How to choose an Arborist

There are a variety of things to consider when selecting an arborist which include:

  • Membership in professional organizations such as the Nebraska Arborist Association (NAA) demonstrates a willingness on the part of the arborist to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and information.
  • Check in the phone directory or on websites for those arborists who advertise as Verified Arborists or Certified Treecare Safety Professionals (CTSP)
  • Ask for proof of insurance and then phone the insurance company if you are not satisfied. A reputable arborist will have personal and property damage insurance as well as workers compensation insurance. Many homeowners have had to pay out large amounts of money for damages caused by an uninsured individual claiming to be a tree expert. You could be held responsible for damages and injuries that occur as a result of the job.
  • Ask for references to find out where the company has done work similar to the work you are requesting. Don’t hesitate to check references or visit other worksites where the company or individual has done tree work. Remember, tree care is a substantial, long-lasting investment; you would not buy a car without a test drive!
  • Unless you know and are comfortable with the arborist, get more than one estimate. You may have to pay for the estimates, and it will take more time, but it will be worth the investment.
  • Be wary of individuals who go door-to-door and offer bargains for performing tree work. Most reputable companies are too occupied to solicit work in this manner. Improper tree care can take many years to correct itself and in some cases never corrects itself. Are you willing to take that risk with your valuable investment?
  • Good arborists will only perform accepted practices. For example, practices such as topping a tree, removing an excessive amount of live wood, using climbing spikes on trees which are not being removed, and removing or disfiguring living trees without just cause, are unnecessary, except in extremely rare instances.
  • Don’t always accept the low bid. You should examined the credentials and the written specification of the firms who submitted bids and determine the best combination of price, work to be done, skill and professionalism to protect your substantial investment.

Get it in writing. Most reputable arborists will have their clients sign a contract. Be sure to read the contract carefully. Ask questions such as:

  • When will the work be started and completed?
  • Who will be responsible for clean-up?
  • Is this the total price?
  • If I would like more to be done, what is your hourly rate?