Hiring a Qualified Arborist in Adelaide – 6 Questions to ask
Published 10 January 2020
Hiring an arborist in Adelaide can be a bit hit and miss if you do not know what to look for or ask. There are a lot of gardeners posing as arborists who would be happy to take your money and deliver substandard results.
There are also a lot of qualified arborists who work on the fringes of integrity.
You might verbally agree to do one thing, but 2 weeks later he or she has “forgotten” and you end up getting less than you agreed upon (it’s worth noting I have never heard of anyone getting more than was agreed upon) or you will need to pay more to get done what you had originally agreed upon.
An example of this would be having a tree removed but the stump being left even though you agreed to have it removed.
We go through an essential checklist of things to ask and look for now.
Get this one out of the way on the phone. Ask them, are you a certified level 3 arborist? This is a minimum and really the standard qualification. Some will have a certificate 5 or diploma in arboriculture, but certificate 3 is the minimum.
You will need to ask them to also provide you a copy of their certificate when they come out to quote the job. You might be a little embarrassed to ask this especially face to face, but you shouldn’t be. The legitimate tree arborists are happy to oblige.
This is a must. Any arborist you invite onto your property to work needs to have public liability insurance and workers’ compensation. They will need to bring a copy of at least their public liability insurance when they quote your job. 10 million in the cover is the standard in Adelaide. This will cover you if something were to go wrong such as damage to your home.
When you get your quote and a copy of their insurance paperwork, you do need to make a quick call to their insurer to be sure they are up to date with payments. Some dodgy operators pay the first month then cancel. This gives them the paperwork to show customers, but no actual cover.
You don’t want a green horn arborist “practicing” on your tree. If it’s a small job, then you will probably get a great job done at a great price, but for large tree removals around Adelaide, you will need to get someone who has been in the game for a while.
A great way to check is to go to an Australian government service called ABN lookup here. Enter their ABN/ACN number or company name and you can quickly see how many years they have been in business.
This is also a good trick if you want to see if they have had a name change recently to run from bad reviews online.
4. Will it include stump removal?
If you are getting a complete tree removal make sure you discuss stump removal. It is cheaper to leave the stump in the ground, but trust me, you will get sick of it in a few years and get it removal anyway.
You are best getting it done in one go. It will be cheaper in the long run.
5. Can I have an itemized quote?
This is important when you are getting a tree removed or pruning. Pruning especially.
Normally a company will quote a job, and book it in 2 or 3 weeks later if they are busy.
By that time the person who quote the job would have forgotten exactly what they quoted.
E.g. If you have a quote that reads:
3 x lower limbs removed from Liquidambar
2 x branches overhanging home removed from eucalyptus
4 x bottle brush removals
There can be no question about what was agreed upon if it is itemized in a list form on a quotation with the company stamp or seal. If they have just written a price on the back of a card, you could be in for a surprise when it comes time to do the job.
6. How will you be doing the job?
Getting an idea of how they plan to execute the job is important.
Are they going to turn up with a crane and block you your driveway for 6 hours? Will they need to get access through your neighbour’s yard?
Normally they will go through this with you during the quoting process, but just in case they don’t mention anything, make sure you ask. I’ve seen arborists put some people on the spot with ridiculous requests.
A last word
It goes without saying that the contractors that call you right back, and arrive when they said they would speaks volumes for their way of doing business. They are more likely to be trustworthy than a sloppy operator.
Knowing exactly what you should ask an Adelaide arborist before they arrive to quote your job will put you in pole position to get the best deal possible and make the job smooth sailing.
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