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BBB Release: Cut Off Unreliable Tree Service Companies

BBB Advice For Tree Pruning, Maintenance and Removal

Anchorage, Alaska – Sept. 30, 2010 – As leaves begin to color and fall, consumers may decide to take care of tree service needs. Better Business Bureau provides hiring tips for tree pruning, pest problems, stump killing or removal services.

Warning: Shady operators may go door-to-door claiming to be working in the neighborhood and ask for cash upfront. They ditch jobs before scheduled; leaving work incomplete and failing to return as promised. BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington warns of these red flags:

· Asks for full payment upfront.

· Asks for cash or a check made out to an individual, not a company.

· Won't provide a company name, address and phone number.

· Uses scare tactics or pressures for an immediate purchase.

Tips: When selecting a tree service company:

· Get recommendations. Ask others for suggestions. Check out companies at bbb.org.

· Get written estimates. Get at least three on-site estimates detailing work. Compare item by item and consider the company's reputation and experience, not just cost.

· Determine qualifications and ask questions. Does the company employ certified arborists with adequate training and knowledge of tree care? Are representatives professional, prompt, courteous and knowledgeable of industry standards?

· Check for licensing and insurance. Check if the company meets state and municipal licensing requirements. Ask if they're bonded and insured. Find out if they have workers compensation insurance, coverage for property damage and personal liability.

· Request and check references. Ask a customer with a similar project: Were you satisfied? Was work completed on time? Were there unexpected costs? Did they clean up afterward? Would you recommend or use them again?

· Understand what is included in the price.

o Stump Removal: Find out if companies own stump removal equipment. Many companies rent it—at an additional cost—once they have multiple stumps to remove.

o Cleanup: Verify if the price includes cleanup after work is completed.

o Warranty: See if there is a warranty on work. If yes, get details in writing.

· Upon hire, get a written agreement. It should delineate work details, a price breakdown for labor and materials, and an estimated completion date.

· Never pay the full amount in advance. 30 percent is a standard down payment. Pay with a credit card if possible. Don't pay with cash.

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About your BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington: Better Business Bureau is a neutral not-for-profit organization with the mission to advance marketplace trust. BBB is supported by BBB Accredited Businesses and provides ethical business standards, BBB Reliability Reports, Charity Review Reports, complaint handling, marketplace events and tips. For more information, contact BBB or visit www.bbb.org.

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