Not Seeing The Forest For The Trees

I lost 8 trees during Hurricane Irene this weekend. None hit my house, but a few came down on my driveway and needed to be moved right away.

Now, I have to say that finding a tree cutter after a storm is no easy task, but I lucked out and convinced 3 guys to come take a look and give me a price.

Guy #1: “$150 a tree for me to cut them up and stack the logs on your property close to where they fell. Stump removal not included. The smaller branches and cleanup are your responsibility. I can get here maybe towards the end of next week.”

Guy #2: “$100 a tree. Stump grinding, small branch and debris removal not included. We have a few jobs ahead of you, so I can’t give you an exact day when we can get here.”

Guy#3: “$350 per tree. While I’m here right now, let me cut these trees that are blocking your driveway, enough for you to get your car out. We can come back and finish the job, including the others on your property, next Thursday. I noticed you had two chimneys on your house, Mr. Kane, and see that you have firewood stacked in the back corner of your property. My price includes cutting and splitting the logs down to firewood size and we will stack them with your others. Of course, we’ll grind up the stumps and shred the branches into mulch that you can spread in some of your landscaped areas. By the way, your homeowners insurance may cover the tree removal, as well as any damage they caused to your landscaping, so here’s a written estimate that you can submit.”

Now who do you think I hired? Guy #1 and Guy #2 thought I had a tree cutting problem and offered to solve that. Guy #3 knew I had a tree cutting problem, but more urgently, a driveway problem. He knew I would have a stump problem, a debris problem, a hauling problem, and a firewood problem this winter. He also knew I would have an insurance problem without a written quote.

Don't assume when someone asks you to do something they are telling you what their real problem is. Sometimes you need to step back and determine that yourself.

James Kane