Expectations of Service

Updated September 9, 2020

ChipDrop isn't a good fit for everyone. Please read and understand these Expectaions of Service before creating an account.

If you're an arborist there's stuff in here for you, too. If you have any questions, just send an email to support@getchipdrop.com.

How Big is ChipDrop?

You'll receive an entire dump trucks worth of wood chips, which can be as much as 20 cubic yards, approximately. There is no way to request a specific amount; you won't know how much you're getting until it shows up. It could be as little as 4 yards.

Wood chips in driveway

That may seem like a lot, but wood chips break down quickly, and it's recommended to spread them in a thick layer to work effectively, up to 9" thick! If you end up having more than you need, give some away to your neighbors! The crews won't drop partial loads, so please be ready to accept as much as 20 yards.

Wood chips on the side of the road

Here are some pictures to show you what you're getting. Most of these pictures came from homeowners who were upset with the size of the load or the amount of leaves and pine needles in them. Please consider this before signing up.

Wood chips in front of house

How to prepare for a ChipDrop

The following tips can help ensure that the chips get dropped where you want them, without issue:

  • Your drop site must be accessible to the crew without any phone call ahead of time. If you require a call ahead of time, you should not sign up for this service.
  • Make sure the drop site is big enough. No less than 8' wide, and 15' long, with room for the truck to maneuver. The chips will spill out on all sides, so make sure to barricade or move any delicate plants, pots, yard art, garden gnomes, etc., that might get buried.
  • Make sure there aren't cars parked in the drop site during the day.
  • Areas along busy streets (speed limit >25mph) are not great drop sites.
  • Check for low overhead lines and tree branches that the drop box would hit as it's being raised. They can go up pretty high, about 20'.
  • Leave a marker on the place where you want the chips dropped. This can be a tarp, a cone, or a six pack of beer.
  • Include a secondary drop site in your description, in case the crew is not able to drop them at your first choice. (e.g. 'If you can't drop them in the driveway, drop them on the side of the road in front of the house.')

What's allowed in a ChipDrop

A typical load contains about 50% wood chips and 50% green, leafy material or pine needles. About 5% of the load is often unchipped brush, small sticks, and maybe a few scoops of dirt, gravel or trash.

Wood chips with pine needles

There is always a small amount of material at the end of a job that the chipper won't accept for one reason or another. In order to make this service viable, a small amount of random debris should be expected in each load. Just chuck it in your refuse bin.

Wood chips with fir needles Brown wood chips with leaves and fir needles

What's not allowed in a ChipDrop

None of the following items should be included in a ChipDrop load:

  • logs (unless the gardener has specified that they accept logs)
  • more garbage than you could pickup with two hands
  • large rocks over 1"
  • any wood species that the gardener has specified they do not accept
  • un-chipped brush or woody material that is over 5% of the entire load. This includes long, shredded or stringy chips that have been processed by a poorly adjusted chipper. Check your anvil and blade gap (arborists).
  • dirt, grass clippings, rocks, or any landscaping or fill materials
  • stump grindings (unless the gardener has specifically said they will accept stump grindings
  • construction waste, including plywood, lumber, nails and screws, etc.

As an arborist, you may have bad loads from time to time that do not meet ChipDrop's requirements. Also, if your chipper blades are dull, or the blades are not adjusted correctly, you may produce a stringy, shredded material that is not appropriate for delivery at ChipDrop sites. Any time you have a 'bad load', please dump it somewhere else.

Is palm allowed in a ChipDrop?

Yes, unless you specifically state that you don't want palm, you could receive a delivery of chipped up palm. Often times this is referred to as 'gorilla hair', and it makes a great mulch. If you live in the southern regions where palm is abundant, you should definitely consider accepting palm in your delivery. It's great stuff and it often gets a bad rap.

Palm chipped into "gorilla hair":

Palm chipped into 'gorilla hair'

Here are some pictures of chipped palm that was laid out along pathways. We think it looks beautiful!




After After (closeup)


Accidents happen. In the event of an accident, the following describes who is responsible:

  • Arborist trucks are heavy. If your driveway is thin enough, it could crack from the weight of a large truck. Any damage to your driveway or yard as a result of an arborist's truck is the responsibility of the property owner, not the arborist or ChipDrop.
  • It is the responsibility of the arborist to know if they can safely maneuver and drop a load in the specified location. Any damage to property, with the exception of the driveway, as a result of an arborist's truck, or the chips or logs they drop, is the responsibility of the arborist.
  • ChipDrop is not liable for any damage to persons or property related to the delivery of wood chips or logs. If an incident involving personal injury or property damage occurs, ChipDrop will help to facilitate a resolution by putting each party in contact with each other. It is up to the parties involved to resolve the issue independently of ChipDrop. ChipDrop is not liable for fees, fines or penalties associated with any delivery of a load of wood chips.

When will it show up?

As soon as you place a request, you could get a delivery as early as that day. Typical delivery times are between 1 and 5 weeks. Longer wait times will occur during winter months, and to locations in less populated areas, or in any city where ChipDrop is just getting started. Offering to pay for a delivery can help increase your chances of getting a delivery sooner. If you haven't received chips after 25 days, we'll send you an email to make sure you still want to be on the list.

Will there be logs in the ChipDrop?

Arborists should not put any unchipped logs into a load unless the gardener has specified that they accept logs. If you're a gardener who is accepting logs, please know that they may be rather large. The logs won't come pre-split, and they may be longer than you need them. You cannot specify the length or diameter of the logs, but you can specify that you don't want them.

Large Doug Fir Logs

If you're requesting a load of logs, you'll want to be sure you have access to a chainsaw and splitting equipment. There's no guarantee that the logs will be cut to length before they arrive.

Large Doug Fir Logs

*Pro Tip: By accepting a few logs, you're more likely to get wood chips sooner.

Why are there sticks in my ChipDrop?

Sticks and twigs also make great bio material for your yard and soil. Most plant material, even sticks and twigs, will break down within 1 year and provide nutrients for your soil and habitat for beneficial insects. If you have a yard debris collection service in your city, you can also use this to get rid of any unwanted woody material.

Why is there garbage in my ChipDrop?

In some cases you may find small amounts of garbage or small rocks in your wood chip pile. Please understand that arborists often rake and clean areas right next to roadways, and cannot sift through all of the piles to remove all of the garbage. If you feel like you've received an excessive amount of trash in your load, please let us know. If you find a shredded glove, a soda can, and a candy wrapper, search for the arborist. They may be in there.

Why is my ChipDrop moldy? Did I get old wood chips?

As wood chips sit in a large pile, they will naturally heat up and start to decompose. As this happens, mushroom mycelium will start to grow on the wood chips and break them down. This may look like a white or green mold growing on the wood chips. There may also be a powdery substance that floats in the air when you disturb the pile. This is all normal wood chip behavior, and is actually very beneficial to your soil and garden. However, it can be very bad to breathe in this dust. We recommend that you wear a dust mask while spreading wood chip mulch to avoid breathing in too much of the dust.

Large Doug Fir Logs

If you have asthma, any breathing related medical issue, or any known allergies to wood or plant material, you should not spread wood chips in your yard. Please have someone spread the wood chips for you. After the chips are spread, wait about 2-ish weeks before you walk on them.

Read more about the benefits of mycelium and fungi in the garden.

Where should wood chips never be dropped?

As an arborist, please never drop wood chips in the following locations, even if specified by the owner:

  • blocking a neighbor's driveway
  • blocking a car in a driveway, unless the homeowner has said it's okay
  • on a narrow or busy road such that the load spills out past where your truck would be if it were parked in that same place
  • around the base of a tree or on top of obvious landscape plantings
  • next to or on top of any piece of property or structure that could be damaged by the weight of the load

Paying for a ChipDrop - Gardeners and Homeowners

ChipDrop allows gardeners and homeowners an option to pay for a delivery. If you decide to pay for a delivery, the payment will be processed after the chips are delivered. If you never receive a delivery, your card will never be charged.

Paying for a delivery is voluntary, with a range from $20 - $80. Any payment you make helps to offset the cost to the tree company to use the service. If you're only interested in free wood chips, you can still sign up! Over half of our deliveries go to folks who don't want to pay.

Paying for a delivery does not change the quantity, quality, or type of material you will receive with your delivery. It does not change the Expectations of Service in any way, other than increasing your chances of getting a delivery sooner. It does not guarantee that you will receive a delivery.

Again, paying is not required, but it is greatly appreciated!

Fee to drop - Arborists

ChipDrop costs $20 per drop for arborists. There is no subscription or monthly fee. In some cities ChipDrop is free for arborists, but this is only temporary until we reach a critical mass of users in your city. We'll give you a heads up if we're going to start charging in your area.

Some drop sites are free to arborists, no matter what. These are sites where the homeowner / gardener has offered to pay for the delivery. Here's how it works:

  • any gardener who offers to pay $20 for a drop is free for the arborist to drop at. The gardener essentially pays the arborist's fee.
  • any gardener who offers to pay $40 - $80 for a drop is free for the arborist to drop at, plus we will apply a credit to the arborist's account for the difference, which can be used for future drops (e.g. arborist delivers to a gardener who's offering $60 for a delivery, we'll give the arborist 40 credits towards 2 future drops)

Arborists can acrue credits by dropping at sites where the gardener has offered to pay for a delivery. These credits will tally up in the arborist's account and can be used towards future drops. Credits can never be cashed in, or redeemed outside of the ChipDrop service. They can only be used towards drops which might otherwise require the arborist to pay a fee.

Legal Stuff

These Expectations of Service are supplementary and complementary to our Terms of Service. In any case where these Expectations of Service contradict our Terms of Service, the Terms of Service take precedence.

Watch the video

If you haven't already, make sure to watch our video explaining all the caveats of ordering arborist wood chips, and how to make sure it's a successful experience.