Tips on Hiring a Professional Tree Service

A tree limb crashes through a window, sprinkling glass all over the living room carpet! Surely an occurrence to avoid, right? But what if you need to have tree limbing work done in order to let more sun into a garden area? Even the most ardent do it yourselfer will probably want to defer to a tree service professional on this one.

The problem is: How do you locate tree service professionals? And once you've located them, how do you separate the wheat from the chaff for a difficult tree limbing job? Follow our helpful advice below:

  • Search for a quality professional. Certainly, an all-purpose handyman driving around a neighborhood in a pickup truck with a chainsaw and hollering out sales pitches may not be suitable for work demanding such a high level of responsibility. Professionalism is key.
  • Request a contract and written estimate. Be wary of hiring a so-called tree service professional requesting payment in advance or who wishes to begin work without having drawn up a free estimate of the cost. In fact, consumers should demand not only an estimate but also a written contract, laying out precisely what the tree limbing job entails and for how much.
  • Check the equipment they're using. If limbing work needs to be performed on a tree whose appearance is important to you, insist that the tree service professional whom you hire climb the tree using ropes or ascend with an aerial lift rather than using climbing spikes. Spikes cause damage to the cambium of a tree.
  • Make sure the arborist has insurance. For dangerous work such as this, the tree service professional’s demonstrated possession of adequate insurance may well be the consumer’s primary consideration. Request to see certificates of liability and workman’s compensation insurance, and check that they are current. Phone the insurance company to verify current policy information.
  • Are they using proper precautions?  Ascertain how prepared the tree service professional is to take appropriate action in the event that a mishap occurs. For instance, someone removing limbs situated directly over wires leading into your house should have experience in splicing together damaged wires. A tree service professional controls the fall of such limbs using ropes. Should an accident still occur, however, you don't want the inconvenience entailed by having to call a utility company.

Finally, it never hurts to do some asking around on your own. If word of mouth spreads fast, then tales of woe spread like wildfire. If a neighbor knows a friend of a friend who once had a tree limb arrive unexpectedly on the living room carpet, accompanied by a shower of glass, chances are you'll hear about it. And if this accident was the result of a botched limbing job by a so-called tree service professional, chances are you'll find out who was responsible. But anyone worth hiring benefits from word of mouth and will be glad to provide a list of phone numbers of local clients satisfied with services rendered. As when dealing with any professional who will be working around your home, don't be afraid to ask for references.