The Forestry Forum

General Forestry => Urban and Community Forestry => Topic started by: E-Tex on February 16, 2018, 09:18:33 AM

Title: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: E-Tex on February 16, 2018, 09:18:33 AM
I want to approach local tree companies looking for a good source of logs for my part-time sawmill business.

Typically, what does the Tree company do with the trees they take down?
Do they have to pay to dispose of at a landfill?
Do they sell the tree/logs to a local chipping/mulching place, sell as pulpwood? 

Wondering how to fit in with their business where I can help them dispose of logs and I gain logs?  Of course I'd prefer free logs but I will pay for quality logs. 

I want to understand the process of how they dispose of logs so I can figure out how to approach them for business.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: timberking on February 16, 2018, 09:35:04 AM
We buy delivered to our yards from several tree services.  Pulp and logs.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: ACman on February 17, 2018, 07:09:42 AM
Here in the Atlanta area I work on all types of off road equipment and have lots of customers who clear land and grade. Big jobs loggers get the wood but small jobs they don't. Guys clearing and grading small job sites everything usually goes into a roll off and goes to the C&D landfills. So if they can get rid of the logs it puts a little more money in there pockets.  I have even traded work for wood delivered to our place and if I had a truck with a loader I believe I could keep it busy just picking up wood. So gives you someone else to hopefully get some wood from.. :)
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: E-Tex on February 17, 2018, 08:42:46 AM
thank you for the info. 

Yesterday, I did have one of the larger tree companies in my area ask about sawing some 30-35" SYP for him.  Needs 8x8 and 10x10 beams.  looks like he has 6-8 quality logs.  Might be smart to saw them free...or really cheap... in exchange for some future logs.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Stuart Caruk on February 17, 2018, 03:18:19 PM
You must be a gluten for punishment....

I run a CNC machine and fab shop. We build all kinds of unique products. The standard
request is, I'm going to build 1000 of these, but I just need 1 to prove the concept and get the
funding. The premise is that you will roll all your R & D, fixturing and setups costs into the 1000 piece order, giving them a fantastic price on their first part. Trust me, the future orders never come...


Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Beachcomber on March 13, 2018, 04:55:16 AM
This is my first post so hello guys and gals.

Stuart is bang on! Do NOT offer to do the logs for free.

If your new/newish to the business (any business) you must understand there are plenty of experienced people already in the business. Many will be nice, many will be bottom of the barrel. Profit, or the fear of bankruptcy has a way of making nice people not so nice, and exploiting the enthusiasm of someone new to the game is has been happening since humans started trading.

A tip my old mentor told me was, bring up pricing/your rate and your standard terms very early on in a conversation about offering your services.

It's a good skill to be able to do it calmly but confidently and have a clear understanding of the economics. This has a number of benefits, but it's not intuitive for allot of people as they want to make friends, win clients and don't like to talk about money. Talking about fair, market prices in a calm manner will win you business, and earn respect as a fair business woman/man. You make friends at School - you earn them in business.

Even if it's a small operation, your in business to make cash, and so is your supplier - bringing up pricing quickly shows the other side your in business - not charity. This is important.


As Stuart said, working for free is a bad idea - all you are doing is giving away your hourly rate to the other side (while working on a dangerous machine). You might not be protected legally if they don't honour the deal, or there is an accident. 

If you have not got back to the firm yet, I would ask them when they need the work carried out, give them your availability and a time frame for work to be completed and give them a fair price. Whatever the market price band is, go in at the lower end. If you don't know it, learn what their margins are so you can 'sell' your price to them if they call up on the phone and try and push you down.

Don't let any firm pressure you for anything, especially time to do a job. If they want a job done quickly - ask for FULL payment up front. Many suddenly don't need it done quickly, but if they are serious, they will ask you to send over an invoice.

Hope this helps - yikes I wrote allot but had a strong coffee before this!
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: submarinesailor on March 13, 2018, 08:30:56 AM
Beachcomber - Welcome to the forum.  I was in your neck of the woods, many years ago, down around the Holy Loch area.

Must have been good strong coffee, because you are right on with what you said.

Again - Welcome to the Forestry Forum. ;D ;D
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Klunker on March 13, 2018, 07:38:10 PM
Building off Stuarts Post.

If you want to get wood from these guys tell them you will do the sawing for whatever logs you feel are equal in value to your time/work.

Get The Payment 1st then do the work for them!!!
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: jwade on March 13, 2018, 07:55:05 PM
wow beachcomber, what a first post, well said and welcome to the forum.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Ianab on March 13, 2018, 11:46:05 PM
Might be smart to saw them free...or really cheap... in exchange for some future logs.


As the others have suggested. If you are willing to be paid in logs, get the logs at the same time, not some vague future promise. Give them a price for sawing, and a price list for buying (Good Quality) logs. No money need actually change hands, but you have now put a value on both your work, and their logs which they are trading for work.

The deal need not be 50/50 either. For example, walnut logs are a lot more valuable than pine logs, but cost about the same to saw. You might agree to saw 2 pine logs in exchange for 1 walnut. Or need to be paid 3 pines to saw 1 walnut etc. By having your sawing and log purchase rates clearly stated this can be worked out. $500 of logs gets you $500 of sawing.

This fits in with what Beachcomber is saying about clearly setting out a fair value for your work, upfront.

And yes tree services often have to pay to dump logs. Some may deal in firewood as a way of turning a cost into a profit. There isn't big money in that, but busting it into firewood on a rainy day, and selling that for $50 is a lot better than paying $50 to dump it. Larger mills wont want their logs because of the risk of metal in them. So keep those things in mind when you set your prices.  It may be you only have to pay "firewood" value. Dropping the log off to you, getting $50 and not having to process it as firewood is an even better deal for them. 
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Beachcomber on March 14, 2018, 09:52:02 AM
Beachcomber - Welcome to the forum.  I was in your neck of the woods, many years ago, down around the Holy Loch area.

Must have been good strong coffee, because you are right on with what you said.

Again - Welcome to the Forestry Forum. ;D ;D
Thanks Submarinesailor. The Holy Loch - I can guess what you were doing there  It's a lovely part of the world. I have not been over that way for quite a while and have been meaning to go there on a cycling / fishing trip for some time. I think Dunoon was hit pretty hard when the base was closed down. With all this chemical stuff in the UK just now, I think we should formally invite you guys to come back and set up shop!
How did you get on with the midges?
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Beachcomber on March 14, 2018, 09:52:59 AM
wow beachcomber, what a first post, well said and welcome to the forum.
Thanks Jwade! I have a question to ask you guys but I'll post it as a new thread.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: slider on March 14, 2018, 08:02:01 PM
Beachcomber , excellent advice And welcome. I do custom sawing and have a small tree service . What you stated was spot on . There is a tipping charge on most jobs that cannot be avoided and it adds up. If E-Tex could justify a self loader and picking up the logs from the job-site I know that it would work.

Some here would rather me dispose of the logs than pay the tipping fee and get on to the next job. This week a friend in the tree business called and offered some nice pine . It was too far for him to get it back to his yard. I got 2/1/2 nice loads of syp but I brought my dump in and removed a load of tops to make things fair for both of us .

Yesterday he was close to me on a crane job ,big pecan . I removed the big stuff , one trip for the pines on his next job .  Like you said , be straight up and be carful who you deal with.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: mike_belben on March 22, 2018, 01:45:44 PM
I am in the business of getting things for free and have been my whole life.  Some things arent worth taking even for free.  And btw your time is a form of capital as well.  
 Garbage for example.  You ever seen a free garbage drop off?   Junk tires?  Raw sewage?  these things cost money to give away.  


So with tree services.. Its a gray area.  Some will charge for wood, some will give freely, some will pay to dispose.  It depends entirely on their personal situation.  If theyre making a killing doing contract powerline work then fast unload is critical.  You win by being CLOSE TO THE JOB and making this a fast process for them.  You could partner with a company that does the trimming whereby they plop the logs on your trailer and you retrieve, unload and return the trailer.  Youll want to deal with an above board company and have the trailer insured for theft.. Or it be a junky trailer that no one will really be inclined to steal.  Weld some bunks onto a rusty old eager beaver pintle triaxle and send her out to collect you some wood.  But beware to get the gem you gotta take the junk too.  So plan on processing firewood.   

I have done this for a land clearer where i back up to his woodpile and haul off whatever he loads.  and have also done it for fill dirt, where i made my yard exceptionally convenient for a triaxle to back in and dump, rain or shine.  Yeah it took a lot of rock and culvert and a double gate upfront but ive gotten 19 free loads delivered, much of it with 6" limestone rock mixed in.  That rock is $460 a load.   

If you want logs delivered to your yard, be sure you are gonna be able to make it ultra easy for them.  Thats what your payment is to get free stuff.. That its easy for the party letting it go. It solves a problem they have effectively and economically.  
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: mike_belben on March 22, 2018, 01:50:53 PM
I will also build off what was already said regarding your first clients.  

Finding good customers is just like finding a good wife or good friends.  Mrs right is out there.. But you wont get her if youre tied up with some slum girl and her drama.  You have to be single and have your act together when mrs right strolls by.   Want good friends?  Evict your loser buddies first or there wont be any room for good friends in your life.  Want a good paying gig with a great customer?  Got to ward off all the non-payer parasites and simply wait it out for the good job.  Being tied up in free work for parasites will ensure that you miss your chance to jump on that good paying job when it eventually comes.  

 If i could get back all those years i worked for nothing, id be a teenager.  You dont want to look back and say that. 
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: sweetfarm on February 25, 2019, 02:14:41 AM
I am in the business of getting things for free and have been my whole life.  Some things arent worth taking even for free.  And btw your time is a form of capital as well.  
 Garbage for example.  You ever seen a free garbage drop off?   Junk tires?  Raw sewage?  these things cost money to give away.  


So with tree services.. Its a gray area.  Some will charge for wood, some will give freely, some will pay to dispose.  It depends entirely on their personal situation.  If theyre making a killing doing contract powerline work then fast unload is critical.  You win by being CLOSE TO THE JOB and making this a fast process for them.  You could partner with a company that does the trimming whereby they plop the logs on your trailer and you retrieve, unload and return the trailer.  Youll want to deal with an above board company and have the trailer insured for theft.. Or it be a junky trailer that no one will really be inclined to steal.  Weld some bunks onto a rusty old eager beaver pintle triaxle and send her out to collect you some wood.  But beware to get the gem you gotta take the junk too.  So plan on processing firewood.  

I have done this for a land clearer where i back up to his woodpile and haul off whatever he loads.  and have also done it for fill dirt, where i made my yard exceptionally convenient for a triaxle to back in and dump, rain or shine.  Yeah it took a lot of rock and culvert and a double gate upfront but ive gotten 19 free loads delivered, much of it with 6" limestone rock mixed in.  That rock is $460 a load.  

If you want logs delivered to your yard, be sure you are gonna be able to make it ultra easy for them.  Thats what your payment is to get free stuff.. That its easy for the party letting it go. It solves a problem they have effectively and economically.  
Taking the good with the bad can not be overstated!  When I was younger my father heard that they were clearing trees and all he had to do was send his truck for free wood!  He paid an employee an entire days pay to truck the free wood.   What we got was a mix of huge maple that was a nightmare to split and cut and brush.  Oh and every sideboard and gate on our C60 was bent or broken from being loaded with a log truck.  We always bought quality firewood logs and had them delivered after that.  I am sure there are deals out there.  You just have to find the right one for you.
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: charles mann on August 12, 2019, 08:03:34 PM
@E-Tex (http://forestryforum.com/board/index.php?action=profile;u=37146) iv thought of doing the same, but my 12/6 schedule doesnt line up very well to off load the wood, and i WONT let them operate my equipment, bc if they tear it up, or it coincedently gets stolen, then im out the equipment till repair or insurance pays up for another tractor. i do have some folks with their feelers out for certain trees, and of course, free is always best. i also look on craigslist and marketplace and it seems either the day im getting on  plane to go to work, or halfway through my rotation, post show up with a timeline on getting it. with timelines, i wont even bother asking them to wait till i get home. i have found my big trees mostly on CL, but a few nice 1s have come from market place. once winter time rolls around, i will have more time to gather the logs, just have to make sure i go to work too. i have thought bout driving a tck in the winter to prevent me from having to fly to/from oregon, but we'll see come then. 
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Ohio Dave on September 16, 2019, 09:00:20 PM
My experience with tree service guys is they cut 16-18 inches.   Not lengths for lumber.  Special the urban service ones.  Clearers are different. 
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: SFires on December 28, 2019, 05:45:13 PM
Spent 8 years working line clearance. If your not picky and don't mind taking the good along with the bad then most all tree company's will give you all you want. True you'll get more "fire" wood then saw logs but most companies will run grapple trucks on any job there doing that's gonna have a lot of removals on so you should end up with plenty of logs to pick threw.  They'd much rather spent the same money on fuel and dump for free then pay to dump. At least that's my experience
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: Stephen1 on January 10, 2020, 08:43:23 AM
My experience with tree service guys is they cut 16-18 inches.   Not lengths for lumber.  Special the urban service ones.  Clearers are different.
I like when customers call me before the arborists. "Arborists know how to make firewood".(I always smile when I tell them)
 I tell them to have a tape measure on hand for the arborist to use. It ensures that the log is the right length
I can tell them to what lengths and what part of the tree is benificial to them to build thier table or lumber .
Lot clearing guys like the 12' lengths which is okay unless your trying to make 8' B&B siding. 
Title: Re: Advice from you Tree Company guys
Post by: GAB on January 10, 2020, 10:06:14 AM
What I like is when a potential customer says So & So will do it for half that (or something like that) I tell them to go for it.  Some mill owners do not know what their operating costs are.
GAB