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Avoid Pitfalls with Tree Service Contracts: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners


Table of Contents

Table of Contents

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Tree Service Contract

____________ (name of company) is insured for liability resulting from injury to persons or property (excluding: driveways and sidewalks) 

Definition of a Tree Service Contract


A tree service contract is a legally binding agreement between a property owner and a professional tree care company. This contract outlines the specific tasks and responsibilities associated with the maintenance and care of trees on a given property. It serves as a crucial document to ensure both parties have a clear understanding of the work to be performed, the timeline, and the payment terms.

Purpose of a Tree Service Contract

The primary purpose of a tree service contract is to define the scope of services, such as pruning, tree removal, stump grinding, and emergency care. It establishes the responsibilities of both the service provider and the client, ensuring that expectations are aligned. By detailing the work to be performed, the contract helps prevent misunderstandings and disputes. Additionally, it addresses liability and insurance requirements, protecting both parties from potential legal issues.

Types of Tree Services Covered

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Tree service contracts typically encompass a range of services to maintain and enhance the health and safety of trees. These services include:

  • Trimming and Pruning. This involves the selective removal of branches to improve tree structure, promote healthy growth, and reduce hazards. Pruning can enhance the tree’s appearance and prevent interference with power lines or buildings.

  • Tree Removal. Sometimes, trees need to be removed due to disease, storm damage, or safety concerns. Tree removal is a complex task that ensures the tree is safely taken down and disposed of, preventing potential harm to people or property.

  • Tree Maintenance. Regular maintenance services include fertilization, pest control, and soil management. These services help ensure trees remain healthy and resilient against environmental stresses.

  • Emergency Services. In the aftermath of storms or other emergencies, rapid response services address immediate hazards posed by damaged trees, such as fallen branches or uprooted trees.

Key Components of a Tree Service Contract


A comprehensive tree service contract includes several key components to ensure clarity and mutual understanding between the property owner and the service provider.

  1. Detailed Description of Services Provided. This section outlines the specific tasks to be performed, such as trimming, removal, and ongoing maintenance, ensuring all parties are clear on the scope of work.
  2. Timeline and Scheduling. Specifies the start and completion dates for the services, along with any milestones or deadlines, to manage expectations and facilitate planning.
  3. Cost and Payment Terms. Details the pricing structure, including a breakdown of costs, payment schedules, and any penalties for late payments, providing financial clarity and accountability.
  4. Insurance and Liability. Specifies the insurance coverage held by the service provider, protecting both parties from potential damages or accidents during the work.
  5. Termination Clause. Defines the conditions under which either party can terminate the contract, ensuring a clear exit strategy if needed.
  6. Warranty and Guarantees. Outlines any warranties on the quality of work or materials used, providing assurance of service reliability and standards.
  7. Dispute Resolution. Details the process for resolving any disputes that may arise, including mediation or arbitration procedures, to ensure issues are handled efficiently and fairly.

How to Choose a Tree Service Provider


Selecting the right tree service provider is crucial for ensuring the health and safety of your trees and property. Here are key steps to guide your decision:

Research and Recommendations

Start by asking friends, family, and neighbors for recommendations. Personal referrals can provide valuable insights into the reliability and quality of a provider. Additionally, conduct online research to identify local companies with a strong presence and reputation in the community.

Verifying Credentials and Insurance

Ensure the provider has the necessary credentials, such as certifications from the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or Tree Care Industry Association (TCIA). Verifying that they carry adequate insurance coverage, including liability and worker’s compensation, is essential to protect yourself from potential legal and financial liabilities.

Checking Reviews and References

Look for online reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau to gauge customer satisfaction and identify any recurring issues. Ask the provider for references from recent clients and follow up with them to get first-hand accounts of their experiences.

Getting Multiple Quotes

Obtain detailed quotes from at least three different providers. Ensure each quote includes a breakdown of services, costs, and timelines. Comparing quotes helps you understand the market rate and choose a provider who offers a balance of quality service and fair pricing.

By following these steps, you can confidently select a tree service provider who meets your needs and ensures the proper care and maintenance of your trees.

Tree Service Contract Example

The work shall consist of the pruning and removal of trees, stump removals on a routine basis and emergency tree work services.

A list of routine tree pruning, tree removals and stump removals will be provided to the contractor in blocks. The contractor will have 30 calendar days to complete this work. 

The contractor shall be required to respond within two (2) hours for emergency tree work services. This work will be paid at an hourly rate. The contractor will be paid a minimum of four (4) hours for responding to emergency requests.

1. Damages
The contractor is responsible for all damages that may result directly or indirectly from tree pruning, removal, and stump removal or emergency tree work service activities.

2. Maintenance & Protection of Traffic
Maintenance and protection of traffic shall be in compliance with the (Specifications). The contractor shall be responsible to protect the public from damages to person or property that may result directly or indirectly from work activities.

Street closings must be preapproved by (designated supervisor/manager) or authorized representative. Cones, barricades or signage shall delineate the perimeter of the work zone. If a sidewalk or street must be closed, sidewalk and/or street closed signs shall be placed at both of the intersections of the nearest cross street.

3. Disposal of Debris
The contractor shall be responsible for the removal and disposal of all debris created by work activities.

All wood, limbs and brush shall be removed and the area cleaned up daily. Brush will not be allowed to accumulate such that it creates a hazard.

4. Site Restoration
Lawn damage caused by tree pruning and removal activities, and stump removals shall be restored with specified materials and as specified or to the satisfaction of the (designated supervisor/manager) or designated representative.

5. Penalties for Nonperformance

– Contract Specifications

Contractors may be fined [price, $] per infraction of failing to meet a contract specification as determined by the (designated supervisor/manager) or designated representative. Fines will be deducted from the contractor’s payment for services.

– Tree Loss

If as a result of the contractors actions, a tree is considered a loss as determined by the (designated supervisor/manager), the contractor may be liable for the value of the tree as determined by the most current version of the Council of Tree and Landscape Appraiser’s methodology.


[Lessor’s Name]
Date: _______________

[Lessee’s Name]
Date: _______________

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Questions to Ask Before Signing a Tree Service Contract

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Before signing a tree service contract, it’s crucial to ask the right questions to ensure you’re hiring a qualified and reliable provider. Here are key areas to address:

Experience and Expertise of the Provider

Inquire about the provider’s experience and qualifications. Ask how long they have been in business, what types of projects they specialize in, and whether they have certifications from recognized industry organizations like the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Understanding their expertise can help you gauge their ability to handle your specific needs.

Specifics of the Service Plan

Request a detailed service plan outlining the tasks to be performed. Clarify the scope of work, including pruning, removal, and maintenance activities. Ensure the plan includes timelines, milestones, and any contingencies for unexpected issues.

Handling of Permits and Regulations

Ask if the provider will obtain the necessary permits and comply with local regulations. Tree work often requires adherence to municipal codes, especially for removals or work near power lines. Ensuring the provider manages these aspects can prevent legal complications and delays.

Safety Measures and Equipment Used

Inquire about the safety protocols and equipment the provider uses. Ask how they ensure the safety of their workers and your property, including the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), specialized machinery, and adherence to industry safety standards.

By asking these questions, you can make an informed decision and choose a tree service provider who is capable, reliable, and aligned with your needs.

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