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Author Topic: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work  (Read 1398 times)

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Offline Southside

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #20 on: November 11, 2020, 10:03:04 PM »
Option 3. Don't comply, just be smart about how you do it.  Is the neighbor "working from home" due to mandates put in place?  Well - that's running a business too.  14th Amendment speaks to the equal protection for all, if your town allows folks to work from home then the same applies, the town leaders just have not become aware of that reality yet.  All it takes is one person to stand up.  

Personally I will be a good neighbor, but there is no way I will allow some busy body to tell me what I can do on my property when it does not impact them.  
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Offline donbj

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2020, 01:50:26 AM »
First off, where's the wife in all this? If you both have full time jobs AND a small child your time gets pretty limited with the present responsibilities. 

Just don't turn it into a "business". If you don't have intentions of leaving your full time job you have enjoy it as a side line gig from home with your family when time permits. Time goes by so fast!
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Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #22 on: November 12, 2020, 06:47:10 AM »
I started with an LT15.  Its a great mill.  If you saw with it a lot, it will break you down.  A thousand bdft of logs weighs 16,000 lbs, all of which must come off the mill by hand, manually.  Before long, you will be hand moving hundreds of thousands to millions of pounds of wood a year, by hand.

As part of the business plan, if you want to keep going, put a down payment on a hydraulic mill.  Even the slowest hydraulic is 5 times faster than a manual.  So now instead of sawing after work every night, youll be sawing one or two days a week, after work and spend the rest of the time doing something else. 

Or just fill orders one day a week on the weekend.  With a fast mill, thats doable because Ive done it.  

Then raise prices, once you are worth it, and that will allow you to saw less and make more.  

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Offline Bruno of NH

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #23 on: November 12, 2020, 07:57:08 AM »
Great advice by YH 
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Offline Raym

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #24 on: November 12, 2020, 08:03:02 AM »
My advice would be "if I were in your shoes" keep your current mill at home if possible and use it as intended for personal use. When/if the time comes you would like to continue to generate income, upgrade to a hydraulic mill and do as MM does and saws them and leaves them. This gets the county off your back. However if you upgrade, try and do it with cash since then there is no added pressure to "make money" and you can make wiser decisions whether or not to saw of take the kiddo fishing.

Trust me on this. There was a time I would borrow money for anything. Nowadays I absolutely don't do anything unless I can write a check. Now I make money when I want and go fishing when I want....and when I make money, I make more of it because I don't have any payments. It can be done, you just have to have patience. 
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Online mike_belben

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #25 on: November 12, 2020, 08:41:06 AM »
First off, where's the wife in all this? If you both have full time jobs AND a small child ...
This.   If thats your only kid, right now is easy street, a cute novelty everyone is lining up to be around.  Add one or two more in a few years, plus jobs, and it is combat.  If youre always gone and she always has them, that mill might as well be the other woman, she will grow to resent it for taking you away and leaving her stranded with domestic terrorists and their mind control tactics. 
 
Momma is gonna need you around to tag team childcare. Doesnt matter how she is now or what shes said or any of that, itll change.  If youre keepin both jobs, an at home hobby mill is a safer gamble until the kids can stay home alone.  Plus hey, free sawdust removal, offbearers who stack badly but look cute doing it.  In a few years you can turn the kids loose in the yard and stay piddling on the mill while wife takes a sanity trip to town after work and everyone stays sane.
 






 Besides, theres no reason why you cant make a hobby of piddling on customer logs and clandestinely delivering wood to them on weekends with the kids. What youre doing now will grow by word of mouth.  
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Online mudfarmer

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #26 on: November 12, 2020, 10:18:12 AM »
I don't understand your neighbor/town/county/city's problem and would probably ask all of them exactly what it is right to their faces.

We don't like small businesses anymore I guess? Everything that is produced should be done by someone else, somewhere else, out of sight? What a crying shame.

Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #27 on: November 12, 2020, 10:42:20 AM »
    That's a hard question/issue for me. I am very anti-social about others telling me what I can do with and on my own property which is a big factor in me not living in town. I remember and still resent places I lived where they told me I could not build a yard fence forward of my house or plant a tree there. I prefer to live in an area where I can sight in my deer rifle or pee off my front porch with no complaints from my neighbors.

   However, I can understand and sympathize with a neighbor who was being disturbed by noise from my mill, if I were close enough the noise could truly bother them, or trucks and trailers driving through or disrupting traffic by parking/loading/unloading on close suburban streets or creating safety concerns where my kids were playing with their friends. If the sawmill business is not being disruptive and you just have a jealous and envious petty, back-biting neighbor I have no sympathy for them. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing which is the case here.   
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Offline Tom the Sawyer

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #28 on: November 12, 2020, 10:59:31 AM »
Just throwing this out there, toss it if you wish.  Have you considered moving to a more hospitable location.  Your house payment/rent + $500 might put you a location where you would be milling at home (saving immense commute time), someplace where you can legally run your home business, and away from that neighbor.  It has been my experience that, once they successfully modify what you can do, they'll be more inclined to complain about something else (either you or another neighbor).
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Offline Redhorseshoe

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #29 on: November 12, 2020, 11:39:35 AM »
We live 7 miles out of town in a rural neighborhood.  The issue is with the county and me using my residential property for commercial use.  Unfortunately, we live in quite literally one of the most overpriced real estate markets in the country and moving isn't feasible right now.

Online WV Sawmiller

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #30 on: November 12, 2020, 11:45:03 AM »
   Have you requested to be re-zoned? If you aren't in a tight suburb area that might be an option.
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Offline alan gage

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #31 on: November 12, 2020, 11:59:31 AM »
I don't understand your neighbor/town/county/city's problem and would probably ask all of them exactly what it is right to their faces.

We don't like small businesses anymore I guess? Everything that is produced should be done by someone else, somewhere else, out of sight? What a crying shame.
Depends on the situation. I like people being lenient and tolerant but if you move to an area and start doing something that's prohibited then you can hardly complain if someone doesn't like it and you're asked to stop. I know I wouldn't like it if someone was running a sawmill all the time near my house. If they were within their rights I'd either live with it or start looking for somewhere else to live. If they weren't within their rights I'd ask them to stop.
I prefer living where there are no close neighbors and where I'm free to do almost whatever I want. I know I wouldn't like living next door to myself.
To the original poster - Congrats on the new mill and initial success! When I first got my mill I considered setting it up at home and quickly realized I'd soon have no yard left after finding a place for the mill, logs, other equipment, and lumber stacks. I was fortunate to find 4 acres of land 20 minutes away from home, in the town where I work, very cheap. Very likely I'll build a house there in the next few years. Even though it's only 20 minutes away from where I live now it's a hassle and I feel like I hardly get to spend any time at home.
When I get done with my regular job I can be to the mill in 3 minutes. But if I wanted to go home and eat dinner first I'd be looking at 20 minutes to get home and then 20 minutes to get back to the mill and then 20 minutes to get home again. So driving would take an hour out of my evening. So instead I go straight to the mill and go home when it gets too dark to mill. Which means basically the only time I'm home is when I'm sleeping during the summer.
That also means that if I'm home and find myself with an hour or two to spare it's pretty much pointless to go to the sawmill because I'll spend 40 minutes just driving there and back, which leaves very little time for sawing by the time I put on a blade, load a log and start sawing. So I either don't saw at all or I spend at least half a day at the mill, and away from home.
Being single this really isn't a problem for me but I would love to be able to just walk out my door and mill whenever I feel like it. And I would love to go home and eat or just hang out for a while during the day when milling but don't want to take a 40 minute round trip to do so.
But I'm not really making any money from milling so we might look at it differently. I sell a little here and there but it's hardly worth it. So far, for me, I've decided I'd rather have the freedom to choose how much time I want to spend milling and I choose to spend that time milling out wood for my personal projects. Right now the only way I'd be interested in doing more sawing for pay would be if I could put in fewer hours at work. Right now I'm kept very busy with my own projects and the extra money I could make sawing wouldn't be worth it to me.
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Offline SawyerTed

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #32 on: November 12, 2020, 12:19:25 PM »
To the OP, decide what you want the sawmill activity to be, define what it is you want to do, all within the context of maintaining family time.  Then do that, stay focused on it and let other stuff go.  Learn to say no.

It is easy to get sucked into jobs for others when the original plan was to do jobs for yourself.  The cash for doing a few side jobs is seducing.  But the cash doesnt buy back family time and relationships as others have shared.

It IS a slippery slope, sawmill, a leased facility, a tractor, an edger, then a skid steer, a kiln, a planer, a truck and trailer, then a drying shed and an enclosed building and so on.....

Ive just gone through a reassessment of my own situation and have decided to focus more on higher end hardwood lumber and portable sawing.  Im letting the framing and utility (trailer decking) lumber side of things go to others.
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Offline stanmillnc

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #33 on: November 12, 2020, 01:21:39 PM »
I'm in a similar situation. There are facts already stated in this thread that I agree with wholeheartedly and will reiterate:

Time is a major issue - you need to make time for your family as a priority. I know it's tough, as I work a day job, run a sawmill business, have two young kids and my wife works full-time as well. Sounds like you're grounded enough to know that you cannot replace a good paying day job with steady pay and benefits with a sawmilling gig - that's a fact. You've got to decide what makes the best use of your limited time and focus on that. And if you're serious about sawmilling beyond as a hobby, a hydraulic mill is an absolute must. I started with an Alaskan Mill, then and LT15, now an LT40. Same progression as many others on this Forum.

My advice would be to start slow, don't over-extend yourself financially, or with other commitments (leasing property, taking big orders, etc.). Find a niche market and get your pricing to a point where it makes sense for you to spend time away from your family milling. Don't let customers push you into doing things that you're not equipped for and can't do efficiently. I've learned that I have to impose hard limits and tell customers up front what I do and what I don't do. Most customers want a "one-stop-shop," and although I can be, I'm not setup to do everything efficiently AND more importantly, with very limited time I only want to do things I make money on and enjoy. So once you establish the core competency of your business, and eliminate the opportunity for low revenue generating distractions, you'll be happier and have more balance.

Enjoy the journey and take it one step at at time!

Offline YellowHammer

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #34 on: November 12, 2020, 01:27:02 PM »
There for awhile, when we first started, the sawmill was given the the name "Vacation Maker" by my wife and me.

Did we want to go to the beach for a week?  Crank up the Vacation Maker, saw some wood, make some money, and next thing we were heading for the beach.  Or did we want some more stuff from Amazon?  Or cool stuff for the kids we couldn't normally afford?  The sawmill allowed us to do all that. In may ways, the sawmill has allowed us the ability to enjoy a higher quality of life that were could have without it.  Each of my future son in laws or anybody else for that matter, who needed some money, has earned paychecks from our sawmill, if they were willing to work.

Of course, it also allowed me to retire early from my professional job.  I enjoy sawing, working with machines, etc so I'm a good fit for it, as well as my wife.

I guess that I'm saying is that for us, the sawmill and subsequent business has brought our family closer together.  

BUT, I always keep in mind I'm sawing for money, and not for free, and realize that the benefits and justification for us owning all this equipment is to make money for us to enjoy life, not to suck it down the drain.




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If it wont roll, its not a log; its still a piece of tree.  Sawmills cut logs, not pieces of trees.

Kiln drying wood: When the cookies are burned, theyre burned, and you cant fix them.  Dont burn the cookies.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #35 on: November 12, 2020, 10:10:49 PM »
Something I'll throw into the great mix of wisdom presented here.

If you want this to be a long term business and a stand alone business thats your major source of income... having the mill not at your house is a wise wise move. Here's why...

Firstly for me personally space between work and home is really really important. The drive gives me the chance to leave work at work from a mental perspective. And it also means that when people show up at work on a Sunday or public holiday or at 6.30pm.... they get a locked gate and a number to call. That drive in to open up outside regular hours becomes a billable item.... call out fee $75.
 Living at work is bad for me because it's too easy to go to work - I end up working instead of doing chores, or just hanging with my people doing not much at all. A drive to work means that I can't just slip over there to sharpen a saw and emerge 8 hours later to a pithed off wife. It also means that when I go to work I'm at work.... I can't just slip over the house for coffee and emerge that afternoon after a 3 hour nap. I personally hated being at work and getting interrupted by home stuff that was non urgent.... when I go to work I'm on "company time" not "my time"

The other is that long term assuming it becomes a successful business you may wish to sell it, or there might be other reason like needing cash in a hurry (think medical expenses or similar) where being able to divest yourself of the asset without selling your home is a real handy thing. Lot of guys saw from home and thats ok to a point if it's working for them... they can sell the gear if they want out.  But if I want out I have a viable entity to sell - saws, operating plant, log supply contracts, forward orders, an order book, lease with option to purchase on land and buildings to make that all happen from, and if they wanted a no compete clause they'd have to pay me for that too because I can sell my business and buy another saw otherwise.

Second hand saws are pretty cheap - there's plenty of them out there. Profitable businesses on the other hand come at a premium. SO think ahead with where you want this to go. But the first thing you gotta do is get a competitive saw, the learning curve behind my first post on this topic cost me a lot of heartache and $
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Offline Woodpecker52

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #36 on: November 13, 2020, 12:28:53 AM »
Keep it a hobby and enjoy the machine. You will always have it as a back up plan in the future.
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Offline customsawyer

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #37 on: November 13, 2020, 07:16:17 AM »
I'm going to throw this in the mix. I don't know of anyone that has seen the market like it is right now. I wouldn't make any long term decisions based on how things are going the last 8 months. It will change in the future.
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Offline Iwawoodwork

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #38 on: November 13, 2020, 11:16:02 PM »
Sounds like you are in Deschutes County, what I have heard is that Deschutes is one of the tougher code counties  and nearby lake county is much mere tolerant.

Offline Southside

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Re: Expanding Business, Balancing Life/Work
« Reply #39 on: November 14, 2020, 07:01:23 AM »
I was guessing Bend. As to your comment on Lake County, moved from there and still have family there. They are so tolerant there that the town of Lakeview just purchased a lot right  in town, residential area, and is going to build a multi-unit homeless facility on a sub 10,000 square foot lot.  Rezoned it themselves. 

Seems tolerance depends on who you know. 
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Riehl Edger
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Enough cows to ensure there is no spare time.
White Oak Meadows


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