Tree service pricing is driven by a number of factors unique to the industry. Below are the drivers of tree service costs and what you can expect to pay for typical tree care services.
Tree services are not inexpensive due to the cost of operating a tree service company. A good, professional tree care business has to make a significant capital investment in equipment. Wood chippers can cost $15,000 or more, stump grindings $10,000 to $15,000, and trucks (dump and bucket) can cost more than $40,000. And all of this equipment is necessary to support one crew. If a company wants to operate with two or more crews then a company is looking a quite a bit more investment.
A professional tree contractor should purchase two types of insurance: 1) workers compensation, which covers their employees should they have an accident on the job; and, 2) liability insurance, which covers any property damage should an accident occur during the course of the project. Without these two types of insurance, the tree service company exposes their clients to financial and legal risk. If the tree company doesn't have these insurance coverages then the property owner's homeowner's policy would have to cover injuries and accidents that occur on their property.
In addition to equipment expense, tree services are labor intensive. Tree service costs are generally driven by the amount of time required to do a job. While some labor costs can be obtained from $10 to $15/hour, other more skilled labor, such as tree climbers and trained arborists, are much more expensive to provide. Add to these labor costs the worker's compensation insurance premium of 20% to 50% and labor becomes a significant tree service company expense.
Tree trimming pricing is driven by several tree-related factors: size, location, and degree of trimming required. Larger trees generally take more labor to trim, and labor is a major driver of cost. The location of the tree is pricing factor is it is difficult to access and/or is near property structures. Extra labor and maybe equipment will be needed to protect those structures. Lastly, the degree to which a tree needs to be trimmed is another factor that drives cost due to more labor. A severely overgrown tree will cost more to trim than one that has been trimmed regularly.
Tree removal pricing is similarly driven by the same factors as trimming with the addition of one other variable. Tree size again drives pricing as it takes more labor (and sometimes equipment, such as a bucket truck or crane) to remove large, mature trees. Also, the tree's location can drive pricing up if the tree is near property structures. Lastly, the tree species is a minor factor in pricing. Some trees, such as those with multiple trunks, can cost a bit more to trim due to the lean of the trunks.
Stump grinding pricing is fairly straightforward: the larger the stump the more time it will take to grind and therefore the price. Other minor factors also include location, tree species, and age. Newer stumps are harder and denser than older stumps resulting in a little more time to remove.