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Author Topic: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!  (Read 5787 times)

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Offline Kelvin

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Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« on: February 15, 2008, 08:31:54 AM »

Well, a new report from urban logging in central michigan.  Man, i really did it.  I finally thought i should start schmoozing with the city guys about getting some saw logs before they let the firewood guys cut them all up.  Well, now nobody gets logs.  They were real interested in my idea, but being bureacrats weren't interested in what i was saying.  Maybe they figured they would solve their fancial woes, but i must say, be careful before you go trying to make things better for yourself with politicians!!!! 

What happened was they decided to auction the whole years worth of cuttings, 400-500 truck loads (must take all, and be within 15 miles of city) for 5 years!!!! I couldn't take all that trash, so instead of saving what few logs i could, now it all goes to some big firewood processor and nobody gets anymore logs!!!  Nice.  I feel bad for all the firewood guys who started little businesses based on the free wood, but they were out of controll fighting about it.  I'm surprised the city could handle the insurance implications of 20 guys whacking away with chainsaws on their property.  Now i'm looking at whole city parks of 2-3' dia. oldgrowth ash trees heading for the firewood guy.  I've since made up for the loss by finding other clean up jobs, but boy oh boy, what happens when you talk with city goverment.

The other urban logging job i was trying to get is similarly dead.  I was trying to intcercept the logs from the local college.  They have lots of property that is wooded.  i talked with the head arborist and he said they rent a tub grinder for $600,000 each year to get rid of logs!!!  He talked with the schmuck heads in charge and they said, "great, give us a proposal"  So, i gave them what i thought was overly genrous, 25% lumber back, kiln dried, for their use in their giant woodshops, or $.10 a bd ft cash out right.  "Uhhhhhh...." they said.  Guess they thought i was going to balance their budget again.  "Well we need to get a bunch of bids in order to do something like this"  Hmmmmm.  There isn't anybody else who would want it.  So, they wait for 3 months doing nothing and now they have told me "We are putting this idea on a back burner"  i.e. so long sucker!  Man, what more can you do?  These people who sit in cubicles sure don't have very high IQ's.  Can you imagine?  25% bd ft back kiln dried and they say no?

Oh, well, sorry for the dreary report, but i thought it might be educational to some folks out there who are interested in urban logging that its hard to get into or change the system.  I'm glad i have plane old country folks who are willing to trade work for logs so i can keep going with my sawmilling.

Kelvin

Offline metalspinner

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2008, 09:34:56 AM »
Any time you work with the government you can expect this type of bureaucracy.  In a way, their decision to open up public bidding is the right way to do it.  Any other way wreaks of "Good-ol'-boy" back slapping.  This gives you a chance to bid on something that most "small" guys will stay away from.  You have a chance to open a big business dealing in mulch, firewood, and sawlogs at auction prices.  In a way, this has leveled the playing field. A door has been opened for you.  Careful what you wish for...you just might receive it. ;D
I do what the little voices in my wife's head tell me to do.

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2008, 05:11:34 PM »
Yeah, it would be a good business opportunity for someone, well i guess it is for the guy who bought it all.  Funny thing is around here you can't buy logs from firewood guys.  I think they all have IQ's of mud cause when i ask what the price for a log is they figure how much they can get for firewood and say that much.  Then i say, yeah, but don't you have a lot of work, cutting, splitting and stacking that you will be saving?  Thats the price, they don't care.  Can never figure this one out, but the problem is the best sawlogs they like to split.  I think they just like nice straight wood.  I guess i could try get the non firewood stuff, pine and what not, but its usually too much $$$.  I thought of buying it and buying a bunch of machines to deal with it, but i'm a little scared of that.
Kelvin

Offline zopi

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2008, 06:33:42 PM »
Bureaucrat...typically a bipedal creature with no guts or brains...of course there are exceptions...hardworking intelligent
folks who have common sense, but they are usually so loaded down by nitwits in authority that nothing can be done...

Committee...organism with 6 or more legs and no brain... ;D

I say this and I work for the government...want me to help?  :D
Got Wood?
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Offline Tom

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2008, 10:36:39 PM »
I think that it is sometimes better to work under the Radar and stay little while word of mouth inundates you with work.  It's amazing what interest a stack of old blades in the back of a beat up pickup will get at a red light.  Having coffee with old customers at the breakfast shop is fun and they even get to where they look forward to your coming in.  Woodworking clubs have meetings where you can learn all kinds of joinery and stuff.  Eventually, they find out you have a sawmill.  "Oh yeah, I've got a little sawmill business", you say as you kick your boot toe in the dust. "I get a lot of pretty wood sometimes but I've never been able to find anyone around these parts that is interested in it."  You have to excuse yourself to go saw some wood or you might break the mood.  Next month you might even show up with some stuff to show them at their show-and-tell.  They might even ask to you make a speech.  Those yuppie guys are a lot smarter than sawyers. Yessir, this networking thing can be a lot of fun.  ;D :D
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Offline farmerdoug

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2008, 10:54:35 AM »
Kelvin,

You said the big firewood guy is getting the wood, so the auction must be over.  Do you mind posting what the contract went for? 

You said you did not want the junk.  But you could have bought the contract and make a deal with other firewood guys to get rid of the junk.
Doug
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2001 LT40HDD42 Super with Command Control and AccuSet, 42 hp Kubota diesel
Fargo, MI

Offline burleyvarmint

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2008, 01:29:30 PM »
Yup, Gubmint at it's best. From my experience the only thing that gets these types moving in the right direction on anything is public pressure.  Get the press involved and any other folks that you can put in your corner and something sensible might actually get done. 

Offline Dave Shepard

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #7 on: February 20, 2008, 01:27:49 AM »
Have you tried contacting the firewood company that got the contract? Maybe he would be interested in working with you to sort out the better logs. I would think that would work to both of your advantages. For some reason, the least qualified people end up making these decisions for government. >:( They would burn the furniture to heat the house before they would make a logical decision.


Dave
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Offline Cedarman

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #8 on: February 20, 2008, 06:42:15 AM »
I would figure out a way to make the firewood company more money by having them sell me the choice logs.  If the firewood company needs every piece of wood for their firewood business, then it will be a tough sell.  If there is plenty of wood, then you have an opportunity.  How you present yourself is extremely important.  Make it clear that you expect them to come out ahead by you buying their logs. You might even ask them what it would take to get them to part with some logs.  What would you have to do to make it easy for them to comply. 

Just some early morning thoughts.
I am in the pink when sawing cedar.

Offline RSteiner

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #9 on: February 20, 2008, 06:52:35 AM »
Think about this, one "little guy" making a small proposal changed the direction of a governmental agency.  8)  Who said one person can not make a difference.

Too bad the direction of change was not a positive one.  I am sure you will find a way to make urban logging work for you.

Randy
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Offline urbanlumberinc

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #10 on: February 23, 2008, 10:00:19 AM »
In my early efforts to deal with the cities, I met the same resistance you did Kelvin.  My strategy (which has worked pretty well so far) is to go around them all together.  There's only a small handfull of mobile tub grinding outfits, and I deal with them.  At first, these guys were just as chilly as the city guys, but once you sit em down, buy em a lunch and make the whole thing make sense in terms they can understand, you're in.  That said, I've lately been getting alot more interest from cities and towns in what to do about their waste wood.  I give them my card, my two cents, offer my services, and leave it at that.  What I will not do is offer to buy wod that they otherwise have to pay to grind.  I get enough good wood from the 5-10 tree services that I deal with regularly, and these guys know the score and don't play games.  I get plenty of calls from others wanting to get rich quick on their wood, but these calls go largely un answered.  It seems I've built a bit of a reputation as being really picky and a bit aloof.  I'd just as soon keep it that way - scares off the knuckle dragging ne'r- do-wells.   

Offline jrokusek

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #11 on: March 30, 2008, 07:22:21 PM »
Kelvin,

You are talking to the wrong guy at the college.  The head arborist is of course the guy on the ground who does the work and is most visible.  You need to search for the CFO or the Vice President of Finance or some other person with a like title.  Tell him outright you can save him several hundred thousand dollars and a bit of labor from some of his employees.  Just tell him you can save the college some money and see what he has to say.

I think you gave the right sales pitch, but made it to the wrong person.  Get the ear of someone in administration of the college.  They will dictate to other departments and divisions what needs to be done to save money.  As you know, "it" rolls downhill!

Offline Kelvin

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Re: Urban logging trouble, you may get what you wish for!
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2008, 09:25:29 AM »
You're right! I'll see what i can do in this way. i'll let you guys know if it works out.
Kelvin


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