Tree Care Pricing…The Cheap Price is Cheap in More Than One Way!
Every day we provide perspective customers with an estimate for tree care and removal as it pertains to their individual needs. With this, it is incumbent upon us to provide a price that is palatable to the customer while at the same time allowing us a margin to pay our costs and expenses. When determining our price there are many factors that we must take into account. Payroll, fuel, health insurance, liability insurance, workman’s compensation insurance, equipment costs, time needed to complete the job as well as the difficulty involved in said job are but a few. Over the past 23 years, we have made a name for ourselves by providing not only a fair and honorable price for our services but we have also garnered a reputation for executing our craft in a manner that is second to none.
On occasion, we will encounter a perspective customer who will convey to us that “I have a price from “such & such” tree service that is much cheaper than yours. Whereas this is all part of business, I tend to look much deeper than the price given. Nearly 70% of “tree care operators” in the Washington Metro area are illegitimate in that they are not licensed, not insured, carry no workman’s compensation insurance, pay no payroll taxes as they pay their workers under the table and THEY pay no income taxes. As the President of the Maryland Society of Licensed Tree Experts, I have a very sound idea of who is legitimate and who is not when a customer mentions a name. Inevitably, the very next question a customer will ask is “can you beat their price”? My answer as well as those estimators who work for me is always the same. No we cannot. Unfortunately, a lot of folks never take the time to verify that a company is legitimate which can very easily be done on line through the State of Maryland Department of Natural Resources. I truly believe that a vast majority of folks are so smitten with a “cheap price” that they would rather not know that the company they have selected to perform the most dangerous job on earth is not at all legitimate.
The laws as they pertain to tree care contractors are specific. We are required to be licensed and insured and we are required to carry workman’s compensation insurance as well as withhold taxes from our employees. Is this expensive? Absolutely! But there is a very good reason for it. As we are engaged in the most dangerous occupation (we tend to move back and forth in the top 2 spots with the crab fisherman of the Bearing Sea) the law was made to protect not only the contractor and it’s employees but also the customer and their property. When someone hires a contractor with a cheap price who is illegitimate, they have personally assumed, unknowingly, the role of insurance company as well as enabler of illegal practitioner. Over the past 23 years I have heard many horror stories of illegitimate contractors getting hurt and in 3 cases, being killed, on a homeowner’s property. After the homeowners insurance pays out the max per their policy, the remainder is then levied directly on the homeowner. This is now a situation where a cheap price in the beginning turns into nightmare that is not so cheap in the end.