If you are a homeowner looking for competitive bids on tree work you need to know a few things about the tree care industry. First you should know that the majority of tree care companies understand very little about trees. They are in the market for tree removal only and make their money by cutting down trees.
Most are not shady characters but as my daddy told me, ‘If your only tool is a hammer, all of your problems look like nails.’ Second you should understand that most of the tree removal and trimming industry base their pricing on the marketplace. That is, pricing is based on what the other guy charges. It’s common to see promises like, “We’ll beat any written quote by 5%!” This can be good for the consumer but only if the industry is all quoting the same type of work.
That brings us to the third point here and why I am writing this post; you cannot get competitive quotes if you do not ask the right questions. You need to know what, how and why you will be having your tree removed or pruned. What obstacles might prohibit successful completion of the work? What is the access to the site? How big is the tree? Can it be felled in one piece or will it need to be sectioned out? Will a crane be used or will the tree be climbed? If pruning, How many and which branches will be cut and where on the tree will it be cut from? Will you need ISA Certified Arborists to perform the work? These are but a few of the questions that should be considered.
The image above shows an example of a properly written tree work specification. By handing something like this to a contractor you will quickly see if you want to do business with them. If you give something like this to a tree guy and he has a puzzled look on his face, (Uh…I don’t know what you mean by ANSI…) then you should probably move on to the next guys. Professional tree service contractors should all end up giving you a very competitive bid if they are all bidding to the same set of specifications.