by Lina Fletcher
You’re a new homeowner, yay! You chose this home primarily for the beautiful shade trees surrounding it. And now you’re looking up at the branches wondering if they may need a bit of attention. A “free quote” sounds very appealing, but what should you expect from a tree service company when it comes to a free quote?
1. The Phone Quote
Most tree service companies offer free quotes, which is a good thing for you. These quotes can vary widely, though. Some companies will give a ballpark price over the phone. You’re shopping around and this seems like a great option: quick and easy, right? The problem with that is tree care is highly individual. Trimming a young live oak will not require the same time and equipment as trimming an established live oak reaching long branches over your home. A rushed quote over the phone may be charging you more than it actually costs to complete your tree care.
2. The Photo Quote
Other companies say send us a photo! You go outside, snap a pic, then text or email it and get a free quote in reply. Super convenient! But what wasn’t captured in the photograph is that the tree is located in your fenced-in backyard. And the only access to the back is a 5-foot wide gate on the left side of the house. The limited access for the aerial lift equipment changes the project strategy and bumps the time frame (and price tag) to something beyond what was first quoted from the pic.
3. The In-Person Quote
A good tree service company will have a professional meet you at your property to look at the trees in person. The experienced estimator will evaluate the health and stability of your trees and offer recommendations for treatment. They’ll listen to your concerns and answer any questions you may have about the process. They will also consider equipment access and street parking for additional vehicles. They’ll note any landscaping areas to protect or garden decor to move before the project. They will observe how close the trees are to rooflines, pool enclosures, sheds, power lines or fences. And while most estimators will give a verbal quote during the onsite appointment, they should also follow up with a written quote outlining the project as discussed. All of this for free!
And don’t forget! While you’re meeting with the estimator, ask if the company carries insurance and what type of insurance. Ask about how soon the project can be completed, what time of day the crew will arrive, and whether you’ll need to be on site during the project. Talk about whether your vehicles should be relocated temporarily. Ask what they do with the tree debris, whether it gets chipped up and removed or left on site. Find out about payment options. And ask whether they offer any discounts or promotions.
There’s a lot that goes into keeping your trees healthy and it’s a good idea to take full advantage of the free quote being offered!