Top 5 Questions that Homeowners Ask Us
We decided to have a little bit of fun with this next blog post by going through the top 5 questions that homeowners ask us! I'm sure you've been asked ALL of these questions many times when on the job, on the phone, or maybe even at the grocery store with your work shirt on! We are going to try to answer these top questions that homeowners ask us as professionally and knowledgeably as possible. Hopefully, you can take our answers and use them the next time these questions are posed to you.
1. Are you insured?
This question that homeowners ask us is probably brought up more than any other question by clients. This mostly comes up when giving them an estimate, and it's a great question because it is something that is needed on any tree work site. My best answer for this is 'Absolutely! Honestly, I don't even put it on my business card because it should be automatically assumed that anyone doing a job that requires a tree to be climbed or a thousand pound log to be lowered with ropes should also be insured! 'We also carry Worker's Compensation to ensure that our workers are protected while working on your property. I'll have my agent send over a copy immediately just so you have it on hand!'
2. My tree is getting too tall. Can you take the top out of it?
Hhmmmmmm. This is always a fun question because it allows you to give your client a ton of knowledge and set them straight on proper pruning practices. My best answer for this overheard question is 'Well, honestly, trees don't really get too tall. The tree will keep growing to its desired height but at that point, it will stop growing upward. On top of that, topping is a very bad practice that takes away far too many of the tree's necessary resources for life. If we were to top your tree and make it shorter, the tree will sprout out a ton of epicormic growth, which is fast growing and poorly attached to the tree. That means that it will actually grow taller, faster and instead of the branches and trunk being strong like they are now, they will be weak and more than likely lead to decay down the road. If you are really worried about the tree growing too tall, maybe we could start the tree on a growth regulator program to help keep outward and upward growth to a minimum while also boosting root growth?'
3. My neighbor's tree is growing into my yard, can you cut it down?
Lol! How many of you have been caught up in one of these neighbor battles that pretty much ends with either someone moving or you showing up in court? This common question that homeowners ask is such a loaded question, but it can easily be handled with proper preparation and PR work. My answer for this would be, 'Well first off, have you talked to your neighbor about their tree and how it is affecting your yard?' If they say 'yes, my neighbor says I can cut it down,' I would immediately bring a contract over to the neighbor as well as my client and have them both sign off on the removal of the tree. This helps clear some of the air and at least gives me some ground to stand on in case things go south. If the client says that their neighbor doesn't want the tree removed, I would still go talk to the neighbor to let them know that their neighbor does have the right to prune the tree over their property as long as the work doesn't cause any detrimental harm to the trees health. This is also loaded because no pruning is actually good for a tree, but at least we can use our professional judgement and knowledge to let the neighbor know that the tree will be trimmed according to ANSI A300 Part 1 standards. This should give you a good foot to stand on while doing some touchy work with warring neighbors.
4. If you take the wood, will it be cheaper since you can sell it?
Oh boy. This answer all depends on how you run your company, but for me personally, I have a very short and honest answer: 'No.' The long and more versed version of my answer would sound something like this, 'To be honest with you, the price will actually be higher for me to take the wood. Unfortunately, I don't have the time or energy to try to sell firewood seeing as I'm out all week trying to provide my clients with not only high quality service, but also a timely service. We will gladly dispose of the wood for you for X number of dollars or we could leave it on site for you to cut and split and use for a family campfire?!?' If you do sell firewood, keep in mind that your time is worth money as well and you should be charging for the removal of the wood from the home owner's property regardless if you are making money for your time splitting it later!
5. What do you think I should do?
This is a great question to be asked! For myself, being a Certified Arborist allows me to be called in for my professional opinion quite often, and it allows my clients to put their trust in me; that's exactly how I want to run my company. I want to run it on trust! Too many times I hear of companies going immediately to removal when this question is asked, regardless if the tree 'needs' to be removed or not. Personally, I would answer this question with the tree's best interest in mind, whether that be deep root fertilization, a treatment for a pest, or airspading up compacted soils. These are all things that are highly beneficial for the tree, as well as the client, and on top of that, these options can make you quite a bit more money than just the removal. But if the tree is destined to be removed because of the risk that it poses, then removal would be my answer. We have a giant knowledge base being the professionals that we are and we should share that knowledge with our clients! It will pay for itself tenfold for sure!
We hope you enjoyed these top 5 questions that homeowners ask us and have found some useful advice for answering questions along these lines for yourself. Thanks for reading!