Pro Bono or Sliding Scale Removals?

metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
I was reading the recent thread "Most Expensive Tree Removal" with great interest, and it got me thinking: Does anyone else do pro bono (i.e., without charge) tree removals? Or highly discounted removals for low or no income folks?

I'd done a few such jobs in the poorer neighborhoods of my small Midwestern town, sometimes removing hazard trees. Of course, it's always hard to tell just how broke a person is when you go out to do a bid ... but when I get the sense that money is an issue and I can work the job into my schedule, I try to do in a few of these jobs.

Don't get me wrong: I'm no Robin Hood and focus on making CA$$$H with my tree business, but I do sometimes use what could be called a sliding scale.

Here's a pic (tree on the left) of one such removal. Big dead oak that I charged $250 to remove.
 

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oldoakman

Well-Known Member
Location
Alorgia
I would look around for some sort of relief agency that you can work through to do this kind of thing. Churches, Area Agency on Aging etc. If you continue to go around giving deep discounts and free work, it will become something everyone will expect. Working through such an agency will remove some of that idea from you but still allow you to be of service. If you do connect with an agency, you could work to involve other tree services with them as well.
 

Stumpsprouts

Active Member
Location
Asheville
I like to do one pro bono job per month. I hate doing unnecessary prunes for folks just because they have the money, while folks live in trailers with a dead oak leaning over their roof. The winter has been slower so truth be told I haven’t been in a position to do that since the fall, but last year I did some fun projects for folks that I felt compelled to help out.

Last year, there was a stone dead oak leaning over some gravestones in a historic cemetery with a limited budget. It was a challenging project and I was able to get volunteer help for the day from 5 other area arborists. That was pretty cool!

And it’s all about the karma. I think it’s bad juju to do that kind of thing only for marketing purposes. But here I am bragging about it on the internet!
 

Jehinten

Well-Known Member
Location
Evansville
I've done several free projects for churches, if it's a rather large project I'll charge something but nowhere near full price. Typically the churches don't reach out to me, I see a dead tree on the property and offer my services. I figure they have better things to spend their money on than tree work.
 

AdkEric

Well-Known Member
Location
Adirondacks
I have done a few, two in particular that come to mind. Both were described to me as "urgent." One was a small (~40') uprooting spruce in the client's front yard, threatening a relatively busy county highway. Quick and easy job, "payment" was breakfast- eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, OJ, and coffee. Called it square. The other was a co-dom red oak, one of the stems failed due to high wind and got hung up in another tree, in an area their kids play in. It required some rigging, able bodied clients eager to help (safely, at my direction) and was relatively quick. Never charged them, but got invited to the summer bonfires they had and made friends out of it all.
 

metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
I have done a few, two in particular that come to mind. Both were described to me as "urgent." One was a small (~40') uprooting spruce in the client's front yard, threatening a relatively busy county highway. Quick and easy job, "payment" was breakfast- eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, OJ, and coffee. Called it square. The other was a co-dom red oak, one of the stems failed due to high wind and got hung up in another tree, in an area their kids play in. It required some rigging, able bodied clients eager to help (safely, at my direction) and was relatively quick. Never charged them, but got invited to the summer bonfires they had and made friends out of it all.
That sounds like quite a breakfast!
 

TreeVB

Well-Known Member
Location
Boise, Idaho
Good on you for not being greedy and for giving back to humanity. That goes for all who do it. I do free jobs for people as opportunities come up. My kids mouth therapist got a free cottonwood removal because she did such a fantastic job with his rehab. Recently an elderly lady with the coolest apple tree I have ever seen is getting a free prune next week because 1 she is recently widowed, and 2, I don’t want a local hack to destroy it. There was a local company I used to contract to who set up a drawing once a month for a “pay what you can afford” day. That was really cool of him and I would not have expected that from him. Can’t judge people I guess. Keep up the kind gestures folks!
 

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metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
Good on you for not being greedy and for giving back to humanity. That goes for all who do it. I do free jobs for people as opportunities come up. My kids mouth therapist got a free cottonwood removal because she did such a fantastic job with his rehab. Recently an elderly lady with the coolest apple tree I have ever seen is getting a free prune next week because 1 she is recently widowed, and 2, I don’t want a local hack to destroy it. There was a local company I used to contract to who set up a drawing once a month for a “pay what you can afford” day. That was really cool of him and I would not have expected that from him. Can’t judge people I guess. Keep up the kind gestures folks!
That apple tree is amazing! Have fun tuning it up.
 

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