If you have an elderly parent - now's a good time to talk with them about consulting you before they hire a tree trimmer - or any company.
There's an organization called the "Tree Care Industry Association". Here are their tips which you may find helpful:
Disreputable companies tend to:
Solicit work door-to-door. Demand payment in advance. Advertise topping and low prices in yellow pages. Sell jobs without producing a written estimate or work order.
Check for the following before you hire a company:
Ask for copies of current, valid certificates of insurance. Local references allow you to measure the company's abilities and professionalism. Get a detailed written estimate of the work needed and the cost. Verify professional affiliations the company might have, such as membership in Tree Care Industry Association (1-800-733-2622) or International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). Get a second opinion if it will add to your comfort level. Make sure that a complete diagnosis of the potential for tree failure is performed before a tree is removed.