Tree Work Estimator

metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
In an effort to stop bidding half or a third of what a job is worth, I cooked up this treework estimator. I'm guessing y'all have different considerations given the nature of your gigs, but this is what I've been using to bid jobs lately.

My quote process goes like this:

Start with your base rate for the simplest of small trees and then prices go up from there. The following are things to consider when arriving at the quote.

Part I: Type of work
  1. Removal, pruning, or storm damage? Note that some pruning jobs can amount to a removal, as can a storm damage clean-up job.
  2. If removal, what’s the nature of the job? Fell it in place and buck? Easy climb? Complex rigging? High crotch and good rigging points? Speed line?
Part II: The Tree Itself
  1. Tree type? Conifers are typically easier but need not be underpriced … oaks and maples are huge undertakings … smaller trees can be hard to climb. Species with thorns?
  2. Quality of tree? Dead and dangerous? Alive and full of leaves? Rotten? Risky? Remember, it’s okay to say no.
  3. Tree size in terms of canopy, trunk, limb size, number of stems. Note that larger trees take not only more work in the tree, but more hauling and ground work to clean up. Oaks and Maples can have 5x the the wood of a conifer.
Part III: Logistics
  1. Distance from job site to the shop?
  2. Distance from tree to the trailer. A long haul takes much more time and work. Note the slope of the ground between trailer and tree, as well as any barriers like roots, gates, fences, etc.
  3. Number of loads with the trailer/dump truck? A maple can be three or four … a pine one or two.
  4. Degree of cleanup expected? Well maintained yard and garden or rough yard? This will make a huge difference in raking, hauling, and cleanup time.
  5. Close to a property line? Access to adjacent property? Fence dividing the two (or three, or four lots) that will be hard to climb over?
  6. What’s under the tree or trees that needs to be moved or protected? Plants? Irrigation? Priorities here typically go: house, other structure, fence, garden, trees, nice grass. Is there an adequate drop zone? Can it take big logs or branches if needed or will everything have to be carefully lowered?
Part IV: Additional Considerations
  1. Human dimension: Will these people be good to work for? Meticulous and difficult or easy going? Can they pay? Do they own the property? Everything seems legit?
  2. Intangible element: Any special reason to want this job? In some cases this can lower prices
  3. Financial considerations: What can these people afford? What is my time, work, and expertise worth? Will they potentially have more work in the future and/or make valuable references? If they are on a referral tree, consider previous prices and the nature of the referral tree.
 

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OasisTree

Well-Known Member
Location
Central Missouri
Those of us who are TRAQ certified know how the form looks to assign tree risk...you start at the top and the form guides you through all of the options and you finish up with a risk rating.

I have always thought it would be cool to make a digital form like that for bids - it would be a series of checkmarks and then auto calculate a price based on your input! I would design it to be customizable, and different options would be worth different amounts.

Responsibid has something similar, but I don't want to use their software.
 

timmysaint

Active Member
Location
Ontario
I like the list. Simple.

I've also found the best time I spend on a quote is walking up to the base of the tree, looking up at the canopy, and getting myself in that mind state that I'm actually here to do the job. It sounds a bit 'wooo-weee, wooo-weee' but I find it works. I picture TIPs, problematic branches, rigging, awkward positions, limb walks... the whole job.

It definitely helps keep me from underbidding or overbidding, and allows me to see things I might have missed if I stuck just to my checklist.
 

metaspencer

Member
Location
Urbana, IL
I like the list. Simple.

I've also found the best time I spend on a quote is walking up to the base of the tree, looking up at the canopy, and getting myself in that mind state that I'm actually here to do the job. It sounds a bit 'wooo-weee, wooo-weee' but I find it works. I picture TIPs, problematic branches, rigging, awkward positions, limb walks... the whole job.

It definitely helps keep me from underbidding or overbidding, and allows me to see things I might have missed if I stuck just to my checklist.
I know whatcha mean: there is nothing like standing under the tree and walking all around it. That feel you get and what your instincts tell you are pricelessly valuable.
 

chiselbit

Well-Known Member
I like the list. Simple.

I've also found the best time I spend on a quote is walking up to the base of the tree, looking up at the canopy, and getting myself in that mind state that I'm actually here to do the job. It sounds a bit 'wooo-weee, wooo-weee' but I find it works. I picture TIPs, problematic branches, rigging, awkward positions, limb walks... the whole job.

It definitely helps keep me from underbidding or overbidding, and allows me to see things I might have missed if I stuck just to my checklist.
I do the same. I go so into the plan that sometimes many years later I have a hard time remembering if I actually did the job or just bid on it.
 

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