Hiring a Tree Care Company

Find an arborist or tree care service provider in your area:

When you hire a tree care company, check for membership in professional organizations, such as the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), International Society or Arborists (ISA), or American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA). As a member of one or more of these organizations, the company you are considering has access to the most recent information on tree care practices, and is likely licensed and insured to protect you and your valuable property. These members should be familiar with and follow the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) for tree care operations (A-300 and Z-133).

It is best to hire a certified Arborist. Check for Arborist certification by the ISA or Accreditation by the TCIA. Certification provides a measurable assessment of an individual’s knowledge and competence required to provide proper tree care. Certified Arborists are required to continue their education to maintain certification, so they are likely current in the the latest arboricultural techniques. While certification can attest to the tree knowledge of an individual, it cannot guarantee or ensure quality performance.

Hiring a Tree Co. 1

Be aware of a tree service’s credentials. Look for a company displaying the credentials of a professional. Talk to them and ask how the job will be done.

Start with the arborists that are listed in Google or the Yellow Pages in your area. Don’t place much emphasis big ads or flashy websites – some of the most reputable firms rely almost entirely on word-of-mouth advertising and use relatively little advertising. Look instead for information about the company’s services, equipment, professional affiliations, licenses, certification, and insurance.

Seek recommendations from neighbors, friends or business associates who you know have had professional tree care work done in the past.

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 they first come to your property.

When you meet with

the tree service company:

  • Ask if the company has a certified arborist on staff
  • 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 formal signed proposal with itemized work details and costs
  • 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 TCIA or ISA (see links above)

Disreputable companies

tend to:

  • Solicit work door-to-door
  • Arrive in a pick-up truck with a ladder in the bed of the truck
  • Demand payment in advance
  • Have no license or insurance
  • Sell jobs without producing a written estimate or work order
If you are unsure about the tree’s health, consult a professional arborist who will identify the causes of tree health problems and make recommendations for treatment.