The recent Southern and Midwest storms have given many homeowners a reason to think about hiring a tree service professional. The powerful winter storms of 2011 are not the only source to blame for significant tree damage throughout the United States – this winter has been particularly rough, leading to an increase in the regular wear-and-tear of young and aging trees. Whether you’re in need of emergency tree care or routine maintenance, there are three major legal questions to ask the company or professional that you choose to hire!
1. Is this tree service professional adequately licensed to operate in your state?
This question can be treated as a pre-qualifier for the next two. If your tree care professional is not licensed in your state, they cannot legally solicit or advertise their services. Additionally, without the proper license, it is impossible for the professional to be bonded or legitimately insured.
2. Is this tree service professional bonded by a reputable agency?
Surety bonds are meant to protect the consumer in case the local tree company doesn’t deliver on the agreed work. A professional carrying a bond from an agency like the Small Business Association or the Surety & Fidelity Association of America won’t be able to take your money and run.
3. Is this tree service professional fully insured for my protection?
Unfortunately, there have been countless cases of unsuspecting homeowners footing the bill after an uninsured contractor damaged their property or got hurt on the job. Hiring an uninsured professional means that you become liable for their injury and for any and all property they may damage. That means that if this contractor drops a limb on your neighbor’s house, you get to pay the repair bill – turning a simple maintenance job into an expensive mess.
The choice is truly yours to make. You can put your faith in a freelancer, or hire a fully licensed, bonded and insured tree service professional and keep your feet out of hot water!