Three years ago I lost a dear friend in a tree felling accident at his home. My friend loved the woods, loved working with wood, loved everything to do with trees. And though he operated as safely as someone working alone with trees possibly could, in the end it wasn’t safe enough. And now he is gone, leaving his family and friends devastated, instantly killed by one wrong move.
From January 2017 to June 2018 the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) recorded 62 serious civilian tree care accidents in the United States, 41 of which were fatal (and four of those were innocent bystanders). In terms of overall tree work accidents in the United States over the last seven years, civilians have accounted for 17% of all tree work accidents, 8% have been among TCIA member companies, and a whopping 75% have been among non-TCIA member companies.
Lots of folks like to do DIY tree work and there are projects that you certainly can do yourself, but before you begin please read http://www.treecaretips.org/index.php/category/safety/ If you do indeed require a professional, seek out tree care companies with the proper qualifications and equipment to handle the work safely.
REASONS TO HIRE A QUALIFIED AND PROFESSIONAL TREE CARE COMPANY
- Professional arborists work according to American National Standards for tree care (ANSI A300) and have years of experience and continuing education.
- They can provide in-depth evaluations for hidden damage.
- Liability for services is placed on professionals.
- Arborists can safely and efficiently use proper equipment.
- They will become familiar with your trees, making it easier to provide long-term tree care.
QUALIFICATIONS YOU SHOULD LOOK FOR IN A PROFESSIONAL TREE CARE WORKER
- Verify professional affiliations the company might have, such as memberships in businesses and/or professional organizations. At the very least verify membership with TCIA, and better yet Accreditation with the Tree Care Industry Association that requires a certain percentage of staff members are ISA Certified Arborists and Certified Tree Care Safety Professionals. Accredited companies have the lowest accident rates of all tree care providers, a fraction of that 8% statistic cited above.
- Ask for a copy of the company’s insurance certificates for General Liability (GL) and Workers Compensation (WC), and check the coverage and the dates. You can also ask to be a ‘Named Insured’ that requires the company’s insurer to provide the documentation directly to you, thereby verifying the policy is current and eliminating fraud potential. Some unscrupulous tree work providers have obtained insurance to provide certificates to clients and then cancelled the policy.
- Insist on a written proposal as to cost, dates when work is to be performed, and exactly what is to be done. Reputable companies do not ask for deposits for tree work once you are an established client, though material costs for planting jobs may be an exception depending on size and scope.
- Get at least a second opinion and proposal for comparison.
- Ask for references!
WHO WE RECOMMEND
Want to hire the VERY best in the business? TCIA Accredited companies are the source for expert, professional tree service. If you’re a homeowner, look for TCIA’s Accreditation logo to ensure you’re getting the best service possible.
What sets accredited companies apart? TCIA Accredited companies are required to meet stringent criteria for professionalism, employee training, state and federal safety regulations, business ethics and consumer satisfaction. All TCIA Accredited companies have undergone a comprehensive on-site audit of professional and business practices, aimed at safeguarding consumers.
Each year, we at Chippers meet with hundreds of clients throughout NH and VT regarding the care of their trees. And because so many folks respect our knowledge and experience on all things tree-related, they often ask us about some of the other competitors we have in our service areas. We’re never ones to shy away from being blatantly honest with respect to competition, and we want our customers to be as informed as possible.
Here is a list of TCIA Accredited tree care companies we recommend in Vermont and NH, in order of enrollment year:
Broad Oak Tree & Shrub Care Inc.
Collins Tree Service Inc.
Urban Tree Service A Tree Health Co. Inc.
Bartlett Tree Experts
Belknap Landscape Co. Inc.
Seacoast Tree Care LLC
Bartlett Tree Experts
Henderson’s Tree Service LLC
If your favorite tree care provider is not on the list, maybe it’s time to ask them why.
This article was updated from the original posted on February 26, 2016.