You know these guys! the ones who run around, in beat up old trucks, no names, cut off sleeves, shorts and tennis shoes. The only part of tree work they understand is gravity and how to start a Home Depot chainsaw. These guys will take a job, screw up, damage something and bail, leaving the home owner in their dust. Many of them are criminals, just ask the cops. They leave in their wake, a long list of mutilated trees
They have no training, just what uncle bubba told them. So there they are, trying to remove a 2000lb chunk of wood over your roof, deck or driveway. Then OOPS! Now you have a truck flipped in your yard. A log through your roof. How about that crushed deck rail or busted driveway. They could go small and safe, but this takes a little longer, and that is why they don”t do it. They only take on hard removals if they can get a crane close to the tree, if they can’t “it cannot be done” is what they say. They have no idea how to remove a large hazardous tree by rigging. They are afraid to climb out on the tips to set rigging, so they go big, crashing the branch or leader back into the tree, creating a even more hazardous situation by hanging it up or busting other branches free. When they prune, it is common practice for them to start at the top and prune on the way down, this is lazy. When they cut branches, they smash down thru the canopy, tearing up most of what was to remain, knowing they cannot leave broken branches hanging all around, they remove those too. Now you have a tree that has about 30% of the canopy left. They then will give you some crazy reason why the tree was severely trimmed, when the real reason is that they tore it up while working on it. They will climb a tree that is to be pruned while wearing their spikes (gaffs, spurs) leaving hundreds of puncture wounds for the tree to try and heal. They top trees like it is an art form. Prune oak trees in the middle of summer. They leave stubs instead of properly finish cutting. Often they do not even understand how to make a proper pruning cut; this results in a “peel” where the bark peels away, below the cut, leaving a nasty wound that the tree will most likely not heal.
They have multiple businesses, ya know! Ask them, they do everything and are the best at all of them! They will build you a retaining wall, re-roof your house, mow your grass, build you a deck, pour concrete. They do gutters, siding and windows as well. Do you know why? Because this is what they destroy when doing tree work, so instead of calling a pro to fix the damage, they pull out their other business card, which just happens to be the exact service you need to fix what they broke! Some are landscapers that know just enough to be dangerous. Their customer comes out and asks “you know anybody that does trees?” Of course the landscaper says he does, and then goes on to completely mutilate the tree. The QC not having much knowledge on proper Arboriculture, just accept the end result as normal.
These type of guys drink beer on site, hit on your 14 year old daughter all while casing your residence for a later return, that nice tool box in the garage will look better in theirs. Ask the police, there is a reason why they are on the watch list. They purposely do not mark their trucks, so when someone wants to complain, they don”t know who to call. Not only is this done, it is preached about. They take your material out to rural roads and dump it in the ditches. They do this because they have been kicked out of most dump sites for dumping garbage along with the tree material. They drive down the road with unsecured loads, dropping stuff all the way out to the country. Last year, one of the “others” was hauling large logs on the back of their large junk flat bed, the load was not tied down, they turned a corner and large 1500lb logs rolled off the truck and into a intersection, almost hitting my wife and father-in-law. Instead of stopping and getting it, they hit the gas. This was done by a “premier” local tree service. They promise a rose garden but deliver a thorn bush. They will take your money and never return. They take on jobs too technical for them, then when they figure out they can not do it, pick up their saws and leave, leaving the homeowner with a hazardous situation, The Homeowner then calls a pro, and the pro says no! (Not because he wants to be mean, but he cannot take on the liability of others, nor do they want the neighbors thinking that it was them that did the original bad work). These guys will come out and tell you that your tree is going to die when they know darn well it’s not, just to make revenue. These half hearted self proclaimed Arborist will also explain how they are going to do it, but will have never been in a tree themselves, or if they have, it was for a very little amount of time and they recognized they do not have what it takes, so they get a couple pics of them bear hugging the trunk of a tree, 10ft of the ground, to prove that they have climbed.
Then you have the ones who knock on doors. As a rule, legitimate tree services don’t need to do this, we stay busy all year. Tree services that knock on doors usually have a bad reputation and this is the only way they can generate work. Door hangers and mailers are fine, but walking the neighborhoods, telling every person that the world is ending, if they don”t cut down that tree.
They will list in the phone books, on their advertising that they are ISA Certified Arborist or claim to have one on staff. This is a downright lie. Some even have it in their name. They are not certified and they do not have one on staff. Ask them who it is that they claim is a ISA Certified Arborist and then go to www.isa.com and check them out, you will see who is and who is not. They steal intellectual property of professionals, not realizing that there are legal ramifications when they do. They claim professional services, but are a far cry from it. The other cool little trick they do is falsifying their documentation. Anybody with a computer can generate a Insurance Certificate or a Bond. It is very important that you call their insurance company to make sure it is legit. Too many times have I been told about a tree service that has destroyed something, only for the Homeowner to find out they really do not have insurance. Then they are stuck flipping the bill. The tree service scurries away. The Homeowner can try and go after him, but for what, a junky truck and a old saw! Most people are a good judge of character, use your gut. When you meet these “others” and you feel that they are less than desirable, do a background check on them. We do whenever we hire any type of contractor. We use www.instantcheckmate.com , cost about $20 to get unlimited checks for a month. Do it! You will be blown away by the records of some of my competition. So be careful people! You do not want to hire someone who is going to come back in the middle of the night and steal from you. You will see them doing things that are completely and totally unsafe. Not wearing the proper safety gear, feeding chippers with daisy dukes and a beer. These guys are the ones who leave garbage all over their customer’s yard, go no. 2 in your bushes, (yes that is true, someone really did that!) Some will work for a day, up and leave the jobsite for a few days leaving their ropes and gear all over your yard so your kids can go out and get hurt. They will leave huge piles of brush and say “I”LL BE BACK” and the customer never sees them again. I am not sure why, but many people feel the need to call me and tell me what they see, or what they have experienced. Some guys, from other crews, that have wanted to work for me, still call me to tell me what they did for the day! I secretly coach them, not necessarily wanting to help my competition, but some of these young guys have good intentions and I don”t want to see them get hurt, so I give them pointers all the time. It’s funny to hear their bosses talk about how good their guys are, not realizing that the little tricks that are making their guys better, come from me! Don”t worry guys, your secret is safe!
So! Next time you”re out and about, if you see a tree service, take a look. What do you see? I keep tabs on who is out there doing a good job as well. There are a few, out of the hundreds, that are pretty darn good. One of them, I look to for advice.
We are not hard to find, just look for the outfits that speak English, have sleeves on their uniformed shirts, professional equipment that’s designed for tree work. Cleancut, courteous employees. You will see names all over; we want you to know who we are, not trying to hide it!
How do we fix it? tell your alderman that you want regulation on the tree industry. A simple test on safety and proper Arboriculture, before receiving a business license, would be epic! The easiest way is to simply require that all tree services have a proven I.S.A. Certified Arborist on staff.