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need help starting wood splitting buisness

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by Eagle90301, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I just got a log splitter and would like to pay for it and make some $$ too. was thinking of charging 35/hr plus 0.50/mile over 20 miles round trip. I was going to split, stack and cut if customer wanted. Was also going to charge an extra flat fee of $35 (to cover chain and other supplies) if customer wanted logs cut down. wood here sells split for 100-125/face 300 full cord. looking for comments, questions, concerns with my idea.
     
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  2. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Just my 2 cents. If I’m going to hire somebody to cut and split wood I ain’t going to hire somebody by the hour. You take a couple smoke breaks, check your Facebook, go to lunch then take a siesta and I just paid for a couple hours of no work. A flat fee would probably sell better.
     
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  3. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I appreciate the input. My thoughts with the hourly rate is i don't want to screw myself. I'm not a big FB guy if I'm working, i don't smoke, if i'm eating i'm not working and therefore I'm not getting paid. I completely get your logic I know some people who would milk the system, I would want to do a good fast job in hopes the customer is happy and passes my name around. i have no problem trying flat fee but don't know how i would do it. How would you suggest going about the flat fee? Look at the pile and shoot them a price from pictures? Bid it on face or full cord?( if i split this much its this price) how would you figure it out from a pile of logs on the ground? thank you for your help.
     
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  4. Dahmer

    Dahmer Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I would go flat rate per cord. I have a short bed Silverado and I know 3 loads puts me real close to a cord and I’ve moved enough that I can judge fairly well what a 3 truckload pile looks like. I can also guesstimate how much wood on the ground it will take to fill the bed. So to answer your question then you’ll have to get an eye for wood volume. My area the people that burn do their own wood. Best way to make money is the nearest big city and take out ads for the rich folks that buy wood for the occasional bonfire or in their fireplace for the holidays. Don’t mean to pizz on your parade. To make money on firewood you need volume and that means not only access to lots of wood but a processor, not just a splitter.
     
  5. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    Dahmer you're not pissing on my parade. I don't want to get into the firewood business. I'm looking to do this as a side thing to make a little extra money. I don't need this to survive. I am in the 4th largest city in the state. I cant do a processor or store that much wood to sell. I wanted the splitter for myself,and figured i'd try to make some money with it, figured if someone had a tree taken down and they wanted it split id be a option. My work schedule allows me a lot of time off so i figured i might be able to fill some of it up. there are a few places by me that sell wood by the face. Most people by me buy by the bundle few by the face. I have several racks for my use. i hope my ramble makes sense. thank you again for the help and advise.
     
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  6. jrider

    jrider Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I see guys advertising firewood splitting services and they generally ask for $40-$50 an hour with a basic machine. More if it's a super split or a larger faster splitter with multiple wedges. I don't know much work they get though.
     
  7. 12vdzl

    12vdzl ArboristSite Operative

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    Southern MI here. I see ads on FB for firewood processors. Most will come to your place within 20 miles, and work for 8 hours. All that is asked for is something to load the logs. The charge is 500.

    How many cords could you process for 500? How could Joe blow like me justify hiring you over a processor that can eat up 8 cords an hour and possibly up to 10?
     
  8. moondoggie

    moondoggie A work in progress

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    The hourly rate will work. Just give them a ballpark figure on how much wood you can split in an hour or how many hours it takes to split a cord. Tell them their is a 3 or four hour minimum also. I've done what you are talking about several times over the past several years. I never stayed very busy doing it though . Most people who requested my service had a tree fall or cut down and thought they were going to bust it with their mail and then changed their mind.
     
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  9. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    8 cords an hour? I can’t compete with that. Using your numbers I can’t do 64 cords a day. My thought was do this for people who had a tree taken down. Not sure how much I can do in an hour. Probably 1 cord or a little more an hour. You would hire me when you don’t have the space for s processor or you don’t need 64 cords split.
     
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  10. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    I’m going to do a 2hr minimum. Not looking to make a killing. I have a full time job just looking to fill some time. Have no clue what I can split in an hour. My guess is a cord or so. Thank you for your help.
     
  11. moondoggie

    moondoggie A work in progress

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    Probably a cord every 2.5 hours to 3.5 hours depending on species, size, and how dirty the wood is. Another variable is does the wood need bucked up.
     
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  12. moondoggie

    moondoggie A work in progress

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    Another thing can you get the splitter to the wood
     
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  13. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Would need the top end (125k+) processor to try and be close to 8 cords an hr!

    If someone was feeding me logs, I might be able to do 1.5- 2 cords an hr.
     
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  14. cantoo

    cantoo Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Using just your hourly rate and 3.5 hours to do a cord you are at $122 for the cord. Then add in your mileage charge and whatever you need for stacking and you are getting close to the cost of having split wood delivered. This model doesn't work in my area. I think I would get into the bundled wood business instead, then you can work at your pace too.
     
  15. Ryan'smilling

    Ryan'smilling Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I don't think there are very many processors that can do that much. Probably more like 1.5-2 cords per hour, but that includes cutting the logs to stove length. With a regular wedge on beam type splitter you'll be closer to 1/3 to 1/2 cord per hour, assuming everything is already bucked.

    As cantoo outlined, you're model isn't gonna compete with either a guy who had a pile of logs and wants to get them all cut and split (he should hire a processor) or a guy who has nothing and needs cut split stacked wood (he should just buy firewood). You might, however, find a niche coming in after a person has a tree removed or something like that. In a situation where a person just needs a cord or two split from wood they already have, a processor wouldn't make sense and they need their logs cleaned up anyway, so buying wood doesn't fix the problem.

    I'd suggest figuring out what your costs are (fuel, transportation, depreciation or eventual replacement cost, maintenance, etc) add what you think your time is worth, and throw an ad up on Craigslist. Worst thing that can happen is no one bites. If you get some business and things are working out, you can try reaching out to a couple of tree services. Sometimes they'll get customers that plan to sell the firewood from the logs left from a removal. If you can turn a pile of rounds into a cord of wood for $200 but they can sell it for $300 they might be interested. A tree service might be happy to pass on your number in situations like that.
     
  16. ChoppyChoppy

    ChoppyChoppy Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I wouldn't do it, but that's me. Just seems like a headache and lot of work for not much in return.

    We bill out at $135/hr for this type of work to compare. People bring logs here though, I sure am not dragging all sort of equipment all over the place.
     
  17. muddstopper

    muddstopper Addicted to ArboristSite

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    I will throw out something to think about. If your area is anything like mine, you wont be able to find a firewood processor you can hire. Firewood processors are a major investment and most people that buy one are using them to produce their own wood to sell. I dont know of a single processor closer to me than maybe 75miles. I havent checked, but I would expect someone that far away isnt going to come to my place to split wood unless I have a lot of wood to split, one or two tree's aint going to get them here, unless I offer more money that the job is worth. I also know a lot of folks around here buy a truckload of logs and then buys a homeowner splitter thinking they will do their own splitting. Usually that works for maybe one season and they decide its to much work and just buy their wood already split. I see several wood splitters for sale every winter, folks just trying to get their money back. I also see people offering to split wood, just to recoupe some of the cost of buying a splitter. I honestly dont know if they find many takers and their ads soon disappear. I have taken my splitter to help a few people get their wood split, but its usually as a favor, not to make money.

    I think one way to look at your venture is, your going to have a splitter anyways, and if you can make a little money splitting other peoples wood, then that is great. If you plan on paying for the splitter by splitting other peoples wood, then buy a very fast splitter and charge by volume and not by the hour. People want to know exactly what their firewood is going to cost them, they dont want a ballpark figure that could endup costing them more than what they would pay for already split.
     
  18. rarefish383

    rarefish383 Addicted to ArboristSite

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    Back in the early 80's I had a big Bliss commercial splitter. It took 40 HP to run it at peak. It had it's own pump and ran off the PTO on a 3 point hitch. I think we were getting about $100 a cord then, and I charged $40 a cord to split at your house. I had to be able to get the tractor in the yard, a JD 2010 diesel. The deal was I would split and stack the wood where I cut it, not move it to the other end of the yard. The Bliss on a 3 point hitch would sit almost flat on the ground to roll a big block on it, then you could raise it to a comfortable height to work it. It also had a 4' wide tray so the blocks wouldn't fall off, and it cut in both directions. I didn't pursue work with it. My Dad owned a residential tree service, now and then people would call and ask if we split wood? He would ask why the tree company that took it down didn't split it. They usually said it was too expensive. So, he would say since they let the other guy do all the easy work, he would charge twice as much to split it, and they would go away. Once I got the splitter, if someone called, he would just give them my number. I did a few side jobs like that and made weekend money. The machine cost $3600 in 1980-81, and the tractor, used, was $2900. You would have to figure out what that is in today's money. I for sure didn't pay for them, but I wasn't trying to. With free adds on CL, FB, and such, and not being in a hurry or dire need, you could probably pay it off in time, making beer money along the way. When I retired from tree work I kept one of our stump grinders for about 10 years. It was a one man operation and I made a few thousand a year with it. Enough to go offshore 3-4 times a year and all of my hunting trips.
     
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  19. rancher2

    rancher2 ArboristSite Guru

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    There was a guy in my area that was on CL for a couple winters with a splitting service it must not have worked out as last winter the ad wasn't there. Serious wood burners around here have there own equipment and the small user will have a tree service take down a tree as needed and hauled off and just buy split wood when they want a fire.
     
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  20. Eagle90301

    Eagle90301 ArboristSite Lurker

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    WOW so much info from everyone. I am going to take what was posted here and build on it. A little more info about my area/ wood situation. I am about 40 miles southwest of Chicago. I don't see any wood processors in my area because its not practical. The places that sell split wood charge 120ish for a face 300 for a full cord. they have the wood delivered cut and split to their yard. Most people by me in the immediate area buy wood in small bundles and do a few fires a year. I have about 1 cord of wood split and stacked at all times at least half is ready to burn. I usually find wood around the area from trees that have been taken down. I offer my neighbors free wood so they don't pay the high prices and it gives me something to do.
    I'm looking to do it as a side thing for someone who had trees taken down and need wood split. My work schedule affords me with a lot of free time 3-4 full days a week. I don't have the want or the space to get into the business of selling firewood. I want to keep this business on the smaller side because I know if I grow it too much it will not be fun anymore. Again thank you everyone for all the advice and knowledge.
     
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