How To Choose The Right Tree Trimming Company

Mature trees on your property add beauty to the yard and may even help reduce cooling costs in the summer. When you think about home maintenance, you might not think about your trees, but they also require upkeep. Vintage Tree Care states that regular tree maintenance reduces the occurrence of broken branches, which can damage nearby structures and cars. If you have large trees that hang over power or other utility lines leading to your house, neglecting to prune them properly can result in costly repairs. Although the power lines running from the utility pole to your house, known as the service drop, are the responsibility of the utility company, any damage done to your electrical system beyond that point due to a damaged power line is your responsibility, according to The Illuminating Company.

As with any type of maintenance, the cost to remove trees from your yard, or to just trim them, will vary depending on their size and location. You can expect a large tree that requires special equipment to cost more than a smaller tree with easy access, for example. Prices also vary from one company to the next, and although it's tempting, we all know from experience that the lowest price is not always the best option. Here are some things to consider before hiring a tree trimming company.

Are they properly insured?

As you search for the right company to maintain or remove a tree from your property, the first thing to do is check the status of their liability and worker's compensation insurance, states Leaf & Limb. It might seem like a trivial step, but it's important to request a certificate of insurance be sent to you directly from the company's insurance office. This process will give you peace of mind in case someone is injured while working on your property. If the company is not fully insured, you would be liable if anything happened.

Even if the company has the right insurance, it's a good idea to talk to them about their safety policies. Regardless of whether you're free of any liability, you'll want to make sure that the companies you're considering can explain in detail the safety equipment they require, like eye protection and hard hats. If any special equipment is needed, make sure the contractors have the right licensing to use that equipment.

Do they have the right equipment?

If you need to have a tree removed from your front yard near the street, a contractor should be able to rely on equipment that is standard for the industry. However, Green Vista Tree Care notes that special equipment will be necessary to remove or trim a tree in a location that is difficult to reach. Small or heavily wooded lots can be a challenge for tree removal because of narrow paths. Likewise, trees very close to a structure or power lines require special equipment to mitigate the risk of causing extensive damage. In these situations, it is vital to get an on-site assessment so the contractor understands exactly what is required. Ask them what special equipment is necessary and if they have everything they need to do the job safely.

Complications and special equipment usually mean a higher price. If you have had a tree removed before, do not assume that a more difficult tree will cost the same. The tree removal process can be entirely different depending on the circumstances.

Will they put your quote in writing?

A quote is no good if you do not have it in writing. There is no recourse if the contractor shows up demanding a different price than what they quoted you verbally, states Green Topps. A refusal to give you a written quote is a red flag that the contractor may be acting unscrupulously with a plan to rip you off.

Having quotes in writing will also help you compare different companies to make your final decision. The more detailed the quote, the better, according to Arbortec Tree Service. You may assume that getting rid of pesky tree stumps is included, but when the day comes and the stump remains, it may be because it wasn't part of the standard service they quoted you. With detailed quotes in writing, you can go through each one and decide what services you need and what you do not. If you're having a tree removed from the back of your property, perhaps you do not want to pay an extra few hundred dollars to remove the stump. Attention to details is what will help you save money while getting the exact services you need.

Do they have good reviews?

We check reviews to help us choose everything from where to get the best burger to the most reliable dry cleaner in town. If reviews are useful for deciding where to go to dinner, they are even more insightful for making big, expensive decisions like selecting a tree trimming company. Companies that have received a lot of negative or moderate reviews have many customers that were not entirely satisfied with the results they got. In particular, if any review mentions safety hazards or injuries on the job, that's a company to skip, advises Evergreen Tree Services.

Online reviews, like those on Google or Facebook, are definitely helpful, but so is asking your network of friends. If you know someone that has recently had some work done to their trees, ask them about their experience and whether they would recommend the contractor they hired. Personal experiences or references from trusted friends or family members are an excellent way to find the right tree trimming company, or at least figure out which ones to avoid.

Do they have a local office?

Unfortunately, a tree removal company can sometimes be a scam. This is particularly true in areas where there has been a recent natural disaster, for example, a hurricane or tornado where the demand for tree services is high. Referred to as "woodchucks," according to Fairfax County, these thieves often target the elderly, looking for signs like handicap tags on cars or wheelchair ramps to the house. There are a number of different ways scammers work. Sometimes they take a deposit and never return to do the job, other times they do some work poorly or without the proper equipment. Regardless of the scam, selecting one of these fly-by-night companies will not give you the results for which you believe you are paying.

You can easily avoid getting ripped off by using a local, well-established company. Angi recommends only considering companies that attract customers through advertisements rather than hiring someone going door-to-door seeking work. By selecting a local company and following the other tips on this list, you should be able to get the best deal on the exact services you need from a reputable tree trimming service.