How to compare woody plants survey quotations?

After sending out requests for woody plants survey quotations to various partners, it’s time to start comparing the received answers. While it may seem logical to compare quotes based on price alone, especially since the same information was sent to all, making a final decision based solely on price may not be wise.

Here’s a list of aspects to consider when comparing quotations:

Content of the quotation

It’s important to analyze whether the quotation reflects all the requirements stated in the design brief.

The scope

Inventory should be conducted within the design work area and relevant contact area. Sometimes the size of the contact area is specified in the design requirements; sometimes it is not. If the scope of the contact area is not specified, this should be agreed upon with the local government. Generally, a 5-10 m wide area around the property is sufficient, but this needs to be included in the request for quotation and verified if the service provider accounts for such a work area.

Detail level

Different methodologies allow for surveying individual trees, groups, and stands, but clearance permits are usually required for each individual tree. Therefore, it’s often necessary to survey trees individually rather than as groups or stands. The requirement for individual tree survey should be stated in the request for quotation and checked if the provider considers such a workload. Group/stand inventory can create problems in design work when only part of a group of trees needs to be removed, as there’s no information on the individual objects composing the group. In such cases, additional work is be required, which means additional time and resources.

Need for herbaceous plants survey

Inventory of herbaceous plants is not needed on Lawn site type, Vegetation of yards and road edges, or Park/orchard site type areas. It’s required for undeveloped areas where new buildings and structures are designed. If it’s unclear whether this survey is necessary, check with the local government before including this in the request for quotation. It’s important to verify if the provider considers the obligation of herbaceous plant survey.

Additional work and additional cost

Note which tasks are marked as additional work. For example, measuring objects missing from the topo-geodetic base plan are typically considered additional work. Such cases occur when some trees are not marked on the topo-geodetic base plan, or when imprecise symbols like forest, row of trees, cops, hedge, etc., do not allow distinguishing individual trees, requiring additional work to gather information needed.

Survey completion time

Sometimes the choice may depend on the time needed for completing the survey, so it’s good if the quotation includes information on how quickly the work can be undertaken and the deadline for completion.

Communication and cooperation

The best design comes from cooperation. If the design brief isn’t very detailed, for example, if the scope of the work area isn’t defined, or it’s not clear which areas need to be measured individually and/or as groups/stands, this information needs to be clarified. If the service provider has asked and clarified these details, it indicates that they have thought through the details about their service and are offering exactly what is needed for this particular design.

Experience and qualifications

Ensure that the service provider has the necessary competencies to perform the work. Usually, a tree technician’s qualification is sufficient, but sometimes a higher education in natural sciences or landscape architecture is required. You can verify the provider’s qualifications and look at their portfolio for an overview of their experience.


A portfolio generally provides a good overview of a company’s experience. If there’s previous experience with the company and a positive history of collaboration, that’s beneficial. Otherwise, feedback from previous clients can be valuable to understand the company’s reputation. Additionally, recommendations from colleagues who have had positive experiences can be helpful.

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