The Real Cost of Cheap Tree Pruning & Removal

Category: Tree & Shrub

moneyThere’s an adage that people often use, “You get what you pay for.” Let’s be honest, we all strive to save money where we can. We witness this a lot with tree removal and tree pruning.

Owning a home or managing property maintenance costs on a commercial property demands that we are wise consumers. But wisdom isn’t always about finding the lowest price. I’m sure you have your own cheap lesson.

I’ve been given my own dose of Cheaperol (yes I made that up) treatments from time to time. It’s a tough pill to swallow when you realize you’ve spent more and gotten nothing but the side effect of an enormous headache.

Getting what you pay for may be a go-to phrase when facing down a sales objection of cost, but we have lots of stories to prove this is a common thread with people who are trying to choose between tree services in Lancaster, PA and the surrounding counties we service.

I went to my own memory banks of when I consulted for 7 years here as an account manager with our team and then also took a walk in the office to find some other great stories to illustrate the point.

The stories you are about to hear are true. The names have been changed to protect the innocent:

Cheap Tree Pruning & Removal Stories

“The Clean-Up Fiasco” by Chad Diller

tree pruning and removal Here’s a winner….or someone who lost, depending how you look at it. Years ago I visited “Manny” from Manheim Township, just northeast of Lancaster, PA. He wanted a price to remove 2 large Maple trees.

As a Certified Arborist, I knew it was important to ask him a bunch of questions. That led me to realize he also wanted stump removal. I explained to him that we would perform the work in 3 separate operations; remove the tree, grind the stump, and return to remove grindings and grade and seed as needed to fill the cavity.

We talked about details and he said he would let me know after getting other quotes for removing trees on his property. He later let me know that he “went with a cheaper price” and I thanked Manny for the opportunity.

A few months later I was across the street looking at his neighbor’s house. Manny was out in the lawn so I waved. He motioned over to me and we began talking.

He told me that when he got his “cheaper price” he asked the tree service if they were going to “clean up” after they took the tree down. They assured him they would, but clearly their definition and his wasn’t the same. The tree service he used said that “clean up” meant they would take away all the limbs and trunk, and then rake the stump grinding debris back into a pile.

The result was he was left with mounds of stump grinding and an even worse mess in his lawn. The company also decided it would be a good idea to perform this tree removal the day after it had rained for two days straight, and drove all over his lawn. That left 8″-12″ ruts over half of his back yard. That wasn’t included in “clean up” either. The company ended up finishing the work but billed him an additional $1200. Some cheap price.

The cost he ended up spending with them was a few hundred dollars more than I had quoted him for the complete procedure, and it came with the surcharge of additional aggravation. Unfortunately, he got what he paid for.

Poor Manny, and poor Manny’s lawn.

cheap tree pruning and removal“Fatal Topping” by Greg Tomlinson & Marissa Miles

Greg is a member of our sales team and also a Certified Arborist. He visited with “Larry” from Lancaster a few years ago. Larry was insistent he wanted his tree “topped” because it was getting too big and because then he doesn’t have to trim it as often.

Greg did his best to explain to Larry that we don’t top trees because it creates future structural problems for the tree, and even tree death in some cases. That wasn’t received well.

The suggestions of proper tree pruning every few years or removing the large tree and replacing it with a smaller, ornamental tree were not acceptable for this homeowner. He was going to find someone else who would do what he wanted. And that he did.

A couple years and some territory boundary lines changes later, Marissa Miles took over in this development as the account manager. She got a call from Larry to come and give him a proposal to remove a tree. No surprise ending here. Marissa, the Certified Arborist, witnessed that the tree had¬† died….completely.

It didn’t decay and rot and fall apart piece by piece over the next 10 years. It died in less than 2 years. Now the price for a cheap tree trimming turned into a greater cost for tree removal. Not only could he have saved money to properly prune the tree and possibly still have it to enjoy, he now would need to replant another tree anyway, which costs have slightly raised over two years ago. Larry got what he paid for unfortunately.

Poor Larry…and poor Larry’s tree.

“Turn Off the Lights and Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter” by Bob Kandratavich¬†

tree pruning and removal“Lester”¬† from Landisville, PA called us for a tree trimming quote because he saw on his lawn care invoice from us that we also performed this tree service. He had a tree that had a couple limbs extending over the house that he wanted taken off as well as some crown thinning to the canopy of the tree.

Bob gave Lester the proposal. Lester felt it was a little higher than he wanted and decided to look around for a lower price. Lower price won.

Some time passed and Bob was called out to visit with Lester because he had some more tree pruning that needed done. This time Lester had quite the story about his cheap tree trimming.

Lester was sitting in his house that day when he heard a loud crash on his roof. The other tree service had dropped a large limb on his roof, smashed his lamp post, and tore the gutter off of his house. To make it worse, they had no liability insurance.

They hauled off the wood with a horse-drawn trailer and never returned to repair the work. Turns out the tree company wasn’t really much of a company to begin with. Lester got what he paid for, and had to fix his house on his own dime. Poor Lester…and poor Lester’s house.

The Moral of these 3 Tree Pruning and Removal Horror Stories

certified arboristBuyer beware. Make sure you use a reputable tree service with liability insurance, a PA Home Improvement Contractor’s License, workers with a Certified Arborist designation, dozens of positive online reviews, and a reputation for excellence.

A cheap price is often a warning sign. We would love to help one of your property’s biggest assets, your trees. If you would like a free evaluation and estimate for tree pruning or tree removal, please don’t hesitate to contact us.


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