Deciding which tree care company to hire can be quite a process. Companies can run from the national brand with thousands of employees across the country, the local professional, and the “guy with a truck” who may or may not carry insurance. Not only will you find all three of these types of businesses in your area, you will most likely find varying price points. There are many important factors to investigate before signing up for tree service at your home. Here are our top five – in no particular order.
1. Liability Insurance
“No insurance? No thank you.”
Maybe one of the most important factors to investigate before hiring a tree care company is making sure they carry proper insurance. Since tree pruning and removal work is one of the more dangerous occupations, checking with your hired company about their insurance is an important task to complete. Believe it or not, there are small companies out there that do not carry insurance, which places their team as well as you and your property in greater danger. Hiring a lower cost company like this may save you money in the short term, but may also put you at higher risk for serious legal problems down the road. Although tree workers are at highest risk for injury from sharp tools and falling limbs, people and property in the area are also at risk. Protect yourself and your home by hiring a tree care company with adequate insurance.
2. Proper Safety Precautions
“When you gamble with safety, you can bet your life.”
When performing dangerous work – part of a tree care professional’s everyday job – using the correct Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is of utmost importance. Safety glasses, hard-hats, chaps, and face-shields are just some of the protective equipment that reputable companies will provide for their coworkers. Tree companies that value safety also hold regular safety meetings with their crews, during which they may provide training, feedback, and discussions on near-miss incidents.
Lastly, many homeowners want to save a little money by doing the work themselves. But many times larger jobs are too large or complex for the average person. Most importantly, there are more things that can go wrong than right when it comes to pruning or removing large trees, including equipment mishaps, damage to structures and property, or injury/death to the homeowner. Remember, the tree care industry is a dangerous one so you might be best to leave it to the professionals.
3. Professional Appearance
“Dress for success.”
A professional tree care company will have well-marked vehicles that are in good working order, uniformed co-workers who take their occupation seriously, and equipment that is in good shape. Also pay attention to the little things: do they have a professional website, did you receive a professional proposal explaining the exact work specifications, and do they stand behind their work? Most professional companies will ask for feedback on the work that was performed and clear up any customer service issues that may arise. Remember, no company is perfect but how they handle issues when they come up really tells you a lot about their character.
“Your reputation precedes you.”
A service company that will be doing any type of work at your home should have a good reputation. Whether you look at reviews online or ask a friend for references, do your research. Most tree care companies will not ask for any money upfront and if they do, you may want to ask why or take your money elsewhere. Although it is out of the ordinary for tree work to be paid up front, jobs in some of the green industry require upfront payment (ex. down-payment on a large landscape job). Ask questions of the company to get to know them: How many employees do you have? How many years have you been in business? Do you own your equipment? Do you use subcontractors or do you hire your own employees? Do you provide health insurance and/or retirement? Tomlinson Bomberger has been in business since 1981 and we believe our people are our most important asset; therefore, we offer health insurance and retirement to all employees. When we take care of our people, they take care of our clients!
5. Certification and Training
“Training is everything.”
Another important factor when considering hiring a tree care company is the type of certifications and organizations they are a part of. Two of the most relevant organizations in the industry are the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) and the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA).
ISA – Through research, technology, and education, the ISA promotes the professional practice of arboriculture and fosters a greater worldwide awareness of the benefits of trees. The ISA Certified Arborist designation certifies that an individual has attained a generally accepted level of knowledge in the areas of soil management, ID and selection, installation and establishment, safe work practices, tree biology, pruning, diagnosis and treatment, urban forestry, tree protection and tree risk management. In order to become certified, the candidate is required to have 3 years of full-time experience in arboriculture before taking the exam. Recertification must be done every 3 years, and may be accomplished through recognized conferences related to the industry, in-house training, published articles, etc. The Certified Arborist designation shows that your tree care company believes in continuous training, is in touch with trends in the industry and is knowledgeable about arboricultural practices. Tomlinson Bomberger believes certification is very important and that is why we have 12+ Certified Arborists within our organization.
TCIA – The Tree Care Industry Association has been in existence since 1938 with over 2,300 tree care firms and 14,000+ tree care professionals worldwide. They provide continuing education, training, conferences and put out publications to promote the safe and appropriate practices of the tree care industry. They provide the only safety credentialing program in the industry, the Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP), which enhances candidates’ skills in four key areas: leadership, hazard control and prevention, incident control and prevention, and adult learning. Tomlinson Bomberger takes safety seriously and we are blessed to have a CTSP professional as part of our Tree Pruning & Removal team.
Hire An Experienced Tree Care Service
These are just a few of the items we believe should be taken into consideration before deciding to hire a tree care professional. Although not every job on a property may need professional help, please remember to think about safety any time you decide to do any work on your own. For any questions or for a free consultation with one of our Certified Arborists, please call us at 717-399-1991 or use our contact form.