If you are a homeowner, there is a good chance at some point you will need the consultation and/or services of a professional tree care company.  There are certain things to look for when hiring a tree service and we’d like to inform you what you should expect from a qualified professional as well as point out some pitfalls and red flags you should avoid.

First, a good tree service should meet with you personally and answer any questions you have. They should provide you with a clear proposal outlining the scope of work.  The proposal should be comprehensive including cleanup and any unique details that pertain to the job.  For example, if you have a tree perilously close to your second story roof, there should be some mention in the proposal that special care will be given to the building structure, that limbs should be tied and methodically brought down to minimize property damage.

In the tree care industry, the ANSI A300 Standards are the generally accepted guidelines for tree care.  Any tree care proposal from a reliable provider should reference these industry standards in their proposal and indicate on the proposal that their tree care crew members are trained and adhere to the ANSI Standards.

Bottom line, if you have to ask for a proposal or insist on having one presented to you, you are probably not dealing with a reputable company.  The proposal is your contract and one that is well written including ANSI standards reflects a professional tree service qualified to do your work.

Does the tree service employ an ISA certified arborist? An arborist is trained in the planting, care and maintenance of trees, shrubs and other plants.  Certification with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) is the gold standard for the arborist and reflects a dedication and commitment to the practice of tree care. Your tree service should have or be closely affiliated with an ISA certified arborist.

How long has the company been in business?  Look for an experienced tree care provider and beware of a new company or one that is unwilling to provide references and phone numbers.

Does the company train its workers and employees in both tree care safety and the ANSI standards for tree care?  Tree maintenance requires climbing in and working around trees and can be very hazardous if safety is not a priority.  A properly trained tree crew works like a highly calibrated and finely tuned machine.  The definition of teamwork, ground workers and tree climbers must communicate with each other at all times.  Proper leadership in the field works its way down to each worker performing an essential, dedicated task without which the job cannot be done safely or effectively.

Does the business have a web site, and if so, how does it stack up? An established tree care company should certainly have a professional web site outlining and describing all of their tree services.  A website is a company’s digital brochure, and one that is well maintained and properly organized reflects a business with solid leadership and management expertise.

Finally, you should ensure the tree company is adequately covered in both general liability and workers’ compensation insurance. Ask for copies of their policies and look for $1,000,000 general liability and $1,000,000 automobile liability insurance policies.