Discerning Legitimacy within Tree Companies

Be aware of the dangers and risks of hiring just any tree service to handle your tree project.  This article touches on price, equipment, and more when it comes to identifying a legit company or one that may cause more harm than good for your wallet, property, or the trees they work on.

“The other tree guy said…”

…Their “price” is the lowest and/or cheapest

We see this all too often after talking with many homeowners who have been wronged or manipulated by a seemingly genuine contractor. Low pricing is a red flag that you’ll experience buyer’s remorse caused by many of the issues listed below. Unfortunately, once a project is underway, some contractors may demand a higher price in order to finish the work. In the end, what seems like a great deal can often turn into spending more money than you initially thought.

…They can “trim” my tree or give it a “haircut”

Improperly pruning trees can permanently damage them, cause them to become a safety hazard, kill them, or all of the above. Some tree services are only able to climb using climbing ‘spikes’, which will cause damage and entry wounds where disease and insects may then enter the tree. This not only is damaging to the tree, but can create cost issues for caring for the tree later on.

Questions to consider with pruning:

  • Did the company specify which type of pruning they would perform, and do they prune according to ANSI A300 standards?
  • Is the company aware of diseases that are spread by cutting, and the proper way to sanitize their tools?

If not, you put yourself at risk of accidentally killing the tree, or the tree becoming a greater hazard down the road. This can create additional costs for the future if corrective pruning or removal is required.

…They have “safe” equipment

Unfortunately, every year across Pennsylvania, cranes, bucket trucks, and lifts at incompetent companies fail. In some cases, this equipment collapses causing damage to homes and nearby power-lines. This is due to mechanical issues, lack of inspections, and stability issues from improperly trained employees. At Cutting Edge Tree Professionals, our team of professionally trained staff have proper licenses and certifications for the equipment we operate. We also have a robust maintenance and repair program. As we care for our equipment, you can be sure that your project is completed on time, with the highest quality and the least amount of damage to your property.

For more info, you can reviews here on what previous clients have said regarding safety and cleanup on job sites that we take care of.

…They are “experienced”

It’s important to know the difference between truly having 20 years of experience vs having 1 year of experience 20 years in a row. At Cutting Edge Tree Professionals, we recommend looking into the quality of experience of the crews who will be on your property.

Questions to consider:

  • Is the experience a company has up to date with current tree trends?
  • Are arborists experienced for the specific job you need them for? (An experience climber who does trimming, might not be the best option for a cabling and bracing job.)

If professional training, reflection, and improvement aren’t a part of a company’s every day routine they may just be lucky at avoiding a catastrophe… But what will happen if their luck runs out while working at your property? For the sake of your trees and property, do background research into the tree company you choose to work with.

…They have a “plan” for the work

Work being performed in certain areas may require permission, permitting, or licensing.

Examples of these areas are:

  • Property Lines: For work performed along a property line, did they discuss the job with any adjoining property owners? Was permission granted for special equipment access? Unfortunately, relationships with neighbors that took a while to build could be tarnished in a single day.
  • Power Lines: Was the power company contacted in advance? Will a crew breach the minimum approach distance? Are they risking electrocution and/or fires by working too closely to the power lines?
  • Public Roadways: Is a traffic control plan in writing and in place? Were road permits acquired?
  • Underground Utilities: Did they discuss appropriate ground protection? Ex: plywood matting? If removing stumps, was proper authority notified (*811)?

As someone hiring a professional for a tree job, you don’t want to have to get caught up with knowing every single detail that needs to be planned before a job starts. Again, this means knowing and trusting that you really are hiring the right company to make sure every detail is covered in the plan before starting.

…They have “insurance”

Remember, not all insurances are created equal. At Cutting Edge Tree Professionals, we hear all too often about homeowners getting dragged into civil suits. The risks you’re exposing yourself to may be a lot bigger than you know.  Did the company you are hiring present a copy of their insurance? Did it include General Liability, Workers Compensation, or others? An injury sustained by a worker during the job could impact your insurance.

…They have “official” looking emblems or badges 

If you see emblems or badges, be certain to distinguish between a simple membership, and a legitimate certification or license. Becoming a member or being affiliated with a tree industry association may only require a small fee, but it does not endorse that company in any way shape or form. A legitimate certification or license looks like hours of training and work. The license or certification is earned, unlike a membership that was paid for.

Final Thoughts

What the other tree guy said could be legit. But this article can help in discerning if what they said is going to really help you and your trees or not. If you have additional comments, questions, or concerns, please contact the Cutting Edge Tree Professionals arborist crew using this form.