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Old 01-22-2008, 09:47 AM   #1
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tree removal - feedback


I have a ~ 75' tall laurel oak that needs to be removed (showing signs of death and rot). The tree is about 15' away from my house and about 2' away from my back deck. Someone from a tree removal company came out last week and confirmed that it needs to be removed. The estimate on just dropping the tree is $1200, with additional costs for stump grinding ($225) and cutting into 2' sections ($750) that I will probably pass on and do myself. This particular company was recommended by a coworker, but their price seems high. I am going to call around for other estimates but wanted to hear from others about their thoughts on the costs. Thanks!


Last edited by stallinc; 01-22-2008 at 03:06 PM.
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Old 01-22-2008, 09:55 AM   #2
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Pricing can vary by region, but that seems pretty high to me. We had 3 huge trees removed from our backyard last year - one pine, one maple, and one that we couldn't name - and it was $1400 for everything - including stump grinding, and cutting of the trunks. Each tree was well over 100' tall. We kept the wood and rented a log splitter from Home Depot to cut them down to use in our outdoor fireplace.

It also depends on which equipment they need to bring out. One quote was over $4,000 for all the trees, but they were going to use cranes and such. Totally unnecessary. The guy we hired had 3 workers who used tree spikes and rope. They brought a dump truck and grinder for the small limbs.

Definately get more quotes because I think you can get it done much cheaper. Also, are their neighbors on your street that need/want trees taken down? One of ours got a quote from our guy of $600 to take down an oak tree near their house but the price was so low since they'd be out at our house anyway.

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Old 01-22-2008, 10:50 AM   #3
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Good time to do it. winter is usually slower and the price is either lower or can be negotiated a little. I remember I had a tree removed in the winter and the guy gave me two prices,one for then, and one when the spring began and they got busier. It was considerably cheaper in the winter because they were slower.
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Old 01-22-2008, 10:54 AM   #4
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Yes, I talked with the guy and he admitted that things are slow for him right now. Said he is just trying to break even with travel costs (approx 60 miles round trip) and paying his crew. He will knock-off $100 if my coworker and I have both our jobs done on same day (therefore just one trip to where we live). Still seems high and I'm looking for other estimates.
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Old 01-22-2008, 11:40 AM   #5
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Always get multiple stimates, and details as to how the work is going to be done, how many people, etc...

I've had tree work extimated from 1500 to 5000.00 for the same work. (Of course, the 5000 bid came from a guy driving an H2)

Above all, especially for tree work and roofing, get proof of insurance and worker's compensation coverage.
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Old 01-22-2008, 11:55 AM   #6
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I agree about the insurance, but wonder about the Workman's Comp (I didn't even ask about it when we got quotes).

It could vary state-to-state but I thought that any company with under X amount of employees didn't have to carry it. A lot of smaller companies will hire on people as "independent contractors", meaning they'll get an I-9 (or something like that). Workman's Comp is a very expensive insurance to have for obvious reasons, and many smaller companies don't carry it because of the premium.
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:18 PM   #7
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I completely understand the need for the company to have insurance for me (as homeowner) but aside from ethical reasons, whether they have workman's comp wouldn't directly affect me, right?
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:21 PM   #8
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I had 3 75-80' trees removed from my backyard. The estimates I got ranged from $1800 - 3900. Needless to say, the more equipment they think they need, the more it's going to cost. The $3900 was for a crane at the front of the house to lift the tree over the house, police detail, etc. The $1800 was for an arborist that had a smaller bucket truck that he could get in the backyard and 2 men on the ground. Stump removal was extra for both. I got 8-9 estimates and more than half of them wanted to crane the tree over the house.
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kimberland30 View Post
I agree about the insurance, but wonder about the Workman's Comp (I didn't even ask about it when we got quotes).

It could vary state-to-state but I thought that any company with under X amount of employees didn't have to carry it. A lot of smaller companies will hire on people as "independent contractors", meaning they'll get an I-9 (or something like that).
You don't want the risk of dealing with the smaller company that opts out of worker's comp coverage. You're HIRING a contractor, not a company that in turn hires more contractors. Otherwise, you could just skip the contractor alltogether and advertize for "treeworkers wanted" and hire them yourself and rent the tools if you're gonna be satisfied with taking that risk on.

Smaller companies that hire it's workforce as "independant contractors" are simply labor brokers. They get 1/2 the fee, you pay double and the company you hired laughs all the way to the bank.

Quote:
Workman's Comp is a very expensive insurance to have for obvious reasons, and many smaller companies don't carry it because of the premium.
The funny thing is, you believe a smaller company earns less per unit or sale or item installed than a larger company, when in fact the opposite is probably more true.

If you buy a TV from a small dealer, instead of Sears or BetsBuy, would you expect it to not have a warranty?
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Old 01-22-2008, 12:47 PM   #10
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While I agree with what you are saying, there are certain instances where that just isn't true. When my brother started his GC company, he didn't have a lot of capital. It was he and one other person, but when his company started to grow (quickly), he had to hire more workers under an I-9 until he started building up his resources to hire them as his employees. There ARE legitimate reasons why someone will hire independent contractors, and it's not ALWAYS because they are trying to undermine their workers and get all the profit.
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Old 01-22-2008, 02:11 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by LawnGuyLandSparky View Post
You don't want the risk of dealing with the smaller company that opts out of worker's comp coverage.
Forgive my ignorance, but what's at risk for the homeowner if the tree removal company does not carry workman's comp? Can an injured employee sue the homeowner?
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Old 01-22-2008, 03:02 PM   #12
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Where I come from, by law, you have to carry workers' comp. When your dealing with something as dangerous as tree work, don't take risks. Make sure the company is licensed and insured. $1200.00 is not that much if the tree is 2' from the deck. If their climbing or using a bucket, he's still going to have to rope-out much of tree to keep limbs from hitting structures and that takes a skilled individual. There are significant differences in cost from a legit company as opposed to a couple guys with saws and trucks.
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Old 01-23-2008, 05:17 PM   #13
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but if a worker's injured on your property & his employer has no w/c, you can bet he'll be coming to you,,, in ga, we're not rqd to carry w/c unless we're got more'n 3 employees ( owners don't count in that total, either ),,, if a co doesn't require its independent contractors to have it, guess where the liability lies ?,,, proof of ins is critical to anyone.

yes, its another cost but the risk isn't worth it.

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