trimming trees

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by sdog882007, Aug 15, 2004.

  1. sdog882007

    sdog882007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    hi i have a customer that wants a quote to trim about 8 trees that are each about 30 feet tall, all of them need major trimming like whole branches taken down, my partner and i figured it would take about 30-35 man hours for the whole job, i was wandering if $1200 was a fair price for this job
    Thank you
  2. D Felix

    D Felix LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,898

    I've said it before, I'll probably say it again: If you have to ask the question, we have to question your ability to do the work safely.

    If they are 30' tall, there's no way you will be able to reach everything with a pole pruner, unless you think you can accurately manhandle 5 sections. If you can do that, I DON't ever want to mess with you....

    But back to my point: tree work is dangerous work, especially to those that are untrained and unaware of the dangers. Yes, you could use a ladder, but why chance it? So many injuries happen because of people falling off of ladders working in trees, mostly homeowners and landscapers that didn't know any better.

    I also wonder why there are "whole branches" that need to be removed? Chances are they really don't need to go, it's probably a fear like, "Oh, no, the limbs are hanging over the house, they've gotta go! BAD LIMB!" Many times, just because a limb is over a house, doesn't mean it needs to go. If that's not the case, I'm sorry, but I'd love to hear why....

    My advice is to pass on doing this job and sub it to a qualified arborist. Depending on where you are at in Indy, I may be able to recommend one or three.:) If you can wait, my first suggestion is Jud Scott with Vine & Branch in Carmel. He's one of only two consulting arborists in the state. He's usually booked pretty solid, but you might give him a call.

    Here's a couple of links: Read through the "Injuries and Fatalities" forum. It should give some insight to how dangerous tree work is. is the ISA site. Once inside, click the "find an arborist" link. It will bring up all of the CA's in your area.

    As for the price, without seeing the trees in person, who knows? I will tell you this: $35/manhour is too low for mowing, let alone for even more dangerous tree work.

    Sub it out or leave it alone. Don't risk your neck for this one.

  3. Coffeecraver

    Coffeecraver LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA.
    Messages: 793

    Ditto's D Felix

  4. mdvaden

    mdvaden LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,944

    Actually, we may not "have to" question, but we do get curious don't we.

    In my case, I had been trained and been professionally pruning for 9 years before I started business. On a few hundred acres worth of landscaping at university campuses and landscapes.

    In my case, I never charged - so my first question when starting, to my arborist business friend was "how much is it worth?"

    Now the estimate for the time at 35 hours might get me to question. But then, maybe it's a "bear" of a job.

    Also 35 foot tall trees usually need much of the work done in the lower half.

    But if these are trees on a medium lot with good access - you are talking about what we usually do in one day with a climber and one or two men.

    Your price sounds right, not the time - in general thinking.

    35 hours, and debris, means about $4000 dollars in our book.

    How's your training?

    Hope you pick the right path.

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    Without knowing the specifics (and having pictures) I couldn't even hazard a guess as to low/high on the bid.

    DFelix is spot on, though about the safety end of it.

    And contrary to popular application, there really IS a right and wrong way to trim. Do you know the difference?

    Some do, some don't.
  6. Rollacosta

    Rollacosta LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 331

    i agree with the above posts ..also remember if you hack the trees up the client may sue???
  7. bottlefed89

    bottlefed89 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 243

    As always on trees, dfelix and treegodfather are right on. You could still make some money on subbing it. Are you even insured for trees??
  8. DALMlawn&landscaping

    DALMlawn&landscaping LawnSite Member
    from TX
    Messages: 186

    i work for thomas sillitoe trimming trees, anyone whos anyone in the tree business knows where and how to look up names, unless the goofy bastard is full of it, he's one of the best in the country. he is in the ISA (international society of arboriculture), pretty impressive to some one like me, means enough to take a 6 hour test about trees. but anyways, he's taught me two things, cutting trees is a lot harder than it looks, and it takes a trained eye to make it look good.

    the 3 D's
    only trim:
    (and maybe some green stuff that might be growing in the wrong direction)

    as always, safety is important.

    30 ft?
    leave it to the guys that can climb up ropes and swing around like monkeys.

    TREEGODFATHER LawnSite Member
    Messages: 203

    TRAINED monkeys, Jeff.. TRAINED monkeys!;)


    I wouldn't say it's outside his abilities just yet. We don't know what the trees look like and what the client is after.

    30' tree- but does anything need to be done at the top?

    (Quite a departure from my usual stance, I know!)
  10. sdog882007

    sdog882007 LawnSite Member
    Messages: 22

    i called the guy and told him it was going to be $1200 and i think he was kind of shocked at the price

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