Please note that the following article is written by a company working in Glasgow and the central belt of Scotland, Prices may vary depending on where you are in the UK.
Hiring a tree surgery and Arborist isn't always going to be cheapest service you can pay for, but due to the nature of our work and the equipment we use within an inherently dangerous industry, costs can be higher than other trades. Many of the jobs we attend need to be completed by a team of 2 or 3 tree surgeons for safety reasons, so this will also increase the price.
the first thing we'll look at is the average monthly and daily running cost of a small tree surgery company so we can best understand daily rates passed onto clients.
3 Full time Staff
Chipper and Grinder payments
Insurance and H&S
Disposal Charges and Yard Rent
So for your average tree surgery company running a 3 man team, which is the most common set up, they will have to clear £8.3k a month and £420 per day (20 working days a month) just to stand still. This isn't including a profit margin.
So what does this mean for you, the client? As a rule of thumb to have a tree surgery company out to complete a job taking 1 day, you would be in the ball park of £450-£500 per day. A straight forward 2 day job could be within the region of £900-£1000.
If we look at the pricing structure above and equate that to a simple half day prune on a small to medium tree, or a half day spent trimming a large hedge then you would be in the region of £225 per day. Typically an Arborist company will be able to fit 2 of this type of job into a day and cover their monthly outgoings with a small profit. Similarly a small to medium hedge will be around £150 as the company can do 3-4 of these types of job in a day.
However all trees and jobs are different, there are many differing factors when it comes to pricing a job. These include;
Access to and from the tree. Can the brash, limbs and timber easily be moved from the removal site to the chipper/tipper.
Are there additional hazards? Is there overhead cables and phone lines, or will working on the tree risk a danger to workers, clients or the general public.
The health of a tree.
The size of the tree, larger trees typically take longer to work on.
Is the tree easily felled, or will it require a dismantle which takes longer.
Proximity to building, sheds, greenhouses and fences.
Will additional equipment be needed to carry out the job safetly such as a MEWP (mobile elevated work platform)?
Does the client require the stump completely removed?
Will there be a need to close a public road?
The above factors could easily mean that what appears like a simple job to the untrained eye could end up taking longer for the team to complete, or may need specialist equipment brought in. If this is the case, then you may be quoted more. Just remember and make sure this additional cost is clearly displayed in the quote. To give you an idea of additional costs;
Property's that have difficult access or the work site is far away from the tipper and chipper, a skidder may need to be brought in to assist the ground team and reduce manual handling. Expect to pay an additional £80-£100 for this.
Where a tree is in a difficult position i.e hanging over several properties, entangled in phone lines, close to rail lines or power lines etc an additional day may be needed to complete. So a medium tree removal could cost an extra day (£450-500).
Trees that are dead, rotten or dangerous may be too risky to climb so a MEWP might be needed. This is usually £200-£300 additional to the day rate.
If your tree is overhanging a main road, then a closure will be needed. A permit will need to be issued (£150-200 in N.Lanarkshire where we operate) and traffic management will have to be brought in which is approximately £450 per day. Pedestrian footpath closure (Section 8) is cheaper at around £150-£200 per day
If you were wanting the stump completely removed then expect to pay £50-£150 depending on diameter and depth.
If you're getting a quote, then chances are you'll get more than 1. It's always worth shopping around for the best deal, but don't always go for the lowest quote necessarily. If you get a quote and it's wildly lower than the others, then you should ask yourself why. Unfortunately its very common in the industry for companies and individuals to operate without Insurance, qualifications or they'll pay their workers very low wages. At the opposite end of the scale some companies will quote wildly high, this could be as a result of high overheads for the company, they see you have an expensive property/car or they are too busy and are trying to "price themselves out" of the job.
Always get an official written quote, and make sure you see proof of public liability insurance before any work is started.
As stated at the start of this blog, this is a very rough guide, based on a 3 man team working in Scotland. Geographical areas may vary.