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Thoughts on Firewood business.

Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by MLI, Dec 8, 2000.

  1. MLI

    MLI LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 464

    I've been thinking the last few years about
    adding firewood sales to our landscaping co.
    With the cost of oil and natural gas on the increase
    seems this may be a feasible asset to keep laborers
    working yr round and make more money in the offseason
    Let me run some numbers by you guys, and any imput
    would be greatly appreciated.
    Equipment needed: Bobcat(have)
    wood processor.....30k
    dump (have)
    6 cord log length..$85.(deliverd)
    Around here a cord of hardwood goes for around
    $180. Ive seen 3 contractors around here already
    sell off approx 2 to 3 hundred cord off their lots.
    With these numbers, seems like off season we could
    generate 20 to 30 thousand, and keep workers all yr.
    With the processor, the whole operation is automated
    no backbreaking work. Any thoughts?!?!
  2. MJ

    MJ LawnSite Senior Member
    Posts: 312

    I'd want to do a good market analysis before I put out almost $40,000. A lot depend on who you're marketing to. People who in apartments tend to be more picky with log length, uniformity etc. They usually pay more per cord, though. If you're selling to a high end market, concern over fuel cost is secondary to asthetics of the blaze, ease of lighting, cleanliness of the wood etc. Overall, firewood sale is very labor intensive - are they going to want you to stack it and where (up a flight of stairs?). With the right equipment, it can be a lucrative venture. I heard of a guy who hauls from NJ to Cape Cod. Check out a magazine called Independent Sawmill & Woodlot Management at http://www.sawmillmag.com

    I'm sure there are others who can give more & better advise. Good luck
  3. snow

    snow Guest
    Posts: 0

    i see you live in MA. In May, there is a huge Loggers expo at the Big E in springfield. They have all types of splitters, skidders and a saw mill shootout. Every firewood splitter is there and they have huge outdoor displays where you can see everything working. I like a machine called the chomper, it goes for around $14,000(smallest model). It's made by reiner hydraulics. I would look for a tree company and have them drop off logs at your shop, then you would only have to buy a few small splitters.

    Just my $.02

  4. Toddppm

    Toddppm LawnSite Senior Member
    from VA
    Posts: 268

    Free wood from the tree services is a good idea just make sure they're not giving you junk. Theres a good thread going about this On the tool forum on gardenweb. I see a couple companies selling 200-300 cords here too, but they have been in bus. for a long time and must have had the same cust. for years cause i never see them advertising?
  5. fordkilla454

    fordkilla454 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    When you say wood processor do you mean splitter. That seems kind of expensive. If it is a splitter here is a simple solution. We built a splitter by mounting a hydraulic arm off a backhoe on top of a 4x4 tube. The arm pushes the wood up against a steel plate angled like a shark fin. The hydraulics simlpy plug up to the tractor. Never met a piece of wood it couldnt bust.
  6. thelawnguy

    thelawnguy LawnSite Silver Member
    Posts: 2,412

    A wood processor, the better ones, cuts the logs to uniform length with a big MF'er chain saw apparatus, the logs roll down into a splitter, then they are taken by conveyor to your woodpile.

    If your guys ever run one of these things good luck ever getting them to man a run of the mill 20 ton splitter again ;)
  7. fordkilla454

    fordkilla454 LawnSite Member
    Posts: 28

    It cuts them to euqal lengths? I wouldnt go back to my splitter again either. :) Now I call that an invention worth having. To bad they cost to so d*** much. Guess I will have to stick to my regular splitter and be satifised with it for the small amount of wood that I do cut.
  8. IvyLeagueLandscape

    IvyLeagueLandscape LawnSite Member
    Posts: 12

    Hey, I'm based out of CT and we sell firewood for about $148 a cord delivered w/tax. Stacking charge is an additional 45. Firewood is just a filler for my co. There are too many people around here that sell for $125 a cord. I would'nt make such a costly investment in mt area due to the cut-throat nature. Right now I have 2 splitters; wolverine w/six way, and a smaller version. There are a great deal of factors you need to take into consideration. Is the amount of space that the woods takes up profitable? Is the wood your getting form tree co's decent? How is the market in your area concerning competition?

    Hope this helped
  9. Eric E.

    Eric E. LawnSite Member
    Posts: 31

    $85 for a 6 cord load????????? I would check on that price before I did anything. It should be closer to $300-$350 for six cords of hardwood in log length. I can sell that load for $180 to most log truck drivers in my area. Eric
  10. MLI

    MLI LawnSite Senior Member
    from Ma
    Posts: 464

    Eric...lol....you seem stunned about $85 for
    approx 6 cord of log length wood. You have to
    remember in Mass. theres not alot of places to dump.
    Every thing that goes into the truck has to either
    go to recycle plant, illegal dump, or pay by the ton
    which last I checked was around $27 per ton around
    here. All the small tree companies just want to get
    rid of the wood, so they can start the next job, and
    heres where I see profit! Another factor when your
    getting the logs at this price is some of the load
    is junk,either rotted,large butt piece,or soft wood.
    All said and done, Im not trying to make a living at
    this, Its a side kick off the landscape business. It
    would serve 2 purposes...1) keep men working yr round
    and 2) replace the snow income, which around here is
    very unpredictable.

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