How to Hire an Arborist
This time of the year, winter storms can cause havoc. The thick layers of ice and snow combined with strong winds can break limbs and endanger the health of our trees. The services of an arborist may be needed if the tree is in need of weather-related damage assessment and pruning. Before hiring an arborist, the homeowner should have an idea of what needs to be done with the tree, how it will be done, and what precautions should be taken to protect themselves from potential future problems. The following tips are taken from a Arbor Day Foundation publication called “How to Hire an Arborist.” To see the publication in its entirety, click here.
Tips for Selecting an Arborist
- Check in the phone directory, usually under “Tree Service.”
- Beware of door-knockers, who are especially common after storms, when nonprofessionals see a chance to earn some quick money.
- Never be rushed by bargains.
- Never pay in advance.
- Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of liability for personal and property damage (such as your house and your neighbor’s) and worker’s compensation. Phone the insurance company to verify current policy information.
- Ask for local references of jobs the company or individual has done. Take a look at some, and if possible, talk with the former client.
- Determine if the arborist is a member of any professional association(s). Membership does not guarantee quality, but lack of membership may cast doubt on the person’s professionalism.
- If inquiring about a company, ask if they employ certified arborists.
- Have more than one certified arborist look at the job and give estimates. Don’t expect one to lower a bid to match another’s and be willing to pay for the estimate if necessary. Two or three opinions and cost estimates are worth the extra effort.
- Beware of an arborist who is eager to remove a living tree. Removal clearly should be the last resort.
Ways to save on the cost of tree care
- Schedule work well in advance. Allowing the company to plan for your work may provide an opportunity to save on cost.
- Talk with neighbors about tree maintenance needs on their properties. An arborist may be interested in a group job over smaller individual jobs.