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8 Questions to ask your Tree Service Company

With a wide range of services, Mister Tree specializes in what you need from daily maintenance to the unexpected.

While online reviews, word-of-mouth, and your initial impressions are important, be sure you’re asking these essential questions as you vet businesses.

Do you anticipate any additional damage to my yard/home?

Find out how the company plans to protect your property—don’t just assume here. It’s not uncommon for a less-than-reputable tree service company to leave lawns littered with dangerous branches, stumps, and holes, with permanent damage from heavy equipment and extensive digging. If the company anticipates extensive work, confirm how they’ll leave your property when they leave—and hold them to it.

Can you provide me with a current certificate of insurance?

You MUST ask this question every time. A quality—and professional—tree service company will have an up-to-date certificate of insurance at the ready and will be happy to email you a copy immediately. This document is very important and, should something go wrong, will ensure you aren’t liable for damage, accidents or injuries as a result of the service providers’ work—or negligence.

Do you use spikes to climb trees?

Sure, some companies still do but, often, this equipment can leave wounds in trees—in other words, they can cause more harm than good in the short- and long-term. If you can, avoid these providers.

How long do you anticipate this job will take?

While factors like weather can throw a project timeline, be sure to ask for a rough sense of how quickly your project will be completed. This paired with a detailed, itemized estimate will also help you compare bids side-by-side, it’s not uncommon for one provider to consider a project a quick-hit and another to estimate hours and hours or, even, days. In that vein, be wary of any company that provides a very low estimate here as well. There’s nothing worse than being told tree removal will take four hours to find out it’s now taking four days. Ask for an estimate and be clear on what happens if the company goes beyond that time frame -and how, specifically, it impacts your budget.

Who will be completing the work? Do you use arborists-and are they on staff?

It’s important to determine if you’ll have someone from the company onsite daily, or if they’ll be outsourcing the entire project. Beyond that, though, who will be your main point of contact? Will that person be consistent from now through the end of your work? From there, it’s also good to ask if the company has arborists on staff (Read Reasons To Hire A Certified Arborist). These staffers should have solid credentials—you don’t want someone hacking away at your tree with no legitimate certifications or, worse, hands-on training and experience.

Can I see your references?

Again, this should be a non-issue for truly professional tree service companies. Ask for references and be sure to call at least three. In addition to online reviews, this will give you a sense of their work, work ethic, and general approach to their jobs. Be sure to focus on recent work—talking to a homeowner who worked with a tree servicing company years ago won’t tell you much about their current workflow or business practices.

Will you provide a detailed and itemized estimate?

Even if your task seems simple—stump removal, let’s say—always ask for a detailed and fully itemized estimate right out of the gate. The reality is, tree servicing isn’t a one-shot project. Something that seems simple—that stump removal, for example—requires landscapes and/or other experts, labor, hauling and more. See a flat amount on an estimate and it’s hard to determine if you’re getting a fair price and if there’s any unnecessary “padding” built it. Having it all broken out line-by-line will give you a good sense of what’s what while enabling you to compare apples to apples as you’re reviewing multiple bids. That said, the lowest bid isn’t always the best bet. Dig in and ask questions and try to understand companies who fall towards the top and the bottom price-wise. Sometimes there’s a reason.

Can you share a copy of your work contract?

Again, for a pro, this is a no-brainer. Ask for a copy of their work agreement so there’s no confusion when your contract arrives. If you have questions or concerns, ask—it’s better to work these issues out early on versus waiting until you’re ready to start work.

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With a wide range of services, Mister Tree specializes in what you need from daily maintenance to the unexpected

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