Anyone can call themselves a tree surgeon and place adverts in Yellow Pages, local village magazines and on the internet. They can offer what appears to be a genuine service.
An advert alone does not guarantee quality of work, or guarantee that it will be carried out safely. Competent arborists (tree surgeons) will have certificates which show that they have been trained and assessed. They will often have other academic qualifications in arboriculture. They will use safety equipment to protect you, your property and themselves.
Reputable tree care companies will be pleased to provide copies of their insurance, qualifications and professional memberships and will work to nationally recognised standards.
Questions you should ask an arborist
FIRST STAGE: Ask for a quote (ideally obtain three)
* “Are you insured?”
If yes, please show evidence of insurance, i.e. Employers Liability and Public Liability (recommended minimum cover £5 million).
* “Do you work to a British Standard?”
If yes, which one? Should be BS 3998 (2010) Recommendations for tree work
* ” What qualifications do you and your staff hold?” (Ask to see these; competent arborists will have credit card sized ID cards or A4 certificates).
Compulsory: must have National Proficiency Test Council (NPTC) certificates for chainsaw use (both ground use and aerially).
Recommended: certificates for other skills and machines. Arboricultural knowledge, e.g. National Certificates and Diplomas in Arboriculture.
* “Will you provide a written quotation?”
If no,reject this contractor.
* “Are you a member of a professional organisation?” (Arboricultural Association, International Society of Arboriculture)
Membership does not guarantee work standards but does show a degree of commitment.
* “Can you provide me with the contact details of a reference who could show me some of your work?”
If yes follow up the lead.
SECOND STAGE: Choosing the quote that suits you
When you receive your quotations, check that they include the following before deciding which one to accept:
- Reference to BS 3998
- Clear and full details of the work to be undertaken
- What will happen to the arisings
- Whether VAT is included
- Who will be responsible for any planning applications (if trees are protected)
- What steps will be taken to protect you and your property
- Beware there may be a limited quote validity period
If you have any questions – or would like to talk to us about our services – by all means get in touch.