Tree Care Cost

When you have a tree that is dead, dying, diseased, hazardous and is a nuisance to yourself or others it is time to have it removed.  If it is a tree that is too large, dead, rotten, difficult and or challenging it is time to employ a professional.

Homeowners who have never employed or performed the work themselves generally do not have an understanding what it takes to remove a tree.  Let me give you some history, in the months of August and September of 2011 there were 29 recorded deaths, 15 of which were civilians. These statistics are only what was reported.  Many more have gone unrecorded.  Homeowners rank very high in deaths along with unskilled tree workers and then line clearance personnel. The point is, this type of work is very dangerous, has a lot of risks associated with it and we need to talk about it before we move on.

Some of the risks:

Life and limb. 

The lack of proper equipment (tools), skills, experience and physical fitness.  I have always said that if you are performing tree work you should have at least 3 sizes of chain saws with the appropriate length cutting bar.  For example when cutting large wood you use a large saw, medium wood -medium saw and small wood, use a small saw.  Know how to make cuts and which way they will fall. Use the proper ropes for securing wood, directing and lowering.  All of these require a special skill sets. 

Injury to yourself or others while performing the work.

Damage to structures, buildings, landscape, fences, underground utilities and even other trees.

Disposal of the tree once it’s down – timing and requirements of city pick-up.

The dangers of hauling the debris yourself.

When all of the challenges are considered and the risks made clear, it makes sense to bring in a professional.  You now have a better understanding of why there are professional services. It does not totally remove all the risks but choosing the right professional tree care provider reduces your liability considerably. This is what you should look for:

  • Insured – documentation is provided directly from the carrier
  • Verifiable Arborist Certifications and status
  • Experienced and expertise.
  • Length of time in business
  • Knowledgeable of Arboriculture and tree removal / tree risk assessment
  • A free estimate for the tree removal.  Keep in mind that if you are dealing with a sick tree that you are trying to save, this is a specialized service and would require a RCA or BCMA with expertise in Tree Health Care which then incurs a charge for diagnosis.
  • Professional etiquette and appearance.  An Arborist should look like an Arborist not a cowboy, golfer or trash remover.

All estimates are based on time and complexity.  The larger the tree, the more obstacles, the higher the traffic area, the placement of the tree, the more time it takes, and therefore will be more expensive to remove.  Obstacles could be buildings, pools, fences, walkways, landscape plantings and other structures will add time to the removal.  A sick tree, which could be decayed, hollow, cankered with cement or hardware installed in it makes a removal more complicated and therefore will also add time.

Generally speaking there is a cost of doing business factor, which is the common denominator for any business.  Then there is an hourly rate which ranges from market to market, typically ranging from $65 – $95 per man hour.

To compare oranges with oranges, all professional credentialed companies will complete a job from the start to hauling off the debris.  They should be professional in appearance and safety one conscience.  Clean up should leave the property looking at least as good as it appeared before, if not better.  There is no difference in price from chipping debris into the back of a truck or cutting and stacking it in the front yard for the city to pick up. 

And finally, you should hire a professional tree care service.  You wouldn’t employ an accountant to prescribe medicine would you?  Then leave the tree work to the tree specialists!

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