Unsightly and poorly maintained trees reduce your home's curb and landscape appeal. Such trees are a liability if they are close to power lines or have dead or loose hanging branches. On the other hand, proper care for your trees is an investment with substantial returns. Good trees reduce air pollution and cut down energy use by an average of 7%, saving American homeowners approximately $7.8 billion annually in energy costs. Having well-cared-for trees on and around your property does not only enhance the aesthetic appeal of your home, they increase its value by up to 15%.
Nonetheless, tree trimming is a dangerous job that can lead to life-threatening or even fatal injuries like electrocution, falling, and being struck by logs. As such, it should always be left to professionals nearby that are trained to perform this job per tree care national safety regulations and industry standards. However, before hiring â€œa tree trimming contractor near meâ€, you should ask certain questions that help ensure you hire the most qualified contractor around:
Are You a Licensed Tree Trimming Contractor?
Tree trimming contractors are required to obtain a license in seven states; California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Louisiana, and Rhode Island. The specific requirements for obtaining these licenses vary by jurisdiction, but they typically involve passing an examination and paying a licensing fee. Note that, in the states that do not require licensing, tree trimming contractors may be required to obtain a license at the local government level. It is a good idea to contact either your state's consumer protection office or licensing department to find out the specific licensing requirements for tree trimming contractors near you. These offices can also help you authenticate your tree trimming contractor's license.
If your state does not have any licensing requirements for tree trimming contractors, then it is advisable that you hire one that has been certified by professional bodies like the International Society of Arboriculture. Tree trimming contractors that are certified tend to be more experienced, competent, and reliable than their uncertified colleagues. Make sure that you are shown proof of this certification. You can also contact the professional body that issued it to verify its authenticity.
Are You a Bonded and Insured Tree Trimming Contractor?
97 fatal occupational injuries and 1,070 nonfatal occupational injuries and illnesses were recorded amongst tree trimmers and pruners in 2019 by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Tree trimmers are exposed to hazards like falling from heights, electrocution, and being struck by falling trees and tree limbs, and this makes insurance and bonding a very important factor to consider when you want to hire one.
Hiring an insured and bonded tree trimming contractor near you means that you do not have to incur any losses if an accident occurs during the job and the affected party decides to sue. It also means that you will be properly compensated if your tree trimming is not completed because your contractor defaulted on the job in any way. Never hire a tree trimming contractor that is not properly insured and bonded. Request for proof of your contractor's insurance and bonding status, and make sure that they are valid. Your tree trimming contractor should have a general liability insurance plan and a workers' compensation insurance plan. However, you can contact your local consumer protection office to find out whether any mandatory bonding and insurance requirements must be met by tree trimming contractors that wish to operate your area.
What Kind of Work Are You Specialized In?
There are several methods of tree trimming that professional tree trimming contractors near you utilize to perform their duties. These methods include:
- Cleaning: this involves removing broken, diseased, dying, and dead branches from a tree. This is the most basic type of tree trimming
- Thinning: this involves selectively removing branches from the tree to allow for more airflow and sunlight penetration. Thinning reduces weight on a tree's heavy limbs, opens up its foliage, and helps it retain its natural shape. This method of tree trimming is mostly done on overgrown trees
- Raising: raising involves removing lower limbs or branches of a tree to provide a clear view of signs and buildings. It is mostly done on trees that are in the way of man-made structures
- Reduction: this involves selectively cutting the branches of a tree to reduce the height and spread of its canopy and to clear these branches from objects like buildings, lights, and signs. Reduction is mostly done to reduce safety hazards by clearing tree branches from buildings and also to improve the tree's aesthetic. This method of tree trimming requires expertise and in-depth knowledge of trees and their biology
- Restoration: this method of tree trimming is done on trees that have been damaged by circumstances like vandalism or storms. It involves cutting the branches of these trees into smaller than normal lateral sizes in the hope that the tree either retains or regains its natural appearance and form
- Topping: topping involves haphazardly cutting off major and thick tree branches and leaving large stubs behind. This method of tree trimming is considered harmful and it is not practiced by professional tree trimmers
The method that a tree trimming contractor will use generally depends on the state of your tree. Therefore, it is important to confirm that your contractor can expertly perform the tree trimming method necessary for your tree.
Who Will Do the Work?
Tree trimming can usually be done by only one worker. However, if there are a lot of trees that require trimming, then your contractor may involve additional workers in the project. Always ask your tree trimming contractor to inform you of the number of people that will be needed for your tree trimming job before any work begins. Find out what effect this would have on the cost of the job, and also make sure that every worker involved is properly insured and bonded.
Do You Offer a Warranty?
A warranty is a type of guarantee offered by the seller of a product or service to assure you of its quality. It can be written, oral, or implied. Tree trimming by itself does not typically come with a written warranty. However, when you hire a professional tree trimming contractor, there is usually an oral or implied guarantee that the job will be done professionally and in the best way possible.
Note that if your tree was planted by a professional landscaping company near you, then it may still be under a landscape warranty. These warranties usually include free or subsidized tree maintenance activities for a specified period. If this applies to you, then you should contact the company to find out whether your warranty is still valid, and if it covers tree trimming.
Will This Job Require a Permit?
Local governments are generally responsible for coming up with and enforcing permit requirements in their jurisdictions. As such, whether or not you will need to obtain one for tree trimming depends on your location. Failing to obtain a required permit before carrying out a project can lead to fines and other penalties. An advantage of hiring a professional tree trimming contractor is that they generally know the permit requirements for their localities. However, considering that any penalties for failing to obtain a permit will likely be borne by you, it is advisable that you contact the local building department office near you to get this information for yourself.
Will You Provide References?
You can separate the unqualified tree trimming contractors from the qualified ones by requesting references. Per the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation, contractors should be able to provide you with the contact details of at least three former clients. A professional tree trimming contractor will readily provide you with this information and may even include pictures of previously completed tree trimming jobs. You can also get independent reviews of the tree trimming contractor from clients near you online through websites like Google Review, Yelp, and Better Business Bureau.
Do You Have a Business License?
Small businesses in the United States account for 99.9% of all businesses in the country, and many tree trimming contractors either own or work for one. Either way, they are typically required to obtain a business license that permits them to conduct business in a specified area. Always make sure that your tree trimming contractor has a business license and that this license is valid. You can do this by requesting a copy of the license or the license number and authenticating it with the Office of the Secretary of State that is responsible for your state of residence.
What Are Common Tree Trimming Problems?
Some common mistakes that are made by unprofessional and inexperienced tree trimming contractors are:
- Trimming at the wrong time of the year
- Improper cuts
- Raising the tree's canopy too high
- Using the wrong tools
- Using dull tools
- Flush cutting
Some of these mistakes can irreparably damage your tree. As such, you should always employ the services of a professional tree trimming contractor near you to handle tree trimming jobs.
How Much Does Tree Trimming Cost?
The average cost of tree trimming in the United States is $250 - $500. This amount is influenced by the size of the tree that is to be trimmed and its location, and you can end up paying as low as $100 or as high as $700. Some common tree trimming cost estimates are listed below:
Cost estimate based on tree height:
Cost estimate based on tree type:
Cost estimate by type of service offered:
What Are the Factors That Affect the Cost of Tree Trimming?
The following factors affect the cost of tree trimming:
What Qualifications Should Tree Trimming Contractors Have?
Tree trimming contractors typically learn their trade on the job and formal education is not usually needed. However, some employers may require a high school diploma or its educational equivalent. Tree trimming contractors can also get voluntary certifications in arboriculture, landscape design, and other related areas from professional bodies like the International Society of Arboriculture, the Tree Care Industry Association, the Professional Grounds Management Society, and the National Association of Landscape Professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 47,210 tree trimmers and pruners currently employed in the United States.
Do You Need a Handyman or a Tree Trimming Contractor?
Tree trimming can be potentially fatal if it is done without proper training and equipment, and it should always be handled by a professional tree trimming contractor near you. These contractors have the necessary training required to mitigate the hazards associated with tree trimming while also ensuring that your tree is expertly cared for. In addition, professional tree trimming contractors are more likely to be insured and bonded, thereby protecting you from any financial losses that may arise due to unforeseen circumstances like a work-related injury.
What Are the Common Post Tree Trimming Expenses?
Tree trimming does not typically incur any post-trimming expenses. Nevertheless, it is always a good idea to confirm from your contractor that the cost of cleaning up any trimmed tree parts has been included in your bill. If your tree trimming contractor charges for this separately, then you may end up paying an additional $25 - $100 for cleaning up and disposing of the debris generated by your tree trimming project.
Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Tree Trimming Expenses?
Homeowners' insurance does not typically cover the cost of tree trimming. Tree trimming, and tree care in general, is usually done for maintenance reasons and thus it does not fall under the scope of a standard homeowner's insurance policy. A standard homeowner's insurance policy only offers protection for sudden and unexpected losses and damages to a home and home-related assets. These types of losses are usually caused by fires, lightning strikes, wind and hail, theft, and water damage. Collectively, these damages account for more than 90% of the homeowners' insurance claims that are filed in the United States.
Note that homeowners' insurance policies are not the same and the losses and damages that each policy covers depend on the insurance company that issues it. Therefore, you should always read and understand the fine print of any policy that you intend to purchase.
Can I Use Digital Payment to Pay My Tree Trimming Contractor?
The Covid crisis has increased the acceptance of digital payments among small businesses, including tree trimming contractors near you. Payments made via digital methods are considered relatively faster, more secure, and more convenient than cash and check payments. However, although digital payments are widely accepted by many contractors, you should always confirm that your tree trimming contractor is willing to accept payment this way. If your contractor prefers cash payments, then you should always remember to collect a receipt of payment for each transaction.