How to select a tree feller.

Lets look at what makes a great tree feller.


Requirements for selecting a Safe and Reliable Company in Johannesburg, South Africa

What are the requirements for selecting a Safe and Reliable Tree Felling Company in Johannesburg?

Over the last decade, tree felling services have boomed in South Africa. It is no surprise, considering that the Johannesburg, Pretoria and East Rand area is the largest artificial forest in the world. Therefore, one can easily find a person with a bakkie, with make shift safety equipment and a chainsaw, willing to cut your problem tree on any street corner. However, failing to select the right company, can be detrimental to your safety and can most certainly cause major financial complications. In this article we will explore the requirements in which a tree felling company must comply with before a customer awards them a tree felling contract.

Tree stump illustration after tree felling.

How to choose a tree felling company.

Let’s face it, the country is in financial turmoil. Very few of us have a heap of money lying around to cut that problem tree in the backyard. Mostly people would settle for the cheapest of three quotations when looking for somebody to take care of this high priority and extremely dangerous job. Please be very cautious in this regard! It is better to rather look for the most reasonable quote from a tree felling company offering the highest quality workmanship available. Quite frequently prospective customers assume that the people know what they are doing, and to their utmost regret award the contract to the wannabe tree fellers. It is most unlikey that you will find a professional tree felling company on the side of the road. These bakkie brigades are mostly foreign nationals, that have entered South Africa illegally. They tend to forge their insurance documentation. With the POPI act in place, you will be lucky to get the insurance company to give you any information regarding the legitimacy of any policy. Without the necessary insurance in place, the client will usually be on his/her own, trying to repair the carnage or damages left by the uninsured and inexperienced “tree fellas”.

Safety & Security

It is also common knowledge that people suffered losses due to burglaries shortly after the “bakkie” brigade felled trees for them. Besides the little note that they write, to serve as a quotation, you don’t have any information of whom they are or where to locate them in any local informal settlement. Further they tend to use casual labour, who’s movements cannot be controlled. So who do you point a finger at in case of trouble? It is therefore unwise to recruit any tree feller from the side of the road.

5 Steps to to consider before appointing a Tree Feller.

Here are some very good pointers to consider when finding and awarding a contract for tree felling:

  1. Try to appoint a company that has a website: you can find a lot of information about the company by looking at their website. Furthermore, there will usually be some reviews linked to the company that could serve as a good indication of the professionality of the company in past dealings with other customers.
  2. No insurance, no job: A good tree felling company must always supply the customer with their insurance details before the job commences. R5 million insurance is usually sufficient to cover any mishaps.
  3. Ensure the tree feller is registered for WCA: The tree fellers should further provide you with a Letter of Good Standing (LOGS) with the Workmen’s Compensation Authority. If a worker has a nasty accident, you might be held liable. It is crucial that this must be in order. Don’t award a contract without holding a valid (I. e. issued within the current year) copy of the LOGS in your hand!
  4. Why do you need a deposit: if a tree feller cannot carry a cost of a day contract, he might be a fly by night contractor. One can understand the request for a deposit in case of a weeklong job or where a lot of risk involved, but try to rather pay the full account of the completion of a job.
  5. Trust your instincts: If you do not feel comfortable with the person that pitches the sale of the service, then hold back and get another quotation.


Don’t award contracts to a tree felling company, whose background is uncertain. It is always better to conduct business with a registered entity, with the necessary training, insurance, compliancy certification and ethics in place. With the right company, even the most difficult or dangerous of trees can be removed without a problem, yet it can be a disastrous experience if the wrong people are selected for even the smallest of trees.


Gideon van der Merwe, Owner of Bushveld Tree Fellers (PTY) Ltd.

061 535 2658 / 071 473 5599