Gusty winds that accompany severe thunderstorms quite often have homeowners in North Alabama assessing damage to their trees. Some residents will attempt to do much of the clean-up and recovery efforts on their own. Some of the larger jobs will require hiring professionals.
Your Better Business Bureau advises homeowners to take their time researching tree services and related businesses in order to make an informed decision. Make sure you are hiring a reliable, licensed and insured contractor.
· Ask friends, relatives and colleagues for references and check the BBB for a list of BBB Accredited contractors. You can also check BBB Business Reviews for tree services you may be considering to see if there is history of previous customer experience.
· Ask if a certified arborist is on staff. An experienced arborist is particularly important on projects involving large trees or removal of substantial branches on established trees. An arborist has had professional training and certifications.
· Confirm that the company is both licensed and insured. Ask if you may see a copy of its license or insurance policy, or obtain the respective license or policy numbers. Then you contact their insurance carrier and verify there is adequate insurance for your job.
· Request an onsite evaluation and cost estimate from a company representative.
· Obtain a written cost estimate from the company, and execute a written and signed contract. Make sure you understand what will be done with the tree once it is down. Is hauling off included in the contract? Is stump grinding included?
· Pay by check or credit card and only after the job has been completed. Paying by credit card provides some recourse should the job not be completed as stated in the contract.