you understand what’s covered. Of course, the company should be covered against injury to their employees and equipment. They should also have coverage in case of damage done to your property.
That coverage for your property should be rather broad. Don’t think only about your house and car. It should also include aspects like your driveway, grass, and other areas that could be damaged by heavy equipment.
Experience and Training
You’ll also want to be sure that you’re dealing with an experienced outfit that has properly-trained people doing the job.
How long have they been in business? It can be ok to hire even a new company – as long as they have experienced people on their team.
Check out if the company or employees have any certifications, too. These aren’t mandatory but they might make you feel more comfortable.
The Tree Care Industry Association is a major certification agency.
Another plus is if there is an arborist on staff. They might even be certified by the International Society of Arboriculture. Again, this isn’t an absolute necessity, but it’s an advantage.
Equipment and Safety
Another step is to find out what equipment the company has, and what they’ll be using for your job.
Do they need to use heavy machines or vehicles that will cross your lawn or garden? What kind of damage to the area can you expect? How can they mitigate it?
Also, how noisy will the job be? Heavy chainsaws or running early on a Saturday morning might not sit well with the neighbors.
Finally, you want a company that uses all appropriate safety equipment. That includes hard hats, harnesses and whatever is required by OSHA (or your national occupational safety organization).
Estimate and Bids
Once you’ve narrowed down your choices, it’s time to find out what they’ll cost.
Of course, no one wants to overspend. At the same time, be wary of bids that seem too low; sometimes, you get what you pay for!
Ask for a detailed bid. Of course, you’ll have to explain your needs. From there, hopefully they’ll come out to see what needs to be done. As professionals, they should be able to tell you what’s possible and recommended.
They should also be willing to spell out what they will do and how long it will take. Not only do you want the job done well, you want it done in a timely fashion. That can be especially important if you’re dealing with diseased or dead trees or branches that may present a safety hazard.
Sometimes relying on a professional tree service is the best option when trees are large or in awkward positions on your property. Be sure to check out the options in your area and make sure they come well-prepared for the job at hand. A job well-done can be a great way to improve your yard!