We receive a lot of enquiries for tree work and it is amazing how mysterious this industry is to people. People that require tree services often do not know where to start. So here is a guide to walk you through the process of making sure you hire a professional arborist and not some backyard tree cutter.
Search your area for local tree companies that have a professional image. Talk to people you know who have had tree work completed as they may provide some good referrals. It is best to contact local companies, within 100kms of your job, as travel costs associated with tree work can make a job far more costly then it need be. Contact at least 2 local tree companies and request an onsite meeting to discuss your requirements. Make sure the individual you discuss your trees with has a minimum qualification of AQF3 in Arboriculture. Most good companies will provide free quotes and general advice about your situation. Talk to the person that does your quote about your trees and gauge if they know what they are talking about.
Explain what you would like done and ask for feedback from the arborist (he/she may have other options for your situation). If the arborist tells you the tree must be removed, ask them to explain why. In most cases, there are alternatives to whole tree removal that can be far better for your finances and for your garden. Remember – trees are fast to remove and slow to grow, so make sure you consider your options before condemning a tree. Also, ask the contractor what kind of equipment they plan to use for the job, as some contractors using small and dated equipment can take days to do a job that a larger company can do in a few hours.
Ask for a written quotation outlining the services that will be provided along with the price. Also, ask for copies of the following documents(this is really important):
- Public Liability Insurance – this protects you and your home against any damage that may happen if an accident was to occur. Never engage any arborist without knowing they have this type of insurance. The amount of cover should be at least $10 million.
- Workers Compensation Insurance – because of the number of risky ‘cowboys’ in the industry, it is important to know that you are engaging a contractor that is covered by insurance if they or one of their employees is injured whilst on your property.
- Professional Indemnity Insurance – If you are obtaining specialist advice and are basing your decisions on the advice given, make sure the individual or company is insured for their recommendations. A minimum cover of $5 million is recommended.
- AQF3 in Arboriculture – this is the minimum qualification that should be held by any company engaging in professional tree services. If a tree company tells you they are “very experienced”, however do not hold this qualification, you should not engage them. These types of contractors have two bad habits – getting injured, and ruining trees. Make sure the person that works on your trees is qualified.
- Australian Business Number (ABN) – If the work is over $1000 in total value, ask for their ABN. A professional company should include this in their quotation. You can also run an ABN check to see how long the person or company has been operating. Click here to look up and ABN
When deciding on which quote to accept, make sure you read the quote (not just the price) to find out if the services they include are similar – for example, one might include stump grinding while the other does not. Compare services, the method of removal, price, and resources used.
Find out if your local council requires you to get approval to complete the planned works. Most council tree inspectors are very understanding when it comes to tree development applications. Local regulations concerning tree removals and pruning vary dramatically within councils in the Hunter Valley and Central Coast areas.
Once council has issued you with a development approval, contact the chosen contractor and book in a date to complete the works. Notify your neighbours about the tree removal, and keep the DA handy in case complaints are made concerning the removal of your tree.