We cannot recommend a particular arborist. You can find the names of consulting arborists who work in your area through the American Society of Consulting Arborists www.asca-consultants.org . You can also contact Tree Care Companies listed in the telephone yellow pages and ask if they provide consulting services or search online for a consulting arborist in your area.
If a consulting arborist tells you that their company can do the recommended work, request a proposal and also obtain bids from at least two other companies before you sign a contract.
The names of arborists and companies that prune trees can also be found online through the following organizations:
Before you hire an arborist or a tree care company, verify that they have insurance (general liability and workers compensation for employee). It’s best to call the insurance company to verify coverage. Also, verify that they have a state Contractor’s License. Check the number online at www.cslb.ca.gov or call 800.321.2752. When you talk to an arborist, ask about their qualifications including formal education, specialized training or certification and membership in professional organizations. Always get a written contract that includes the scope of work, procedures to be followed, duration of job and how payment will be made. Never pay more than 10% down or $1,000, whichever is less. Don’t pay with cash, let payments get ahead of the work or make final payment until you are satisfied with the work. You can check the company’s business rating through the Better Business Bureau www.sandiego.bbb.org .
By V. Lazaneo, Urban Horticulture Advisor, Emeritus, UC Cooperative Extension, August 2012