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Winter $income?

Discussion in 'Starting a Lawn Care Business' started by rowdyz92, Sep 4, 2012.

  1. sterlinglawns

    sterlinglawns LawnSite Member
    Messages: 64

    I used to resell firewood. Gcbailey, I was wondering how you prepare bulk firewood for resale? Do you obtain the wood the previous season, cut it up and leave it outside in large piles? Could never wrap my brain around this operation.
  2. sgbotsford

    sgbotsford LawnSite Member
    Messages: 127

    Firewood needs to be dried at least one summer. Two summers is better. It should be split before storing if over 6" diameter. Birch has to be split no matter what. It won't dry though the bark.

    Do anything you can to reduce handling. There are 10,000 buck machines that will take a whole log, cut it into 16" chunks split it, and run it up a conveyor. Two guys, one on a tractror bringing logs, and one on the machine can make a lot of firewood in short order.

    Easiest way to store is to get rolls of concrete reenforcing mesh. A 100 foot length makes a 30' diameter circular fence. Throw the wood in let it self stack. Pile until is starts to fall off the fence. The center will be about 20 feet tall. Tarp it with a tarp and screw in hay tarp anchors (any farm store). Use black rubber tied downs to connect the tarp to the anchors. This will keep the tarp from flapping. You want a couple feet of overhang with the tarp. Measure first. It takes a lot more than a 30 foot tarp to cover a 30 foot pile.

    Tarps are usually rectangular. You may want to use T-bar stakes and make an oval instead of a circle. A 30 x 50 tarp should cover an 18 x 35 oval. Get at least medium grade tarps. The cheap ones will fall apart in a year.

    If you have a source for free used pallets, a layer of pallets put down first will increase air through the pile, and keep the bottom layer dry. These pallets decoompose in 5 years or so and can become a souce of nails for tires. A better method is a layer 2" rock.

    If people are picking up, price it by the load. Have a table with truck bed sizes and price. E.g. a full 8 foot pickup box has an area of about 40 square feet, and a depth of 1.5 feet. 60 cubic feet is just under half a cord. So you charge for half a cord flat, 5/8 cord heaped to the top of the back window, 1 cord if truck with sides. Similarly a 5x10. Rule of thumb: Charge high, but round down. Let them depart thinking they got a bargain.

    If you are delivering, it gets more problematic. You need a way to measure. The most accurate way is to set stakes 16 feet apart for 2 foot chunks, or 24 feet apart for 16" chunks, and stack it 4 feet high. This is an extra operation. Better is to do this once, then scoop up with the bobcat, and see how many full scoops make up a cord.

    Or make bins that hold a half cord that you can move around with a fork lift.`

    If you have multiple deliveries to make on one trip, you load a cord, then put a tarp in as a divider, then load a second cord.

    In the long run you will make more money if you over delivery. Sell them a cord, but deliver 1.2 cords. Build it into your pricing.

    An added service you can do is stacking it. Even take kits consisting of T bars, wires to set up a frame to do it neatly. You need a wheelbarrow per man to do this. One person stacking can keep up with many barrows. Stacking is time consuming. So charge a bunch for it.

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