Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by ChoppyChoppy, Sep 13, 2018.
Look into excavating companies. When your season is the busiest, is there slowest. You can usually find someone or two willing to run loads if it means not sitting on the couch waiting for the unemployment check to sho up. Especially if it’s cash pay.
I used to do underground utility construction and winters got long sometimes. I know a lot do snow plowing,but it doesn’t snow every day.
I'm interested in seeing the replies here. When I get to my delivering capacity, I sometimes hire my retired Buddy to drive and deliver. He rode with me and helped for quite a while before I would let him out on his own with one of the trucks and the trailer. After two years of doing that, I looked at the numbers and found that after I paid him, paid fuel, paid insurance, paid for the truck and the plates I really wasn't making enough to manage all the extra activity. I sold the extra truck and just use him now if I'm away. There is a fine line between making customers wait and loosing them. I'm only at about 120 cords and have to keep it there for now because I have an 8-5 job. All the others I have used to help me in the beginning years, people I didn't really know did not work out. Let's face it, the work is hard and the profit margins need to be kept so the amount we can pay somebody is kind of low. I could not find really good workers that hustle to get stuff done quick and right.
Thank about sums it all up.
Not sure if you are doing this for a full-time business or a side business. I sell about 25 cords a year now. Mostly as a winter job. I try and cut ahead but that doesn't always work out. Most of my sales are picked up by the customer. You didn't say how you obtain your wood. Hiring help is an added expense. not much profit left after paying help. If you have problems with thieves maybe you should talk to your police dept about making a drive by your wood lot. Signs about surveillance make some lowlifes think twice. Good luck on your business.
Actually it's their busy season too, trying to push to wrap projects up before the ground freezes too hard.
Full time, about 80-100hrs a week.
We do logging, land clearing and buy from other land clearing contractors (only 5-6 log trucks in the area... the borough (what you call county) is about the size of W Virginia.
Have feller buncher, stroke delimber, 2 grapple skidders, dozers, excavator, backhoe, skid steers, etc. I work in conjunction with a buddy, he has a similar business and owns the property.
Have 2 processors for doing firewood.
There's no police... well.. like 6? troopers on shift to cover the whole area. Unless it's a shooting or beating, or something like that, won't likely see them.
Yup, workers are an expense, but only so much I can do in a day. I cover 1 worker's wages for a week in about 1.5 -2 days of processing wood.
The other bad thing about funding labor that is skilled, reliable, and cheep. Is that the rest of America is also looking for him.
Cheap labor isn't skilled and skilled labor isn't cheap.
Yeah that's a given. It's easy enough to train someone how to run a wheelbarrow, rake and stack wood in trucks though.... as long as they have a bit of motivation... enough to show up to work and put in a decent effort at earning their pay.
Work is no harder than many jobs. I pay about 1.25-1.5x min wage (depends on how they work) , so it's not working for peanuts either.
I just can't be 2 places at once, otherwise I would handle it all myself. Loading trucks by myself isn't too bad time wise, I move pretty quick, but it's very tough on my back.
How about raise your rates in peak season until it almost chokes off any extra demand?
gotcha, now that i'm on the 'puter i see where you are. another member here from Palmer. @ValleyFirewood
Lots of great ideas and suggestions.. I do between 20 and 30 cords a season.. By myself most times but the Neighbor comes over and pitches in.. He doesn't really like the wood end. He waits till I break something, then he gets to do fun stuff that he's good at.. We split the pot.. 40/40/20 with the 20% for maintenance, gas, beer. Important things. We're both retired, and are really slow. 100+ cord a year? I don't think so
Uh, I think you're talking to both of them at once there...
I have thought before about spending my extra/free time more in the woods here and building my piles out to where I could sell some. I do usually enjoy being in the woods making up firewood.
But man, there's hardly any money in it. Guys talking selling 20 cords a year - would that net you even $2000? At 100 per? Would take quite a bit of time & effort for the 'ordinary' guy to get 20 cords up & ready to go.
I don't seem to have any extra/free time any more anyways due to stuff that has happened so it's a moot point now here. I'm actually gone the other way the last year or so and have actually thought about buying some wood so I don't have to put my own up. I would still be way ahead of paying for any other source of heat. The more time goes by, the more you realize you might be able to find better ways to spend it - it seems.
It is interesting there are several firewood businesses in my area now and there were none 5 years ago. The one fellow was selling birch for $300 a cord plus delivery and I heard he was shorting his loads and delivering green wood promised as seasoned. I do not know how he would sell out but I suppose his location on the highway helped him immensely. Another guy only does birch and other guy has pretty much everything.
My "sales" consist of selling the couple cords a year I clean off of my property. I put up an ad clearly outlining everything and for every 10 inquiries (mostly asking questions that were already answered in the ad) I sell one load. I cannot imagine trying to make a living doing this up here.
You think? I sense a different tone between the two...
I sell around 125-130 cords most years on the side from my main job which is teaching. It gives me the summer off to stock pile and get a large percentage of my wood processed. During the summer I hire local teens (some work out and some don't) to help with splitting mostly. I deliver that all on weekends from mid September through early November. On those days, I have a kid helping me load (all done by hand, thrown loose in my dump truck) and he splits when I'm out on the road. I don't have the equipment the OP has but my operation takes up less than 1 full acre of space on my moms farm. I use 2 chainsaws, 1 TW6 log splitter, a John Deere with forks for moving logs, and an f350 to deliver. If I sold all of my equipment (and I couldn't sell the tractor because that belongs to the farm not me) I would have a hard time getting $15,000 for it all.
To the OP, I see you posted your logging equipment, but what do you have for firewood processing equipment?
That is price gouging and hardly ethical IMO. Lots of folks (plenty of repeats too) count on me for their heat.
It'd likely ruin me too, it would spread like wildfire that "that outfit wants $500 a cord". (Or whatever the price)
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