July 24, 2024

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BBB: Tips for hiring a tree service professional | Business

If you are one of the hundreds of East Texas residents who lost trees this storm season, you may have encountered that some of the damage is too great and dangerous to tackle by oneself. Whether it’s emergency removal, routine maintenance, or specialized care, choosing the right tree service professional is crucial.

BBB provides the following tips to guide you in hiring a qualified arborist or tree service company to ensure your trees receive the best care possible.

“When it comes to caring for your trees, hiring a professional can outweigh the costs of doing it yourself,” said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas. “In addition to the various safety hazards which could occur, inadequate tree care could lead to pest and disease spread and can have a negative impact on the surrounding environment.”

Hire a Certified Arborist when possible. Titles like “arborist” or “tree surgeon” don’t require special certificates or training. A Certified Arborist, on the other hand, is someone who has completed training with The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). ISA Certified Arborists receive continuing education and are well-versed in tree trimming, care, and removal. Go to bbb.org to find a certified arborist in your area or verify ISA credentials. Having certified arborists indicates a higher level of expertise, and you want to ensure you leave your trees in the best hands.

Ask if clean-up is included. Inquire about how they plan to clean up debris after completing the job. If you remove limbs or cut down a tree, you may need help dealing with the wood and/ or stump left behind. Be sure to ask if this is included and how much it costs.

Find out about licensing and permits. Depending on your local regulations, certain tree services may require permits. Check with your city and county and your homeowners’ association to find out about any relevant permit or licensing requirements.. Ensure that the company will handle the permitting process if needed. Fines for unpermitted work are expensive.

Get proof of insurance. Your homeowner’s insurance isn’t enough to protect you if someone gets injured doing tree work on your property. Always verify the company has personal and property damage liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance. This will protect you and the company if something goes awry during the project. You can further inquire if workers on the job site are covered (subcontractors may need to hold their insurance, for example) and must use personal protective equipment. A truly professional company will consider the safety of its workers a top priority. This is crucial to ensure that you will not be held liable for any injuries to workers or damages to your property.

Get multiple estimates. Once you’ve identified a few potential companies, it’s time to request quotes. Aim to get at least three quotes in writing and compare them based on the prices and what’s included in the service. Also, ask for comprehensive written estimates outlining the scope of work, costs, and potential additional charges. Make sure you understand everything that is included in the service before making a final hiring decision. Use BBB’s Get a Quote tool to get started.

Always sign a written contract. Never permit work to start without a signed, written contract which includes start and completion dates, exact costs, specific work to be done, the means that will be used to protect your property, and what cleanup and debris removal will be done. Read the fine print carefully.

Pay when the job is complete. Never make a large payment or deposit upfront. And pay by check or with a credit card for added protection.

“Never pay in full for a tree removal or tree trimming project”, David Diaz, owner of David’s Tree Service, advises. “Instead, stagger your payments according to work stages, making the final payment when the work is completed to your satisfaction.”

Look for The Sign. By hiring a BBB Accredited arborist, you’re investing in the expertise necessary to enhance the health of your trees and the beauty of your landscaping.

For more information:

Go to BBB.org to find tree services, tree removal, damage restoration, gutter repair, electricians, flood emergency other contractors near you. Use BBB’s free Get a Quote feature to get bids from BBB Accredited Businesses in your area. Check out more information on landscaping and tree services on BBB’s landscaping HQ.

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