6 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Tree Trimming Professional

Unfortunately, there are many unprofessional and unscrupulous contractors working in the tree care industry, giving tree trimming professionals a bad reputation.  Often, they prey on unsuspecting homeowners after big storms, knocking on doors to offer their services.  Other times, they appear to be legitimate business, with business cards, a toll free number and website, and insurance.
However, in both instances, hiring them would be a mistake.  Some trimming professionals are under or untrained, lack proper insurance and industry knowledge, and can leave you with a much bigger mess then where you started.  Here are six questions you should always ask before hiring a tree trimming professional to make sure you find a one that provides quality and safe work.
Can I see your certifications and proof of insurance?
The International Society of Arboriculture provides certification to professionals who pass exams and maintain certain levels of training.  This training covers the latest information on tree care, safety, and regulations.  Proof of current insurance is important as well, and not only because it is required by many municipalities.  Even if it is not legally required, insurance protects the homeowner, the tree trimming company owner, and the tree care worker or arborist if any accidents or injuries occur.
Can I have a list of references?
Any decent and legitimate tree trimming professional will be eager to provide a list of happy customers who will vouch for them and their work.
Will you provide an estimate/proposal?
Properly trained tree trimming professionals routinely prepare estimates and proposals of expected work.  These proposals help customers know what to expect, and also help the professional explain what services they can and cannot provide.  This also allows the customer to compare companies and decide just how many services they want and can afford.
What tree trimming methods do you use?
How the tree trimmers do their jobs is extremely important.  If they top trees, run.  This means they are not in line with the best practices.  If you prefer organic treatments, and the company uses chemical sprays, you want to hash that out before the job starts.
What kind of tree trimming equipment do you use?
Avoid companies that climb trees using spikes.  Instead, they should use ropes or other equipment that will not harm the tree.  You will also want advance knowledge of any heavy equipment to be used, such as a cherry picker, before it drives across your lawn.
Will we sign a work contract?
Once services and prices have been decided, a work contract should be signed.  This document breaks down the work that will be performed, how it will be done, how much it will cost, and the responsibilities of both parties.  The contract protects the customer from unscrupulous tree care companies, and protects the professionals from customers who try to renege on payment.
While there are some tree trimming companies that try to skimp by on proper tree trimming methods and equipment, or work under less than reputable business ethics, there are many tree trimming professionals and companies that truly put the client first and serve to protect the health and safety of client homes and trees.