The problems with finding a tree surgeon
I spent 7 years of my life running my own tree surgeon business and during that time I’ve seen it all. I closed my business a few years ago now and that gives me the perfect background to reveal to you the problems you might face when looking for a tree surgeon
Here are my top problems with finding a tree surgeon and what you can do to protect yourself.
Getting hold of them
Getting hold of any contractor can be difficult but tree surgery is a noisy job where phones get damaged and wet. This is why some tree surgeons leave their phone in the van orin a safe place. Even if they have it in their pocket they might not hear it ringing or it might be too loud onsite to talk.
The larger companies will have an office with staff to answer but smaller companies won’t. If no one answers your call it is hard to get any further with a quotation. We used a call answering service to take our calls and I’ll take my hat off to any small company who does the same
As a consumer, you’ll probably just move on to the next one on the list because if they won’t answer now, what will they be like when/if problems arise.
Will they turn up?
You have a quote arranged at a time but will they show up? Most will but some tradesmen operate out of their van and make notes on paper and are generally disorganised. Some are just forgetful. Look out for companies who call/text you to confirm the appointment a day or two before. Shows they care and are thinking about you.
Stuff does happen, like breakdowns, jobs overrunning, traffic, but the mark of any good company is how they handle it. You should expect a call in the least to reschedule the appointment.
If they dont show and dont call you, I would move on. “Next!”
Will they do a good job?
Unfortunately, the industry is lacking when it comes to a single standard and qualification to denote quality of work. Many companies say they are NPTC certified and I know many who use the logo and are not NPTC certified. But what does that mean?
NPTC is the awarding body for qualification around chainsaws amongst other things. There are quite a few relevant to tree surgeons and having one, or even a handful of them does not make you a tree surgeon. It’s a bit like learning to drive, pass the first one and you can ride a moped (use a chainsaw on the ground) but if you want to ride a bigger bike (fell bigger trees) you’ll need a different qualification. You’ll also need other qualification to climb trees and use a chainsaw at heights. They take 3 to 4 days to pass but like driving, they teach you to a standard but don’t teach you how to ‘drive’. You learn that afterwards.
The governing body (The Arboricultural Association) does have a scheme where they approve contractors. This does lower the chance of you having bad work done and give some recourse when things do go wrong but I was never an approved contractor (due to the financial constraints) and there are plenty good companies out there who do good work who are not. It’s a matter of doing your homework.
Look for recommendations from a trusted source. If you find testimonials on their website (and this applies to any business) by a vague name with a vague statement like
“Mr A. Smith – Great job” then it’s probably made up. Find some trusty reviews and compare pictures of their work to others.
Will they make a mess?
Inevitably yes but it should be left spick and span. It’s a hard messy job but you should be paying for the clean up for it to be left how you want. Cleaning up varies from company to company, some are immaculate and will leave the place spotless. Others are good but will leave sawdust out of sight and sometimes in sight too. But it’s all organic and will rot down.
A bigger problem might be holes and dents in your lawn. Sometimes they can’t be avoided whereas sometimes the climber is clumbsy and drop logs leaving your garden looking like the battle of the Somme. If that bothers you let them know when you are getting quotes. Bear in mind that damage to lawns and borders can be avoided but will slow down the operation and increase the cost as will re-instating the lawn. Some dents can be levelled out using a gardening fork.
What if it rains?
Unless it is hammering it down most companies will still turn up as it cost too much for them to take a day off. Depending on the weather your lawn might get churned up and some trees might be unsafe to climb. Don’t forget to get plenty of tea and biscuits to keep them going if the weather is bad, they will definitely thank you for it.
Hope this guide helps. Let us know your experience with tree surgeons in the comments below.