Don’t Be Scammed by a Tampa Tree Service Company!
1) Do they have reviews?
The world wide web is a homeowner’s friend. Reviews for a tree service company are one sure fire way to make sure that you will be getting the quality of service that you expect, paying the price you were quoted, and that it will be a stress free experience. There are many tree companies in Florida that, once given a lot of bad reviews, will just change their company name and start over. Check the date on the reviews and how far they go back to be sure. Make sure there are several reviews that are good, and even if they have some negative reviews, just make sure that it was nothing catastrophic that was not resolved. Moore & Smith Tree Care has hundreds of reviews. We love when our customers write lots about us!
2) Valid insurance?
There are many instances of companies that will come with a piece of paper with their insurance information. A company can stop paying their premiums and have a cancelled policy, but still have that piece of paper saying it is valid. The best way to ensure it is valid is to ask them to have their agent send not only a copy of their insurance directly from the agency, but to have you listed as a certificate holder on the policy while the company works on your property. Do not let a tree company start work until you have received this. Insurance ensures that if there are major damages that everything will be taken care of. Moore & Smith Tree Care LLC carries a 3 million dollar insurance policy for your piece of mind, and have no claims against insurance to date.
The company’s insurance agent should be able to provide this certificate to you as well. Insurance covers accidents, but does not cover poor workmanship. If a tree is cut improperly then there is a large risk of diseases and death of the tree. Bonding covers the workmanship of the company and is a great assurance that the tree company you have hired knows what they are doing. Many companies do not carry this due to cost or for it being cancelled for poor workmanship. Moore & Smith Tree Care LLC carries a bond with pleasure, as we want our customers to feel assured that their trees are in good hands.
4) You didn’t call and they knocked on your door?
Not all tree companies that come to your door are bad, and some of them may be excellent and just working for one of your neighbors, but it is very simple to sort the good from the bad. If you want work done and it seems very convenient just take a few minutes to research the company. Ask for a business card and Google their company name. Read the reviews that come up. If the price seems really high then it is probably in your best interest to call for two more estimates before getting the work done. If you decide you absolutely need it done now, then ask for them to have their agent send over bonding or insurance. If it is a weekend, then ask to see their insurance and call the company’s 24 hour line to verify it.
5) No contract?
A verbal agreement used to be fine. Unfortunately the “my word is my bond” doesn’t go smoothly in today’s society. All work discussed that is included in the price should be put down in detail on a contract and you should have a copy of it. Insist on a contractor being very specific so you are not left at the end of the job dissatisfied. Writing a price on a business card is not an acceptable business practice. Moore & Smith Tree Care LLC utilizes iPads for contracts and ensures that you not only receive a written contract, but that you can always access it at later times in your email.
6) Asking for payment before they finish?
Many companies will ask for a deposit for scheduling. The typical amount is 20 percent. This is a normal practice to ensure a company does not get last minute cancellations, but deposits should never be asked for when work is to be started the same day. Full payment should never be made until you are completely satisfied with the work completed. Always make sure that the amount deposited when scheduling is noted on the contract so that there are no issues at completion time of your project about what the total amount due is. Many scam companies will ask for deposits the same day stating that they need the money for gas or dump fees to be able to complete the work. This is not a proper company, nor is it standard in the industry.
7) Cheaper than you expected?
When getting estimates we find that many individuals are just looking for the lowest price, but unfortunately many times the lowest price can be a big red flag. If you get three estimates and one company gives you a price that is much lower than the other two, be sure to do your research on the company. Many of the companies that give these extremely low prices take many shortcuts. Some of the shortcuts include: dumping on sides of roads or fields instead of at a proper disposal site, as dumping costs a great deal of money, not keeping insurance or bonding current because of the high cost of insurance and bonding in the tree care industry, operating as a landscape company without proper insurance that covers tree work, and doing the absolute minimal amount of work and demanding payment. In these times price is important, but make sure that you are getting value for your money.
8) An arborist or a man with a pickup truck and chainsaw?
All Tree Care and Tree Service companies should be a member of TCIA ( for safety standards in the Tree Care Industry) and of their local ISA Chapter. Continuing education in any industry is important and shows know-how and dedication to their business. Only work with reputable tree service providers that can show that they have the knowledge and ability to take care of your tree project properly and safely. Moore & Smith Tree Care LLC is a member of the Florida ISA Chapter and of TCIA. We take a lot of pride in being able to offer our customers a quality service at a reasonable price.