An easy way to find a commercial arborist or tree care service provider in your area is to use the TCIA's Arborist Finder: Find a TCIA Member Tree Care Company. When you hire a TCIA-member tree care company, you are assured that the company you are hiring has access to the most recent information on tree care practices, and you are assured that the company you are hiring is insured and/or bonded to protect you and your valuable property.
You should be aware that the credentials of someone calling himself an arborist can vary widely. Don't just hire someone with a chain saw who knocks on your door! Look for the company displaying the credentials of a professional. Talk to this person. Ask how the job will be done.
Start with the arborists that are listed in the phone book. Don't place much emphasis on the size of the yellow pages ad - some of the most reputable firms rely almost entirely on word-of-mouth advertising and use relatively small Yellow Pages ads. Look instead for what The ad tells you about the company: professional affiliations, licenses, certification, etc.
Seek recommendations from neighbors, friends or business associates who you know have had professional tree care work done in the past.
Check for certification by the International Society of Arboriculture, or by a local certifying body such as a state arborist association. Certification is voluntary, and is an indicator of professional practice, but not a guarantee.
Pay attention to your instinctive feelings when you contact companies by phone as well as when they send a representative to look at your trees. Try to arrange a face-to-face meeting with the arborist when he/she first comes to your property.
When you meet with the arborist:
- Ask for copies of current, valid occupational licenses and certificates of liability and workers' compensation insurance
- Ask for references, and check the quality of their work to assess the company's abilities and professionalism
- Get a detailed written estimate of the work and associated costs
- Get another estimate or a second opinion of the needed work
- Insist on a signed contract as to cost, dates, when work is to be performed, and exactly what is to be done
- Don't be rushed by a bargain and don't pay in advance
- Verify professional affiliations the company may have, such as membership in the Tree Care Industry Association (1.800.733.2622)
Disreputable companies tend to: