Will they provide an up-to-date certificate of insurance and a copy of their work contract? This should be your first and most important question. You want to ensure they are properly insured and that you will not be liable for damage, accidents or injuries.
You should always receive CURRENT insurance documents from a tree service to insure that coverage is in place at the time of service. Often times un-reputable companies will provide paperwork from an out of date or cancelled policy to an unsuspecting homeowner. This puts you at risk if an accident happens. We will have both our General Liability and Workman’s Comp insurance companies email a binding proof of current coverage upon request.
What are their credentials? Try to hire a company with an International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) certified arborist, a Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) Accredited Business or one employing a Certified Tree Care Safety Professional (CTSP).
Ed Depaul is our ISA certified arborist. He has been certified for 35 years and you can check his credentials here: http://www.isa-arbor.com/findanarborist/verify.aspx
Here in the Tampa Bay Area, tree services are required to contact the local power company if a worker will be within a certain distance from a power line. This is a routine practice which we are well accustomed to.
We work with Duke energy in cases like this. They come to the property and disconnect power lines when applicable.
Can they provide a list of references? Any quality company will be happy to share a list of satisfied customers. Ask for customers that they have done work for in the past month or so; you don't want ancient history.
Absolutely! Go to http://elcheapotree.com/reviews/ for our most recent Google reviews and links for other sites like BBB, Angie’s List, and Yelp!
Will they give you a detailed estimate? Get written estimates from three equal companies to compare prices and understand the scope of the job, which leads into the next question.
You will receive an estimate detailing what services were agreed upon and a long term care plan if applicable.
How will the job be approached and what equipment will they use? Will they be using any heavy machinery? If they are going across your lawn, ask if they have gear to protect your grass and flowerbeds. What is their policy if they damage something and is it acceptable to you? It may be a good idea to photograph the area before work begins so you have a record in case there is damage. Make sure you understand how they will clean up during and after the job.
Although we do have heavy machinery, El Cheapo is always mindful of homeowners property. We come equipped with rubber matts and or plywood to drive over if there’s a possibility of damaging concrete or grass. Most often, this happens after a storm when our Florida soil is over saturated. Accidents do happen (although rarely), potted plants and roof tiles have been broken, pool screens get ripped. If any property is damaged by El Cheapo, we will have it fixed, replaced or compensate the homeowner.
How long will the project take? This is why getting an estimate is handy. One company might say three days while another company says three hours.
El Cheapo is able to provide homeowners reasonable prices because we work efficiently and we have the right tools for the job. we utilize grapple trucks, bucket trucks, and a 40 ton crane to take large sections of the tree down maximizing our time. Our hard working crew uses a few different size bobcats to quickly clear the logs and brush.
Does the company appear professional? What does their company truck look like, is it well taken care of? Is the truck clean and in good shape? If they don't take care of their equipment, do you think they will take care of your tree and property?
Our business name may be El Cheapo but we are anything but that when it comes to our equipment. From the fleet down to our hard hats, we come equipped with the most up to date tools which are kept in good working order.
Do they have a website? Design and content can give you a sense of their professionalism, as can the appearance of the vehicles they use on jobs. That can give you an idea of how they run their business.
Yes, you can visit our website at http://elcheapotree.com
Do they use spikes to climb trees while pruning? Unless you're removing the trees, demand they not use spikes, which causes unhealthy wounds.
Using spikes causes harmful wounds so they are only used if felling a tree. We utilize mini man lifts, pole saws, a crane or bucket trucks to access trees that others would spike.
Will the crew be using hardhats and other personal protective equipment while on your property? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requires that personal protective equipment be used for any tree care operation. A reputable tree care service will require their workers to be protected.
El Cheapo goes over and above when it comes to safety gear and training. Our crew members are certified in hand signals from Crane Tech as well as safety practices from Best Management Practices. We have a great relationship with our local and regional OSHA representative because of this.