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Discussion in 'General Industry Discussions' started by RICHIE K, Oct 19, 2004.
You can get a pickup truck load in GA for $40 - $50
Okay, I've looked into ALL the aspects of firewood.
From little mom and pop type splitters, to regular wood processors, where you put an 8-18' log on the rack, and with hitting 3-4 levers, it cuts, splits and stacks the wood for you. One of those machines will be around $45,000-$60,000.
I started with a hydraulic splitter on the 3 pt of the tractor, now I've got a splitter that you hit a lever and it goes down and back automatically in 7 seconds.
It's got a hydraulic log lift, so anything over 15-17" in diameter, I can roll over to the splitter and it'll lift it up to the splitter.
I and another person can cut and split 1 cord+ an hour. This is if I get it hauled in, in log length, for $50-60 / cord, cord being 4'x4'x8'.
If I were to do 100 FULL cords, I've got it figured out that it would take 2 guys, about 40 (8) hour days.
Paying these guys $10 / hour each, after paying $5,000 for 100 full cords of logs, splitting, storing, then advertising and delivering the wood, I figured 100 miles round trip for each FACE cord, 4'x8'x16", that I would gross $30,000, net about $13,000.
Now, after you were set up with the same 300 people each year, so you could cut out $2800 / year in advertising fees, then your net would go up to about 50%.
Now, if I were to invest in a wood processor, then you can cut and split all that wood in about 2 weeks, with 2 people. One guy running the tractor loading the logs, and then another guy running the processor.
The biggest problem I have right now is investing the $50,000 or so in a processor.
The other problem, I deliver to people that want fires for 2-3-4 hours in the evening, hench the 4'x8'x16" pieces. The processer has a tendency to split bigger pieces since you're not handling them, you're not as "hands on" since you're just pushing levers.
I've also got an old hay bale elevator that I use, we flip the split pieces of wood onto that, and then that stacks it up in a pile for us.
The next step I'd REALLY like to do is get a 50'x100' building built, so I can store my wood inside and then load it with the tractor off the concrete floor, instead of off the ground like now. There's a lot of wasted wood that gets full of dirt this way.
Once it's loaded in the dump trailer, it takes about an hour to get to where I'm going and stack the wood again.
As far as the bundles go, again, there's another machine that does that, but it's about $35,000. If you have wood that's at all rotten, it just plugs up the splitter.
Not sure about your area, but I've been told and seen on web sites about it being illegal selling wood by the truck load. It must be sold by the cord or a fraction of a cord. A "truck load" is a fairly loose term, could be a 1/4 ton truck stacked to the bed rails with a 5' bed or a 8' bed stacked to the top of the cab. Some customers ask, but some dont. You need to specific in the sale which is why that law exists. By the way we used to sell oak & pecan for $150 per cord and mesquite for $100 per cord here in south Texas. A tip for advertising is talk with chimney sweeper companies and give a commission for mentioning you... atleast when it leads to a sale.
I doubt there is a law that says you can't sell a truck load of wood. You just can't call that truck load a "cord" if it's not a true measured cord.
LwnmwrMan22, if you're seriously considering investing all that money into firewood, I strongly suggest finding a previous article in Tree Care Industry magazine that was about selling "bundled" firewood. Very interesting read, and it seems to be where the money is.
The article ran about 2 years ago. Maybe contact them to see if you can order a re-print of it.
Just driving to a gas station, Home Depot, etc., tells you that's where the money is.
When you can purchase 6 pieces of wood in a bundle, for $2.99 - $4, and I get $100 for approx, 150 pieces in a face cord, well, it doesn't take too much logic. I figured it out one time that's about the same as paying over $800 for 1 full cord of wood.
The gas stations that I do, and the Wal-Marts, I've talked to about setting up my own bin, or taking over the distributorship of whoever they have there.
The only problem, I have to do it company wide. As in ALL of the midwest Home Depot's, or 200 gas stations.
To be honest with you, I'm a one man show, and like with my mowing equipment, the firewood processor would be purchased for a tax write-off more than anything.
As for the "truckload" aspect. An 8' box, stacked tightly, slightly heaped in the middle, only to the top of the rails, no sides, would be 1 and 1/2 face cords, or 1/2 of a full cord. Measure it out, you'll see.
THANKS FOR ALL YOUR ADVICE GUYS. LAWN SITE RULES
I sell 10 to 18 cords of firewood every year and I get $75.00 for a stacked and delivered 8ft pick up truck load of seasoned oak/mapel wood. As for firewood not being profitable, I really dont think that is true. I do all the splitting and stacking myself on the weekends and evenings after I get done cutting. I look at it as any extra money is good money and with my little 24 ton splitter it really doesnt take that long to split and stack a cord (about 3 hours).
My wife just picked up another 3 face cords of hardwood tonight. It is Can$45 per face cord, stored inside two years, all body wood, already split and he loads it from the inside of a big shed. The guy sells around 200 face cord per year. The place is actually only 1 mile out of my way on the way home from work so we might offer firewood delivered and dumped for about $60 which is what most guys charge around here.
We have been considering doing some tree work just so we could have our own firewood but it just ain't worth it yet.
I agree with Tom. That's a lot of work for a little money. I can see selling the wood from a cleanup though, since you make money twice.