How much should I charge for a Tree Removal?

A forum member made a post about bidding on a tree removal. I wanted to share this post from the Gopher Lawn Care Forum with you to help broaden your knowledge on creating an estimate for a tree removal.

Abryconlawn:Hey everybody, I’ve been in the landscaping business for about five years now and just doing general maintenance and mowing work.  I also do a little bit of tree removal too.  I’m curious how you guys go about estimating the price of tree removal jobs you have.  I know some estimates can get pretty high.  What do you consider when pricing jobs.  Also, if you could give me an example with a picture of a job you did and how much you charged.  Thanks.”

Brandon: “The price can vary hugely based on many factors. Answer these as best you can, and I will give you the best answer I can based on the facts provided.

1. What type of tree is it?
2. Size (trunk diameter and height)
3. Is the tree alive or dead? (if dead, how long?)
4. Are there any structures close by? If so, how close?
5. Any power lines close? How close?
6. Any other lines? (cable, phone, etc.)
7. Is there room to just drop the tree or does it need to be limbed down?
8. Do you have a picture of it.

There is a video of me downing a 60 ft cottonwood on my site. To give you an idea, I had to fall the tree, then cut it into pieces less than 20 inches. I was to leave all the pieces, the customer was responsible for hauling the brush and splitting the wood. It took me 4 hours and I charged them $1000.”

abryconlawn:For example I had a job that I was cutting down a 45ft pine tree that was 16 in diameter.  The tree was alive with a house about 15-18 ft. away from it.  No power lines, cables, and you had to limb it down to remove the tree.  It took me about 4 hours to cut it down and remove it.  Unfortunately I don’t have any pics of it. 

I’m just curious, in general, the average pricing when dealing with the criteria that you have below.  The height, diameter, full or sparse of branches, structures nearby, etc.  Also, do you combine the price of removal with cutting the tree down or is that a seperate cost with that.  I’ve got a basic understanding, but wanted to know a little more of the pricing aspect more in detail.  I understand the longer it takes and the more liability there is around the more it would be.  Thanks.”

Brandon:My estimations may be different than how others estimate. But, if I have to climb a tree, the price usually is multiplied by 4. For instance, if I had to fall the pine you are talking about with a single pie cut, then cut it up, I would charge about $200. BUT, if I have to climb it, limb it down, then cut it up, I would charge about $800. This doesnt include the cost of hauling it away. You will have to figure that based on the size of your trailer, how far you have to haul it, etc.

Climbing a tree is way more dangerous, therefore you can respectively charge much more for it. You have to have all the right safety equipment (which costs a small fortune), and insurance is high for this kind of work too.
For work like this, you can usually be safe estimating your jobs at $200 dollars per hour. You may think this is high or even outrageous, but compare it to other tree company bids, and you will see that this is even on the low side.
I have had customers call me out to give them a bid, and when I tell them the price, they think it is too much. Then after they get a couple bids from Davey Tree or similar large tree company, call me back and give me the go ahead.
I hope this helps. Remember that climbing trees is VERY dangerous, and make sure you don’t cut any corners when it comes to safety. Always carry a life insurance policy just in case.

I dont think it is possible to say what the average tree costs to remove. An average tree here in my area is different than an average tree in the midwest or New York etc.
But I could say that my average pay for a tree removal in my area is around $400 if I don’t have to climb it. $800-$1200 if I have to climb and piece it down.
I dont really add a premium for power lines, etc. but I do have to be much more careful and it takes more time, so I figure that in.
I don’t know how other tree companies charge. I have never asked. I do know that they are very pricey.

Chuck:My liability insurance won’t cover me for the big trees, I did sub the removal of a large pine out to another company thought I wasn’t there to see in taken down.

I’ve only removed 2 trees in the last year & I’ll tell yapalm trees suck!  I had 1 customer with a dead Christmas palm (was probably about 8 ft tall when alive) he sprayed too close to it with round up & killed it.  I had to remove the 3′ stalk & root ball to plant another in it’s place, we dug around it for about an hour & a half (me & 1 other guy) & couldn’t get all the roots cut.  When I tried to rock it back & forth to figure out where it was still connected the stalk crumbled (was hollow & rotten)  I ended up sticking a chain saw in the dirt & circling the tree to cut all remaining roots.  I ruined a bar & chain but got it out in 3 minutes!  Shoulda just used a stump grinder.

The other was a 15′ palm 12″ diameter to be cut off at the ground.  cut up & hauled off. I charged $175  It was not enough.  I was there about 2.5 hours, dulled 2 chains, bent 1 bar & nearly killed my myself loading the 3-4′ sections into the truck by myself.  I cut it as few times as possible because palms do not cut like wood, they are fiber & the gum up a chain saw quick plus it takes longer to make the cut.”

Brandon:Palms are a pain. I know some tree guys that wont even touch them. Trees are a lot harder than most people think (unless they have tried to remove one themselves). That is why tree companies charge a lot for them.

If a tree is very close to a home and poses a possibility of damage, then there will be a lot more time involved. But, it is like anything else, you have to learn how much time it takes, like bidding landscaping, you win some you lose some. But you learn how to bid better as you go.”

I hope this post gives you a better insight on how to estimate the bid for removing a tree. If you would like to get involved with this discussion or read more please visit this post at the Gopher Lawn Care Forum here.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Check out the Gopher Lawn Care Business Forum for great prices on new and used lawn care equipment:

Chain Saw


Garden Tools

Hedge Trimmer

Lawn Aerator

Leaf Blower

Leaf Vacuum

Mower Blades

Mower Ride On

Mower Walk Behind

Multi Attachment Trimmers

Pole Saw

Pressure Washer

Salt Sand Spreader

Shop Tools

Snow Blower

Snow Plow

Stick Edger

String Trimmer

Stump Grinder


Tractor Attachment


Trailer Landscape Racks

Lawn Care Business Books And Software.
How To Get Lawn Care Customers Vol. 2
The landscaping and lawn care business plan startup guide
A rebellious teenagers guide to starting a landscaping & lawn care business
The GopherHaul Lawn Care Business Show Episode Guide.
Stop Lowballing! A Lawn Care Business Owner\'s Guide To Success