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BBB Accredited Business since

Johnston's Tree Service

Phone: (916) 601-1156 PO Box 1903, West Sacramento, CA 95691

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BBB Accreditation

A BBB Accredited Business since

BBB has determined that Johnston's Tree Service meets BBB accreditation standards, which include a commitment to make a good faith effort to resolve any consumer complaints. BBB Accredited Businesses pay a fee for accreditation review/monitoring and for support of BBB services to the public.

BBB accreditation does not mean that the business' products or services have been evaluated or endorsed by BBB, or that BBB has made a determination as to the business' product quality or competency in performing services.

Reason for Rating

BBB rating is based on 13 factors. Get the details about the factors considered.

Factors that raised the rating for Johnston's Tree Service include:

  • Length of time business has been operating
  • Complaint volume filed with BBB for business of this size
  • Response to 1 complaint(s) filed against business
  • Resolution of complaint(s) filed against business

Customer Complaints Summary Read complaint details

1 complaint closed with BBB in last 3 years | 1 closed in last 12 months
Complaint Type Total Closed Complaints
Advertising/Sales Issues 0
Billing/Collection Issues 0
Delivery Issues 0
Guarantee/Warranty Issues 0
Problems with Product/Service 1
Total Closed Complaints 1

Customer Reviews Summary Read customer reviews

0 Customer Reviews on Johnston's Tree Service
Customer Experience Total Customer Reviews
Positive Experience 0
Neutral Experience 0
Negative Experience 0
Total Customer Reviews 0

Additional Information

BBB file opened: April 08, 2008 Business started: 08/08/2003 Business started locally: 08/08/2003
Licensing, Bonding or Registration

This business is in an industry that may require professional licensing, bonding or registration. BBB encourages you to check with the appropriate agency to be certain any requirements are currently being met.

These agencies may include:

Contractor's State License Board
9821 Business Park Drive, Sacramento CA 95827
Phone Number: (800) 321-2752
The number is 822653.

Type of Entity

Sole Proprietorship

Business Management
Mr. Russell Johnston, Owner
Contact Information
Principal: Mr. Russell Johnston, Owner
Business Category

Tree Service Tree Service - Pruning Tree Service - Transplant Arborist Stump Removal & Grinding Stump Grinding

Products & Services

Johnston's Tree Service specializes in tree triming, tree removal, stump grinding, tree planing, arborist reporting, storm damage, tree pruning services.

Additional Locations

  • PO Box 1903

    West Sacramento, CA 95691 (916) 601-1156


BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating Overview

BBB Customer Reviews Rating represents the customers opinions of the business. The Customer Review Rating is based on the number of positive, neutral and negative customer reviews posted that are calculated to produce a score.

Customer Review Experience Value
Positive Review 5 points per review
Neutral Review 3 points per review
Negative Review 1 point per review

BBB letter grades represent the BBB's opinion of the business. The BBB grade is based on BBB file information about the business. In some cases, a business' grade may be lowered if the BBB does not have sufficient information about the business despite BBB requests for that information from the business.

BBB Letter Grade Scale

BBB Rating Value
A+ 5
A 4.66
A- 4.33
B+ 4
B 3.66
B- 3.33
C+ 3
C 2.66
C- 2.33
D+ 2
D 1.66
D- 1.33
F 1
NR -----
Star Rating scale

  Average Score
5 stars 5.00
4.5 stars 4.50-4.99
4 stars 4.00-4.49
3.5 stars 3.50-3.99
3 stars 3.00-3.49
2.5 stars 2.50-2.99
2 stars 2.00-2.49
1.5 stars 1.50-1.99
1 star 0-1.49

BBB Customer Review Rating plus BBB Rating is not a guarantee of a business' reliability or performance, and BBB recommends that consumers consider a business' BBB Rating and Customer Review Rating in addition to all other available information about the business. If the BBB Rating is NR then only Customer Reviews are used for the Star Rating.

Complaint Detail(s)

12/2/2014 Problems with Product/Service | Read Complaint Details

Additional Notes

Complaint: Mr. Johnston came to our home about a month ago to review a job we had for him, the felling of two 80 foot redwood trees via e-mail. Shortly there after, Mr. Johnston submitted the winning bid to remove our trees. He sent along a quote, a contract for us to review, and a form from the State that talked about making sure you protect yourself from subcontractors by making your payment out to both the contractor and the subcontractor to prevent any liens being placed upon your home. Two days (11/12/14) before Mr. Johnston was supposed to begin work, he sent my wife an e-mail wanting to confirm his start date. She confirmed the start date with him. Later in the day I sent Mr. Johnston an e-mail seeking clarification to 4 questions I had. 1. Did he work in the rain? 2. What time would he start on Friday? 3. Did he have subcontractors working for him? 4. What names ought to be on the check I made out for the completed job to avoid a lien being placed upon my home, as the State form had implied?Mr. Johnston wrote back that he wasn't going to do the work because we were outside of his work area and, besides, he wasn't going to play any "20 question games." I reminded him that he had visited our home and that my wife had informed him of where we lived, and he basically called her a liar.Clearly there are some unusual issues here. 1. Why did Mr. Johnston get so upset when I only asked him four normal questions, not the 20 he stated? Does he have subcontractors working for him, and if so shouldn't he divulge that in the first place? 3. Doesn't Mr. Johnston have an obligation to complete an assignment he has agreed to complete, or compensate the homeowner for lost time because of his actions? 4. what is Mr. Johnston trying to hide in his operation that make him so jittery? Illegal workers, avoiding income taxes, not paying his insurances?

Desired Settlement: Mr. Johnston and his Johnston Tree Service's ratings with BBB ought to be lowered to BBB minus, not acceptable. Likewise, BBB needs to investigate his company to learn exactly what his operational problems are. Finally, Mr. Johnston ought to make a public apology to my wife for calling her a liar and admitting his own shortcomings.A copy of my e-mails are available for your review.Thank you,*** *******

Business Response: I communicated in good faith. This just felt wrong right from the start when *** said my website says I go to Rocklin and I checked and it doesn't say I go to Rocklin. It only got worse from there, finally I made the decision that I didn't feel comfortable going to work for these people. I've never done that before but there have been jobs that I wished I had and won't hesitate to not work for someone who I feel has ill will or intent towards me and will try and screw me around or compromise my good reputation for financial gain. I don't feel I did anything wrong. I will not apologize for being honest. 

Business Response: After dealing with the Merricks for almost 2 months I decided I didn't feel comfortable working for them. I apologized in both emails to Tappan Merrick when I cancelled the job. I never said his wife is a liar or his wife is lying. I simply told the truth.

I don't know what else I can say to clarify my reason for canceling. I didn't feel comfortable doing business with them. It just seemed like trouble. 

What they have accused me of here with the BBB and on is simply not true and I'm going to meet with an attorney next week all because of these 2.

This is really unusual so I googled Tappan Merrick and found out he used to be a manager at the S.F. Federal Reserve Bank and he ran for an elected position in Sunnyvale, Ca. I suspect he doesn't like to be told no or contradicted. I think the reason why he is going to these lengths to cause me trouble is he feels jilted and has a big ego. Nothing else really makes sense. This doesn't make any sense to me or anyone I've talked to about this matter. Anyone else would just move on or maybe take the time to write an honest review on YELP.
I wasn't rude in my emails.
I was willing to go out of my regular work area for them, even after I found out they said something that isn't true about my website and service area.
I was willing to re schedule them because they made plans out of town on the days that we agreed to do the work weeks earlier.
All the while I had reservations about these people , it just felt weird... not normal, but I didn't want to break my commitment to the customer.
When they started asking a bunch of weird questions I said "enough" and politely cancelled.

This is really weird.

Consumer Response: I am rejecting this response because:
While flattered that Mr. Johnston "googled" me to learn of my distinguished background, he failed to point out my 19 years of community service to local youth sports groups (coaching, officiating and serving on youth boards), nor my nearly 19 years as a small business owner.  I understand the importance of customer relations, and would never blame clients for my own shortcomings or inability to keep my word on an assignment.

Mr. Johnston says that he apologized to my wife.  Where is this written apology?  Mr. Johnston has continually made the claim that he discussed that our home is outside his area of service.  I spoke with my wife and she says that conversation never occurred.  Regardless of his territorial limits, as he states, he accepted the job knowing full well where we lived, as evidenced by his coming to our home, inspecting the trees we wanted removed, and then offering us a bid.  In fact, three days before Mr. Johnston was supposed to begin his work he wrote my wife to make sure that we still wanted him to come out.  It was only after I wrote him, asking 4 questions, including two regarding subcontractors, did he decide that we were too much trouble.  As his "justification" was pure fantasy, I was left to speculate as to what his real reasons were.  I still wonder.

Mr. Johnston had all sorts of ways to back out of our arrangement, including his underbidding the contract, he lost workers (how would I ever know), double booking and needing to reschedule, etc.  And yet he goes and blames my wife and dreams up a fantastic excuse instead of accepting responsibility, knowing full well that I could (and did) easily check with my wife to verify his story.

I have already provided to BBB the text of various e-mails that Mr. Johnston, my wife and I shared.  The BBB can determine which of us is telling the truth, and whom isn't.  I fully understand that it is Mr. Johnston who pays the BBB for it's rating services, not me, so it would come as no surprise should BBB decide in his favor.  And yet, the integrity of the BBB is also at stake, depending on it's findings.  I will be interested to learn the BBB's decision.

As Mr. Johnston is now threatening to sue me, I suggest that all correspondence also be shared with my attorney, Mr. Lawrence C. Beaver, in Modesto, CA.  His e-mail address is:  *****************.