Are you an arborist?
I, Mason Hanrahan, the owner and president of Tim-O-Tree, am an ISA-Certified Arborist (ON-2491A). This is a voluntary certification that requires a minimum of three years industry experience as well as a passing grade on an exam covering topics related to trees, tree care and safe work practices. In order to maintain the credential, I have to complete Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which ensure that I am constantly learning and adapting to changes in best practices. The credential also binds me to a code of ethics and can be taken away for malpractice.
I am not always on job sites, but I determine work requirements and some of our climbers are ISA-Certified. We can commit to having myself or another ISA-Certified Arborist on site upon request.
Are you insured?
Yes. We carry $5,000,000 in commercial liability and cover all staff through WSIB. Proof of both is provided with most estimates. We recommend that all prospective clients request proof of insurance from other companies they are considering.
Do you take cash?
Yes, so long as you pay the HST. We do not discount HST for cash payments. We always keep our billings above board and pay HST for all our projects.
Do you take credit cards?
Yes, with an added 3.5% service charge. This is the exact amount we pay in fees. We’re a small company and these fees are difficult to absorb.
Why aren’t you accredited by the Better Business Bureau?
Becoming “accredited” with the Better Business Bureau costs about $500 a year, which is a big expense for a company of our size. The cost is hard to justify because it isn’t really an “accreditation” so much as a marketing tool and there are better marketing tools out there that are available for free. Google Reviews, for example, gives the public an idea of how we treat our clients without costing us anything.
I have a big tree to cut down. Do I need a permit?
Depending on the size of the tree, you may need a permit to take it down. For most properties in the city, any trees over 30cm in diameter at breast height require a permit to remove. The permit requires an arborist’s report on the condition of the tree and the reasons for removal. The city will send an inspector to examine the tree and will either approve or decline the permit.
Prices for permits vary depending on the type of project. If the removal is related to infill development, permits may cost between $500 to $2500. For removals that are not related to infill development, permits cost between $150 to $750.
For all removals, replacement trees must be planted. You will need to include a replacement plan in order to get a permit.
Why is tree work so expensive?
Many clients, especially those engaging an arborist for the first time, are surprised by the cost of tree work. Comments range from “Why is it so expensive to cut a few branches from a tree?” to “You’re more expensive than a lawyer!” The simple answer is that a tree company is expensive to run. It requires expensive equipment, insurance, and a lot of labour from a well-trained crew. Costs are reflective of inputs and profit margins in arboriculture are lower than many industries.
Can you chip a pile of brush?
Yes, if you have cut down trees by yourself, we can chip it for you. This work will be billed at the same rate as normal work, regardless of whether it is a standalone project or added to an existing project. If it is a standalone project, it will take lower priority than other jobs, so please allow us a couple weeks to get it done.
Do you trim hedges?
Yes, we trim hedges. However, we tend to be more expensive than companies that focus exclusively on hedges as we are more highly trained and skilled than most of these companies. We like to think that our results are better, but if you are looking for the cheapest option to trim your hedge, we likely aren’t it.
Can you come tomorrow?
Sometimes, it is possible to fit an estimate or job into the schedule last-minute, but this is not the norm. During the busy summer months, we are typically booked 4-6 weeks out for work and two weeks for estimates. We strive to keep these numbers as low as possible, but there are only so many hours in a day. And while we regret the delay in helping some of our clients, we also pride ourselves on being busy because it shows we are an in-demand company with a good reputation.
There may be regulatory barriers to getting a project done, such as the Tree Protection Bylaw, proximity to Hydro, etc.
Are estimates free?
Yes, we provide free estimates, which includes a site visit, an appointment to discuss the desired work and a written estimate defining the scope of work. In-depth consultation on the health of a tree and diagnosis of any issues it has will come with an upfront fee with the option of subtracting this from the cost of work if we are ultimately hired. Reports come with an added consulting fee
Do you work in __________?
We generally work as far east as Orleans, as far south as the airport and as far west as Bells Corners. We are willing to work beyond these areas for special projects but it is not the norm. We do not work in Gatineau.
Can you write Tree Information Reports?
Yes, we write dozens a year.
I have a city tree in my front yard. Can you come by and trim off a couple branches?
Not unless you get written permission from the city. Trimming a city-owned tree without express permission could make us liable for hefty fines.