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Author Topic: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?  (Read 29302 times)

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Offline burnwood

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Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« on: January 09, 2008, 11:11:59 AM »
Our company consists of three people, myself and two others. We've continued to grow more than 100% every year but we're reaching big walls mostly dealing with space and time(we all work other fulltime jobs).  We're debating just going for it and buying all the equipment we need and leasing land to move production up but we're concerned the market is not there to support large quantities of firewood . Ideally we would like to wholesale instead of dealing with individuals who order 1-2 cords a season but it would take time to built up wholesale clients this way. We figured it would take around 250-300 cords for someone to work full time on the business which is not that many and we could handle that dealing with consumers only.  I just wanted to get some opinions on if you think this is a viable business to get into. We know it's a lot of work but that doesn't concern us, what concerns us is processing tons of wood just to have it sit and not get sold.

Thanks.

Offline johncinquo

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2008, 02:18:07 PM »
Which one of you hates your job the most?  Have him do it full time, and 2 part timers.  If you get big enough and can stay busy enough after that, let the next guy start doing it. 

Some of the happiest people I know left their full time, with benefits, jobs to go live a dream job.  Also, some of the least successful.  Ya just never know.
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Offline mainiac

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2008, 03:16:28 PM »
Burnwood,

What part of the country are you in? I know that here in Midcoast Maine, dry firewood is selling for $250-$300/ cord and there is not enough of it to go around. I know that you would have to add a step or two to the process to be able to sell it as dry, but it might be worth it to get ahead of your self in inventory.

People up this way that make a year round living at it process 1000 plus cord per year.
Or they do other things as well.

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Offline burnwood

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2008, 03:22:22 PM »
Burnwood,

What part of the country are you in? I know that here in Midcoast Maine, dry firewood is selling for $250-$300/ cord and there is not enough of it to go around. I know that you would have to add a step or two to the process to be able to sell it as dry, but it might be worth it to get ahead of your self in inventory.

People up this way that make a year round living at it process 1000 plus cord per year.
Or they do other things as well.

Mainiac


We're located In Massachusetts, last season we sold seasoned cords for $240 and green for $180 and we were sold out of about 35 cords before October which is why this year we're producing even more.  I'm sure we can sell a few hundred but as you said to make a living it would take 1000's. Processing 1000 cords is not the issues, thinking about how to delivery 1000 cords in 1-2 cord truck loads is what makes my mind go nuts!  :-\ :o   Wholesale would be much easier but requires more investment because of trucks.

The other issue we have is space, we can't process more than 60 cords with the land we have so we either have to take the leap and buy some land or try and find a place to lease us land so we can grow. That and finding a steady supply of logs, last year we lost about a month of prime weather season because we couldn't find anyone to delivery logs to us, if this happens when we're a full-time business it would be a major dent in the business.

Offline mainiac

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2008, 03:56:29 PM »
I really think the way to do it is go both ways. Wholesale and retail. I would look into trucking companies to fill the need for wholesale and having a truck that can deliver local. For the time of supply slow downs, you should plan ahead and stock pile enough to get you through plus use the slow times for maintenance.

Another way to increase profit is to palletize or even bundle your firewood. The local grocery store is selling .7 cu ft of firewood for $4.69. That is $857.60 per std cord. That is quite a return.

All it takes is money.

Mainiac
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2008, 05:33:40 PM »
There are cash flow issues with firewood, because it tends to be a cyclical business.  You'll starve during the summer months, but work your tail ragged in the fall and winter. 

We don't do firewood full time.  We do sell wholesale, and have for quite some time.  We have sold some that was cut to length as well as cut and split.  At one time, we cut and split and piled it up.  We had about 1,000 cords on hand by the end of summer.  This took 1 guy working an Eager Beaver nearly every day throughout the spring, summer and fall.  To load, we used a Prentice loader and loaded self unloading trailers. 

The biggest problem with wholesaling is the payment.  You'll have guys who will order 5 or 10 trailerloads.  They'll pay for the first couple, just to get you interested.  Then, as you extend them credit, they'll pay you "on the next load".  That just keeps you coming back for more until you say you won't deliver any more. 

Is there room in the firewood business?  You bet.  But, you have to be able to figure out how you're going to make a go of it.  Sit down, and write up a business plan.  Your business should take in as many aspects as you can think of.   Discounts for summer deliveries, discounts for yard pickup, bundled wood, pole length wood, bags of smoker chips, etc. 

Equipment I would consider as a must are:  a processor, a log truck with a loader, and a self unloading trailer.  You can always get someone to drag a trailer.  You may even find someone that will put one underneath your conveyor.  The log truck will make it easier to pick up logs from the loggers.  It will open up some supply avenues.  Besides, the truck will be real handy putting logs through your processor.

In the meantime, here is an interesting read about a guy who did it in PA:

http://www.multitekinc.com/stories/PDFs-images/gish.pdf

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Offline burnwood

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2008, 05:52:16 PM »
I really think the way to do it is go both ways. Wholesale and retail. I would look into trucking companies to fill the need for wholesale and having a truck that can deliver local. For the time of supply slow downs, you should plan ahead and stock pile enough to get you through plus use the slow times for maintenance.

Another way to increase profit is to palletize or even bundle your firewood. The local grocery store is selling .7 cu ft of firewood for $4.69. That is $857.60 per std cord. That is quite a return.

All it takes is money.

Mainiac

Yeah, some of the places we contacted to purchase already split firewood contracts their deliveries out. That would be the way to start if we went that route, all though one of our guys has a CDL it's still a large investment to get a truck.
When we talk about this business idea the idea of 'other firewood products' always comes up.  I think we've decided that to be efficient and do the best we can at firewood we have to stick to one thing. All though bundles have a nice return it's a lot more work not only packaging but also finding clients and delivering.

There are cash flow issues with firewood, because it tends to be a cyclical business.  You'll starve during the summer months, but work your tail ragged in the fall and winter. 

We don't do firewood full time.  We do sell wholesale, and have for quite some time.  We have sold some that was cut to length as well as cut and split.  At one time, we cut and split and piled it up.  We had about 1,000 cords on hand by the end of summer.  This took 1 guy working an Eager Beaver nearly every day throughout the spring, summer and fall.  To load, we used a Prentice loader and loaded self unloading trailers. 

The biggest problem with wholesaling is the payment.  You'll have guys who will order 5 or 10 trailerloads.  They'll pay for the first couple, just to get you interested.  Then, as you extend them credit, they'll pay you "on the next load".  That just keeps you coming back for more until you say you won't deliver any more. 

Is there room in the firewood business?  You bet.  But, you have to be able to figure out how you're going to make a go of it.  Sit down, and write up a business plan.  Your business should take in as many aspects as you can think of.   Discounts for summer deliveries, discounts for yard pickup, bundled wood, pole length wood, bags of smoker chips, etc. 

Equipment I would consider as a must are:  a processor, a log truck with a loader, and a self unloading trailer.  You can always get someone to drag a trailer.  You may even find someone that will put one underneath your conveyor.  The log truck will make it easier to pick up logs from the loggers.  It will open up some supply avenues.  Besides, the truck will be real handy putting logs through your processor.

In the meantime, here is an interesting read about a guy who did it in PA:

http://www.multitekinc.com/stories/PDFs-images/gish.pdf

Thanks, that story was great...this is ideally what we would like to become.  It just takes the guts to take that leap and since we all have jobs and families to support it's a tough leap to make. :)  When you say loader what to you mean, bobcat type machine or a conveyor belt?

Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2008, 06:19:18 PM »
No, I mean a knuckleboom loader.  The truck I'm talking about is a log truck.  Typically, the knuckleboom sits between the cab and the bed.  It really adds a dimension to your business that most guys overlook.

With a log truck, you'll be able to transport logs in great amounts.  You'll be able to go to the woods and pick up loads from loggers.  That will open the doors to some loggers that won't deliver to you because of length of haul or they don't want to be bothered.  Show up at their door, and they'll be more open to do business. 

Not to mention all the wood that gets burnt when they put in a development.  Back up to the pile and load it up.

You'll also be able to load your log decks right from the truck to the log deck.  You'll also be able to deck logs in the yard much higher than you ever could with a bobcat or other loader. 

Used trucks and loaders can be found at a reasonable price.
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Offline Tom

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2008, 06:29:23 PM »
The biggest problem with having a truck to support your business is the CDL and the DOT.  It has imposed a whole new layer of doing business on business.  There is red tape, intimidation, permits, fines and money to be spent on drug tests and medical tests that were not in the mix before.  It has turned a trucker into a specialized commodity.  An operator, many of whom, can't be bothered with small business. 

Small businesses can't be everything to everyone.  I found early out that I needed to hone my business on the few things I was able to do well.  That cut me out of retailing lumber, buying logs, etc.  Each of those is a business in itself.
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Offline Furby

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2008, 06:42:56 PM »
As it is, you are required to have a DOT # and annual inspection on the truck you are using right now.
Because of the DOT#, you need a commercial plate and that will make your insurance carrier either drop you or change your policy to a commercial policy.
And I'm talking about as you are doing things right now.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2008, 07:13:50 PM »
  I'd been thinking about a firewood processor for several years.  There's always a market for firewood but it's labor intensive.  A good friend of mine used to do 400 standard cord a year with a chainsaw and low functioning labor when needed.  He was busy year around so I knew the market was there.  What launched me into it was the cutbacks in the Mi DNR which basically put me out of a job.  I got the processor and did firewood full time for the next 4 months and most of the time I worked daylight til dark at least 5 days a week and many weeks it was seven.  My biggest issue was finding enough seasoned wood in log length to feed the machine.  I had to resort at times to mixing seasoned with green which many people are fine with if they know what they're getting.  When it's all there is they'll buy it anyway  ;) ;D  Since then I've went into logging to produce firewood from tops and otherwise cull hardwood.  The firewood business is now more of a part time self supporting venture powered by returning and word of mouth clients.  It makes enough that I've been able to upgrade the equipment to where I'm quite comfortable with doing little labor to make firewood ;) 8) 8)  My next investment is a building with a gutter cleaner to set the machine over for waste removal and maybe a Bio Mizer fueled by the waste to heat the building  ;) ;D.
  I'd recommend making friends with a couple loggers for a steady supply of hardwood pulp that's uniform  to feed a processor.  Tree service wood is quite often pretty ugly :)  For deliveries I've got a dump trailer that'll haul 4 face cords (a cord and a 1/3 if you prefer ;) ) and a just acquired 1 ton dump that'll haul 2 face cord.  Both measures are for loose wood.  I don't stack anything it's wasted energy and add a little more to the load just to make sure the customers are happy.  No ones ever complained.  My trucks also don't require CDLs and I've got Farm and Log plates on the 1 ton which makes the plate about 150 bucks less per year in this state 8) 8)
  If you sell a good product, are prompt and arrive on time you'll do great.  There's always gonna be the beer money guys with an old truck and a chainsaw who are selling for less but they get swamped with orders, find out how much work it really is, the snow'll get too deep for them etc and they'll disappear.
  Michigan state parks issue contracts for their firewood supply.  That might be a market to explore in your state.  You're only limited by how many $$$, hours, and labor you want to invest 
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Offline burnwood

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2008, 07:41:27 PM »
As it is, you are required to have a DOT # and annual inspection on the truck you are using right now.
Because of the DOT#, you need a commercial plate and that will make your insurance carrier either drop you or change your policy to a commercial policy.
And I'm talking about as you are doing things right now.


Why do you say that, we get the truck(normal pickup) inspected every year but it's a passenger vehicle.

Offline ely

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2008, 07:57:05 PM »
i think he was referring to the way you use the truck is what makes it DOT . i think most states are under the same rules it is just that most do not enforce those rules to the enth degree.

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2008, 07:58:39 PM »
Yes, but if it's used for a business it's considered commercial.
Is it a one ton or 3/4 ton?
It's a federal rule.

Offline stonebroke

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2008, 08:05:15 PM »
We have a bunch of guys local that make a living at cutting firewood. Most can't keep up with the demand. One of my friends works at the local sale barn andf does it in his spare time. He produced about 200 cords but he only does it in the good weather. He has a small tractor and cleans up tops after other loggers.

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Offline Corley5

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #15 on: January 09, 2008, 08:16:45 PM »
Whose to say it's commercial ???  The officer that stops you  ???  I don't have commercial insurance and I told my insurer that I deliver firewood and hay with the 1 ton.  They didn't try to sell me commercial insurance.  If I get stopped and questioned about a load I'm just going to town for parts or fuel or whatever not that I'm on a delivery.  Never admit anything to a cop  ;) ;D  
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Offline Furby

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2008, 08:23:37 PM »
I agree Greg, but the fines are high if they decide to push things and they are checking more and more.
Your insurance company may know that you deliver wood, and not try to push commercial insurance on you, but most policies have it in the fine print that commercial use voids the policy or some such thing.
I've heard of lots of cases where the company took the $ and then refused coverage after an accident due to an improper use of the vehicle.
Fighting in court is the way it ends up.

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Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #17 on: January 09, 2008, 08:31:04 PM »
Getting a little distracted here. But, we had to get the tater trucks inspected every 6 months here, if I recall. And they were not used year round. There was at least 4 months that they were parked while crops grew.
Move'n on.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #18 on: January 09, 2008, 08:33:49 PM »
There's no law against taking a load of wood for ride  ;) ;D
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Offline The Woodcooker

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #19 on: January 09, 2008, 08:38:49 PM »
In central NY (very rural) we pay $50 per face crd.  If you have a firewood processor and a conveyor the independent haulers will be there.  The price of oil will raise all alternative energy sources, just look how natural gas prices have risen and we don't get it from Iraq! Wood will follow!  

Offline SwampDonkey

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #20 on: January 09, 2008, 08:43:36 PM »
It will be harder on the folks having to buy the stumpage or the loads from a logger. If your a large landowner and also a logger, I know many, you will be a little better off. Yes, the costs of logging are similar, but you own the wood to begin with.
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Offline burnwood

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #21 on: January 09, 2008, 09:01:24 PM »
I'm seeing the term face-cord thrown around on here a lot, I guess I'm not used to it.  The law in Mass is weird, it states....

"Massachusetts law specifically prohibits the terms "cord", "face cord", "pile" or "truckload" from being used in advertising the sale of cordwood or firewood."

So if you can't call it a cord what are you supposed to call it?  ???

"We sell 128 cubit feet of firewood"...yeah, people will order from you then! ;)  All though this is the official rule I go online classifieds and see all kinds of weird measurements being sold.  I don't hear face-cord that often then, it confused me when people use it since I think they mean cord at first and it's often much cheaper.  ;D

<--I've added our website to my profile(Globe) in case anyone wants to take a look at our operation. :)

Online thecfarm

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #22 on: January 09, 2008, 09:05:11 PM »
¼ of a cord,½ of a cord,¾ of a cord and a cord is what I have seen in the New England states. Face cord was new to me when I first joined here.
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #23 on: January 09, 2008, 09:06:27 PM »
I hate to argue with ya, but I doubt "cord" is an illegal term. I'll bet it's explained that a cord is 128 ft3 as well. ;)
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #24 on: January 09, 2008, 09:09:35 PM »
I  did not read burnwood post right.I missed the cord part.
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #25 on: January 09, 2008, 09:11:07 PM »
Face cords have been used here, but not suppose to be used as a term for sale of firewood. It even states that in the regulations. But I do know of some people that have been took and likely have no idea about the law. How would they? No one actually sends people a law brochure.  ::)
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #26 on: January 09, 2008, 09:12:27 PM »
Reply #23 was in response to reply #21 ;)
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #27 on: January 09, 2008, 10:43:18 PM »
I know that here in Maine, a stacked cord is = to 128 cubic ft. 180 cubic ft is also considered a cord if it a tossed cord(not stacked). These are the only legal way of selling firewood and terms of use in Maine according to Maine State Dept of weights and measures.

I had to investigate this a few years back as I felt I got shorted when I bought a truck load of tree length. If I remember correctly,I got 6.5 cord of cut split and stacked out of a 10 cord truck. The driver did right by me as far as giving me back some money, but I was asked not to buy any more from him. Industry standards does allow some shrinkage going from tree length to cut split and stacked, but not that much. The guy I buy from now, I usually get 8.5-9 cord off a 10 cord truck.

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #28 on: January 10, 2008, 07:08:16 AM »
I know that here in Maine, a stacked cord is = to 128 cubic ft. 180 cubic ft is also considered a cord if it a tossed cord(not stacked). These are the only legal way of selling firewood and terms of use in Maine according to Maine State Dept of weights and measures.

I had to investigate this a few years back as I felt I got shorted when I bought a truck load of tree length. If I remember correctly,I got 6.5 cord of cut split and stacked out of a 10 cord truck. The driver did right by me as far as giving me back some money, but I was asked not to buy any more from him. Industry standards does allow some shrinkage going from tree length to cut split and stacked, but not that much. The guy I buy from now, I usually get 8.5-9 cord off a 10 cord truck.

Mainiac

We've learned that 'loggers' tend to round up when guessing the quantity of firewood on a truck load.  We too ordered 8 cord loads to find out that all said and done it was around five. This is why we have a hard time finding people to delivery wood, we found a really nice guy who is honest and gives us a deal...the only issue with him is he only has wood when he was land cleaning jobs which is not all the time.

Offline Corley5

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #29 on: January 10, 2008, 09:00:11 AM »
A cord of logs always cuts to less firewood.  General rule of thumb is 2.5 16" face cords from an average load of hardwood pulp.  Bigger straighter logs will yield almost a full cord.  Smaller crooked logs will yield less.  A sixteen inch face cord equals a 1/3 of a standard cord.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #30 on: January 10, 2008, 05:44:57 PM »
Here's a few numbers to gnaw on.  We have a Multitek processor.  We can produce a trailerload of split wood in about 4 hours if someone is loading logs.  The load holds 13 cords, and sells for $1800 for 14" wood, and a little less for 16".  That is a delivered price to a wholesaler who buys year around.  We also sell log length firewood for about $65/cd.  So, our manufacturing and delivery costs have to be within the $70-75/cd to make it more profitable than delivering logs.

We don't do this all the time.  Equipment and employees that do the processing usually do it when there isn't anything else to do.  So, we don't have some of the overhead you may be looking at.

In addition to the Multitek, we have a self unloading trailer that is also used for mulch, but mostly for firewood.  We also have a log truck and loader for moving logs to the processor. 

The problem I see with your numbers is I don't think you can do it full time on only 250-300 cords, even at retail.  Even at $250/cd, your gross income is only $75,000.  You still have to take out your costs for raw material and operating costs.  You're going to need more volume per employee.
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #31 on: January 10, 2008, 06:52:38 PM »
I was just throwing out numbers, if I recall when we actually did the math we would have to product and sell around 2000 cords a year for all of use to work full time.  Producing 2000 is probably not that hard with three guys, delivery it is another story.

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #32 on: January 10, 2008, 07:20:46 PM »
A cord of logs always cuts to less firewood. 

I agree, because it's stacked tighter when split and bucked short.

When we bought tree length from loggers for our own firewood, we paid for 12-14 cords. 12 with self loader, 14 with no loader and we usually came out with 1/4 - 1/2 cord in our favor. By tonnage conversion the loads worked out to 14-16 cords (35,000 - 40,000 kg). You know firewood though, you can stack is 3 times and have different figures each time.  ;D
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #33 on: January 10, 2008, 07:53:36 PM »
 In ma. the term cord is used in advertising, when you write out the bill it better be in cubic feet. If you deal in cash and no bill you can get in trouble if a person decide's to hassle you. And here in ma. you deliver some wood you need the commercial license plate,cause dot has fun following pickup's with wood in the back and if it dosen't end up in the plates home of record you going to pay. Also the going fine for over load in a pickup is $250. My 1 ton was registered for11,000# and they where always checking weight and paperwork  >:( .
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Offline bull

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #34 on: January 10, 2008, 09:49:10 PM »
Hey Ed K isn't  Massachusetts wonderful......
 We need to know where "burnwood" is from here in the Baystate.

If your in buisness your vehicle has to have commercial tags or if you can get them Farm plates

I got an email from farm bureau today stating that as of November 07 if you're over 10,000 lbs you now need to pay for a federal DOT permit.

diversify you can't live on firewood alone......

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #35 on: January 10, 2008, 11:48:11 PM »
bull
Go to burnwood's profile, and his pin is on his map...tells you exactly where he is from...if he put it at the right spot... ;D ;D
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #36 on: January 11, 2008, 06:29:30 AM »
Well, we center around Groveland Ma but since it's firewood we delivery all over Ma.  I think our gross weight is under 7500, how can I tell?  We have a small pickup and a dump trailer we use to haul the wood.  When I spoke to the insurance guy about getting a commercial truck he pretty much told me not too because it's so expensive in MA.  He suggested a trailer on a normal truck because we wouldn't need commercial plates and all the insurance that goes along with it.  This is probably wrong advice but having to pay $2000 for insurance, taxes and fees just for commercial stuff put a huge dent in profits.

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #37 on: January 11, 2008, 06:30:20 AM »
Hey Ed K isn't  Massachusetts wonderful......
 We need to know where "burnwood" is from here in the Baystate.

If your in buisness your vehicle has to have commercial tags or if you can get them Farm plates

I got an email from farm bureau today stating that as of November 07 if you're over 10,000 lbs you now need to pay for a federal DOT permit.

diversify you can't live on firewood alone......

You don't think a business can survive just on firewood?  I'm assuming once we were up and running we would add on additional things but to start we want to keep it as simple as possible.

Offline Sawyerfortyish

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #38 on: January 11, 2008, 07:33:56 AM »
I know one guy around here that gives the wood away . He delivers what he calls about a cord. Then he charges for loading and trucking whatever the going rate for a cord of wood is.
   I also have a multitek processor and will have to agree with those that said its hard to just make it selling firewood. If you have to buy your wood make a living for 3 people and make payments on equipment not to mention all the other things you need and that go wrong thats a lot to bite off and chew

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #39 on: January 11, 2008, 07:54:23 AM »
No I don't think you"ll survive on firewood alone.....
Cash flow is a huge issue, sales are very seasonal....  Selling green wood for cash flow is a big mistake, drying firewood is money in the bank, 50% return in 6-8 months just for watching wood dry. You can't get those rates in any bank around here !!!

A decent tractor with a front end loader would be a huge assest to your buisness, Im not sure about a three way partnership for a small startup buisnes...

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #40 on: January 11, 2008, 01:39:05 PM »
I'm positive your gross is well over that.
A truck and trailer have CGVW (Combined Gross Vehicle Weight).
If it's a dump trailer then I'm 99% sure the physical weight of the truck and trailer are at least 7500 pounds, probly more.
You should be able to find the gross rating and CGVW rating of the truck by looking on the driver's door/door frame.
Your trailer should also have a plate listing it's gross weight.

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #41 on: January 11, 2008, 02:18:32 PM »
Ok, let me get 2000 lbs in here for a ton this time. :D Thanks Ron. ;)


2 cord of  hardwood would be 9000-9600 air dried, 8600 kilned to 12 %, 11000 green. A cord is not a solid 128 ft3 remember.
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #42 on: January 11, 2008, 04:15:47 PM »
Cubic foot weights for:

Red oak - 64 (green), 43 (dry)
White oak - 63 (green), 45 (dry)
Hard maple - 56 (green), 44 (dry)
Soft maple - 50 (green), 38 (dry)
Hickory - 64 (green), 50 (dry)
Ash - 48 (green), 42 (dry)
Beech - 54 (green), 45 (dry)
Birch - 57 (green), 43 (dry)
Elm - 54 (green), 35 (dry)

Seems like your giving about 50-60 cu ft of solid wood per cord.  I think I'll buy mine somewhere else.   :D
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #43 on: January 11, 2008, 04:24:33 PM »
Actually about 100 ft3 of solid wood per cord is what I'm allowing. But I forgot to mult by 2000 lbs :D  DOH!
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #44 on: January 11, 2008, 04:32:53 PM »
So, 2 cords of green red oak would weigh 6 tons, and dry would weigh 4 tons.  Your numbers are closer to 1 cord, not 2.
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #45 on: January 11, 2008, 04:44:15 PM »
Yup, Ron my brain wasn't working and forgot about mult my 5.5 tons by 2000 lbs  ::)
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Offline TeaW

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #46 on: January 11, 2008, 06:06:49 PM »
Ron,
How many cubic feet to the cord are you allowing. I have seen alot of different charts talking about the weight of wood . I think it varies to different locations. A log trucker told me that there is 1000# difference between southern Ontario and Northen ON, on 1000 bd/ft of logs . Oak grows slower north of here.
I don't go by charts, I cut split, pile and wieght it = 5500 lbs.
But like SD said you could do it 3 times and have that many different answers
TeaW

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #47 on: January 11, 2008, 06:34:20 PM »
TeaW, did you realize that slow growing oak or ash is actually less dense. Why? The early wood of any species I'm aware of does not change in width, weather it is fast grown or slow grown. The late wood is what matters, and late wood is denser than early wood in ring porous hardwood. Now with hard maple or yellow birch, it wouldn't matter too much, it's diffuse porous, which means the wood pores are uniform throughout the piece. Now with cherry and butternut it's semi-diffuse and does matter somewhat, because the early wood pores are bigger and decrease in size from the beginning of the growth ring toward to end of the late wood.  And wood density varies within a stand of wood, between dominant and suppressed trees. ;) Is this what you had in mind?

Wood moisture changes with the seasons to, don't forget that. It's not a huge difference, but I do know the mills in the past have given a seasonal adjustment for the scale. Don't know if anyone is doing it now, since I have not worked at the marketing board for a few years and have not sold wood. My guess, is it's one price, hopefully averaged. But, in reality, probably forgotten about.

Ron's figures probably come out of Madison, WI and are also published in the  WoodTech Manual. I believe they are standardized figures for weight of wood by species and moisture.
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Offline letsgetitracing

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #48 on: January 11, 2008, 06:36:55 PM »
i know for a 100% fact that 8 face cord of dry cut (in august and weighed in october) ash is 8500 lbs we weighed it and stack about 10 loads to check  it had 12 to 15% moisture
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #49 on: January 11, 2008, 06:51:45 PM »
I wasn't far off for 12 % hard maple, yellow birch, beech @ 8600 lbs. ;D Ash and red oak is slightly lighter. ;)

Surprisingly, white ash is lighter when green than hard maple and not so surprising is it doesn't take as long to dry. But air dried wood, I have a hard time grasping that it would be drier than 25%. Might be dry on the surface, but what about deeper inside the stick. And there is a difference in reading end grain versus through the bark. ;)

I would think 12-18% through the bark, and 25-30% on the end grain for air drying. It's wicking through the end grain quicker because that is the most efficient pathway of water if the tree is going to keep from burning up during growth. And as the end dries the flow rate diminished deeper in the stick because of the water saturation point and cell bound water and temperature. And probably some other stuff I haven't thought of. :D
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #50 on: January 11, 2008, 06:56:53 PM »
nope not at all and i thik my boss is about 15 to 20 pieces light on his face cords any way i seem to get 7 face cord when i stack them he gets 8 but i guess i care about stacking he is trying to stretch it out

so i think the number you are using are exactly right
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #51 on: January 11, 2008, 08:02:30 PM »
TeaW

There are a lot of variables that effect the amount of solid wood in a cord.  If you are talking pulpwood, then if you would have perfect cylindrical pieces, you would end up with 100 cu ft of solid wood.  But, woods run trees aren't like that. 

The variables include diameter, length of stick, crook, roughness and knots.  For hardwoods, smooth and straight would range from 85-98 cu ft of solid wood.  The smaller the diameter, the lower on the scale.  For straight, rough and knotty, that will drop to 78-92 cu ft.  Put in some slightly crooked stuff, and you're range is 75-89 cu ft.  If you are just talking tops and branches, you'll drop down to 58 cu ft.

So, if you have an idea of what you're running in cu ft, then you can just plug in weight by looking at what the type of wood you're dealing with. 

Now, if we look at the numbers that letsgetitracing has offered, his 8500 lbs of dry ash would come out to a little over 200 cu ft of wood in 8 face cords.  That would come down to only 25 cu ft per face cord.  Assuming 16" wood, would come up with a total of 75 cu ft per cord of solid wood. 

If letsgetitracing takes that amount and puts it into 7 cord (when the boss isn't looking   ;)), then he is getting 85 cu ft/cd.
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Offline Ed_K

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #52 on: January 11, 2008, 08:56:56 PM »
 Want to see what it takes to do firewood full time? This months Timber Line has a feature on Tree Hugger Farms in Westmoreland NH. says their doing 5k to 7k per yr (good yr). I talked to Jon Clark (owner) yesterday, he sold his log truck, to busy to go and get the wood.
 Bull, I diversified,I don't do cord wood anymore cause I couldn't do that an log the wood too. Cides I sold my truck to your friend Ann. I'm looking into ctl equip to get er done.
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Offline stumpmakerr

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #53 on: August 12, 2014, 10:18:39 AM »
Hell, just do it. If i listened to everyone that gave me advise, id have nothing. Go for it. You have a good chance of failling, but how are you going to feel if you never take that chance

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #54 on: August 12, 2014, 03:09:03 PM »
Around here if you market the big three (for our area) beech, hard maple, yellow birch you'd be busy. Some fella's can't even get enough supply for more customers. A lot comes off provincial public forest.
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Offline glassman_48

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #55 on: August 12, 2014, 04:42:36 PM »
burnwood,
I already had a tractor with forks, already had a nice 12' dump trailer and pickup to haul the trailer.  I purchased a mid sized firewood processor and purchased 20 pulp cords at a time usually a couple hundred pulp cords a year.  I could not make money on firewood, and was charging 225.00 per pulp cord plus tax and delivery.  I diversified last year and started doing firewood bundles, then purchased a semi load of eco bricks (compressed sawdust bricks).  This year we will sell firewood bricks, wood pellets, firewood bundles and finally firewood.  The firewood has the least amount of profit for me.  I would have to purchase my raw materials much cheaper which at present I cannot do.  I have a full time glass business, and do this only part time with my son.  We just purchased 6 commercial acres and some day if I can develop the property I would like to put a house up and maybe get a small sawmill and sell firewood processors, log splitters, firewood bundlers etc. on the property.  That is a few years off but I have to get some retail sales in to keep a good profit coming in.  I have refurbished some equipment and sold a couple of pieces to make some $$$ too.  We never ever stack firewood, we only stacked 3 face cords (1 pulp cord) the first time (16" wood) just to see where the wood would be in our dump trailer.  Now I only sell by the trailer load and I tell customers its approximately 1 pulp cord.  Many horror stories around here about firewood sales man getting in trouble with customers from shortages.  I would start small and have all 3 of you devote so many hours a year and build up some customers.  You will see after a couple of years if this game is for you or not.   good luck,,,,,,,,,,,ed

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #56 on: August 12, 2014, 07:34:14 PM »
The original poster, Burnwood, hasn't been active since Jan. of 2008.  I do wonder what he decided  :)  It was good to read my post about the firewood business from way back then 8) 8) 
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #57 on: August 14, 2014, 06:36:07 AM »
Right now the firewood business is booming but the EPA warm winters and low oil prices could change that! If you all are doing it because you love it and want to pay the bills go for it but if you are looking to get rich invest in stocks and stay where you are. I have seen cycles with wood demand/ no demand you just don't know.good luck & pm about log length wood I'm in western mass.
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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #58 on: August 14, 2014, 09:18:56 AM »
What low oil prices? Wood is by far cheaper up here and nicer heat.  ;D
Move'n on.

Offline Firewoodjoe

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #59 on: August 14, 2014, 06:30:59 PM »
Well I'm doing good. Business wise. Profit wise....I can pay a helper $11 an hour and then I think I'm clearing around $30 a cord. Not counting break downs or owning the equipment. Nights and weekends deal too. I like it though and lately I only deliver it and he runs the processor so a few hundred bucks a week ain't bad I guess

Offline timberlinetree

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Re: Firewood business...big enough market to run a business?
« Reply #60 on: August 15, 2014, 07:04:27 AM »
Opps must have missed a page didn't know this was from 08! Now's the time to be in the firewood business and hope it lasts! We always have steady customers and some years they burn a lot of wood(high oil/electricity rates and really cold winter) and other years not as much( when major storm puts a lot off wood on the ground and a mild winter and low energy cost) been thru all of that! Wood is the way to save a lot compared to oil around here. One thinng is for shure it has/going to be a good year to be in the firewood biz!smiley_beertoast smiley_beertoast
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