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Author Topic: Transporting lumber  (Read 2374 times)

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Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Transporting lumber
« on: July 30, 2018, 01:40:22 AM »
Hey guys,

So, I have a question and need some advice. Lately for whatever reason I have been contacted by several people from other states about buying some lumber I have posted on various sites. So, I guess I have two main questions:

1. Are there any sort of rules of regulations for transporting lumber across state lines?

I feel silly asking this, but you never know.

2. How do you handle payment?

This is by far my biggest concern. Some of these orders are several thousands of dollars. The last thing I want to do is arrange a price and then get there and they not pay or start haggling the price drastically, which they could considering I would be delivering the product to them. Is it acceptable to arrange half the money before and half on delivery? This way even if something goes wrong I have half of the money to fall back on? If so, how do you ensure that the buying party is comfortable with the arrangement. Do you have them wire it to your bank account or something? Could really use the advice for this one.

Thanks everyone. I appreciate your time and information.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2018, 01:58:10 AM »
As soon as it's off your trailer(or whatever carrier you use), they own it, whether they've paid you or not.  You need to have all your money before it's ever unloaded in my opinion.  And no handing you a check on delivery that will bounce.  Certified funds only.  If it were me, Half down up front before any sawing or drying, especially if it's not regular inventory you'd have anyway.  Then they need to pay the balance plus shipping cost when the order is ready to ship. 

How will it be unloaded?  You need to guarantee that the buyer will be there when you arrive to unload.  Otherwise you need to bring a Moffet forklift, or pay someone close by to bring one(like a lumber yard).

You never know someone is sketchy until they actually flake out on you.  It happens, even with the most honest and seemingly upstanding people, so protect yourself first.  If you don't, you only have you to blame.  If they don't like your terms, tough.  It usually means they are a good probability to flake out on you.
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Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2018, 07:49:41 AM »
   Brad covered the part about unloading very well. I would want at least half the pay in advance. Otherwise, once you get it delivered what are you going to do if the customer wants to renegotiate the price? Some people think they have you over a barrel since they know you don't want to drive back with a load of lumber.

   I was moving and selling my leftover firewood and had a guy do that to me one time for a truckload of firewood. By the time I got my son back in his seat and the tailgate raised and locked the customer agreed to the original price but I told him he could not buy that wood. I stopped on the way home and gave it away. Most profitable load of wood I did.
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Online goose63

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2018, 07:50:05 AM »
X 2 what Brad said
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Offline Magicman

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2018, 08:16:17 AM »
Insure that there is no species quarantine when you cross state lines.

Also be within all weight limitations or you will also be dealing with DOT and a Judge.
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2018, 09:24:56 AM »
If you get pulled over and say youre off to sell lumber, thats interstate commerce and you are a motor carrier at any weight, surprise!  I need to see your CDL, logbook, medical card, dot# mc# IFTA, IRP and commercial auto insurance card.  


You are building a barn for your friend in whatever state you are going to.  

Stay under 26k.
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Offline Revival Sawmill

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #6 on: July 30, 2018, 09:36:35 AM »
I'd be wary of bank wires too - there are some ways that can go wrong.  Thought about PayPal?  Probably have to eat a 3% fee, but it's fairly ironclad...

Offline Southside logger

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #7 on: July 30, 2018, 09:43:57 AM »
Pay Pal will reverse payments with the filing of a complaint, bank wires are permanent once they have gone through. 
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Offline mike_belben

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #8 on: July 30, 2018, 11:29:14 AM »
I exported equipment to guatemala, honduras, egypt.  

Bank wire or cash. 
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Offline muggs

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #9 on: July 30, 2018, 12:25:53 PM »
I have hauled many a load from Ar. to Ca. I only had one problem, at the POE in Nm. They wanted to know if the lumber had been fumigated. So I never stopped at the weigh station in Nm. again, problem solved.   Muggs :D

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #10 on: July 30, 2018, 06:19:35 PM »
Neah, you're going at it backwards.

We ship lumber all over the world, but we run a sawmill not a transport business. That means we'll saw logs into lumber, dry and machine as required, then help arrange transportation, pack it in a container/load it on a truck and wave goodbye to it. (Unless its an account customer but those are longstanding arrangements and I know I'm going to get paid). We might arrange delivery from here to another place to make it work with freight and logistics - get it into some transport company depot etc - but time spent driving a delivery truck is not time spend driving a mill, and you dont make money undercutting some truck driver while not doing your own work. It's all about getting paid.

You'll solve 99% of your worries with payment and transportation on one off orders just by selling ex mill yard. That means they come to you.... or at least pay the transportation costs. Sale occurs inside the mill gate, the wood dont leave until its paid for, freight/insurance/liability shifts to the new owner once it goes through the gate. Walmart wont let you leave the store with a tin of beans until you paid for it... but once you paid for it (and shipping ) they'll send it anywhere you want it delivered to. Learn from those big guys... its all about getting paid.

I'll tell ya something I learnt a long time ago - it's never the buyer who cares enough to come see what they're getting for their money that gives you problems. Doesnt mean the guy who doesnt come is going to be a problem... but the guy who does come is almost never a problem.

And whatever you do dont EVER put yourself in the position of needing a sale to make it back home. If you get somewhere and the customer wants to start haggling the pre-agreed price just turn around and leave. Take it all home again if you have to... but mostly you'll find some cabinet shop or similar who will take it off your hands at a fair price, and at least those guys might turn into regulars. It's all about getting paid.

Plenty of threads around here on taking credit card payments from your mobile phone. 

 Again - It's all about getting paid.
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #11 on: July 30, 2018, 07:00:11 PM »
Have them send a text or email to your phone where you and they agree on price, fees, etc.  That is a legal record, as long as itís from their phone, and they have the password etc to send it.  

Take whatever down payment you want via credit card over the phone.  Again, another legal record, as they have to supply you with the cc info and are agreeing that the deal has been negotiated and agreed upon and down payment is being made.  Once the transaction is complete, they canít take your money back without contesting to the bank or cc holder, in which case you show them the emails or texts and ball game, you win they lose.

If your truck and or trailer (combination vehicle) have a gross vehicular weight rating of over 10,000 lbs total, and you are transporting for exchange of money, even as a private carrier as defined by the FMSCA (Federal Motor Safety Carrier Association) they by law you must have a DOT number assigned to your vehicles and all the requirements fullfilled for that.  If you do not, and a State Trooper pulls you over, even if you are completly empty (I was) your equipment may be impounded (luckily not me) and you will receive fines that will make you want to hold out of business (unlucky for me).  I have been there done that.  If you are hauling interstate for business and over 26,000 lbs combined rating, even if unloaded, and you get pulled over, call your friend and let them know where to bail you out of jail.  I know of people who have had that happen and the State Trooper threatened me with jail, also.  Basically, if over 26,000 lbs and you are driving with no CDL, and no business auto insurance and the penalty for driving without either is the clink.  If you drive a dually, and you cross state lines, in you look on your door panel you will probably see weight rating of 13,000 lbs, so that alone menís you need a DOT number to cross state lines for business.  Some states, Georgia and others have adopted the federal guidelines and require instate DOT numbers at 10,000 lbs not 26,000 lbs. It all spelled out at the FMSCA website.  

You will need business insurance on your vehicle.  Your private insurance will not cover it, been there done that.

Some counties have a walnut quarantine.  Watch out for them.  

In state and interstate trucking and commerce is very complicated, and basically means if you exceed 10,000 or 26,000 lbs you have to start a trucking company.  I did, and just to let me know they havenít forgotten about me, I had a DOT State Trooper audit three weeks ago.  


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Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2018, 07:59:33 PM »
Hey everyone,

Thanks for the information. You guys gave a lot of great knowledge here and I'm gonna make sure to put it into use. Brad, what you said was spot on and what I have been thinking. Thanks for that advice. I have considered various payment methods and I agree that certified funds are the only way to go. Its unfortunate, but like some of you said, even the most honest people are more than able to rip you off. In terms of payment with certified funds, how exactly would that go? Do you have them mail something? Now, forgive my ignorance, but couldn't you have them deposit the money into an account in your bank? wouldn't that be the same? I'm having a hard time thinking about the actual money exchange.

I always worry about transactions like this, but like you all said if the buyer doesn't like the terms (especially considering they are reasonable) then tuff.

YellowHammer. Wise words. When it comes to trucking there are a ton of rules and regulations. Some of it I can understand, but a lot seems crazy. Thanks for the heads up on all of that and I'll have to make sure to cross my "t's" and dot my "i's" for sure.

It's all a lot to consider and i'll look into the laws and such. Thanks a lot everyone.

On a side note, WV, I had a similar experience, but with veneer logs. Had a buyer who was always a pain in the ass. Thinking back, I honestly don't know why I ever even bothered with him. He was the "type" that even after an agreed upon price was set would always haggle once the logs got there. One load I had exceptional Hard Maple veneer. I mean this wood was so beautiful it would make you cry. I threw in a cheap pulp log just for him in case he wanted to "bargain" again, I had a special surprise for him. Just like clockwork I get there - I should mention that this particular time I had the logs on a gooseneck, not a semi trailer - and he starts to haggle and say that the logs aren't veneer and how dare I bring this to him blah blah blah. I said "You know what? If they're not veneer then they're firewood to me!" I reached into my truck and grabbed my chainsaw, started it up and started sawing the pulp log I had brought. The guy starts screaming "ARE YOU _____ CRAZY!?!" I responded, "You said they're not veneer so it's firewood to me!". I kept sawing. By the time I got half way down the log this guy was practically throwing up and in tears. I picked up the pieces and threw them in my truck. I asked "Any more of these not look like veneer to you? I got my saw right here." I told him for the hassle he was gonna pay full price or i was leaving. He paid full price. Never charged him for the pulp log or anything shady like that, just the price we had agreed on initially. Did several more deals with him and never had any problem. Never had the heart to tell him it wasn't veneer. O well. 



Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #13 on: July 30, 2018, 08:29:29 PM »
Make no mistake, I'm no expert.  I don't sell wood, I use all my wood.  I know about getting screwed when buying and selling and some of the games dishonest people play.  I was thinking certified bank check, but check with your bank to find the most secure way to do business.  I'd want funds ahead so they clear before I ship any product.  

Seriously, why put yourself in the transportation business?  Customer can arrange pickup, or you can arrange transport if they want.  Money before shipping.
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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #14 on: July 30, 2018, 08:30:12 PM »
Solar,

   I love to haggle (too much time overseas I guess - Heck, I ask for my discount at the checkout at WalMart but all in good spirits) but that is all on the front end. Once we've agreed on a price the deal is sealed. I especially dislike the ones who think they have you over a barrel then want to renegotiate.

   To their credits the best negotiators I ever saw were both in west Africa. The first was on a boat trip to a pygmy village in Cameroon. We had taken a leaky wooden canoe several hours up a river in the jungle to the village then we left the boat crew for our visit. When we got back the boat captain decided he needed to be paid then rather than back at the landing as originally agreed. I guess someone had stiffed him before. He knew we were not going to argue up there. I laughed and paid him. Did not cost any more just earlier payment.

   The other time was at a shakedown at the border leaving Cameroon into The Central African Republic. We had all the visas and proper papers for our trip but the border officials had to be bribed to process us through. I had paid the travel agency and border crossings were their hassle and expense. A Major at the crossing argued but our guides did not agree to his price so he took my wife's and my passport and tossed them in his briefcase, locked it shut and said it was time for him to go home and he'd discuss it in the morning. My guide/agent then got up off his wallet and paid what he demanded. He definitely had the upper hand and knew it.
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #15 on: July 30, 2018, 08:43:17 PM »
Itís been said previously- sawyers saw.  Loggers log. Truckers truck.  Salesmen sell.....you can probably do two of these well.  Itís difficult to do more than a couple exceptionally.  

Let the truckers deal with interstate commerce, DOT, etc. IMO itís better to focus on your core business and be stellar than be average at most of it. 
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Offline sawguy21

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #16 on: July 30, 2018, 09:39:08 PM »
I am not familiar with American banks. Do you have e-transfer available? It is as fool proof as it can get, all the buyer needs is your e-mail address no banking information is revealed. It does require both parties bank online but probably most do. I agree with the others, if you are not in the trucking business let the pros deal with inter state transport and stick to what you do best.
I watched a British show about a car restorer who came across as a bit shady at best. A carrier had loaded a freshly rebuilt Mini on the roll back then demanded payment up front, he had probably had previous dealings with this guy. An argument ensued. The driver hopped on the deck, flipped the car off onto it's roof and drove off. :D
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Offline PAmizerman

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2018, 10:00:51 PM »
When I do large or odd jobs and the customer is too far I email them an invoice and want half down. Once the check clears I start sawing. When the job is done I tell them they can either send a check and once it clears I'll release the lumber to the trucker. Or they can pay cash on the remaining balance when they pick it up. Since they have an invoice and we both have something in writing most peaple don't mind it. If they do then they aren't worth dealing with.

I don't do any deliveries. I let that to the trucking company.
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Offline Percy

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #18 on: July 31, 2018, 12:09:43 AM »
I am not familiar with American banks. Do you have e-transfer available? It is as fool proof as it can get, all the buyer needs is your e-mail address no banking information is revealed. It does require both parties bank online but probably most do. I agree with the others, if you are not in the trucking business let the pros deal with inter state transport and stick to what you do best.
I watched a British show about a car restorer who came across as a bit shady at best. A carrier had loaded a freshly rebuilt Mini on the roll back then demanded payment up front, he had probably had previous dealings with this guy. An argument ensued. The driver hopped on the deck, flipped the car off onto it's roof and drove off. :D
E transfer works awesome and basicaly makes it unneccessary to carry an account for 30 days or more...I carry my regulars that long but unknown new customers ordering 20,000 bdft of 3.25X7 pays full up front. My loggers are phoning for payment what seems like miniutes after the logs arrive. Some, I have to pay before the logs are even loaded on the truck. Got no problem with that but I need my money quick after cutting those logs...
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Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #19 on: August 03, 2018, 11:46:50 PM »
Hey guys just got in and wanted to reply back. A LOT of great advice on here and I really appreciate it. Sometimes you're just not sure how to proceed and this advice has been a life send. I should have mentioned I do personally have a CDL class A (that was my fault for not mentioning it), but the issue is I have no truck. This essentially makes it like I have no CDL because no one is going to loan you their truck. I agree with people mentioning that I should leave the trucking to the truckers. I just have a hard time in my area finding individuals that will do this and often times if I do the price is very high. I'm not saying that the price isn't warranted, but after you factor in the price of the truck vs what you are making the profits seem so small to even bother, you know?

I'm honestly not sure if we have anything like the "E Transfer" here in the states. That's definitely worth looking into and I appreciate the suggestion. Sounds like a safe and quite painless ordeal for all involved.

As for the deal in question, it went quite well. Although there were a ton of great ideas, I had to trust my gut and went with the certified funds route. I told the individual that I wanted half wired to a bank account, which I specifically set up for this and future transactions. The other half would be expected on delivery before unloading. These funds could be either cash or a certified check. To my surprise the individual thought this was completely normal. I made up and invoice and e-mailed it to them. Then they wired the money. Once my bank gave the okay I arranged a time for the delivery. When I met the individual he had a certified check for the amount. Maybe this is me being paranoid, but I called the bank just to verify the authenticity or the check and they said it was legit. Helped him unload and he said he would be in contact for future lumber requests. So, first one done and it went well.

Again, thank you to everyone who posted. All of your advice has been invaluable and I really appreciate it.

P.s. WV those sound like some potentially sticky situations to find yourself in, let a lone in Africa! Man, I wouldn't mind traveling, but that would one worry.

Offline Brad_bb

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #20 on: August 04, 2018, 12:16:15 AM »
 I'm not saying that the price isn't warranted, but after you factor in the price of the truck vs what you are making the profits seem so small to even bother, you know?

Why would the trucking cost eat into your profits?  You're lumber price is your lumber price.  The trucking cost is separate and the responsibility of the buyer.
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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #21 on: August 04, 2018, 08:14:46 AM »
Yes, don't roll the two together. Even when I sell maple syrup, the customer pays the shipping and I have the payment before the product leaves here.
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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #22 on: August 04, 2018, 11:30:37 AM »
Finding a trucker to haul your lumber shouldn't be especially hard.  I have two that do grading and hauling.  They are always looking to fill in between jobs.  I've had good luck with these guys hauling logs and lumber.
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Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #23 on: August 10, 2018, 12:17:58 PM »
Brad and Maple,

You guys point out good points with having the customer cover shipping and honestly most of the time this is no problem. There are sometimes though I price my lumber at a good price, but don't factor in shipping as I figure I can do it. Now, that's not to say that I don't get paid to ship, but it's drastically different than the cost of a truck. If I factored in the price of shipping of a truck them my lumber price is probably no different, and maybe even more than local places these people could buy from. By no means do I want to get in to the transportation business. I did trucking before and I'm past that point in my life, but I have to unload the lumber and sometimes there just aren't any buys near by.

All great advice guys. I really appreciate it and it's helped out a tremendous amount. Thanks again everyone.

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #24 on: August 21, 2018, 11:47:46 AM »
We don't ship w/o being paid in full.  Period.  Almost always by credit card - sometimes the customer will send a check in advance.

We rarely deliver unless it is local.  We're in the milling and drying business - not the transport business and if i'm sitting behind the wheel of a truck it means that I'm not sitting behind the controls of a sawmill.

Just my 2 cents.
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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #25 on: August 21, 2018, 01:13:32 PM »
I'd be wary of bank wires too - there are some ways that can go wrong.  Thought about PayPal?  Probably have to eat a 3% fee, but it's fairly ironclad...
You can send money through Paypal to a "friend" with no charge.
If you are enjoying what you are doing,  is it still work?

Offline Solar_HoneyBee0

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #26 on: August 22, 2018, 01:46:46 AM »
Sc and JR,

Hey guys. Great points. SC, I hear ya 100%. I mean, milling is the name of the game. If you're not milling and drying lumber than you're not making any money. With that said, If I am not able to sell lumber locally at the moment for some reason i'm also not making money. That's why I have reached out further than usual and have had relative success. I believe in transporting the lumber myself because it cuts down on the final cost. I have calculated my time vs hiring someone and often times I decide just to do it myself. Will this always be the case? Probably not, but for now it seems to be working out. 

JR, I have used Paypal in the past and they have been pretty solid. There have been a few times where I have had to dispute charges with them and it's been a complete hassle. Like SC said, I would rather be milling that arguing with people over my money, you know? It's a hard situation to find the right balance that's for sure.

Thanks for the advice guys I appreciate the input.

Offline Just Right

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Re: Transporting lumber
« Reply #27 on: August 22, 2018, 07:58:01 AM »
I do agree with you.  If I never had to deal with another customer service rep ever again that would be toooooooooo soon!  Sounds like you are getting it done though.  Keep up the good work.
If you are enjoying what you are doing,  is it still work?


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