Factors Influencing Your Tree Removal Estimate

30 December 2014
 Categories: , Blog


Property owners often experience frustration when trying to determine how much it is going to cost them to remove a tree from their yard. Clients often call or email a tree professional, hoping to get a quick and easy estimate. Unfortunately, such inquiries invariably fail to yield a quote. To devise an estimate, the tree company will need to inspect the tree and the property before providing such an estimate.  

This leaves homeowners and property managers staring at their problematic tree, wondering how much it is going to cost to remove it. While amateurs cannot determine the cost on their own, there are a few criteria that they can consider, which will give them an idea of whether the job will be at the expensive or inexpensive end of the spectrum.

Is the tree large or small?

Simply put, large trees are more expensive to remove than small trees. Consider the entire size of the tree – not just the height. For example, removing a 40-foot-tall white oak – a species that often produces full, round canopies full of thick branches – may cost more than it does to remove a 60-foot-tall pine tree, which has a long trunk, but a relatively small canopy. In addition to the larger equipment necessary for removing large trees, large trees create more debris, which must be hauled away or chipped. 

Is the tree leaning over a building?

Trees that lean over buildings or other structures – items that tree professionals call "targets"-- are much more expensive to remove than those that stand straight up. Large trees that lean over targets often require the assistance of a crane, which prevents them from crushing anything below it-- obviously, cranes and crane operators raise the price of tree removal. Even small trees that lean over homes or buildings require complex riggings, which require time to set up, thereby raising the cost of removal as well.

Is the tree dead or alive?

Dead trees can be much more difficult and expensive to remove than living trees. Dead trees are considered high risk, and they may fail at any time, such as when work crews are standing below them. This increased level of risk necessitates additional safety measures, which raises the cost of the job. Additionally, dead trees are dangerous to climb, which eliminates one of the less expensive methods-- human climbers-- for removing a tree. 

Where is the tree located?

Trees in the middle of a front yard, within 10 yards or so of the road or a driveway are often much less expensive to remove than those trees tucked into inaccessible areas of a backyard. Aside from the problem of getting equipment, climbers and tools into the backyard, the resulting debris must be hauled all the way back to the truck or chipper.

Does your municipality require permits for tree removal?

Some cities, towns and counties require tree removal permits before any trees are removed. In some places, it may even be necessary to have the city arborist inspect the tree first, before he or she will issue the permit. Sometimes, the procedure is straightforward enough that homeowners can accomplish these tasks, but at other times, tree professionals must obtain the permit. This legwork takes time, complicates scheduling efforts and generally raises the price of the job.