When selecting an arborist:
- Check for membership in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), or the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA). Such membership demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up to date on the latest techniques and information.
- Check for ISA arborist certification. Certified Arborists are experienced professionals who have passed an extensive examination covering all aspects of tree care.
- Ask for proof of insurance and then phone the insurance company if you are not satisfied. A reputable arborist carries personal and property damage insurance as well as workers compensation insurance. Many home owners have had to pay out large amounts of money for damages caused by uninsured individuals claiming to be tree experts. You could be held responsible for damages and injuries that occur as a result of the job.
- Check for necessary permits and licenses. Some governmental agencies require contractors to apply for permits and/or to apply for a license before they are able to work. Be sure they comply with any local, state, provincial, or national laws that govern their work.
- Ask for references to find out where the company has done work similar to the work you are requesting. Don’t hesitate to check references or visit other work sites where the company or individual has done tree work. Remember, tree care is a substantial, long-lasting investment; you would not buy a car without a test drive!
- Get more than one estimate, unless you know and are comfortable with the arborist. You may have to pay for the estimates, and it will take more time, but it will be worth the investment.
- Don’t always accept the low bid. You should examine the credentials and the written specifications of the firms that submitted bids and determine the best combination of price, work to be done, skill, and professionalism to protect your substantial investment.
- Be wary of individuals who go door to door and offer bargains for performing tree work. Most reputable companies are too busy to solicit work in this manner. Improper tree care can take many years to correct itself and, in some cases, it can never be corrected. Are you willing to take that risk with your valuable investment?
- Keep in mind that good arborists will perform only accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree, removing an excessive amount of live wood, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause are unnecessary.
- Get it in writing. Most reputable arborists have their clients sign a contract. Be sure to read the contract carefully. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, such as
—When will the work be started and completed?
—Who will be responsible for clean-up?
—Is this the total price?
—If I would like more to be done, what is your hourly rate?
Above and Beyond Tree Service is owned by Geoff Mongeon. Geoff is a licensed arborist, who owns and operates the business based in Lincoln, RI. Geoff has been involved in tree work for over 17 years and is educated and proficient in all phases of tree care. The business is fully insured, as expected from any reputable vendor. Contact us for your tree service needs! Free estimates!