Kent Tree Removal Terms and Conditions

Terms and Conditions

Background:

John Kent owns and manages the daily operations of Kent Arborist Services and Kent Rents. John Kent is a contractor, homeowner, employer, big brother, coach, mentor, BSA Eagle Scout, and UC Davis Alum. The first goal of this document is to build trust by sharing my expertise and eliminating ambiguity. The second goal is to ensure that you understand some of the underlying complexities involved with selecting a tree contractor to trim or remove your trees. 

Kent discloses all of the foreseeable problems and complications. Some issues we can control; others we cannot. This document attempts to differentiate between the two.    

Twenty plus years of practicing arbor-culture has taught Kent that tree service is an invasive procedure that is as complex as it is dangerous.

If you are shopping for a tree service, make sure you eliminate all ambiguity during the negotiation process. Otherwise, you will not get the value that you believe you are bargaining for. There are many other factors that shady characters can dodge: from using illegal labor or non-carb compliant equipment to not paying workers' compensation, taxes, or other goverment required fees for doing business.   

Grounds maintenance workers, including tree trimmers, have a fatality rate that is more than three times that of the average worker in the U.S., according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. About 580 people died in tree trimming accidents from 2009 through 2015, according to figures from the Tree Care Industry Association.

Kent charges a minimum of $500 for any emergency job. Emergency rates are double Kent normal rates during normal business hours and normal weather conditions. Specifically, Kent estimates tree work at the rate of $125 per man-hour for standard work; $200 an hour for standard tree climbers and equipment operators; $300 an hour for managers and arborists; and, $500 an hour for work, either specifically or necessarily performed by the owner. All weekend work, or work after 8 hours in a day, or hazardous work, or work on Holidays or Holiday weekends are double the normal rate. So, if you have an emergency on a weeknight, or a weekend, or a Holiday weekend, the emergency rate is double the billable rate at the time the emergency work is requested and the first response crew dispatched. All other rates, including equipment rental, are also doubled; for example, the trucking mileage increases from $2 per mile to $4 per mile port-to-port. 

Emergency jobs where logs larger than 18 inches are removed, Kent may dispose of this hard to handle and very heavy and therefore extremely expensive woody material. Or, Kent reserves the right to transport and store these logs until payment is received. This provides atleast 30 days for the logs to dry out, which dramatically reduces the water logged weight of this large wood, and consequetly the cost of disposal. If payment is not received in the time specified, (normally 30 days from completion) Kent will charge rent to store these logs from your project until either payment is recieved in full and/or you remove these logs, transport and dispose them yourself.    

Kent understands that some emergency work involves homeowner's insurance. While most homeowner's insurance policies cover tree removal, remember that all insurance policies have limitations. And, that it is the property owner hiring Kent that benefits from the tree service rendered. So, it is the ultimately the owner's responsibility to pay Kent for any and all work authorized or approved. 

In cases where emergency estimates are provided as a formality--estimates are NOT binding. Estimates as to fees, transportation, disposal, equipment rental, or other charges given by Kent to the customer are for informational purposes only and are subject to change without notice; no quotation shall be binding upon Kent unless Kent in writing agrees to undertake the tree production, handling, trucking, transportation, and/or disposal of a project at a specific rate or amount set forth in the quotation and payment arrangements are agreed to between Kent and customer.
  
Kent's Terms and Conditions: 
 
Verbal, written, electronic acceptance, or otherwise authorizing Kent to begin tree work for you on your property or a property that you manage binds you to the following terms and conditions whether or not you have read them in part, in full, or at all.

A great deal of time and energy has been spent making this document easy to read and understand. Kent hopes you find this document informing and educational. Kent is happy to answer any questions you have and encourages feedback; Specifically if you find language that you feel contains ambiguity. 

Kent runs a tree removal service that specializes in cutting down your worry.

Assessing your trees requires expertise and integrity. Earning your trust requires us to communicate clearly and promptly, so you always know what to expect.

Recommending the right level of service for your trees requires an honest estimate of time and cost, so you know how much you’ll pay before we begin.

In the natural course of tree work, there may be collateral damage including damage to concealed objects and other contingencies that were neither visible nor obvious. Kent is not responsible in any way for repairing or replacing any property damaged in such a way.

Our goal is to leave your property clean and your landscape intact.

Kent is not responsible to move or replace objects in the proximate work area, unless specified in writing.

Kent is not responsible for property damaged in the proximate area of the tree work—not identified and/or moved prior to the time tree work begins.

Repairing lawn, landscape, sprinklers, or any object underground is NEVER included in any estimate or contract price.

Kent requires you to turn off automatic sprinklers a minimum of three (3) days prior to scheduled work. If the sprinklers turn on in the proximate area where Kent’s crew is working, an inconvenience fee will be charged ($99 minimum).

Preparation and cleanup:

Kent provides several levels of preparation and cleanup to choose from. Protecting and cleaning is a process that Kent can do for a fee or you can choose to do yourself.

No preparation and cleanup. Use our expertise to prune or remove trees; you take care of the rest and cleanup the mess. This option saves us time and you money.

General preparation and cleanup includes the guarantee that plywood will be placed over all windows and doors within the drop zone. All wood, limbs, leaves, and debris larger than two inches in diameter will be removed, unless otherwise agreed to in writing.

Specific preparation and cleanup includes, in addition to general preparation and cleanup, moving or protecting specific objects inside the drop zone including walls, fences, gates, windows, lights, sprinklers, concrete, grass, trees, and other fixed or moveable objects.

Other cleanup includes repairing indentations in the lawn, rubber track marks on lawn, concrete or asphalt, branch marks along the side of a house, fence or gate.

Pool preparation and cleanup:
Kent is not responsible for damage to any pool cleaning system, unless that system is physically and externally damaged.

Pool protection includes covering the pool to prevent tree debris from entering. Pool cleanup includes skimming the pool and removing tree debris that enters the pool using your pool clean tools. 

Work site clearance / access:
A $500 re-scheduling fee may be assessed, if equipment access is given to create greater efficiency in job production, and at any time, and for any reason that access is diminished, compromised, or otherwise ceases to exist. Additionally, Kent may assess an additional charge for lost time or additional time at the rate of $125 per man-hour, and/or $2 per mile.

Roof and driveway access is always considered accessible.

Payment. All charges are payable in US Dollars and are due upon invoice unless otherwise agreed to in writing. Past due payments shall be subject to an additional charge at the rate of 1.5% per month on the average outstanding balance due, or the highest rate of interest permitted by applicable law, whichever is less. All funds received by Kent will be applied to the oldest invoice that is outstanding. Overpayments do not accrue interest. In the event that Kent places an agreement with a customer in the hands of an attorney or collection agency for collection, customer agrees to pay, in addition to the account balance, all collection costs including reasonable attorney’s fees, (including such fees and costs incurred in the successful defense of any crossclaim or counterclaim brought against Kent.

Liability: 

Limitation of Actions. All claims against Kent for a potential or actual loss must be made in writing and received by Kent, within thirty (30) days of the event giving rise to claim; the failure to give the Kent timely notice shall be a complete defense to any suit or action commenced by customer or any third party. All suits against Kent must be filed and properly served on Kent within thirty (30) from the date of loss or damage.

Any disputes by customer of any invoice Kent issues shall be made in writing, specifically indicating the nature of the dispute and received by Kent at his office(s) within 15 days from the date of the invoice. In the event Kent does not receive timely written notice of the dispute, the charges will be definitively and conclusively presumed to be valid. Customer authorizes Kent to advise third parties of asserted liens and to hold possession of any woody material collected and hold it until payment is received and for which a lien is asserted.

Definitions: 

Tree removal: A tree will be carefully dismantled and cut 1” above the dirt or ground level.

Tree removal does not include stump grinding.

Disposal of debris:
Wood chips are created in the process of pruning and removing trees. You can choose to keep these wood chips and have them dumped onsite. Or, Kent can remove and dispose of the wood chips for a fee.

Wood logs larger than 18 inches in diameter can be disposed of in three ways: 1. left onsite in large sections where they fall; 2. left onsite in sections cut to a desired length; 3. removed from the site completely. The first two choices limit the cleanup that can be done. The third choice is the most costly, but it ensures complete cleanup. 

Wood logs larger than 18 inches in diameter are generally cut in 16” to 24” chunks and left where they fall.

For Kent to look at, touch, move, stack, or cut big logs into smaller logs, arrangements must be in writing.

Permits:
Kent secures permits for tree removal and tree pruning through the arborist consultation process. Otherwise, Kent assumes that ALL permits for tree removal or pruning have been secured and paid for by the customer.
 
Permit fees:
Permit fees for tree trimming and tree removal are required by city and county agencies. Permit fees differ from city to city. Permit fees are separate from Kent’s fee to prepare and process the permit. The success of securing a permit for a tree is not guaranteed.

Preparing and processing permits:
Preparing and processing a permit for tree trimming, tree removal, or traffic control is a technical time consuming process. Kent can assist with this process for a fee or you may choose to do it yourself.

A stump by definition is the diameter of the standing tree at breast height. 

Roots and root flare by definition are connected to, but not apart of, the stump--and are not included in stump grinding. 

Stump grinding or root removal is an invasive process that requires excavation below ground, where concealed objects and other contingencies exist. Damage to objects below the surface is likely.

When a tree has failed or fallen and the stump has uprooted and becomes vertical, the depth assigned to the stump grinding also become vertical. 

Repairing lawn, landscape, sprinklers, or any object underground is NEVER included in the estimate or contract price.

Stump grinding is limited to accessibility of elevation and width. This means that there are some stumps we cannot access and grind.

Stump grinding does not include the removal of woody debris created by stump grinding.

Removal of stump grinding debris is available at an additional cost. Excessive amounts of dirt (over 50 percent) mixed with the wood chips will not be removed. 

No stump grinding will be attempted closer than 6” to any structure, building, fence, property line, embankment, concrete, rock, or non-movable object unless specified in writing. The cost of stump grinding is $25 per square foot when Kent removed the tree. There is a $250 minimum transportation fee and a ten (10) square foot minimum or $250 fee for stump grinding. The minimum cost is $500. 

U.S.A. underground / 811:
Stump grinding requires excavation below the ground and state law requires that you contact U.S.A. underground or call 811, so that utility, gas and power lines can be identified and marked.

Kent can assist with this process for a fee or you may choose to do it yourself.

Concealed objects and other contingencies:

Repairing lawn, landscape, sprinklers, or any object underground is NEVER included in the estimate or contract price.  Moving, leveling, or removing dirt in any meaningful way must be agreed to in writing. 

Since Kent cannot see inside the tree or stump or under the ground, Kent is not responsible for damage to anything in, below, or on the ground not identified or moved by the property owner or their agent(s) including but not limited to the following: sprinklers, sprinkler systems, PVC, pipes, drainage systems, leach fields, septic tanks, plumbing lines, electrical lines, gas lines, pest nests or burrows, concrete, rocks, or metal.
Kent is also not responsible for any additional expense that may be incurred in the discovery of any undisclosed non-wooden object(s) within a tree, branch, trunk, stump or root system on the customer’s property during scheduled work. Such discoveries include: nails, bolts, cables, screws, pipes, wires, rocks, and concrete 
etc.

Additional expense is charged at a time and expense rate necessary and reasonable to complete the job, which includes the replacement cost of grinder teeth and saw blades.

Pest control:
The cost of any pest control necessary to complete scheduled work is the owner’s responsibility. Additionally, a $250 re-scheduling fee may be assessed. If in the immediate work area Kent encounters bees, wasps, hornets, carpenter ants, poisonous snakes, or their nests, a minimum of $99 will be charged.

Emergency work:

ALL EMERGENCY WORK IS BILLED FOR THE TIME AND EXPENSE NECESSARY TO COMPLETE WORK AS EFFECIENTLY AND SAFELY AS POSSIBLE.

Emergency jobs or jobs where time is of the essence naturally do not allow for time to dispatch an estimator and go through the normal channels of quoting and consultation. Emergency jobs are inherently dangerous and complex, labor and equipment intensive. Kent does not provide estimates for emergency jobs, but instead provides a detailed list of billing rates for labor and equipment. Our goal is to remove the tree creating the emergency, mitigate any additional damage to your property, and prevent harm to people without delay.   
 
Liability of any and all damage caused by and during work on fallen trees, damaged trees or dead or partly dead tree(s) or other emergency work is solely borne by the property owner. While working on a tree that is structurally compromised or damaged prior to Kent working on it, or if such defects are discovered while Kent is performing normal service, responsibility for any and all additional damage to the tree or property in the immediate proximity is borne by the property owner.

Kent reserves the right to abandon a job without penalty, where a discovered defect places people or property at risk. Kent reserves the right to submit a new quote that takes into consideration the additional time, equipment, and risk factors associated with the discovered defect. All scheduled jobs are subject to change due to weather and inherent dangers of the work to life, limb, and property.

Kent reserves the right to refuse service to anyone at any time for any reason.

Yelling, threatening, swearing, or any other form of profanity directed at Kent or his employees is grounds for immediate termination of service with payment for all services performed due immediately. Any and all existing and/or future work promised either verbal or in writing is relinquished by the customer.

UNLESS OTHERWISE AGREED TO IN WRITING: 

Payment is due when the work is complete.  

Cash payment means coin or currency—not check or credit card.

All jobs are quoted at a cash price with any and all discounts included. For the convenience of writing a check, please add $150 to the quoted price.

A check may not be written for any discounted phase(s) of any quote.

Our vendors charge to process credit cards. A convenience fee for using a credit card is an additional 3 percent of the total cost.

Jobs not paid at the completion of the job—in coin or currency—will lose any discount otherwise applicable.

For time to time, Kent includes additional work at no cost. This is usally in the form of a discount. You cannot hold Kent liabity in any way for work perform at no addition cost.  

Failure to pay within 3 days can and will result in three consequences. First, Kent will return any truck that worked on your tree project and remain onsite for upto 6 hours billable at the standard rate of $100 per hour per truck. Second, Kent will return and dump all woody debris from your project or the equivilant in mass and weight thereof, wherever is accessable on the property where service was performed. Then, Kent will lien your property for the cost of the tree project, the additonal trucking / transporation and standby time to the exent allowed by law, and then litigate to whatever end is necessary to collect including forcing the foreclosure and sale of your property or the property where we performed services.  

A check that is returned for insufficient funds or otherwise rejected by the issuing bank—for any reason—will result in a $99 stress fee and a late payment fee of $99.

Parking and traffic control:
Preparing and posting NO PARKING signs and barriers prior to tree work that is scheduled in and around high traffic areas is required to prevent delays in some cases. Kent can assist with this process for a fee or you may choose to do it yourself.

Late Payment Fee:
A $100 late payment fee may be assessed to any and all invoices not paid in full at the time of completion; unless the payment is scheduled to be received is at a future date, previously agreed to in writing.

Payments not received within 30 days of billing will be assessed an additional one (1) percent of the total cost of the job. 

Interest Assessment:
Interest assessment on unpaid balances will begin at the end of the month, which the work was completed in. The annual rate is 18% or 1.5% per month. Interest on unpaid balances will be assessed in addition to the late/collection payment fees.

Collections:
You must pay all charges in the attempt to collect the balance of any unpaid balance. A 1% collection fee will be assessed each week for any unpaid balance on your account beginning five (5) weeks after the job was complete and the payment due. These charges will be in addition to interest and late fees. In the event your account remains unpaid, it may be referred out for additional collection enforcement.

Mechanics Liens’ Notice:
Consumers are required to receive a "Notice to Owner" warning about property liens. Anyone who helps improve property, but who is not paid like subcontractors, suppliers or workers, may place what is called a mechanics lien on the property. A mechanics’ lien is a claim made against the property and recorded with the county.

Unless within thirty days of receiving notice of lien, customer posts cash or letter of credit at sight, or, if the amount due is in dispute, an acceptable bond equal to 110% of the value of the total amount due, in favor of Kent, guaranteeing payment of the monies owed, plus all storage charges accrued or to be accrued. Kent shall have the right to sell the property(s) at public auction or private sale or auction and any net proceeds remaining thereafter shall be returned to customer.

3-Day Right to Cancel Exemption
The right to a three-day notice automatically is canceled the moment the contract is signed and the contractor begins working on a "Service and Repair" contract.

Emergency jobs exclude the 3-day right to cancel exemption.

Severability. In the event any Paragraph(s) and/or portion(s) hereof are found to be invalid and/or unenforceable, then in such event the remainder hereof shall remain in full force and effect.

Execution. This agreement shall become binding upon written acceptance by Kent of customer’s acknowledgment of its intent to be bound thereby, as evidenced by its designation of acceptance on company’s web page or by its execution of the estimate by phone, text or email, or by verbal acknowledgment by customer allowing or inviting Kent onto the property to perform tree services.

All deposits are credits towards the purchase of service. Credit is good for 30 days from the time of the estimate. Estimates are valid for 60 days. No refunds.