Approximately one quarter of cities and counties in the United States contract for tree maintenance. This percentage is increasing. On the average, tree contracting saves about one-third when compared to in-house costs with no loss of quality. The reasons contracting is cost efficient are outlined. Problems with contracting can be avoided if several guidelines are followed. Unit, time and material, and lump sum practices are evaluated. Contracting will increase in the future because contractors are generally more efficient, cities will be faced with continuing budget problems, and there will be more opportunities for contractors, which will increase competition.
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