Finding the right tree service company in your area can be difficult if you’re not familiar with what to look for. We hope to provide you with what we believe is the best way to determine if a tree company will provide the level of service that you expect. Have a look at the points below and consider each of them because regardless if you choose DeVos Tree Care, we hope to make your life easier through this process.
1. Social Proof.
Reading online reviews is a great start to hiring a tree service but it doesn’t give the complete picture.
Reach out to a friend/family/co-worker/neighbour for a completely unbiased, unfiltered, and honest discussion regarding your trees and tree companies.
If you do get a recommendation, call up the tree service and say, “Hi, I got your name through ________.” The company will strive even harder to satisfy you because they don’t want to let you down AND they don’t want to let down the person who made the referral.
2. The company should be booking 2 weeks out at bare minimum.
A company that can do the work sooner is in panic mode, they really want to fill their schedule. They will tell you just about anything so that they can get the work done but will forget the importance of taking care of you. Oftentimes this will result in exaggerating problems and giving poor advice; a small cavity becomes a large problem, a mild lean becomes a major risk, etc. etc.
Feel free to ask how far out a company is booking over the phone, they should be able to give you a rough idea.
With that being said, good companies will fill their schedule 80-90% full to give room for emergency and storm damage work. For all other work, expect at least 2 weeks out.
3. The tree service provider should have a) liability insurance b) errors and omissions insurance and c) WSIB.
You can ask this question over the phone as well. Don’t be afraid to verify this with the arborist when they come over to quote your tree, if they are well prepared, they should be able to show proof in a moment’s notice
a) Ask what the tree service providers aggregate liability coverage is as well as their coverage per occurrence. If they are working on a large tree around your home, then this should be a minimum $2 million aggregate as well as $1 million per occurrence. This will likely ensure you are covered even if they have a previous claim against them (read more about insurance and trees).
b) Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance doesn’t pertain to the actual work being performed on your property as it does to the professional advice given about the work that could be performed. For example, a professional arborist records your tree as being perfectly safe only to have it fail shortly thereafter by something that the arborist should have taken note of.
c) A tree service company can operate without WSIB as long as everyone who works for them is a subcontractor. While some subcontractors may carry their own insurance, this can be difficult for you as the homeowner to ascertain. Your simplest solution is to ask if ALL workers are covered under WSIB.
4. Always be mindful of the lowest bid.
The challenge with a low bid is that the company is still hoping to make a profit. The way to achieve this in the tree industry is to complete the job faster. Instead of just doing one job in a day, they attempt to complete two so that they can still hit their financial goals.
In some industries it may be worthwhile to work faster, in the tree industry the results could be disastrous. Anything from irreversible damage to your tree(s), to damage to your property, and in the worst-case scenario, injury to workers or civilians.
Paying a fair price should be important so that both you and the contractor can walk away satisfied with the work completed and looking forward to working together again in the future.
5. Find a company that is in it for the long haul.
Trees are known for their longevity of life, so too should the companies who take care of them.
Think of a tree service like a family doctor. A good family doctor keeps track of your situation and knows the areas of your health that need the most support. A good family doctor may not be able to come to a conclusion overnight but with time and observation they will be much more equipped to make the right decision.
One way to find out if a company is thinking long term is to ask if they plant trees. Generally speaking, companies won’t make as much money from planting trees as removing or pruning them. Therefore those that plant aren’t just thinking about the money, they are thinking about the future.
6. When in doubt, do a little bit of your own homework.
A little bit of knowledge goes a long way to give you the peace of mind and confidence to do the right thing for your trees.
Check out Trees Are Good, they’ve put together resources geared towards you; the homeowner. They wanted to keep you informed about almost anything related to your trees. As an added bonus it is created in partnership with the International Society of Arboriculture, the primary credentialing body for the tree service industry.