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3 On Your Side: Tree Service Company Ratings

By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - Downed trees and broken tree limbs, we see them after every big storm and often they can be hazardous to both people and property.  If you have storm-related tree damage or maybe you've just been planning to take down or trim the trees in your yard, 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has some advice when hiring a tree service.

It happens after every big storm.  A homeowner finds a tree has fallen in their yard, on their house, or on top of their car and someone knocks at the door offering to get rid of it.

Well Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of non-profit Delaware Valley Consumers' Checkbook suggests that you don't just hire anyone.  He says, "You want to make sure that the company has liability and insurance, especially proper workers compensation insurance before they start doing anything."

In the latest edition of Consumers' Checkbook dozens of area tree services were evaluated on everything from performance to cost.   According to Brasler, you don't have to pay a lot in order to ensure good service.  He says, "The companies that charge these high outrageous prices are actually more likely to be poorly rated than companies charging the low prices."

So it's important to get several bids.  According to Brasler, "Get a written fixed price bid for the work.  Don't take an oral estimate.  If they call you over the phone with a price, say that's fine, I appreciate you giving me that, can you email me this in writing?  A fixed price, not a range or anything else."

Be sure that the written estimate also includes what will happen to the wood and debris.  Brasler says, "Are they hauling it away or is it your problem.  If you want the wood cut into fireplace link logs, that they're doing that but especially is the stump being ground or are they cutting it flush to ground level?  What do you want done with the stump?

For the next week CBS 3 viewers have exclusive FREE access to the full list of 73 area tree care services that were rated by Checkbook readers,  simply visit:

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