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Pipe dream or can I make decent money

Huskybill

Huskybill

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The more customers you add each year the more money you make, you can make money it takes time and advertising to get the word out there. In the springtime I started doing garden tilling too. My customers increased every year. I started selling chain saw accessories at the local flea market. I sharpened chains, made chain loops, sold bars and files during the off season. You have to hustle.

Btw, I went in the woods and cut and hand split tops on the ground. In at 9am out by 2:30/3pm with a cord in the truck.
 
Ryan'smilling

Ryan'smilling

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The more customers you add each year the more money you make, you can make money it takes time and advertising to get the word out there. In the springtime I started doing garden tilling too. My customers increased every year. I started selling chain saw accessories at the local flea market. I sharpened chains, made chain loops, sold bars and files during the off season. You have to hustle.

Btw, I went in the woods and cut and hand split tops on the ground. In at 9am out by 2:30/3pm with a cord in the truck.

True, but it's only worth scaling up if what you're doing is PROFITABLE. A guy needs an accurate grasp on his costs before increasing his sales.
 
Woodchuck71

Woodchuck71

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236
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Missouri
Good luck to you!
If you never try,you'll never know.
DO NOT work for free.
I'm not in the firewood business,but in my industry there's new guys popping up all the time.
The first thing they do is undercut rates.
The next thing they do is file bankruptcy (takes about a year), because they didn't figure in anything but their income (take home).
Mechanical things will break,just a matter of time.
Once they have no funds to replace a rear end, transmission...POOF, they're gone
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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Lucky I’m a mechanic too. I went thru my truck with it all new. I built one instead of the new model coming out in 77 for $20+ k. I didn’t want a truck payment. My truck had the 8” wrecker hd frame and the Dana 70 11,000# rear axle. A 205 transfer case, a 400th with the special low first gear. Which also lowered the second gear. With lockers it’s a beast.

Every dArn recession I lost my job in the machine tool business, I had the wood to fall back on. It was a good feeling having a backup income. I became very independent.
 
Huskybill

Huskybill

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At least pile the wood on pallets. I stacked mine in rows 6’ high x10’ deep and 125’ long with a air gap inbetween. Mount everwood. selling it all then replace it. My neighbor nicknamed me the Ant i never stopped.
 
muddstopper

muddstopper

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It never ceases to amaze me at how folks figure their profit. They cut a tree and sell it for $100 and claim they made $100. It only cost them a trip to the woods, sawing down the tree, bucking it and then splitting it. Loading it on their truck, and if they get lucky they get to hual it straight to the consumer. Not so lucky, they get to hual the wood home and even if they throw it in a windrow instead of a stack, they still had to handle every stick of wood. Then they get to reload the wood on the truck and hual it to the buyer and then unload again, and possibly have to stack. Somewhere along the way they buy gas for the truck and gas for the saw, buy a new file or chain. After a few loads of wood, they get to buy a set of tires for the truck, probably have to put on a set of brakes and darn, did I just break the back glass in the cab because I was in a hurry to toss wood in the truck. Thats alright, I just made $100 on that load of wood, a window is chump change. Saw needs a new sparkplug or carb rebuilt, they are cheap, but sooner or later, the saw needs replaced or rebuilt. My old truck has hauled quite a few loads, transmission is slipping, motor burning a little oil, fenders rusting off. Probably need a new truck soon. But thats alright, I can make $100 off that tree.
 
Ted Jenkins

Ted Jenkins

Firewood by TJ
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Twin Peaks
Mudd except for one thing. BTW a excellent post except from what you have been saying that you are not working or selling wood full time. However your post could not be much closer to reality. The thing you forgot maybe is that the first year will be very tough because not much money will come in until the first winter rolls around. So a stockpile of wood needs to be accumulated and let it season then it's ready for sale at top dollar to make one's effort pay off. For 25 years I built roads and paved them which was quite lucrative. Then when winter arrived I worked with the USFS clearing trees from salvage operations. I already had equipment and crew members so the transition was pretty easy. We had a rough winter with heavy rain which washed out several roads to our area as a result my road business stopped. For the last several years I have been cutting and stockpiling full time which has proved to be a major challenge to more than pay myself a reasonable wage. I doubt it will be any different in any other place. Thanks
 
muddstopper

muddstopper

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Ted, I will agree, getting a business on its feet isnt as easy as having a good ideal. Stockpileing firewood and waiting for a sale can break the bank. Your right, I dont sell firewood, but I think this would apply with any business. You have to move inventory from day one to be able to continue to finance your operation. It sounds all good to say I am only going to sell seasoned firewood, but reality will set in when you have a great big pile of wood setting in the dry somewhere and you need to gas up the truck. the seceret to making a business work is letting people know that you are there and what you sell and keep that inventory turning over. word of outh will help move a lot of product, but until you make a name for yourself, there is no word of mouth. You need to advertise.

My first business venture was a hydroseeding company. I had to decide what I wanted for a customer base. Residentual was where the big money was and you didnt need a lot of expensive equipment to do the work. with a direction decided, I wanted to reach the largest number of potential customers as I could. I picked up every realestate brochure I could find and got the addresses to every realitor. I went to the local building department and got a list of names and addresses to all the licensed building contractors. Then all the local grading contractors. I knew a homeowner would be a one time customer, but a builder or grading contractor would always be needing seeding done. I then fixed up a trifold brochure that could be folded and addressed to mail and I sent to every one of the people on my list. I also included a business card. People tend to throw away a brochure, but they will stick a business card in their billfold or rolidex. after the mass mailing, I was soon covered up in more work than I could do. My wife and I cleared $40k our first year just working weekends. I cleared $240k in my fifth year, had three trucks, two hydroseeders,, 1-75hp tractor, My smaller ventrac tractor with several attachments, all paid for, and 4 full time employees. After that first initial advertising, I never advertised again and never went looking for work. I was at the point I had to make a decision whether to keep working my full time job and let my wife run the company. Or quit my job and run the company myself. I was to close to retirement to quit my job and my wife wasnt able to run the company by herself, so I sold the business. My point is, the right advertising to the right people will be what starts the word of mouth to rolling. What you do determines what that word of mouth says about you.
 
sirbuildalot

sirbuildalot

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New England
Ted, I will agree, getting a business on its feet isnt as easy as having a good ideal. Stockpileing firewood and waiting for a sale can break the bank. Your right, I dont sell firewood, but I think this would apply with any business. You have to move inventory from day one to be able to continue to finance your operation. It sounds all good to say I am only going to sell seasoned firewood, but reality will set in when you have a great big pile of wood setting in the dry somewhere and you need to gas up the truck. the seceret to making a business work is letting people know that you are there and what you sell and keep that inventory turning over. word of outh will help move a lot of product, but until you make a name for yourself, there is no word of mouth. You need to advertise.

My first business venture was a hydroseeding company. I had to decide what I wanted for a customer base. Residentual was where the big money was and you didnt need a lot of expensive equipment to do the work. with a direction decided, I wanted to reach the largest number of potential customers as I could. I picked up every realestate brochure I could find and got the addresses to every realitor. I went to the local building department and got a list of names and addresses to all the licensed building contractors. Then all the local grading contractors. I knew a homeowner would be a one time customer, but a builder or grading contractor would always be needing seeding done. I then fixed up a trifold brochure that could be folded and addressed to mail and I sent to every one of the people on my list. I also included a business card. People tend to throw away a brochure, but they will stick a business card in their billfold or rolidex. after the mass mailing, I was soon covered up in more work than I could do. My wife and I cleared $40k our first year just working weekends. I cleared $240k in my fifth year, had three trucks, two hydroseeders,, 1-75hp tractor, My smaller ventrac tractor with several attachments, all paid for, and 4 full time employees. After that first initial advertising, I never advertised again and never went looking for work. I was at the point I had to make a decision whether to keep working my full time job and let my wife run the company. Or quit my job and run the company myself. I was to close to retirement to quit my job and my wife wasnt able to run the company by herself, so I sold the business. My point is, the right advertising to the right people will be what starts the word of mouth to rolling. What you do determines what that word of mouth says about you.[/
What kind of money and pension was the railroad offering that you gave up clearing 240k /yr.
 
muddstopper

muddstopper

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What kind of money and pension was the railroad offering that you gave up clearing 240k /yr.
I wont go into it, but breaking the railroad connection would have cut way down on my pension, and not only my pension would have been affected, but so would of my wifes. RR retirement has some screwy rules, but since I had never paid into SS, it wasnt a risk I was willing to take. As it turned out, the guy that bought me out, went bankrupt and lost everything. I made the right decision. One or two good years does not a career make.
 
sirbuildalot

sirbuildalot

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Wasn't trying to be nosy.

I completely agree about the last sentence. Working construction you may have a great year, but might starve the next. I'm sure hydro seeding is the same. I was just surprised you made so much in a part time business after paying expenses is all. You definitely made the right decision imo. Hard to put a price on security.
 
muddstopper

muddstopper

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Wasn't trying to be nosy.

I completely agree about the last sentence. Working construction you may have a great year, but might starve the next. I'm sure hydro seeding is the same. I was just surprised you made so much in a part time business after paying expenses is all. You definitely made the right decision imo. Hard to put a price on security.
It wasnt exactly part time. I was working 4 days a week on my regular job and 3 days hydroseeding. My wife was running a crew and doing all the estimates while I was gone and then helping me on weekends. We turned the business into a Chapter S corp, and had a Dunns number and qualified as a woman minority business. We got calls from large corporations looking for subs to do their seeding work on government projects. We where putting in a lot of hours. It was to the point I had to either go bigger or quit. Something had to give and I got the opportunity to sell out before the building bust. I still get calls from folks wanting work done. I guess I must still be listed on the Dunns list because I dont know where these folks get my name and number.

Which brings me back to the point of my original post. Advertiseing and spending your advertising dollars where it will do the most good. My original mailings when I first started my company was the foundation for building my business. I also got lucky with the timing of starting the business, having a building boom taking place when I started and then getting out before the boom went bust I have to give to luck. nI think I got lucky with my first advertiseing efforts, It certainly wasnt educational training, but I quickly found out I needed help in that department. I feel that anybody that wants to run a business needs to at least take a few business courses. Breaking your back isnt the only way to make money. I also want say, Dont wait until your a old man to take a chance starting a business. Decide what you want to do, take a few business courses and then start building your business. Build it while your young and you can let the young folks handle it when you get older.
 
Bitsy

Bitsy

Birchy!
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
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26
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Canada
I have been hard at it for a few weeks now and things have went pretty much as I thought they would so far. I was a little off on drive time to the spot, it is actually 2 hour roundtrip.

So a day looks like this:

- drive one hour to hit spot
- Spend 15-30 minutes locating a good stand of Birch
- 10-20 minutes to blaze in a trail
- 2-3 hours to cut and load in trailer a cord (128 cu.ft)
- 1 hour back to house
- 2 hours to buck, split, and stack

I don't usually touch anything bigger then 10-11 inch round as packing them 4 foot lengths out is a bit much. I also opted out of a power splitter, I enjoy running my Fiskar instead. I am getting a bit faster each load so may be able to cut times down a little more, biggest challenge so far is finding good timber that is not to far off the road.

The black flies, deer flies, and moose flies here are intense so after an hour you have accumulated such a swarm it gets near impossible to work. So after an hour I need to go hide in the truck, grab a drink and a snack and let the little buggers disperse lol.

Two things I have found saving me a good amount of time:

1.) The 2 in 1 sharpener by Stihl, the one that sets depth at same time as sharpen, that thing is great. I run the sharpener over the chain real quick each tank of gas and it cuts like it was brand new all the time.

2.) Ultimate sawhorse by Yardworks. I thought it was probably a gimmick but was on sale for $5 so give it a shot. Awesome. Time to haul length out of trailer, get set on stand, and bucked is average about 60 seconds or so. No bending over and no worrying about eating dirt.

So far so good!
 
sundance

sundance

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Dec 16, 2007
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844
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SW PA
I have been hard at it for a few weeks now and things have went pretty much as I thought they would so far. I was a little off on drive time to the spot, it is actually 2 hour roundtrip.

So a day looks like this:

- drive one hour to hit spot
- Spend 15-30 minutes locating a good stand of Birch
- 10-20 minutes to blaze in a trail
- 2-3 hours to cut and load in trailer a cord (128 cu.ft)
- 1 hour back to house
- 2 hours to buck, split, and stack

I don't usually touch anything bigger then 10-11 inch round as packing them 4 foot lengths out is a bit much. I also opted out of a power splitter, I enjoy running my Fiskar instead. I am getting a bit faster each load so may be able to cut times down a little more, biggest challenge so far is finding good timber that is not to far off the road.

The black flies, deer flies, and moose flies here are intense so after an hour you have accumulated such a swarm it gets near impossible to work. So after an hour I need to go hide in the truck, grab a drink and a snack and let the little buggers disperse lol.

Two things I have found saving me a good amount of time:

1.) The 2 in 1 sharpener by Stihl, the one that sets depth at same time as sharpen, that thing is great. I run the sharpener over the chain real quick each tank of gas and it cuts like it was brand new all the time.

2.) Ultimate sawhorse by Yardworks. I thought it was probably a gimmick but was on sale for $5 so give it a shot. Awesome. Time to haul length out of trailer, get set on stand, and bucked is average about 60 seconds or so. No bending over and no worrying about eating dirt.

So far so good!

Ultimate sawhorse looks like a nice piece......$5? I'm seeing it for a lot more!
 
lone wolf

lone wolf

MS 200T King
Joined
Oct 5, 2009
Messages
57,884
Location
Prowling The Pine Barrens
I have been hard at it for a few weeks now and things have went pretty much as I thought they would so far. I was a little off on drive time to the spot, it is actually 2 hour roundtrip.

So a day looks like this:

- drive one hour to hit spot
- Spend 15-30 minutes locating a good stand of Birch
- 10-20 minutes to blaze in a trail
- 2-3 hours to cut and load in trailer a cord (128 cu.ft)
- 1 hour back to house
- 2 hours to buck, split, and stack

I don't usually touch anything bigger then 10-11 inch round as packing them 4 foot lengths out is a bit much. I also opted out of a power splitter, I enjoy running my Fiskar instead. I am getting a bit faster each load so may be able to cut times down a little more, biggest challenge so far is finding good timber that is not to far off the road.

The black flies, deer flies, and moose flies here are intense so after an hour you have accumulated such a swarm it gets near impossible to work. So after an hour I need to go hide in the truck, grab a drink and a snack and let the little buggers disperse lol.

Two things I have found saving me a good amount of time:

1.) The 2 in 1 sharpener by Stihl, the one that sets depth at same time as sharpen, that thing is great. I run the sharpener over the chain real quick each tank of gas and it cuts like it was brand new all the time.

2.) Ultimate sawhorse by Yardworks. I thought it was probably a gimmick but was on sale for $5 so give it a shot. Awesome. Time to haul length out of trailer, get set on stand, and bucked is average about 60 seconds or so. No bending over and no worrying about eating dirt.

So far so good!
Google Mosquito suit.
 
Bitsy

Bitsy

Birchy!
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
26
Location
Canada
At $5 I would have deeply regretted missing it. At $50 I'd likely still but. The $85 plus I'm seeing I'll have to think about. If it actually works, it could be pretty handy.

Should give it a go, it is well built and works just like it says. I am not dealing with big heavy wood, biggest I put on it is 8 foot length of 10-11 inch Birch and it handles it no problem.

Google Mosquito suit.

I don't think I could work with one of those on, especially shoulder carrying wood out I would imagine the wood and bark constantly getting snagged up on it not to mention the brush I am packing it through. May have to stick to my Deet suit lol.
 
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