To give you the most accurate answer of how much an arborist costs, we really need to break it down into the various tasks that an arborist performs on a daily basis.

Depending on what the tree doctor is doing will determine how much they charge you.

On average, an arborist will charge $375 – $1,620 depending on the task.

For small tree trimming jobs like a single palm trim, $75 will get the job done, but for the removal of a huge 100-year-old oak tree, you would pay closer to $5,000.

Below, I have broken an arborist’s tasks up into tree trimming, tree removal, arborist reports, and stump removal, and provided prices for each task.

Other tree arborist fees

Tree arborists do not generally charge by the hour, nor do they have other fees like a call-out fee, holding fee, or anything like that.

When you engage an arborist for a service, they will give you a free quote over the phone and come and inspect the tree if needed free of charge so they can give you an estimate.

Any tree arborist charging call-out fees should be avoided.

What do arborists charge for tree trimming?

The cost of tree trimming will depend on the number of branches being trimmed and the size of the branches in question.

Tree trimming starts at $75 per tree and can go right up to $2,500.

You can imagine trimming four branches off a palm tree would cost a vastly different price to trimming for branches of a large radiata pine tree.

Resource: Tree trimming cost guide

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What do arborist charge for tree removal?

The cost of tree removal varies depending on the size of the tree and its location, but the average price of tree removal so far in 2019 is $1,147.

Tree removal starts as low as $200 but can go right up to $5,000 for really large and difficult removal.

Resource: Tree removal cost guide

What does an arborist tree report cost?

An arborist report is different from a general tree inspection. Arborist reports are official documents put together at the request of the city or as part of development applications by construction companies.

An arborist report will cost between $300 and $450 for a single tree.

If you would like to remove a tree on your property and your city or council has requested an official report on whether a tree should be removed or not. The report will go into detail about the current health of the tree, its amenity value as well as its Safe and Useful Life Expectancy. It is generally a 6 to 12-page report.

arborist report cost guide

Do arborists perform stump removal?

Yes, you will find 90% of arborists’ tree services are equipped with a stump grinding machine and can remove your stumps for you.

The cost to remove a stump can vary from $50-$500 depending on the location, size, and obstacles of the stump being removed. Your arborist will use a stump grinder to perform this task.

What do arborist charge per hour?

Arborists do not actually charge by the hour but by the job. The reason for this is each tree maintenance company is different in that they have a different number of employees and overheads.

This means arborist costs per hour might vary greatly, yet the cost of the same job will be very similar.

Let me explain…Imagine a tree service with a five-man team that can remove a 30 ft. tree in three hours.

Now imagine the same tree being removed by a 3 man crew. The cost of removing the same 30ft tree would be roughly the same yet one tree service took 5 hours to complete the task while the other took 8 hours.

The hourly rates of each company would be different, yet the cost of removal is the same. This is why arborists charge by the job and not by the hour.

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Do tree surgeons charge per tree or for the total job?

The short answer is arborists charge by the job and not by the hour.

Whether it is tree trimming, tree removal, or preparing an arborist report, every tree is different so every tree job is different. They could not have a fixed price for the removal of a 30-foot tree as the size of the tree is not the only variable that dictates the price.

Things such as the location of the tree on the property, obstacles, and ease of access all come together to determine the price. One 30ft. high might take 5 hours to remove as it is located in a front yard. Take that exact same tree and place it in a backyard with poor access and it will take two to three times longer to remove.

You would have to charge at least double for the more difficult, more time-consuming job.

What other services do arborist provide?

There are lots of tasks that arborists can carry out that are really not in high demand and most people have a little knowledge of them. These fall under the category of consulting arborists.

Some of the tasks carried out by consulting arborist might be:

  • Tree inspections
  • Resist a graph test
  • Route air ration
  • Route pruning
  • Setting up tree protection zones on construction sites
  • Tee injections
  • Person disease identification and treatment.
how much does an arborist cost infographic

What is a consulting arborist?

A consulting arborist generally has a higher education than a regular arborist. To become an arborist capable of running a tree service including tree pruning and removal, you need a certain amount of education and practical training.

You can then take your skills to the next level and become a consulting arborist who has an even higher skill set and knowledge base when it comes to tree reports identifying pests and diseases in trees, plus the treatment of trees and a whole host of other specific arboriculture related tasks.

Are arborist tree inspections free?

It really depends on what you hope to get out of the inspection.

If you want an arborist to take time out of their busy day and give you free information on your tree it’s probably a little bit unfair to the arborist.

It’s a bit like asking a plumber to inspect your pipes for free. You need to respect their time.

If the inspection is a part of a job you looking to carry out, for example, you would like to prune your tree, but you would like the arborist the first to inspect the tree and advise you which branches should be removed then that’s fine. They would be happy to do it.

Or maybe you’re wondering whether the trees are in good health as there is some crown dieback and you were thinking of removing it.

This is a prospective job for the arborist, so they would be more than happy to inspect your tree while they quote the trimming or removal job.

Not all arborists officially charge you for tree inspections, in most cases, if it is going to lead to some work, they’ll have a quick look and give their professional opinion.

Do arborist give out free advice over the phone?

Giving out free advice over the phone is something an arborist would be more than happy to do.

And it would really only take a couple of minutes of their time. Professional arborists are generally more than happy to share the wealth of knowledge that they have built up over the years about trees.

If you have a concern about a particular tree or branch, think about taking a picture and sending it to them for their advice. The next step would be to call them out to have a look at the tree and then determine whether they need to remove or trim the tree.

What credentials should I ask for from an arborist?

Arboriculture is a subset of horticulture that specifically deals with trees. The education starts with the basic biology of trees and then goes into various subjects such as tree identification, pest and disease, the treatment of trees, tree reports, and anything else that has to do with maintaining a tree’s safe and useful life expectancy in an urban environment.

Arboriculture is not a university degree, in general, it’s considered a trade as there is a very physical and practical part of being an arborist that can really only be addressed and taught on the job.

After becoming a certified arborist who can safely remove and prune trees in confined spaces, the next step in the education would be to become a consulting arborist by studying for a diploma in Arboriculture. Some universities do offer a diploma or Certificate V in our arboriculture, but in most cases, you can continue these studies through private institutions such as the International Society of arboriculture or a state-funded program.

Also, here is a list of 12 questions you need to ask your tree service before you hire them.

How much does an arborist make?

This is a common question for people wanting to become an arborist. The answer is it depends. The arborists that make the most money are contract climbers. These guys and gals work for themselves, hiring their specialized climbing skills to tree service companies.

Climbing arborists make between $350 and $500 per day. They are essentially a sole trader and pay all their taxes.

A tree service business owner is the only arborist to make more money than a contract climber. Tree trimming and removal is quite a lucrative game, but not for the faint-hearted. It is heavy work, and many overheads and equipment are involved.

It is easy to get carried away with the amount of money coming into a tree service business until you look at wages, equipment, and insurance that helps the money leave your business just as quickly as it came…

how much arborist earn infographics web

Do arborist perform cable bracing of trees?

This is something an arborist can do, but not all arborist does it, so you will have to ring around.

There is also a divide in the arbor services community as to whether tree cabling is a legitimate fix to a falling tree or branch. Some believe that in time cable bracing is actually detrimental to the health of a tree, and the tree actually becomes more dangerous. If the tree is unable to support a branch itself, you should either reduce the weight of the branch or remove the branch altogether.

I myself believe cabling has a place, but only for smaller decorative trees. Being a bonsai enthusiast, I can see the use in wanting to maintain a specific branch for the aesthetics of the tree.

cable bracing vector

Do arborist perform risk assessments on trees?

A trained arborist can spot a tree with defects that have the potential to be hazardous. If you are concerned about a particular tree or branch, I suggest taking photos and asking their opinion over the phone.

Some arborists give risk assessments on trees, but others don’t, so you will need to find a consulting arborist.

Is this a free service?

You can ask them to come out for an inspection, but it will probably cost you.

Some homeowners or businesses like to have their trees inspected periodically to ensure they are safe. This is paramount in schools for the safety of children.

Pro tip: Don’t just ask an arborist near you for a tree inspection; ask them to come out and inspect your trees for potential hazards and also give you a quote for removing offending or dangerous trees and branches. This way, the arborist can see the inspection can lead to a job and would be happy to do this for free.

But again, please be respectful of others’ time.

What is a certified arborist?

A certified arborist refers to an individual who has had some formal training and can back this up with a certificate proving their credentials to practice arboriculture. In the tree industry, the definition is made because there are still so many people who operate without licenses, insurance or any credentials whatsoever.

Always ask your potential arborist for proof of certification before you allow them on your property to carry out any work. If you don’t you could be leaving yourself wide open to litigation if they were to injure themselves on your property.

qualified arborist ticket

Is a tree doctor and an arborist the same thing?

The most common names for an arborist are tree surgeon or tree doctor. They are all exactly the same thing, but just by a different name. A tree surgeon is very common in the UK, whereas most people in the USA know what an arborist is.

In Australia, a tree lopper is a very common name for an arborist. They just have to be different down under, don’t they?

How do I find a local arborist near me?

Arborists are surprisingly easy to find. Just do a quick internet search for “arborist + your city” and you will get a long list of ones you can try.

GoTreeQuotes makes it super easy to find a local tree arborist. Just enter your zip code at the top of the page and give us a few details about your tree job. We then match you with top-voted arborists near you.

If you are after a certified arborist or a consulting arborist, then I suggest you go directly to the ISA for a list of local certified tree specialists.

Ben McInerney
Author: Ben McInerney - Ben is a qualified arborist with 15 plus years of industry experience in Arboriculture. He ran a successful tree service before turning to writing and publishing. Ben is dedicated to providing users with the most accurate up-to-date information on everything trees.