Being an informed consumer is a landowner's best protection to ensure fair value for services rendered. Before hiring or entering into any agreement with a service provider (e.g., forest consultant, tree marker, logger, saw mill or tree nursery, etc.) there are questions you should get answered.
Ask for and CHECK references
Generally the best reference a service provider can receive is by word of mouth from your neighbor or a friend. Check references to ensure that the service provider's previous customers were satisfied with the work completed. A good rule of thumb is to request a minimum of two references.
Go see their work
Prior to hiring a service provider ask to see some of their work. For example, if you are hiring a logger, visit the woodlot that he or she is currently working in. If you are hiring a forest consultant, ask to see a copy of a management plan prepared for another client. Remember, clients have different expectations and what suits one landowner may not suit you.
Does the service provider have the appropriate liability insurance and Workplace Insurance Safety Board (WSIB) coverage for the services he/she is providing? Check the WSIB's Web site for further information.
Does the service provider have the relevant experience relating to the services you are seeking? Will they perform the work or will the work be subcontracted out to someone else?
Ask the service provider for their credentials and professional affiliations. Find a balance between a service provider's credentials and relevant experience that suits your situation.
Have an agreement in place to minimize misinterpretations that may arise.