Is the company focused on providing what is best for the tree (and your budget), or do they just want to remove stuff? Is treatment even an option?
Why? Tree removal work is by far the quickest way to turn a buck in the Atlanta tree market. Many, if not most companies focus on removal exclusively (as easily evidenced by your salesman). This reality creates two major problems: 1) objective tree assessment, and 2) appropriate technique (when not removing).
Is the company bringing contracted and/or undocumented workers on your property?
Why? Tree work is consistently ranked in the top 5 most dangerous jobs in America. Personal injury or death on YOUR property is many times more likely than damage to your house.
SECRET: Any workers compensation policy you were shown is suspect at best if contract and/or undocumented workers are being used. They must have their own and 99% of the time – they don’t.
The answer to the first two will probably dictate technique. Do they adhere to the “A300” standard for pruning? Do they know what it is…do you?
Many practices routinely performed by Atlanta tree service companies are not accepted industry standards and are harmful to the tree.
SECRET: The ANSI 300 (A300) is a national standard for acceptable pruning practices, among other things. Included is the prohibition of using spikes, topping and removing more than 25% at one time.
It’s probably a good idea to at least ask a question about the company’s view toward safety. Do they have a safety program in place? How often are safety meetings conducted? Do they have a Certified Treecare Safety Professional (CTSP) on staff?
They are easy questions and the responses give real insight into how the company conducts business and performs their work. Caring about safety means they care about the trees and your property.
Do you have a written, detailed estimate with documented terms and guarantees?
Why? Details regarding work to be performed, terms and guarantees if something goes wrong MUST be spelled out and written down. Having necessary permits, neighbor’s permission if the tree is not on your property, no spikes if pruning, etc. etc. are critical.
Does the company have a reputation? It’s easy to find out with the Internet.
Why? Tree work can and does go wrong at times. It’s just a fact. Even the best companies have accidents. The question is – are you protected if that accident happens on your property. “Protected” goes beyond insurance; you need to know the company has an interest in protecting their brand.
SECRET: Many “tree-workers” in Atlanta fly under the radar by operating a business until they have an accident, then simply “disappear” by declaring bankruptcy and then start another business under another name.