Tree Work: upfront cost over paying as you go!

I wanted to bring to light a comparison of 2 mind sets for doing tree work.

First: Do the work over time or several years causing initial savings, but occurring elongated costs.

Second: Do all the work in one fell swoop at a higher initial cost, but save in the long run.


You have a community that needs a bunch of work but a small budget year over year. In total you have 35 trees that need to be removed due to various reasons and 45 that need to be pruned off houses.

(These numbers are general for the example)

1.) Remove a little at a time say 6 trees and prune 10 of them. At a cost of $1500 per removal typically and roughly $675 a prune. Total would be roughly 15,750 for the job. (you would still have things to do every year with risk of damage or harm to residence from the neglected trees)

2.) 36 trees need to be removed out of the entire community at $950, and 46 need to be pruned at $375
Giving you a grand total of: $51,450 to get the entire community taken care of. (This would lead to 3-5 years with no work needing to be done.

The way we do business in communities is going to be larger up front, but the overall cost and reduction of liability over time is exponentially reduced.

Here are my questions:

1.) Would this be something that would interest any of you and if so what would keep you from doing it?

2.) Would you be willing to hear how working with a company like ours will help with a positive ROI and help to increase that curb side appeal ultimately making it so you can get better tenants and possibly raise rent over time?

I’ll be honest. I have never paid as much as you are describing. I have multiple people who I pay by the day, and they will get as much completed as possible for $950. Depending on the size of the trees, they will take down a minimum of 2 very large trees, but have taken down well over trees in a day. This also includes removal.

I would never pay 50k for 36 trees to be removed, but maybe I just got lucky by having three different vendors who are severely underpriced?

Also, if the tree is alive and healthy, if a limb falls on a home, it is the responsibility of the homeowner’s insurance to pay for the damages, so I am not inclined to cut down trees that are not dead.

I hope this helps.

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Option 1 isn’t really an option from a liability perspective.


@MikeKnab…we own multiple value-add communities in multiple states and as @EricBarshinger has suggested, we also have never paid half that amount for tree removal and we have removed 100’s of trees. Personally, I will not take the risk if I think there is any part of a tree that could harm any of our residents. If the tree is not healthy - it is gone. Otherwise, all healthy trees get “topped.” Sometimes we have to get multiple competing bids, and through a little negotiation usually get an acceptable price, and you are correct…a well landscaped community brings a lot of curb appeal! :slightly_smiling_face:

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Whichever option you choose with tree trimming, have a contractor - not you or your own people do it. Statistically speaking, it’s a job function with some of the highest injury claims in America. Ask any contractor you hire to provide you with a Certificate of Insurance showing they have general liability and workers compensation insurance. A written agreement with all Contractors you hire stating they are responsible for any injuries they suffer or their employees suffer is smart business. Many rental home and fixer upper parks have an insurance coverage exclusion for bodily injury suffered by contractors. Those losses can be huge.

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I have inhouse maintenance that can handle small tree jobs, trims, removal if not near homes. Any trees near homes, i don’t hesitate. I bite the bullet and hire the licensed insured guys. I would go in and remove the trees that are a hazard, danger of falling. Then top off trees and remove all the dead stuff! After than an annual service should suffice.

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I agree. All too often it is the choice though. The upfront cost to remove all Liability can easily give an owner sticker shock, but in the long run, it will benefit them greatly. thanks for the response.

Absolutely. the price in the example is actually on the lower end of jobs we have done. It depends on the size and condition of the community! thanks for the reply :smiley:

I agree 100%. God forbid something were to happen with your own people and a tree falls on them or a home. Great suggesting thanks for adding!

I agree. We typically would leave the little stuff as well that can be managed by the community maintenance team. Having a tree company focus on just the large ticket items will help with reducing cost as well! Thanks for sharing.

In this example the 50 K was not just for the removal, it was also for the 46 prunes at a cost of $375. The price point would entirely depend on the level of liability in the community. Again the numbers were simply an example! Thanks for sharing sir!

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I had 36 Ash trees over a 2 yr period removed before they became a liability. Around $12000 for all. By an insured/bonded local tree guy.

What is the advantage to topping trees? I have a park with very dense mulberry trees which the trees haven’t been trimmed in many decades, so I’m exploring options.

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Topping will typically just kill the trees. I never recommend topping. If the tree is that much of an issue that you need to top, just remove it. If it is pruned over the years appropriately you should not have to Top at all. If you have any questions send me a direct mail and I can share my number :slight_smile: