10 Tips for Avoiding Tree Service Scams
If you are considering having trees trimmed or removed from your property, one thing that you want to know is that there are a lot of scams out there. So you want to avoid the scams. Below are ten tips that you can use to avoid scams when you are having tree work done.
Make Sure They Have Insurance
When you are checking your possible providers, you want to make sure that they have the right insurance for worker’s compensation and liability. They should send their insurance certificates to you right from their insurance company. Otherwise, they may be providing you with a certificate that’s fraudulent. If the company has some kind of accident, and they don’t have the right insurance, you’re going to be liable. You’ll have to make the repairs to the property and be responsible for injuries.
Check with the BBB
Make certain the company’s accredited with the BBB. Even though it isn’t as strong as in the past, this accreditation is going to be a good sign of whether they are reputable. You also want to know the type of rating they have. They should have good standing.
It’s a good idea to do a bit of research so that you can find out the type of reputation the service has with the community. The right service will have positive reviews online in many places. Check and see if they have membership in one of the reputable trade associations. These are things like the ISA or the TCIA. How many years have they been doing this? Are there any complaints on discussion groups, online forums, etc.? Get references from the company if you want additional insurance. This is important especially if you are doing an expensive project.
Be Careful of Cheap Prices
If the price that you have been quoted seems like a steal, you should look elsewhere. Even though you want to get a bargain, the chances are that the price they are quoting you is not a bargain. There could be one of several reasons why they’re quoting a low price:
- No experience
- No certifications or insurance
- They’re only going to do some of your projects.
Be Careful of High Prices
You also want to be careful of someone who has quoted you something high. You don’t want to pay a lot of money for something that is simple, like removing a small tree from your property.
Get More Than One Estimate
One of the best ways that you can decide if the price is too low or too high is to get a few estimates. A good way to get a good idea of what it’s going to cost is to consult with three companies. From those estimates, you should have a good idea of what the price should be. If you can, you want to meet with the representatives face to face. This is going to help you with judging the professionalism and expertise of the company. It also will let you ask questions, find out what is going to be involved and other things.
Compare Apples and Apples
When you are considering different estimates, you want to make sure that you are comparing what they are offering. If one of the services is offering additional benefits or services, this should be considered. Maybe one of the companies is taking the tree down, and another is removing the tree section by section. It’s going to be a lot easier for the tree to be taken down all in one piece, but it’s going to cause additional damage to the property. When the tree is taken down in pieces, it’s going to lead to less damage to the property, but it’s going to take a lot more effort and time and will cost more. This also is a good place when you should compare a service’s knowledge, presentation, service, and professionalism. Remember that you shouldn’t just consider the price. You should be listening to your gut about the company will work best for you.
Don’t Fall for a Door-to-Door Contractor
You shouldn’t do business with someone who is going to door-to-door, especially if you are hiring someone for a huge project like tree removal. A lot of DA’s and the BBB regularly warn against doing this. A contractor who is traveling door-to-door go from one town to another and prey on the homeowners particularly seniors. If you tell yourself that you refuse to do work with these kinds of people, you’ll avoid getting into a scam. Besides, you don’t want to decide to complete work on trees without thinking about it. There are a lot of variables that you should think about first.
Be Cautious Following Disasters
One thing that you want to do is make sure that you are careful after a disaster. This is usually when con artists come out. This might be one reason why you have to hire one of those door-to-door contractors that we warned against before. If you have a tree that’s lying atop your house, so that you don’t have any electricity, it’s possible that you want to hire one that is passing by. However, you should still be cautious and make sure that they’re not overcharging you. There’s a lot of companies who charge high rates for easy removal of trees following hurricanes and ice storms. You also should make sure the company provides the necessary certifications and insurance.
Only Pay When You’re Satisfied
After you have chosen your tree service that you’re happy with the thing that you want to remember is that you never want to pay until you’re completely happy with the work. There were a lot of instances when a homeowner paid for the project they were having done up front, and then they didn’t hear from that company. One of the popular tricks among the less than reputable services is to start the project, ask for the money so they can pay their workers, pay for gas, etc., and then disappear. This especially is true with companies who remove stumps. In that scenario, the company has removed the tree completely and requested payment; then they promise to return so that they can remove the stump. When they have gotten the payment, they don’t come back. It’s important to remember that you shouldn’t pay anything until it’s done and you’re happy. If you pay up front, they have your money, and they have no reason to return.
These are the ten tips that you can use to help you avoid tree service scams. They will help you find the right company and get the work done that you want to be done without losing money.