Peter Gerstenberger: Hi! I'm Peter Gerstenberger, Senior Advisor for safety Compliance and Standards with the Tree Care Industry Association. I'm talking about tree care basics, and right now we're talking about how to hire a professional to care for your trees.
If you hire somebody less than a professional to care for the trees in your yard, first of all, you may not get the service you requested. More importantly, your trees may be disfigured or permanently damaged, and you lose the value of those trees over time.
With thousands of dollars at stake, not to mention the integrity and appearance of your property and your own personal safety, make sure you investigate before deciding which company you should hire.
Consumers believe that paying some person with the chain saw and a pickup truck under the table will save the money. That may or may not be true, but if there's a problem, the consumer almost never has any option with an unlicensed or uninsured contractor. Consumers may end up paying more to repair the damage or may lose the value of the specimen tree that declines due to poor care.
In most cases, unlicensed tree workers are employed by companies that don't have Workers' Compensation Insurance or Liability Insurance. And guess what? That liability falls to you, if there's an accident. You can start with the arborists listed in the phone book. Look for what the ad tells you about the company, the number of years in a business, its professional affiliations, licenses, certification etcetera. Then when you meet the arborist, ask to see the current certificates of liability and Workers' Compensation Insurance. Verify professional affiliations, such as memberships in Tree Care Industry Association and in other professional associations.
Don't be lowered by a low price for tree work, and above all, insist on assigned contract before any work commences. That contract should specify the cost of the work, the dates on which the work will be performed and the exact specifications of what will be done. If you'd like a little bit more piece of mind in hiring a professional arborist, you can call the Tree Care Industry Association.
I hope this information on tree care basics has been helpful. Good luck with your trees!