When searching for a tree care company, there are several things to look for before making a selection.
Certification, Registration, and Licensure – Ask if the arborists hold an ISA Certification or have earned an ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist designation. ISA offers a range of certification credentials from Certified Tree Worker/Climber Specialist to Board Certified Master Arborist. To be certified, individuals must pass a voluntary comprehensive exam. Certification is maintained through continuing education, which means they should be up-to-date on the latest in arboricultural technology and are knowledgeable of acceptable practices. The American Society of Consulting Arborists(ASCA), sponsors its Registered Consulting Arborist Program.
NOTE: Some states also require licensing for tree care companies. Check your state’s requirements and make sure the companies you are considering are in compliance. Some states do not require licensing but professional arborist associations sponsor and maintain voluntary certification programs, e.g., the New Hampshire Arborists Association (NHAA).
Professional Affiliation – Ask about membership in professional organizations such as the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), the New Hampshire Arborists Association (NHAA), and other professional arborist associations. Affiliation with industry organizations demonstrates a willingness to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and information.
Advertisement – Check the local yellow pages directory, etc. for arborists who list themselves as NHAA Certified Arborists, ISA Certified Arborists or ASCA Registered Consulting Arborists and display the official logos of professional membership. Also, look for logos of business accreditation by organizations such as The Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA) who require they have an ISA Certified Arborist on staff. Most reputable tree care professionals do not go door-to-door soliciting business, so avoid those companies that show up at your doorstep offering to prune your trees.
Insurance – Ask for proof of insurance and then verify coverage with the insurance company. A reputable arborist should have insurance to cover personal and property damage as well as worker’s compensation. If you hire an uninsured tree expert, you can be held liable for any damages or injuries that occur while they are on the job.
References – Ask for references from past customers and do not hesitate to check them, or to visit the locations where the company or individual has done tree care work.
Estimates – Do not be afraid to ask for an estimate. It is okay to get more than one. You should not always select the lowest bid. When examining the bids, look at all specifications and credentials, and the work to be done to determine which company will provide the best service with the skill and professionalism needed to protect your investment. And most importantly, get it in writing. Most reputable arborists will have the customer sign a contract so be sure to review it and do not be afraid to ask questions.
Professional Arborist Organizations
The International Society of Arboriculture
The International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), headquartered in Champaign, Ill., is a nonprofit organization supporting tree care research and education around the world. As part of ISA’s dedication to the care and preservation of shade and ornamental trees, it offers the only internationally recognized certification program in the industry.
To find an ISA Certified Arborist in your area, visit Trees Are Good.
The American Society of Consulting Arborists
The American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA) is the industry’s premier professional association focusing solely on arboricultural consulting. Consulting Arborists are authoritative experts on trees, consulting property owners, municipalities, attorneys, insurance professionals and others on tree disease, placement, preservation, and dispute resolution in addition to providing consulting and expert testimony in the legal, insurance and environmental arenas. ASCA’s more than 600 Consulting Arborists separate themselves from other arborists through their commitment to the continual development of their knowledge and skills as industry leaders.
To find an ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist in your area, visit ASCA Consultants.
New Hampshire Arborists Association
To qualify as a New Hampshire Arborists Association Certified Arborist (NHAA) an experienced tree care professional must provide evidence of his/her qualifications as a professional arborist and pass a comprehensive, written examination developed by a committee of experts in the industry, research, and government.
To find an NH Arborists Association Certified Arborist in your area, see our list of NHAA Certified Arborists.
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