So, you have decided to have some work done on your trees, now how do you choose from the all of tree surgery companies out there? It seems almost every advert in the back of the local paper and every leaflet coming through the door is from someone offering a tree cutting service. Usually it’s from a local gardening company offering everything you need from grass cutting to window and gutter cleaning and of course tree surgery. We will explain exactly what an arborist is and how to help you choose the perfect tree surgeon for you.
Deciding who to hire to manage or work on your precious trees at your home or office is even more difficult than before with everyone claiming to be qualified.
Damage caused to your trees by poor working practice can put you and your property in danger, not only immediately but in the future. Badly worked on trees can store up problems for weeks, even years before it becomes evident and by then it’s usually too late.
We have put together a few points to help you narrow the field and what to look out for. Hopefully this will help.
Are they covered? Does the tree surgeon have relevant insurance?
- Do they have the correct insurance in place and is it valid?
- They will need public liability and employer’s liability
- Ask to see a copy of it before you give the go ahead to do any work. If they don’t have it, by allowing them to work on your trees you become the employer and are liable for not only their safety but for anything that goes wrong, including damage to your property.
Is the tree surgeon a qualified arborist with certificates?
At the very least the first, most basic qualification they are required to have will be to allow them to safely operate a chainsaw. Depending on what they will then be doing they may need qualifications/certification to allow them to:
- Fell a tree under 380mm
- Fell a tree over 380mm
- Operate a chainsaw in the tree
- It is also always advisable for them to be first aid trained and certified
They should be willing and able to make these available to you before undertaking any work. Without the correct certificate to match the work they undertake they will not have or be covered by any insurance without the correct qualification/certificate, irrespective of what they claim.
Quiz their knowledge
- Ask a few questions about what they intend to do and how they will do it
- Are they aware of BS3998? This is the British industry standard for which all tree work should be done
- What safety equipment they will be using? Ropes and harnesses are essential if they are climbing the tree. Head and ear protection as well as chainsaw trousers and boots if using a chainsaw.
Recommendations are helpful but just because someone has cut a hedge or small tree for friend or family member doesn’t mean they will be able to carry out the work you require to the right standard. Ask to see some photographs of similar work to that that you require or ask to contact some of their other clients to see first-hand the work they have done. It’s too late once they have butchered and damaged your precious tree.
Get a quote in writing
Ask for a written quote. Getting down on paper exactly what work they will be doing and the full cost eliminates confusion and surprise at a later date. Make sure it has the cost of taking away and disposing of any waste material or if that is extra. Make sure the price you’re quoted is the price you pay.
So, just to recap…
- Insurance – ask to see an up to date copy
- Certification – ask to see a copy. There should be a minimum of one but could be four or five different types depending on work required
- Knowledge – ask what they will do and how they intend to carry out the work
- Past work – request photographs or more information
- Written quote – ask to get everything down on paper
Don’t be rushed into making a decision, trees take years to grow and become valuable to our garden and lives. A chainsaw in the wrong hands can take that away in minutes.