Our ratings of area tree care services will help you find professionals who provide sound advice and high-quality work. But before hiring any company, obtain competitive bids from several. For tree removal jobs, we found big price differences—from $1,675 to $4,250 on one job for which a Checkbook undercover shopper got prices from tree care services.

It’s pretty easy to collect proposals from companies. Typically, you don’t have to be home when bidders are looking at the job—but do include a thorough description of the work in a written contract that specifies who cleans up afterward, hauls away debris and wood, and removes the stump. What is not specified in writing is very unlikely to get done.

Also, check whether a company’s liability insurance and workers’ compensation insurance are currently in effect. Ask to see certificates of insurance, and call the company’s insurance carrier to verify. This is a serious concern because high-powered equipment, heavy branches and trunks, lofty heights, and proximity to power lines make tree work dangerous.