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Author Topic: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t  (Read 4255 times)

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Offline woodshax

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #20 on: August 21, 2017, 11:04:20 AM »
It has been a while....We purchased a used skid steer and dino bags....I found a supplier who can drop the split wood from the conveyor right into the bags then load on our trailer and we offload at our operation......once we do the first 20 or so bags we will have the 95% solution for average cuft per bag ....the reduction in "touch time" should drop our labor costs a bit and at 200 cords a year it should add up.....anyone else out there do it this way or have tried and failed?

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #21 on: February 14, 2018, 11:11:20 AM »
So here is how we are cutting down on time and effort to fill our firewood bags

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We do both bags and the traditional .75 bundles. Our bags are  32 x 21 They are a tighter weave than the smaller ones from China and last 3 times as long in the sun before they breakdown. The bags fit 1.3 to 1.4 cu ft at 18' and we sell about 5 to 1 bags Vs Bundles at 15 State parks in the DFW area. Making larger bundles is a bit cumbersome for campers to carry and they like the bags better. We have all our local firewood suppliers toss the splits into these bags (get them for $5 a piece used) and they last a long time. The big bags hold right at .25 Cords (true cords). We are constantly checking the bag yields to get the average and then pay accordingly.  Selling retail by the stick in state parks gets us at about $1200 a cord and the campers and park staff are happy.

Offline Magicman

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2018, 09:20:59 AM »
Yours is a fascinating business venture and you are consistently looking for ways to "trim the fat".   smiley_thumbsup  (old saying)
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic   WM Million BF Club Member   WM Pro Sawyer Network

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline woodshax

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #23 on: February 16, 2018, 11:23:32 AM »
Thanks magicman,  only way to make a profit is to keep figuring out how to get faster and better

Offline starmac

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #24 on: February 16, 2018, 05:24:11 PM »
We hauled probably 30, 30 ton loads of logs to a firewood guy that sells it all in the small bundles.
Other than unloading our trucks, which changed (more on this later) the first time him or any of his hands touched a log, the wood was cut, split, bundled and stacked on a pallet, before it left the processor.

The last load I hauled to him, there was a semi van trailer there for him to load, that belonged to a large grocery store chain. This was a new customer, and he had signed a contract to furnish them 7,000 bundles a week. This was on top of the 4500 bundles he was already committed to at his regular customers he delivered to.

While hauling to him, it became handier and easier for the logger I haul for to buy a log loader and leave it at his place, so we could unload our own trucks. His processors 2 of them could handle 24 foot logs, so we had to reconfigure our trucks to haul short logs just for him, we did this with a quick change method so we could in one day have our trucks back to long loggers.
It was not a high profit venture for the logger, nor us truckers, but it did give us something to haul when we couldn't haul to the saw mill and every stick we hauled him was tops that the logger would have normally left in the woods. So by processing the tops, the logger was able to make a few bucks off the waste.

Now here is the problem he is running and it is going to get worse. The guy has to have dry wood. before he started buying wood from us, he had leased a long log rig from the pellet mill and was buying logs that we had hauled in and decked there 2 years before and a lot of them were off a burn sale and dry to start with.
We had decks of tops that had bee decked as long as 3 years, so dry wood and still do.
His yard can only hold so many truck loads and we filled it up, his capital only goes so far to buy wood and we over taxed that big time.
Not a real big deal, except getting the logs out of the woods is seasonal, and his business runs year round, no way he can store enough logs, nor pay for them to last through the off season, so he has a storm brewing, that he is not sure how it is going to work out. Getting big time has it's on set of problems.
Old LT40HD, old log truck, old MM forklift, and several huskies.

Offline woodshax

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #25 on: February 19, 2018, 08:23:27 AM »
Starmac,

Good points.....to be in the wholesale bundle business ya got to get big and have your product ready and regular for the season.  I don't like the wholesale side for those reasons and there is still a lot of potential profit left to the retail stores.....We stay local and our market specialty retail and will not go over 200 cords a year.....outside our area we have guys who supply the wood and fill the machines so I do not have to worry about expanding bag and bundle  production....just supplementing if they run short during the peak times....Spring and Fall for campers.


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