I had a tree in my backyard removed the other day, and it reminded me of roofing. This was a giant elm tree very close to my house that had contracted Dutch elm disease, so it reminded me of my roof for several reasons. First of all, we had to remove the tree pretty quickly for fear it could fall and damage the roof. Secondly, workers would be toiling right above the roof, so the job itself was tricky. Thirdly, as a homeowner, I was dealing with a process that was new to me and that I didn’t really understand — even though I thought I did — just as many homeowners don’t really understand roofing.

I hadn’t thought of tree removal as similar to re-roofing, but as the tree went down, the similarities to the re-roofing process became clear. I’ve covered contractors including roofers, plumbers and HVAC contractors for more than 12 years, and I’ve owned a home longer than that, so I’ve also dealt with contractors from the homeowner’s perspective.

When it came to removing the tree, this somehow seemed like a different animal. When I got some quotes, I was shocked at the prices. The contractor I ended up choosing was the one who took the time to explain the price. He showed me how difficult the access was, how many men it would require, and why his company was the best one for this job: because of his skilled crane operator and the ability to lift every portion of the tree over the house and into the street, a job that would take other contractors two days he could handle in less than one — with less damage to my yard (and hopefully my house).

On the day the tree came down, there was a crane and a crane operator, as well as multiple pieces of heavy equipment, including the biggest chipper I have ever seen. The crew of five included a skilled climber who was part engineer, part circus acrobat. Access was extremely difficult, and the crane operator was forced to remove 30-foot sections of the tree over and between houses and other trees. I started out the day feeling like the job was pretty expensive. When the day was over, I realized the price was more than fair. In fact, it was a bargain.

Like roofing, it took skilled craftsmen working in dangerous conditions to do the job right. It also took a skilled contractor to explain the process to the customer in order to get the job and put the homeowner at ease. While I must admit I was worried when 30-foot sections of tree trunk were dangling over my roof, the end result was just as the contractor predicted.

And, like roofing, if you do the job right, you create a satisfied customer who will refer you to his family and friends. Well, if anyone asks me for a referral on tree removal, they will get a hearty recommendation from me for www.MITreeServices.com.