Hiring a Tree Contractor

There are no second chances when removing trees.

Tree work is inherently a risky business. If you hire a contractor that is improperly licensed you may be responsible for damage or injury that occurs in the event of an accident, including workers injuries.

California courts have found the homeowners’ responsible for workman’s compensation and liability.

In such cases, to the home owner’s dismay the homeowners’ insurance did not cover the claims.  Protect yourself by hiring a properly licensed and insured contractor.

What you should know before your hire someone to trim or remove your trees.

What license classification does a contractor need to fell and trim trees ?

Tree work costing over $500 requires a D49 Tree Service License. A General Building Contractor is not properly license for tree work unless they are contracted for two or more specialty services or hold a D49 Classification. Gardeners and landscapers also required to have a D-49 Tree Service License.

If your property is forested, then California Department of Forestry (CDF and CAL-FIRE) require a Licensed Timber Operators (LTO) to cut or trim trees. Most of Mono County, including Mammoth and June Lake, fall under this requirement. A & B licensed operators are both qualified to cut trees on non-federal forested lands.

The following resources can help you determine what kind of contractor you need and hire the appropriate contractor.
What Kind of Contractor do I need? What kind of Contractor?
CSLB How to find the right kind of Contractor
CAL FIRE List of Licensed Timber Operators
Before you hire a contractor check with the Contractors Licensing Board and insure they are properly licensed, you can do this online at: CSLB License Check. [/learn_more]

“What are the risks of hiring an unlicensed contractor?

Unlicensed and General Contractors are not insured to perform tree work.  Insurance is very specific, even though a contractor may have insurance in their licensed fields, it probably will not cover tree service operations.

If an accident or injury does occur, your homeowner insurance may not cover damage or injury to person or property if an improperly licensed contractor is hired.

For more information on the difference between general and specialty contractors and the risks of hiring the wrong kind, go to the California State License Board’s website What Kind of Contractor.

Articles regarding court judgments and unlicensed tree workers are listed below:

Home owner’s not responsible for OHSA, but responsible for Workers’ Compensation; Home owners’ insurance did not cover.

Is a permit needed to trim or remove trees?

The Town of Mammoth Lakes requires a permit to remove trees larger than 6. Dept. of Forestry (CDF & CAL FIRE) requires a permit or letter of exemption prior to allowing cutting or removal to occur. [/learn_more]

Questions you should ask every contractor:

Don’t hesitate to ask too many questions — just ask the right ones.  Key questions include:

  • Are you a licensed Tree Service?     Ask for proof or check with CSLB.
  • How many years have you been in business?      Check with your town for a valid business license.
  • Will you put your quote in writing?      If not, be wary.
  • Will you be the on-site supervisor?      If not, who will be?
  • Are your employees trained for emergency situations?
  • Do you carry workman’s compensation insurance for residential tree work?  Ask for proof from their insurance group.

Contact us.

Eastern Sierra Tree Service is a licensed and insured tree service, providing quality tree service by professionals.  Protect your yourself, your investment and your trees.  Contact us for a free estimate at your property.