Define a Professional

Almost every professional in their industry can talk at great lengths about the issues they see on a daily basis. The ethical issues that give the profession a bad name. The companies that claim to be the cheapest. The unprofessional work that is sold as ‘quality service at a reduced cost’.

The only problem is that this cheap service, or the service billed at a reduced cost, doesn’t always match up with the client’s desired outcome. To have the cheapest, somewhere there is a tactic used to cut corners.

Here’s another way to look at it – Cheap labor isn’t skilled. Skilled labor isn’t cheap.

So how does this pertain to something as simple as trimming trees?

We should look at this as not too dissimilar of one’s approach in seeking a medical professional to take care of our children. Our trees are a living and breathing organism, are they not? They require nourishment and loving care, allowing them to grow into the family member they’re meant to be, right? Why, then, would we want to cut corners and skimp on care that could mar or permanently disable them for life?

Turns out tree care isn’t so simple, is it.

A Tale of Two Potential Outcomes

Let’s tell a story many of us can relate to, whether a personal or an acquaintance’s encounter.

John has a majestic Bradford pear in his front yard. It’s the most beautiful tree in the neighborhood, with a perfect shape that is the envy of everyone on the block. John has noticed that over the years the tree has started to encroach on his roof line, along with the service line in front of his house. Not wanting issues with either critters accessing his attic, or the risk of taking out the neighborhood power in a wind storm, he decides it’s time to prune the tree.

Now John has an idea of what he wants the tree to look like. So, he gets out his smart phone and types “tree trimming” into the search bar and up comes a dozen names. As most consumers, he starts calling the numbers for quotes. Some of those phone numbers give a price over the phone, sight unseen while some give a price after John has texted them photos. Some come out and give John a price written on the back of a scrap piece of paper or business card, while one or two hand him a written proposal.

After getting all this pricing, John, again as a consumer with a budget, picks the cheapest of the bunch – Slash ‘N Dash Tree Service. With tomorrow set as the big day, he anxiously spends a sleepless night thinking about his majestic tree and how good it will look tomorrow.

The morning arrives, as does the crew representing the company. Pickup trucks, trailers, ladders and tools are distributed around his property and with little ado they don their climbing gear consisting of a climbing saddle, lanyard, climbing rope and climbing gaffs.

Like monkeys with chain saws, the climbers swiftly attack the areas of concerns, cutting limbs that drop to the ground like spring snow.

chain saw monkey from total drama

Groundmen quickly take the dismembered limbs and toss them into awaiting trailers, raking the grass and planters clear of smaller debris.

All in all, this took a little over an hour.

Just as quickly as they arrived, they depart with the same speed after holding out a hand to receive a check from John.

A Gullible Guy

Heard this story before? Hold on, the best is yet to come.

cheap tree trimming done by unskilled laborAs weeks turn into months, John noticed that the once perfectly shaped tree was taking on the image of Igor, hump and all. Not only that, sap was oozing from the trunk and the ends of some limbs looked like they’d been hit with a blow torch.

So he called Slash ‘N Dash Tree Service but no one returned his messages left on voicemail.

By this time John was beginning to panic. He called around, finding a Certified Arborist that for a small fee would look at his tree.

Remember the climbing gaffs the climbers used? They tore wounds in the trunk and the oozing sap was the trees’ attempt at healing the gouges.

Remember the tools strewn over the front lawn? Well, the crew had pruned a diseased tree and didn’t clean them, passing fire blight onto the pear.

And Igor’s hump? By cutting only specific areas without regards to the entire crown, it developed an imbalance in shape.

So where is John’s crown jewel of the neighborhood today? He still has it, but it’s going through a long process of healing and pruning in the hopes it might become great again.

The Cliff Notes

unhappy customer giving thumbs downThe point of the story?

As professionals in the tree care industry, we see these horrific but preventable stories every day. By making yourself aware of the long-term effect of hiring the first and cheapest company you talk to, the chances of you learning the hard lesson of John diminish greatly.

Do your research. Make referral calls. Look at reviews. But more importantly – make sure you are hiring a true professional that has the education, knowledge, expertise and all the required licenses and insurance required to take care of your precious commodity – your trees.

They are your children.