A good tree surgeon will always be in demand. Tree surgeons have the knowledge and the skills to look after our trees and eliminate any hazards. Trees don’t only add value to your home; they add to the aesthetics.
Here are a few important questions you should ask yourself before hiring someone.
- What qualifications should a tree surgeon have?
- How do I choose a tree surgeon?
- What makes a good tree surgeon?
- What skills should I be on the lookout for?
Ideally, you want answers to these questions before you choose one.
This article will help you answer some of those questions and help you to make an informed choice.
Skills and qualifications
If you want to hire a good tree surgeon, you need to make sure they have the right skills and qualifications. Below you will find the absolute minimum requirements that any tree surgeon should have.
Certificate II arborist – the last thing you want to do is hire someone who is “self-taught”. There are plenty of people around who have completed a short tree surgery course and call themselves an arborist. That’s not the case. These short courses teach the very basics of the job, but experience comes on the job. Unfortunately, far too many weekend warriors offer tree services, and most of them do more harm than good. The easiest way to sort out the weekend warriors from the professionals is to ask them what certifications they have.
At the absolute minimum, you want them to have a certificate II in Arboriculture.
If they have a certificate III or above in Arboriculture, that is the true sign of a professional.
- Public liability insurance – removing trees for a living doesn’t come without its risks. Even the very best arborist on the planet can have a bad day. Whatever you do, make sure the one you are thinking of hiring has valid public liability insurance. If a falling tree accidentally damaged your property, you would not be able to claim from their insurance.
I said valid insurance because some tradespeople take out a 12 month policy only to pay for the first month and cancel. This trick allows them to get a public liability insurance policy sent through the mail to show prospective clients. Weekend warriors who are just trying to make extra beer money often use this trick. If your property were accidentally damaged, you would not be able to claim because they cancelled their insurance.
- Ask them to email you a copy of their public liability insurance.
- Contact the insurer and ask them if the policy is valid.
- Read through the insurance policy and make sure the amount of cover is at least £10 million.
Breakdown of costs: when the tree surgeon visits your property to assess the job, they should be able to give you a written quote breaking down all of the costs.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of companies who will try and avoid giving you a detailed quote. They will usually write something along the lines of “tree work as discussed”. As you can imagine, this is open to interpretation. If you are having a tree removed and three others preened you want it down in writing to prevent any discrepancies.
Read reviews: Reading reviews from recent customers is the easiest way to find out what to expect. Keep in mind; not all reviews are genuine. Getting friends and family to leave fake reviews to boost your online reputation is pretty common these days. Please don’t fall for it.
When you are reading reviews pay particular attention to the negative ones. If you come across negative reviews such as “didn’t return my call” that’s nothing to worry about. If you read reviews such as “the tree landed on my garage and destroyed the roof” that’s not a good sign.
Not afraid to answer questions: it’s only natural you will want to ask questions before choosing someone to do the work. Simple questions such as how long does a tree removal take? Or do you think those branches hanging over my roof are dangerous? You should never have to feel like you’re a thorn in someone’s side by asking questions.
If the tree surgeon isn’t hesitant to answer your questions and explains himself clearly, it should give you a good idea of their level of knowledge and expertise.
Pay attention to terminology: those in the medical field often use medical terminology to diagnose a particular problem and then explain it in laymen’s terms. Listen to the words they use to describe the issues with your trees. Do they use words you’ve never heard of? That’s a sign of a professional using the correct terminology.
At least three years experience: one of the easiest ways to find out how long someone has been in the business is to look when they registered their company. The longer ago the company was registered, the more experience they have doing tree surgery work.
It’s important to take your time when choosing a tree surgeon. Qualifications, knowledge and experience are absolutely essential. Never go with the first company you call and always get at least 3 quotes.