The tree industry is one of the businesses that most con artists take advantage of. Don’t let yourself be a victim and consider the following precautions to keep yourself away from these fly-by-night companies.
How can you protect yourself from hiring the wrong tree service?
What makes a company the right choice? What steps should you take to ensure you are not hiring the wrong tree company?
The sad reality for both customers and tree companies that try to run their businesses the right way is that the tree industry is a haven for con artists and fraudsters. It is vital to know the difference between a legitimate company and a fraud to avoid undesirable results and wasting time and money.
The following insights come from our long years of professional experience as a tree service in the local area. We aim to help you in your decision-making when it comes to hiring a tree company:
1. Insurance Policies
This should always come first. Always ask the company you are considering if they have the proper insurance certification for your safety. A trustworthy tree company will not think twice and send the certificates right at your doorstep. If an accident happens while they work on your property and don’t have insurance, you will be responsible for the damage or injury.
2. Better Business Bureau
While the Better Business Bureau is not as strong as before, they are still a credible authority that will lead you to the right tree company. It is best to choose a company that is accredited with BBB because it is a good sign that they offer reliable service. You should also take time to find out about the company’s rating and see if they are recognized well by BBB.
Some property owners end up hiring the wrong tree company because they fail to do an important task—research. Your research will go a long way. Don’t hire a tree service just because they are the first name that came out of your search results. Read online reviews from different platforms. An esteemed company should have positive feedbacks from their past customers. Make sure to check if they are a member of a distinguished association like the International Society of Arboriculture or Tree Care Industry Association, like Stallworth’s Tree Service Huntsville. At treeserviceshuntsville.com, find out about their years of service or if they have any complaints on various forums or groups. For your added peace of mind, you can also ask the company for references. If they can’t give you a list of reliable references, then you should reconsider the thought of getting their service. It always helps to be extra cautious when it comes to risky projects such as tree service.
Tree service is not free. You should not expect it to be too cheap because if the price is too good to be true, it probably is. We know that everyone wants to save some cash, but if the company is offering its service for an unbelievably low price, it should be a red flag. This can probably mean that they lack experience in the field or they don’t have proper certifications such as insurance.
5. Too Expensive?
Professional tree service will cost you some money, but it should not be as much as your retirement fund. A reputable company will offer their service for a price that can still be afforded by their customers. Don’t think that because the price is high, quality follows. Many homeowners become victims of smooth-talkers and end up paying more than they should.
6. Multiple Estimates
How can you find out whether a price is too high or too low? The simple answer to this is to obtain at least three estimates from various tree companies. By comparing the estimates, you will get an idea of how much is the average cost for a specific tree job. If you can, we highly suggest that you talk to each company’s representative and ask all your questions about the service you wish to purchase. You can take this time to assess the company’s professionalism and expertise to address questions about their work.
7. Compare Companies
You don’t compare oranges to apples because you will get unfair results. When it comes to tree companies, you should compare apples to apples. This means you should take into account what each company brings to the table. You should not overlook any add-on services that a company offers. For instance, company A will fell the entire tree while company B will take it down piece by piece. Take time to assess the pros and cons of the situation. While it takes less time and relatively easier to fell a tree, it may cause damage to your property. On the other hand, removing a tree section by section will cost you more because it requires much effort and time, but it can minimize the damage caused to your property. Take this time to compare how each company presents itself. Do they seem professional, skilled, or knowledgeable about the task? Keep in mind that money is not everything. Look for a company that offers quality more than anything else.
8. Stay Away from Door-to-Door Contractors
Steer clear from tree companies that go door-to-door offering their services, especially for tree removal projects. We have been warned many times by the BBB about fly-by-night companies and the danger they bring. These contractors are most often than not, fraudsters that take advantage of homeowners, particularly the elderly. Make it a promise to yourself not to do business with these people to avoid being a scam victim. There is a lot to take into consideration when it comes to tree work, and it is never a good idea to decide on your feet without looking into them.
9. Practice Caution
Con artists usually come out following a natural disaster. They know that people will be too stressed out to do their research and say yes to the first company that shows up at their property. This is one situation that hiring a door-to-door contractor may be inevitable. For instance, it is essential to get a lying tree on your garage out immediately, and if a tree company comes, you should probably take their service. However, this should not be a reason for you to agree to an unreasonable offer. Some companies will take advantage of the situation and ask for extremely high payment for their work. Before you sign a contract, make sure to check if they have the proper insurance policy to cover for any damages or injuries in the event of an accident.
10. Pay When Satisfied
This rule comes after you have chosen the tree company to carry out the job in your yard. Do not pay them unless they have done everything you agreed on the contract, and you are pleased about the result of their work. Avoid paying the company upfront because some of them don’t ever come back. Other fraudulent companies start the project, then ask for money and never show up again. A reputable tree service will never ask for payment for a job that they haven’t finished yet. Always remember that you should only pay when you are satisfied.
If you consider these precautionary measures and do your research and make sure the company is properly insured, you will not fall for con artists lurking around waiting for their next victim.