Early in the new year is a great time to assess a lot of lists, including your list of service providers. Who’s retired or moved to other areas, for example? Who do you know you need but haven’t reached out to yet? Who’s unfairly raised their prices or been doing a mediocre job that leaves you wondering if you should find a replacement?
If a tree removal or maintenance company is on that list, here are some things we recommend you look for when finding a new one.
License and Insurance
Just like driving a car, tree removal professionals need licenses that demonstrate they have the right education and the right equipment — so make sure your service has one. Certified arborists are even better, as they’ve received years of education and passed rigorous exams to demonstrate their knowledge.
Insurance is even more important, because without it, you’ll be liable for any damage that occurs on your property, whether to your home, vehicle, driveway, yard, or other trees. Go to great lengths to get written proof that they have all the required insurance (worker’s compensation, general liability, auto, umbrella), that it is up to date.
Proposals and People
Like a contractor for your home, a quality tree specialist will scope out a job ahead of time and provide you with a professional, detailed description of your desired project, including line itemed costs and estimated labor times. If the proposal provided leaves you with not more than a price to base your decision on, you could be left with an unexpected mess. Get everything that’s included in writing, and ask questions so that you’re clear on what will and won’t be done.
Similarly, a good tree company will provide you with good people. This means experts who specialize in tree maintenance, instead of jacks-of-all-trades who do a little landscaping or yard work here, maybe some fence installation and gutter cleaning there. Trees and shrubs are living beings that deserve the same professional care and attention we’d give to a pet or another loved one, so make sure they’re in qualified hands.
References and Reviews
If a company of any kind is hesitant to immediately produce a list of three or more people you can call as a reference, you may need to find someone else. Quality references of former (or better yet — current) clients or other professional business partners not only help establish credibility, but can help you verify the quality of their work and their approach to business.
Internet reviews can also be revealing, especially if you’re a discerning reader. Though five stars are great, be cautious of anyone who has only stellar ratings, as they may be manipulating their information. Instead of turning down someone because they have a low rating or two, read their response to the negative review. Did they apologize and work to correct the problem? Or lay blame on the customer? Checking for professional, courteous language and their tone can also tell you a lot about who you’ll be dealing with.
If you’re looking for a new relationship with tree service professionals, we invite you to check out the gallery of our team at work, read through our process, and call us directly at 404-252-6448 to have all your initial questions answered by our friendly staff. If you prefer to contact us online, we’ll be following up with you personally to get things started.