Hiring a specialist without specialized knowledge can be difficult. How can people feel certain that they aren’t getting bad advice or being taken advantage of with exorbitant costs?
Hiring tree contractors is no exception, but there are some strategies to help ensure you’re making informed decisions.
- Seek multiple quotes: Compare cost, timelines, and recommended action between each contractor you contact. A price that seems too good to be true or a company that recommends removal of the tree regardless of its condition or context may not always be the best option.
- Insurance: Verify that the company holds current insurance coverage to protect yourself if a person is injured while working on your property, or your property is damaged.
- International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certification: Working arborists are not required to earn a Certified Arborist credential through the ISA, but the certification does help ensure that the arborist has good foundational knowledge and upholds ISA values. Local ISA Certified Arborists can be found using the following link: https://www.treesaregood.org/findanarborist/findanarborist
- Seek reviews: Online reviews are a fine place to start, but asking local family, friends, neighbors, and Homeowners’ Associations which companies they’ve hired can provide even more detailed information.
- Ask the contractor questions: Will large equipment be used? If so, how will the rest of the landscape be protected from damage? Asking why certain recommendations are being made can also shed light on an arborist’s intentions. It may reveal whether they’re acting in the best interest of the tree, or in the best interest of their own time and pocketbook.
- Make sure utilities are marked, if needed: If there’s any subterranean activity (stump grinding, trenching, etc.), ensure that underground utilities will be marked before work begins.
- Stay clear of work zones: Working on trees can be very dangerous—especially for those not trained in safety practices. Once you’ve settled on a contractor, keep people and pets far away from the work zone until the job is completed.