Houston is home to thousands upon thousands of so-called tree care companies. Many have little experience and zero qualifications but claim to be “professional arborists.” So, how do you weed through the nonsense and hire a legitimate company that is truly knowledgeable about trees?

Certifications are a great way to confirm the knowledge of an individual. The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) administers a comprehensive, twelve part exam ranging all the way from biology to safe work practices to become a certified arborist. You must also be a full time tree worker for three years as a prerequisite to sit for the exam. After proving an adequate level of knowledge on the exam and becoming certified, continued education is required for renewal which helps to keep your arborist at the top of his or her game. Qualifications are also conducted by the ISA and give a more in depth knowledge of a particular subject. You must attend a course and pass an exam to obtain a qualification. Certified Arborists also follow a strict code of ethics that will give you piece of mind that the solutions offered are in your best interest and not just a scheme for quick cash. ISA website, www.isa-arbor.com, has a “find an arborist” link on their home page where you can enter a name or certification number to verify one’s credentials. 

Proper insurance is vital when hiring a tree a service. Arborists or tree care professionals continue to make the top ten list of most dangerous occupations in the nation based on number of injuries. Legitimate tree companies protect their interests as well as yours by having the necessary insurance to do the job. General liability, workers’ compensation and auto coverage will help protect you if an accident or injury occurs on your property. It’s important to know that you, the property owner, can be held liable in certain situations by a court of law in the event of serious injury or death. It’s something no one wants to talk about but that’s why it’s important to make a responsible decision based on more than just the lowest price. 

Tree care companies provide written proposals to their clients with detailed specifications of the work to be performed- all according to the American National Standard Institute (ANSI). Tree professionals undergo training and are disciplined to work in a safe manner at all times. 

Legitimate companies pay taxes which support our local communities and state government. Choosing a company that pays taxes helps stimulate our economy. Why should you pay taxes and hire someone who doesn’t carry the same burden?

The bottom line…“Real” tree care companies live up to a higher standard and believe their clients deserve the best. Therefore, great amounts of money, time and energy are put forth in education, safety and training to provide the best service possible. Although each has their own place, the added value in hiring an actual arborist over a lawn crew or handy man is undeniable. Plus, your trees will know the difference!

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