caution when you check the phone directory listings under "trees" or
"tree services." Just because a tree service is listed does not mean
they are licensed to work in city limits .
Beware of door-knockers. Most reputable companies have all
the work they can handle without going door-to-door. Door-knockers are
especially common after storms when non-professionals see a chance to
earn quick money.
Never let yourself be rushed by bargains ("If you
sign an agreement today, I can take ten percent off the price...") Pay
after the work is completed.
Ask for certificates of insurance, including proof of
liability for personal and property damage (such as your house and your
neighbor's), and workman's compensation. Then call the insurance
company to make certain the policy is current.
Ask for local references - other jobs the company or
individual has done. Take a look a look at some, and if possible, talk
with the former client. Experience, education, and a good reputation
are signs of a good arborist.
Determine if the tree service is a member of any professional
organizations like the International Society of Arboriculture
or National Arborist Association. Membership
does not guarantee quality, but lack of membership casts doubt on the
Find out if the tree service employs arborists certified
through the International Society of Arboriculture. ISA's
program is available to arborists nationwide and requires appropriate
training, experience, and knowledge as evidenced by successfully
completing a standardized application and testing process.
Have more than one tree service look at your job and give
A good tree service will offer a wide range of services
(pruning, fertilizing, cabling/bracing, lightning protection, pest
A good tree service does not "top" trees, even if you ask for
A conscientious tree service will not use climbing spikes if
the tree is to remain in the landscape.
Beware of a tree service that is eager to remove a living
tree for no good reason. Removal clearly should be a last resort.
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