Is It Time to Remove That Tree? The Pros and Cons of Hiring a Tree Service

Ginny Bartolone
Written by Ginny Bartolone
Updated March 7, 2022
A worker removing a tree branch
Photo: YinYang / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Highlights

  • Tree removal is best left to the experts, for both your and your home’s safety.

  • Tree companies receive a license and certifications to back up their expertise.

  • While it may cost more to hire a tree service, there are fewer hidden costs compared to doing it yourself.

  • Finding the right tree service company requires a bit of research, but the best companies are happy to answer your questions.

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Removing a beloved tree from your yard is never an easy decision; neither is it a decision to go alone. Certified and licensed arborists have the experience, the credentials, and the tools to safely remove the tree's branches, trunk, or stump—even if it costs a bit more than breaking out the chainsaw yourself. But do the pros of hiring a tree service outweigh the cons? Before you consider taking on the job yourself, let's review the facts.

When to Consider Tree Removal

A professional tree service will typically recommend removing a tree from your property if it poses a threat to your safety. And in some cases, an arborist can save the tree itself but safely remove branches that don't harm the health of the whole plant. Whether you plan to call a tree service or not, here are some of the top reasons a tree may need a second look:

  • Signs that the tree may be dead or dying

  • The tree suffered major damage during a storm

  • It carries a disease that can spread to other trees

  • The tree's root cause damage to your foundation or water line

  • The tree suffers from interior decay

  • Too many trees on your property have caused overcrowding for water and sunlight

  • The tree has a significant lean toward your property or yard

  • The tree significantly impedes utility lines

Pros of Hiring a Tree Service

A worker removing tree in residential area
Photo: nd700 / Adobe Stock

Let's start off by clarifying that it is best to hire a tree removal service in nearly all scenarios. In some cases, it's the only legal choice. Laws significantly vary by state, indicating whether you need a permit to remove a tree or are allowed to remove it at all without township approval. All this stated, there are very clear upsides to hiring a professional tree service no matter the laws.

Certified Experience

Industry experts earn tree removal certifications to demonstrate their training and experience in the field. Certifications may come from organizations such as the Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA), the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), and state-specific agencies.

When it comes to something as extensive and potentially dangerous as removing a large tree, the value of experience is a no-brainer. Trained professionals protect you, themselves, and your home from damage. 

You will also likely find a certified arborist on a team of tree removal specialists. These experts have a deeper understanding of each tree species, related diseases, and the effect of structural damage. Not only can they protect you from a damaged tree, but they can step in to vouch for its safety as well. Certified arborists may recommend saving the tree and only removing several branches.

Licensed to Trim or Remove the Tree

In addition to certifications, your tree removal service must legally hold necessary licenses to perform work on your trees. These licenses may cover using complex equipment, employee safety, and specific tree-trimming or removal tasks. 

Insured Against Accidents

Licensed tree experts also come with liability and worker's comp insurance, protecting you, your home, and their staff from potential accidents. Always confirm your company holds the correct levels of insurance for your state.

Clearer Estimates

Even though you'll pay more than doing it yourself, hiring a pro means there's no need to worry about surprise costs, damages, or local fines. A professional will include the cost of tools, removal, hauling, and permits in their initial estimate. 

If you tackle the project alone, you will need to budget for individual services, not to mention the cost of fixing any damage that could occur in the process. In fact, most customers are so grateful for the streamlined process, that they tip their tree removal team.

Knowledgeable About Permits

Tree specialists have vast experience obtaining a tree removal permit in your area. They will also know how to navigate local laws when it comes to trees protected by the town. Navigating these laws yourself can take time and even lead to a rejected application if done incorrectly. Removing a tree without a permit in an area that requires them can also lead to massive fines. At the end of the day, it's best not to leave this to chance.

Cons of Hiring a Tree Service

The drive to DIY is a powerful one, especially when you can save time and money. But there are a handful of non-DIYable activities, and cutting down a tree is often one of them. Still, it's important to give a nod to why homeowners find ways of getting around the process.

It Will Cost More

The cost of hiring a tree service ranges all the way from $300 to $2,500. This covers everything from some basic tree trimming to removing an old, large, delicate tree that interferes with utility wires. In some cases, the company will charge more for stump grinding and removal.

On the other hand, the seemingly high cost doesn't just cover basic cutting and trimming tasks. You're often paying for a tree diagnosis, rigging and bracing expertise, use of high-end equipment, and safe removal and hauling.

You May Not Get the Answer You're Looking For

Tree damage can be difficult to diagnose. The untrained eye may not notice internal rot or pest infestations. If you're hoping to simply trim a few branches, a professional may give the unfortunate news that the whole tree needs to come down. 

Yet again, this isn't a "con" per se—knowing the safest option for your property is always best. But it's easy to put off calling a tree professional if you're concerned they'll tell you it's best to remove the tree.

It Takes a Bit of Legwork

Similar to hiring any crucial contractor around your home, getting the best tree service requires a bit of research and time. It's important to confirm your tree service expert is certified, licensed, bonded, and ensured. You'll need to confirm that they follow OSHA employee safety standards and that they've requested all the right permits.

Luckily, tree service companies are used to customers doing this work and expect it. The top local tree services in your area are more than happy to answer questions about your option, your estimate, and their removal process.

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