View Full Version : Large tree to remove

Abita Bill
04-06-2004, 01:19 AM
Help guys! I just got a sub contract from a pool company to do landscaping on thier current project. But before any work can start, I must remove a 30 foot, 3 foot around, pin oak in the back yard. This is going to be handled by itself, apart from the landscaping job. How much should I charge for this job? I will also be removing the tree once its down. Thanks!

04-06-2004, 02:28 AM
As everyone will reply, leave tree work to an arborist or tree crew, especially near any buildings, park equip, power lines, etc...... We'd also need to know how you plan to get rid of all the debris. Truck/trailer, chipper?? Doing it alone, or with help?? What kind of equipment will you use?? Biggest argument many will have: Does your insurance company cover you for tree work?? Most do not unless you specify that you do trees, and it adds a lot. Mine is 3 times what my liability is for mowing/landscaping....
If I could take a chipper to it, I'd think me and a helper could be done and gone in less than 2 hours. My price for that would be around $700, although that could change with different conditions. Without knowing some more exact details it's hard to say. Also, that would be without me touching the stump.. Stump grinding would obviously be more. I can't afford a grinder, so I usually wait until I have 10+ to do, then rent one. Other than the stump, I'd leave no evidence of being there. Also, add for mileage if far, any dump fee's etc.. You know all your expense better than me. Not trying to dissuade(sp?) you from doing it, just some things to think about. Also, that's just a ballpark, I'd really have to see the tree, take a pic and I could give you a detailed billing list for where I'd be. Let me know if you need any advice on it.

04-06-2004, 10:35 AM
Yea I agree w/ bottlefed a 30 ft oak near a pool should be left to a tree guy. just have a tree service come cut it down and you do the clean up work. That way you can still make a little off of it.

Abita Bill
04-06-2004, 11:44 PM
Thanks for the replies. Your right, I should have added more info. The tree stands in a spot where the hole will be dug for the pool. So, the stump will be removed by the backhoe. I will haul the tree myself via 10,000lb trailer. I plan to split the tree into firewood. I'm set up for this at my shop. I figure it will be added profit in about a year's time. I'll have one helper and plan to rent a lift so I can tie off the sections as I cut. Slow and easy. I have safety gear and lots of time.

04-07-2004, 02:32 AM
well then, if you feel you can do it safely, just figure your cost and devise a time estimate and bill from there. I think it would be cheaper to buy a pair of spurs and climb it rather than rent a lift, but do what you feel is safest and you're most comfortable with. I also sell a lot of the wood I can save from removals. won't make you rich, but it something to do.

04-07-2004, 07:42 AM
Call someone with a tree service, have them come out and give an estimate, and pay them a few bucks for their time. That way you won't underbid. I have a tendency to underprice things I don't do too often or have never done. Always takes longer than I think.

04-07-2004, 11:46 AM
Good call, I've trimmed thousands of trees, so now I am pretty sure about my abilities. I remember when I first started doing it though, there were a few folks in my neighborhood who got a SWEET deal on some tree removals. Make sure you don't undercut yourself.

Abita Bill
04-08-2004, 02:08 AM
Thanks guys! Just to answer a question, I'm renting a lift due to how close the tree is to the house itself. Its not real close, but close enough that I need the lift. I know for a fact that guys who remove trees in my area use lifts and/or booms. Thanks again guys!

04-08-2004, 03:11 AM
Of courses a lot of guys use buckets/booms, I was just saying from a cost stand point spurs would be better. Plus then you own something, as opposed to renting. There are a lot of guys who use booms, it's faster where they're practical. But there's also a lot of tree guys around here that RELY on their trucks. For me, most residential take-downs are in places inaccessable to a truck, and are just as easy to climb, plus if it's a take down spurs are acceptable.

D Felix
04-10-2004, 10:24 AM
It sound to me as if there is a limb or a chunk of spar that is going to be going through the roof of the house on this one...

Abita Bill, don't take this the wrong way, but LISTEN TO ME!!! You have ABSOLUTELY NO, I MEAN NO business doing this tree removal based on what you have said. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If you have to ask what to charge, I have to question your ability to do the work in a safe manner. Tree work is dangerous, not only for the climber, but more for the ground crew. Not to mention the potential for hitting houses and cars and other immovable objects...

You will use a lift because that is what everyone else uses.... That is wrong on so many levels. It's close enough to that house that you want to use the lift........... Ok, you are smart enough to realize it's too close to just drop it, why not take the extra step and decide its out of your league and call and experienced tree service and have them remove it? Work a deal with them that you run the lines and learn a few things. Start on the ground, then work your way up, literally.

I have a little bit of experience in trees. Not a lot, mind you. But the little that I've had, I would be nervous as H*LL taking this one down.

Are you familiar with ANSI Z133???? OSHA regulations? Your insurance agent? Anything goes wrong on this, and most likely you will not be able to get insurance ever again. Are you even insured for it?

I will give you the same advice I've given several others here that have been thinking about doing this type of work and really shouldn't. Go to www.isa-arbor.com and once you are inside the site, click the "find and arborist" link. START calling! For some heavy reading on the subject, vist www.arboristsite.com and make sure to read the injuries and fatalities forum, in addition to the commercial climbing forum.

Can you tie a bowline? Tautline? Blakes? Anchor hitch? Timber hitch? Do you own a climbing saddle? Do you know what a safe working load is? Do you know what the minimum strength requirement is for ANY piece of life supporting equipment, according to ANSI? If you answered no to ANY of these questions, you are far from qualified.

Bottlefed- why start out trying to deter him, then tell him what you would charge? $700 is cheap, BTW, and how can you expect to have a tree that size down and hauled away in 2 hours? Depending on the type of tree, it could take that long just to limb and buck it, let alone clean up!

It's not worth talking prices here, we all live in COMPLETELY different markets...

This is my $1.02 worth, take it for what it cost you...


D Felix
04-10-2004, 10:38 AM
Just to back up my point a little more, see the thread titled "tree removal gone wrong"....

04-10-2004, 12:52 PM
I don't know about the rest of you but I agree ... D felix is right on the money. Why do guys feel they have to do it all? I came across one the other day... large spruce few meters from the house. First thing out of my mouth was that we couldn't do that. I explained I could take care of hiring a sub or he could phone them himself. People respect you when you are upfront about things not being in your scope of work.
BTW I got the rest of the job ...trees will be removed "by others".

04-10-2004, 01:04 PM
2hrs. seems short for a 30ft oak?? Guess we all work at our own pace... I'm in it to make money.

04-11-2004, 02:40 PM

I would sub that project. I have seen people get hurt very bad. A friend of mine was cutting a limb out of a tree. i say limb it was about 12' caliper. Anyway this limb swung around and stabbed him in the back of the shoulder blade, almost ripping his arm off and he is an experienced climber and very mythotical. I hope you listen to everyone. I mean you are talking about bucket trucks and tying and lowering limbs. you need to be experienced. If you want to learn and are interested in this type of work(and it sounds like you are) sub it out and watch and learn.

04-15-2004, 02:12 AM
I agree with the rest. Have someone come fall the tree, and you do the clean up. Your insurance probably will not cover you falling the tree.

04-17-2004, 02:40 AM
Again I've worked in the foresty industry for a couple of years now, and it is an extremely dangerous place. I have a little experience in residential tree removal. Most of what I have been involved in is Comercial logging in Northern BC. But Everyone I have met who does this personally knows someone who has been killed at work (and these guys are all pro's with years of experience). I would absolutely say you shouldn't tackle this job. You are likely going to get yourself our more likely your helper hurt or killed.

04-17-2004, 03:00 AM
Yeah, you'll probably die if you try it. Sub it out.

04-18-2004, 01:02 AM
I used to work with a guy, he was a arborist. One of the best climbers I ever met. This guy was like a monkey in the trees moved around like you wouldnt believe. Then one day he cut his lanyard and fell 45 feet. He lived but he broke his neck, back, leg, and a few others.

04-18-2004, 01:09 AM
in fact I have years of tree work under my belt and I have had a few close calls (not under normal conditions) One time during a ice storm I was removing a 90 red oak that uprooted and landed across a three phase (power lines) to make a long story short the oak rolled off the power line and the lines snapped at me like a giant slingshot. It ripped me right out of the bucket!! luckly the power was out and I had my lanyard and belt on so I didnt fall to my death or get fried. The moral of my stories is if you are not capable DONT DO IT!!! I am capable and have had close calls, the arborist I was talking about in my last post was capable, look what happened to him.

04-18-2004, 02:51 AM
Wasn't saying it doesn't happen. I think we've all had close calls. Ice-storms have produced several of them for me, I was just saying trimming a tree isn't sudden death like people make it sound.

04-18-2004, 09:07 PM
Originally posted by bottlefed89
Wasn't saying it doesn't happen. I think we've all had close calls. Ice-storms have produced several of them for me, I was just saying trimming a tree isn't sudden death like people make it sound.

Your right, if it is a simple job all it takes is a little common sense. But if you have no experiance climbing trees and limbing them out you have no business doing it. I worked as a ground man for Davey for 2 years before I got to strap on a pair of spikes and trim with a hand saw, it was a while after that before my foreman allowed me to bring a chainsaw up with me. You have to know your knots and your trees.

Abita Bill
04-19-2004, 11:36 PM
Thanks guys, I got a service to cut it down, but I hauled it off. Saved myself $1,300.00. Still not bad for a days work.

D Felix
04-20-2004, 12:48 PM
I got to strap on a pair of spikes and trim
PLEASE tell me you don't do that any more??

You do know the only time spikes should be worn in a tree is:
1. if the tree is being removed
2. a life or death rescue situation

For normal "trimming" either do it out of a bucket or off of a rope. Spikes cause damage to the tree that takes years to heal, and they leave wounds that are an open invitation for diseases and pests to enter through...

Search through the past threads over on http://www.arboristsite.com for more info and discussion....

trimming a tree isn't sudden death like people make it sound.
It may not be "sudden death" but there is high potential for injury....

Case in point: I was in a "tree climbing" class while at Purdue. In the class we learned the proper methods of climbing, learned many knots, etc, etc. One of our lab practicals that semester was removing a partially dead and dying Sycamore. The prof decided to take a limb or two off, then just drop the tree since it was in an area where that could be done.

Bottom limb was tip AND butt tied, ropes run up to secure limbs in the tree. Prof asked for a volunteer to cut off the limb. No one else volunteered, so I did. Climbed up (about 10-12' off of the ground), braced myself against the tree, made sure everyone had the lines, started the saw, cut off the branch. The lines were held tight, no one let them run. Hindsight is 20/20, but they should have at least let the butt run a little bit. The limb swung back and hit my feet, knocking them off of the tree.

I still don't remember it, but somehow I got the saw shut off before I swung back into the tree. Had it been anyone else that was less familiar with the saw, it's hard to saw what would have happened. I was fine, but the prof was very concerned. It was a learning experience, that's for sure.

Even though it was a minor accident and it caused no physical harm, it still happened in an environment that was as controlled as it could have been. Now imagine a bunch of rank amateurs (I'll admit, I'm not much above this level) trying to remove a tree in close quarters to a house. Now do you understand why I'm so quick to recommend that someone more qualified do the work?

If you can't do the work safely, find someone else. PERIOD. Sounds like Abita Bill took that advice and lived to tell about it....


Abita Bill
04-20-2004, 07:29 PM
Hey Dan, I will always call the service from here on out. I'll make my money hauling off the tree. To add to your spike story, I've been hunting in an area now for 15 years. There are trees in that area I've not climbed in at least 5 years. But the scars from my climbing stand can still be seen (oak trees) on the trunk these many years later!!!