Need some expert advice

Hi. I just now created an account and this is my very first post on these forums. I wasn't sure where to post this but thought I might get a response here.

I hired a tree company that is local to me to basically clear off my one acre lot where my home is of all the trees except for some beech trees. I contacted the company which had great reviews on and the owner came out and looked at my lot and said he could clear the lot for a cost of $2,400 per day which included a couple of guys working with him and having some machinery on site like a stump grinder and chipper. All debris would be chipped or removed from my lot.

At first he said it would take 2 to 3 days and then he came back on another day and looked even closer at the property and said he would try to get it in 3 days but it might take 4. It made me a little uneasy that he added the extra day but I was still willing since the price seemed extremely reasonable.

After this he sent me an email that had the estimate on it for the cost per day and what would be done.

We were having a good bit of rain in the upstate of South Carolina where I live and he wanted to be able to get out here for 3 or 4 days straight with dry weather to do the job. He kept putting it off it seems like and we would exchange a text every now and then and he finally set a specific day that he was coming over on a Tuesday. Well, it rained a little more on that Tuesday and he said he was going to try to come when the weather improved.

This went on between April and July of this year. In July we went on our normal beach vacation and I had sent him a text message saying to just make plans to come over as soon as he had a stretch of dry days and he said okay.

Fast forward to September 11th. Irma came through and caused devastation in Florida and the remnants caused high winds even in the upstate of South Carolina. During the storm a very tall poplar that was supposed to have been removed uprooted and fell onto my house. I was panicking and it scared my wife and I pretty badly.

I immediately texted him and told him I hadn't heard from him in a couple of months about the trees, and now the poplar had fell on my house and I was definitely going to need his help. He contacted me back and said he would be here the next morning unless it was an emergency for him to come right then. I surveyed the damage quickly without putting myself in danger because the winds were still very bad and it was almost getting dark. I didn't know if it had compromised the shingles but there was obvious structural damage at the side of my porch and I could tell a rafter or two was probably broken underneath the shingles. I told him I would see him the next morning and then painfully went through a very sleepless night while the storm continued to snap and break trees in the acreage around my property. Luckily only the one tree on my property fell but of course I had a lot of old limbs and debris in the yard.

The next morning he did arrive and I was here and took the day off work to be around if he needed me. He had two workers with him and he cut the main top limbs out of the tree and removed them from the roof. He could not remove the trunk without a crane he said. This work took him about three and a half hours.

I went to work the next day and about two days later he contacted me saying he could not get a crane but that he was going to try to cut some more off of the trunk of the tree and push it up with a skid steer. He did this a couple of days after removing the initial part of the upper limbs and it took him about two and a half hours to finish the process. He did not, however, take the tree with him. It is still all around my house.

During this whole time he apologized three or four times about not being able to get out to my property quicker but kept talking about other jobs that he had been busy on. I told him to contact me and let me know what was owed for the poplar and he said it could be filed to my insurance.. When he was doing the work on the poplar he told me he was going to give me a break on the price for the rest of the lot that he said he would come back in 2 or 3 weeks and finish.

Fast forward a few more days and I'm trying to deal with insurance adjusters to get repairs made to my home. Well, I get an email from him with a bill for removing the one tree and it alone was $3,000! He did tell me to submit that to insurance while he was here working on the tree but he never told me how much it was going to cost. I guess it's my fault for not asking specifically about the cost for taking care of the poplar, but I really figured he might cut me a break on it or include it in the cost of clearing the rest of the lot especially since he told me he would give me a break on the price of the lot.

I am a bit in shock over the cost of removing the one tree, especially since he was so apologetic about not getting out here to clear the trees sooner. I didn't expect him to do it for free or anything but I was hoping it would be more reasonable, or that he would figure that into the cost of the rest of the lot.

I have submitted the bill for this to my insurance company and have made sure that the adjuster working my claim has a copy of it. I also texted the tree company owner and told him I received his bill and forwarded it to the adjuster. He did not respond. Then two days later I received the bill once again in my email.

The adjuster will be here next Thursday to inspect the home and estimate the damages. I have already had a company that they use come and go look at the damages to figure their own estimate but the adjuster said that they will have to work from his estimate.

I guess really I just want the opinion of some professional tree workers as to if any of this sounds shady. Am I expecting too much from him and am I being unreasonable to feel like the cost for that one tree was way too much when he was talking about working all day with a crew with machinery on site for less than the cost of this single tree?

If things don't work out and he does not end up being able to clear the lot, should I just go ahead and pay the $3,000 out of pocket and hope the insurance company will reimburse me? I read online a couple of places that they may only cover removal of trees for up to $1,000. This sounds more reasonable to me and I am wondering if he is just setting the cost very high hoping to get the maximum that the insurance company is willing to pay him.

I would hate to pay the $3,000 and then find out the insurance company won't reimburse me for that amount and for him to not come back and think he made a nice quick buck off of a job that didn't take him more than about 6 hours total.

He seems like a really really nice guy. And when you talk to him one-on-one he really seems honest and knowledgeable but I can't get over the fact that he made me wait so long and then is so quick to send me a huge bill for the one tree that would not have fallen if he would have removed it back when we were agreeing that the work should be started on the lot.

Any opinions you have I would be interested to hear. Thanks so much.