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Author Topic: getting rich with a sawmill  (Read 3309 times)

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Offline petefrom bearswamp

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getting rich with a sawmill
« on: July 20, 2022, 05:35:41 PM »
Had a call last week from a young friend about buying a sawmill.
How many times have we experienced this?
He is buying 40 acres with 20 acres of woods and wants to saw his own lumber for his use and to sell.
I know him well and he is not afraid of hard work but has zero business sense.
There are a lot of Amish around here with mills and they sell maybe not cheap, but cheaper than I could sell when I was milling.
I DID discourage him.
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Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #1 on: July 20, 2022, 05:47:12 PM »
Reminds me of the young man who bought a tri-axle dump truck from someone who was retiring. After a year of running the truck, the young man ran into the guy he bought it from. He asked him when you start making money with the truck. "When you sell it!"
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Offline Walnut Beast

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #2 on: July 20, 2022, 06:08:27 PM »
I would say go for it and get a hydraulic mill that holds or exceeds itís value. Saw lumber and sell later 

Online stavebuyer

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #3 on: July 20, 2022, 06:48:20 PM »
Wise words from a man with 60 or so year's experience..

Offline Magicman

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #4 on: July 20, 2022, 07:42:12 PM »
I bought my sawmill from a guy that bought it with the intention of making a living with it.  He sawed for two years and then it sat idle with a For Sale sign on it for a year after he got a real job and went back to work.

I have done quite well with it but I have never gotten rich nor made enough to call it a living.  For me it has been a very good side/part time business.
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Offline Southside

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2022, 07:47:38 PM »
Just like farming, it's not a job, it's a lifestyle choice. For some it's not the right choice. 
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Offline Crossroads

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2022, 08:07:19 PM »
Roughly 8 years ago when I bought my first mill, I had a bunch of cedar treeís on my property and I wanted to put them to use. After a while I decided to try to make a little money on the side with it. That started doing well, so I upgraded to a bigger better new mill. At some point I decided I could make a go of running it full time. Do I see as a way to get rich? Absolutely not! Has it been providing a good living for my family for the last year and a half? Yes! Will it continue? I have no idea, with all the new mills in the area, I have a feeling that it will slow down for a while. Iím definitely not putting all of my eggs in one basket. Between the mill, the excavator/skiddy and a contractor with an open invitation to work with him. I should be able to ride it out. 
With the right fulcrum and enough leverage, you can move the world!

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Offline Acem

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2022, 09:43:01 PM »
You can make money with a sawmill however like anything most of the money is in marketing.

Peace sells, who's buying?

Offline thecfarm

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2022, 09:47:17 PM »
I have a manual mill. 
I want a building I start the chainsaw and cut what I need and start the sawmill up. 
The only trouble I have with a manual mill is the Honda motor on it. The fuel pump needs to replaced every few years.
Now if he buys a mill, he will need something to get the logs out of the woods.
It has started!!!!
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Offline fluidpowerpro

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2022, 10:11:26 PM »
I have done quite well with it but I have never gotten rich nor made enough to call it a living.  For me it has been a very good side/part time business.
???
If I was someone wanting to try to make a living with a mobile mill, and I had followed this forum for any length of time, and having seen how much wood you can cut, this would scare the heck out of me. If you couldn't make a living at it, then I wonder who could. Maybe it's because the definition of "a living" is different depending on who you're talking to?
Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full of it falls off the top shelf and hits your head!

Offline KWood255

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2022, 10:15:42 PM »
For me, the mill is the easy part. The biggest expense is in the supporting equipment an maintenance. Blade costs are getting worse all the time, not to mention the price of logs and delivery. 

In my little bit of experience, it would be very difficult to produce enough lumber to pay the bills without having reliable and efficient machinery to feed the mill, and handle the finished product. 

I do not know what the perfect supporting equipment isÖI have a 75hp Kubota tractor with several attachments as well as a 3.5 ton mini excavator, 20í flat deck trailer and a Timberjack 230 cable skidder. I still feel like Iím missing something, but Iím reluctant to invest too much more into a market which appears to be dwindling slightly across the continent. 


Offline fluidpowerpro

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2022, 10:31:14 PM »
Ignore my last post. I realize now that Magic wasn't say he couldn't have, just that he hasn't. Like Gilda said... Never Mind!
Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full of it falls off the top shelf and hits your head!

Offline Magicman

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #12 on: July 20, 2022, 10:43:05 PM »
If you couldn't make a living at it, then I wonder who could.
Tom, what I may "could" do and what I choose to do are two different things.  I decided after my first year's sawing that I would not buy logs nor saw and sell lumber.  Also I had no place to set up and saw customer's logs so I decided to only do portable sawing.  Both of these decisions limited my sawing.  I also pick and choose my jobs, more so now than in the past.

100Mbf seems like a good round number to shoot for but lets break it down.  1/3 for the sawmill, (repairs, replacements, blades, fuel, etc) 1/3 for taxes & insurance, advertisement, etc. and 1/3 for me.  @ $400Mbf = $40K so my 1/3 = $13K.  This year I will saw around 200Mbf so that kicks it up to $26K.  Good but it depends upon one's definition of a "living".
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Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline fluidpowerpro

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #13 on: July 20, 2022, 10:48:17 PM »
Yes, I realized that I misinterpreted what your post actually said. My apologies.
Change is hard....
Especially when a jar full of it falls off the top shelf and hits your head!

Offline Magicman

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #14 on: July 20, 2022, 10:58:15 PM »
Oh no, no apology nor retraction necessary.  You asked a legitimate question and we must realize that there are many members and guest that are reading both the question and the answer and trying to figure out how to get rich. 

It's a business and a tough business.  Everything done with a log is hard work, dangerous, and there are no simple rules because each of our situations and markets are different.  Each of us have to develop our own business and find our own niche.
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 OlJarhead

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #15 on: July 20, 2022, 11:58:37 PM »
wait!  what!?  I can't get rich working part time?

 now you tell me! lol
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Offline longtime lurker

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #16 on: July 21, 2022, 03:43:45 AM »
I know guys that made some serious money in this industry.

But none of them ever got there sawing logs, nor even marketing it (and this list of people I know includes some who were major operators back in the day). In every case they made that money off the real estate. Buy the timberland or commercial real estate... saw enough logs and sell enough wood to stay ahead of the interest for a few decades... sell the real estate. It's like farming... the money is in the land and the crop or critters are just a way to pay the bills while the land appreciates in value.

You can still make a good living in this business in you work smart and long and hard, but the kind of money you can retire knowing your grandkids are set with comes from dirt not saws.
The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Offline Ianab

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #17 on: July 21, 2022, 05:05:42 AM »
What's the old story?

How do you make a small fortune in "X"?




Start with a large fortune  :D

Can you make some money sawing wood? Of course. But if getting rich was easy, everyone would be doing it. 
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Offline Quebecnewf

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #18 on: July 21, 2022, 05:51:47 AM »
Been sawing ( part time ) for 30 years . 
Get rich sawing ?   No not in my case .

Love sawing ? Yes 

Do it for free ? Probably 
Going sawing again today . Yay going to be a great day .

Quebecnewf 

Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: getting rich with a sawmill
« Reply #19 on: July 21, 2022, 06:12:33 AM »
It's a lot of hard work.
Marketing is a large part after you figure out how to make nice lumber.
I went through alot as a contractor wanting to stay small you can only make so much.
I enjoy my new life style the Woodmizer probably saved my life. If I didn't get it I was going down fast emotionally and fiscally. 
There is some new mills opening near me , I'm not worried about it.
I can do firewood, build stuff from my lumber .
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