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Author Topic: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?  (Read 507 times)

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Offline Snowman1988

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Good evening everybody. I'm still pretty new to milling, and I've got my business up and going (Thompson Timber & Sawmill-Watonga,OK)

My question is I have a customer that messaged me that has some nice mature cedar trees on his property out in the country. He'd like to have some sawn for a project. but he'd like to exchange some standing trees for my labor.

Normally how I would do this is, if you bring the log to my mill I'll saw it on 50/50 shares.

But I was wondering if you have ever exchanged lumber for standing timber? where you went out and personally cut the trees and stacked the limbs and hauled the logs to your own mill?

If so how did you handle it that was fair for the customer and for you as well?

an example would be like: for every 5 log you keep and milled 1 for the customer? 

my mill is a stationary Timberking 1220

Online Southside

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2021, 09:16:39 PM »
So your "customer" wants you to take on all the risk, all the labor, and all the expense, so you can invest more labor, risk, and expense into your "share" and hope to recover something out of it down the road.  I wonder if he first got a quote from a tree service company that made him gasp. 

Personally I would explain to the customer that I run a sawmill business and give him the rates to saw his logs into lumber and let him figure out how to convert the timber into logs.  
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Offline barbender

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2021, 09:43:17 PM »
No exchanges for me. They will always think their trees are worth more, and your service worth less, than reality. For instance, say someone wanted me to saw some pine logs in exchange for more. I'm not going to figure out what my service is worth in trees, I already know my price in $$. I haven't even custom sawn anything in my yard lately, but I'm thinking I don't want to bother with less than .50/bf. I buy good pine logs between $250-300/1000 delivered and set on the ground. So if someone had me saw 1000bf, they'd owe me $500. If they had the means to deliver another 2000bf, I'd give them back their $500 for it.
Too many irons in the fire

Online Magicman

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2021, 09:59:44 PM »
That is the customer's idea and offer, not yours.  Personally I would not even consider it.  No.
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Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2021, 10:04:07 PM »
not sure how far you are from me, but I could get 50 semi trailer loads of down ERC trees for free within 5 miles of my house.  they may even pay me to haul them away.  with the current lumber prices, you might do better than average on selling rough lumber, but I would only do it if you had a customer ready to buy the rest of the lumber after you mill.  I agree with give a price and he can bring the logs.  let him bring you extra to saw and pay you, then he can try to sell it.  unless you need the lumber.  around here it would be free or you would be paid to go take down the tree and remove.
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2021, 10:19:13 PM »
With regular logs and regular lumber I do deals like this all the time but I don't do shares. So instead it works like this... 

Here's the price I pay for logs on the stump/on the truck/landed in the mill yard (customers call, I'm good either way)
and
Here's what I charge for lumber/ contract sawing. (customers call, I'm good either way).

It's clean, transparent, and fair. I assume risk on logs I buy same as always. The customer assumes risk on anything I contract saw.... or gets to buy lumber from me at fair market value (that may or may not have been sourced from the logs I just bought from the guy because guess what they're mine now, and I'll make up my orders from logs as it suits me)

(The one exception to my no shares rule is when the logs are exceptional - the 48"+ walnut class types where we might both do real well or both work for nothing. Those deals I calculate on a case by case basis, factoring in the customers investment of a log, and mine of years of my life and my life's savings in plant and equipment)

The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Cedarman

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2021, 06:55:30 AM »
Geography plays a part in the price of cedar in Ok. For the most part standing cedar in Ok has a negative value.  In other words land owners pay to have the cedar cut, then they pay to have it pushed into piles and burnt. About $75 to $125.00 per acre just to cut.
The land owner has no idea of the value or negative value of their cedar, but you do know the value of cedar logs delivered to your mill based on the value of the lumber you saw out of those logs.
One approach would be to figure the value of the logs delivered to the mill. Then figure logging and transporting costs for those logs.  If that comes out less than the value of the logs then you have profit that you can split with the land owner.  The land owner can take his profit in lumber you saw from his logs based on the value of the lumber you sell.  Lots of figuring.

Another way is to offer the landowner a price for the standing trees based on how much cleanup work (avoid if possible) is needed.  Then offer to sell the landowner back the cedar he needs for his projects.  Very transparent and easy to figure.

There are millions of acres of standing cedar in Ok that is in need of harvesting. Some of it beautiful sawlogs. Shame to see it burnt or go into mulch.  

Wish you well Snowman.  
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline doc henderson

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2021, 07:00:02 AM »
I also have friends tell me they have a huge cedar tree if I want it, and I go and yes it is 30 feet tall and 20 feet across, but has a million branches and the trunk is 6 inches in diameter.  not much value other than uber-rustic stuff.  not for everyone.  I would quote him a price to harvest the trees and a price to mill.  He may decide to harvest, limb and deliver the logs himself.
timberking B 2000, 277c track loader, PJ 32 foot gooseneck, 1976 F700 state dump truck, JD 850 tractor.  2007 Chevy 3500HD dually, home built log splitter 18 horse 28 gpm with 5 inch cylinder and 32 inch split range with conveyor 12 volt tarp motor

Offline sealark37

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2021, 09:15:52 AM »
I can see your "customer" driving away with a load of nice cedar boards for his project, and you looking at a pile of logs and boards that might recover your cost.  Stick with your business, which is sawing.

Offline maple flats

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Re: Sawing cedar in exchange for cedar (standing Trees) question?
« Reply #9 on: July 24, 2021, 03:20:18 PM »
In the past I only cut trees on a customer's property twice. The first time I felled 6-8 good size spruce trees into an open field, they were on the edge of that field and the customer owned the property on both sides. Those trees were all between 20" and 31" DBH (diameter breast height) and all were live, not compromised or dead. I cut them for free , and I got the trees to saw. All I had into it was my time and fuel.
On the other one where I cut the trees, again they were spruce and I loaded them on a single axle log truck using forks on the front of a tractor. Because they were hauled by a logging truck I had to pay trucking but not for the logs. I think I paid $250 total for the trucking, 2 loads. The truck had a 16' dump box and he only had to haul the logs about 3-4 miles, then he dumped them in an open field.
In the 17 years I had my Peterson sawmill those were the only trees I cut that were not my trees.
Unless you are desperate for those logs, I would  say "not interested".
Also be aware, if you cut the trees you expose yourself to all of the liability.
logging small time for years but just learning how,  2012 36 HP Mahindra tractor, 3point log arch, 8000# class excavator, lifts 2500# and sets logs on mill precisely where needed, Woodland Mills HM130Max , maple syrup a hobby that consumes my time. looking to learn blacksmithing.


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