BBB Tips on Hiring a Tree Company

April 21, 2014

Spring is the time of year when a lot of property owners look to get their yards in order. This includes pruning trees and removing fallen leaves and branches. Though there are many reliable companies that provide these services, there are also a few that are looking to be paid in full for services they have no plans to complete.

When you’re looking for a tree trimmer or a yard service, keep these tips in mind:

Hire a professional. Research companies at or use our Online Directory to find BBB Accredited Businesses. Make sure you know who you’re dealing with and how to reach them if problems arise. Ask for references.

Be wary of door-to-door solicitations. Each year, countless homeowners have tree trimming companies knock on their door and offer to provide their services at a discount. In too many cases, the work performed is shoddy or only partially completed – and the company fails to return, as promised – forcing property owners to hire a reliable company to do the job right.

Ask if they’re registered. In Minnesota, all companies and individuals that provide tree care or tree trimming services and/or who remove trees, limbs, branches, brush or shrubs for hire must register with the state of Minnesota's Tree Care Registry. This includes public, private, and governmental entities. Registration can be verified online. It's also a good idea to ensure tree trimmers and brush removal services have any necessary city permits.

Request an onsite inspection. The inspection should include the entire tree, not just parts that appear to be damaged, in poor condition or in danger of falling. The risk assessment can be done at the same time and will help consumers with multiple trees determine which are in higher-risk areas, therefore needing immediate attention. Estimates should be given only after an onsite inspection. Companies that quote a price without a visual inspection cannot be sure of the scope of the work involved and consumers run the risk of paying more than they were quoted. Estimates should include all labor, clean-up and disposal charges.

Get everything in writing. A contract should clearly state the services you will receive, as well as when the job is expected to be completed, payment terms and conditions, contact information for the company – phone number and address – as well as any refund or cancellation policy.

Verify insurance coverage. Tree care can be dangerous if not done by properly trained experts. Confirm that the company has insurance that covers worker’s compensation, property damage and personal liability in case of accidents.

Remember, you’re the customer - it’s your home. Never feel pressured to give anyone your business just because he or she is standing on your doorstep.