Hiring tree work contractors

Do you need trees removed, trimmed or pruned? This is a dangerous job. To avoid injury and damage to property, hire a professional.

Use this checklist to help you hire the right tree work contractor for your job.

Check the contractor's qualifications

A professional contractor holds the right qualifications and demonstrates they have the knowledge, skills and experience to carry out works without damaging property or injuring people.

Tree work contractors usually have at least one person within the business who holds a:

  • Certificate II in Arboriculture (horticulture) to carry out the work at the ground level
  • Certificate III in Arboriculture (horticulture) to supervise tree climbing activities.

If you require a tree assessment, your local council, TAA or AA can help you engage an arborist who holds a Diploma of Arboriculture and can provide a written report.

Find a professional contractor
Check the contractor's insurances
  • Workers compensation - for all their workers.
  • Public liability – this is protection to cover yours and your neighbour’s property if damage is caused or any injuries happen while the work is being carried out.
  • Professional indemnity protection - for damages arising from action in line with professional advice.

You can check any policy validity by asking the contractor for a certificate of currency or contact the issuing insurance company.

Ask the contractor how they will do the job safely
  • The contractor should be able to explain a safe method for how they intend to complete the tree work. Safe Work Australia has a guide to managing risks for tree work that can help you understand if the indented work method described by the contractor is safe.
  • Contractors should check for hazards prior to commencing work. If you are aware of any dangers on your property that could cause harm advise the contractor, such as underground tanks, underground services (gas, electricity) or plumbing near the trees.
Consider obtaining a written quotation and check for any local council approvals
  • Written quote should include:
    • business ABN
    • contact details
    • detail works
    • costs involved
  • Check with your local council whether you need approval to remove or prune a tree (requirements vary).
Immediately raise safety issues with SafeWork NSW

For work, health and safety concerns about a tree work contractor phone 13 10 50.

Protect yourself from travelling conmen

Look out for travelling conmen who may turn up at your door unexpectedly. Travelling conmen are deceptive and misleading people pretending to be legitimate tradespeople.

Be suspicious of people who:

  • turn up at our door unexpectedly offering special one-off or today only deals
  • ask for cash up front
  • offer to drive you to the bank to get money for payment
  • pressure you into accepting their offer
  • Disappear and leave the job unfinished or of a poor standard.

If you believe you have been approached by a travelling conman visit NSW Fair Trading or call the conman hotline on 1300 133 408.

What to do if things go wrong

NSW Fair Trading can assist in resolving disputes between consumers and traders. If you have a problem with that you are unable to resolve you can lodge a complaint with NSW Fair Trading. Visit fairtrading.nsw.gov.au or call 13 32 20.


SafeWork NSW would like to acknowledge the below stakeholders for their contribution:

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