How Much Does it Cost to Remove a Tree?

Factors Considered When Determining the Cost of a Tree Removal:

Most factors, to some degree, are tied with how they affect the amount of time that is required to complete the tree removal process.

More dangerous jobs require more time to complete; Trees that are in a poor location will require more time to remove, and trees that are above homes or near other structures often involve rigging (lowering sections of wood with ropes, arborist blocks and pulleys) which will require more time to remove. Anything that takes more time, costs more money. Also equipment costs come into play. Often there no other options to safely remove a tree other than employing the use of a crane which will also add a significant cost to the project.

Here's The Breakdown:

1) Size of The Tree:

As one can assume, the larger the tree, the more time it will generally take to remove; which therefore will cost more.

2) Location of the Tree:

The location of the tree is another big factor. The debris (branches and leaves) of a tree are usually fed into a wood chipper which then shoots the wood chips into the back of a chip truck. As you can image, the truck and chipper can not always be positioned close to the tree such is the case when the tree is in a back yard or next to a home. Therefore, the further away the tree to be removed is from the truck and chipper, the longer it will take to drag the debris to them resulting in an increase in the price of the job. 

3) Risks Associated with the Removal:

One of the reasons the residential tree service industry is so expensive to begin with is the inherit risk of the job and the costs associated with these risks such as required training, specialized equipment, and the highest costs of insurance in just about any industry. That being said, some jobs are considerably more hazardous than others and prices will reflect this. One of the main reasons for this is that more hazardous jobs usually take more time to complete, as specialized rigging techniques and equipment may be required to complete the tree removal.  

4) Do They Need to Utilize Rigging Techniques During the Removal?:

"Rigging" is the use of ropes, pulleys and other specialized equipment to secure branches and sections of wood (usually sections of the trunk) before cutting them. This allows for the branches or sections of wood to be lowered to the ground in a controlled and safe manner. These techniques are required when the branches or sections of wood are too large or heavy for the climbing arborist to hold on to or when there are potential targets (the client's home or other landscape features) below the tree. These techniques take more time, and more time is more money. 

5) What Condition The Tree is in:

An arborist or tree service will need to assess the health and condition of your tree to determine the methods that will be required to safely remove it. A dead or dying tree may not be safe to climb using traditional methods as it may be at risk of falling over or breaking during the tree removal process. This is because the tree may have rotting wood on the inside of the tree (core rot) or at branch unions. If your tree is dying, diseased or in a considerable state of decline you can expect to pay more than if it is healthy and alive. This is one reason to call an arborist when you notice your tree is in a state of decline or showing signs of stress. The cost and danger of removal will only increase as the tree declines in health. 

The Bottom Line?

Ultimately, all these factors are considered when estimating how long the job will take to complete. A tree service estimator most commonly assesses the trees and makes these estimates from nothing more than a visual inspection from the ground. Because of this, estimates will often vary from one tree service to the next but should be relatively in the same ball park.

If you get multiple quotes and there's a price difference greater than $1000, there is catch with one of them. 

So What's the Catch?

If one tree service quotes you $1,700 for a removal and another tree service quotes you $4,000 (this does happen), you have to ask, "why is one is so high and the other so much lower?" Perhaps the high estimate is a tree service that is over-charging you, or maybe the tree service with the lowest bid can offer this price because they reduce overhead by not carrying the right insurance or proper equipment and basic workers compensation for their employees.

This is when it is good to have an understanding of the factors considered when the tree service provides you with a quote. This is also a good time to start asking questions.

What questions?

Read the following tips for hiring a tree service company and what to ask to ensure you hire professionals that are qualified and reputable. 

What Should I Expect to be Included in a Tree Removal Quote?

If you have hired a reputable and professional tree service in the Columbia Valley, you can expect the following to be included in the tree removal price:

  • The cutting and dismantling of the tree

  • The removal of the branches and debris (leaves, cones, sawdust etc)

  • Thorough site clean-up using leaf blowers, rakes, and tarps to remove all left over debris (sawdust, twigs, cones etc) 

  • All expenses such as fuel, dump fee, employee wages, etc.

  • Bucking (cutting) of the main trunk into firewood size pieces (12-18" lengths) but usually does not include firewood removal.

What Happens to The Firewood?

Have you ever noticed a neighbour who has had a tree removed but the firewood is still in their front yard? A wood chipper can only chip up to a certain diameter of wood which includes most all branches but not usually the trunk of the tree. The main trunk of the tree is usually too large to feed through the wood chipper and therefore must be disposed of in a different way. Removal of firewood is expensive; the tree service will need to charge additional fees for the labor to load and remove all the firewood and will need to pay a very expensive dump fee to dispose of it at the landfill.

Your Options:

1) Most tree services will remove the firewood for you but do not expect this price to be included in the original quote unless specified. Always ask the tree service or arborist you hire what they do with the firewood so you are not caught by surprise when they leave the wood behind. 

2) Put up a sign for free firewood. The reason most clients opt-out of paying more for the removal of the firewood is because they can save hundreds allowing it to stay and be taken away for free. (Free firewood never lasts long and we have a list of collectors we can send to pick it up!) 

3) Some tree services, such as Green Leaf Tree Services Ltd, will run an ad for your firewood and orchestrate its pick-up free of charge so you don't have to do anything but save money! 

Final Advice:

As with all industries, there is always going to be dishonest companies who try to get you with hidden fees or costs. This is why it is always important to get a written contract detailing the work and what is included.

A tree service should never provide an estimate and then try to charge additional fees for chipping, branch removal, fuel surcharges, dump fees or any other hidden costs not conveyed in the initial estimate. 

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