We know we aren’t the only tree company in town – there are quite a few to choose from as you decide who to entrust with your property. We hope to ultimately be your company of choice, but here are some ideas and questions to ask as you narrow things down:

Rope Climbing vs. Spike Climbing
Is your tree being removed? If so, the use of ankle spikes/gaffs is not a problem - the gouges made to your tree’s bark will be moot. However, if your tree is being pruned it’s a very different story. Modern-day climbing techniques allow professional climbers to ascend your tree using a Rope Climbing System, ensuring your tree is not damaged in the process.

Pruning Standards
Anyone can prune a tree, but will their cuts be up to snuff? Our industry has a strict standard by which true professionals adhere. It’s called the ANSI (American National Standard Institute) A300 Pruning Standard. When pruning, tree workers must not leave branch stubs, cut off the branch collar (not make a flush cut), top a tree, remove more than the appropriate percentage of foliage in a single year, damage other parts of the tree during pruning, use wound paint, etc. Be sure the company you select is versed in, and abides by, ANSI pruning standards.  

It’s vital that the company you select is fully covered with both general liability and workers compensation insurance. Without both, you as the homeowner are at risk of liability were an accident to occur on your property. A professional company will gladly provide you with present-day proof of coverage, specific to your property, and delivered straight from their insurance company. Lesser companies may attempt to show you an outdated one-time document, or worse yet only verbally assure you regarding their coverage. All of this goes for a company’s subcontractors as well.

State Licensing
Sadly, there is no licensing to perform tree work in Georgia. Companies who tout being licensed are merely in possession of an ordinary business license. They cost very little, and anyone can get one. 

Safety of Staff
Companies with a Safety First culture stand out from the rest. One way you’ll know you’ve selected the right company is when their crew arrives onsite and breaks out their PPE (Personal Protective Equipment). Whilst performing your work, crew members should don their safety glasses, hearing protection, hard hat/helmet, chainsaw chaps, climbing equipment, etc. Want to know more about a company’s investment in a safe work environment? Perhaps inquire about things like First Aid/CPR certifications, aerial rescue training, and more.

Ask How Your Work Will Be Performed
Logistics are important. How will your and/or your neighbor’s property be impacted? Will heavy equipment such as a crane be parked in your driveway? Will any pieces of equipment be used in your yard or driveway to transport heavy wood? If so, what impact can you expect? Will each piece of wood be lowered to the ground in a controlled manner, or merely dropped in huge sections to save time? 

Affiliations and Organizations
A good sign that you’re dealing with a professional company is whether it holds certifications with arboricultural organizations such as the ISA (International Society of Arboriculture) and the TCIA (Tree Care Industry Association). Local memberships with groups like the GAA (Georgia Arborist Association) are a plus.

Multiple Estimates
It’s a good idea to get at least three estimates from three reputable companies. Compare, contrast, and ask questions accordingly – empower yourself. And, while we all want to find ways to save money, bear in mind the cheapest is not always the best.

Should never be up front! Only after your work is completed, and you’ve had a chance to review it and ask questions/address concerns, should payment be requested. 

Wait Time
Nobody likes to wait, especially once they’ve made the decision to have their work done. It can be frustrating when the company you’re thinking of hiring has a longer wait time than others. Perhaps consider they might be in higher demand for a reason and ultimately worth the wait.

Referrals and Reviews
We might think we’re the bee’s knees, but what do other folks say? Friends and neighbors are a great place to start – their feedback on prior experiences can be invaluable. Neighborhood social media groups are a good source for information on what companies work in your area, and online reviews can often provide helpful insight.