Year Round Income From Your Firewood Business
Every home with a chimney and every (real) BAR-BE-QUES needs
firewood. The homeowner or restaurateur seldom has the time or
means of to go after and cut his own firewood. On the other hand,
there are farms and lots covered with leaves and heavy brush
whose owners don't have time or energy to clear. If you combine
these two problems the solution to both may be a profitable
Cut firewood sells for $50 to $200 a cord these days (depending
on the season and part of the country).
A cord os wood is 128 cubic feet (a stack 2 feet wide, eight feet
long and eight feet high, or four feet wide, eight feet long and
4 feet high), or a good 3/4 ton pickup load.
A couple of people with a chain saw could fill their truck with
poles (small logs), take them to the "yard" and saw them into
firewood, then load, deliver and stack the wood in a few hours
With a larger truck, they could do two cords at a time: twice the
profit with only about 25% more cost and effort. You can cut
poles to insert in the pickup or truck bed to form a "rack" to
hold the maximum load. Be sure to run a cable or heavy rope
across the load at the top of your rack poles to make them secure
(keep them from bending outward).
It would also be wise to measure your truck so you can show marks
to indicate a half cord, full cord, etc.. to save loading time
and possibly, arguments.
An easy way to do this is to compute the area of the bed and
divide that into 128.
For example, if your truck bed is 4 x 8
feet, or 32 square feet, divide that
into 128 to get 4. This means when the
wood fills the bed and is 4 feet high,
it is one cord of firewood.
Prices for firewood vary with type (oak or elm), age (green or
dry), whether or not it is split, the amount purchased, and if it
is delivered and/or stacked by the seller.
Split, seasoned wood brings the highest prices -- some vendors
invest in hydraulic wood splitters for this reason. The price of
firewood is also affected by the season and often, for a
temperature. A cold winter stirs yearning for a nice warm glow in
the fireplace -- especially Christmas.
For this business, you will need a place to saw to length, split
and store your firewood; preferably a place where people can come
load their car trunks and pickup.
A truck is a necessity, as are a couple of chain saws and
crosscut saw -- and a wood splitter would be nice. Your yard does
not have to be in an exclusive area - just so people who want
firewood can find it and it's not too far out.
Put signs on your truck so people can
get your name and phone number when
they see a truck loaded with firewood.
Put a small ad in the paper as winter
approaches, and if you can afford it, also
put an ad in the yellow pages.
This is not a business where fancy letterhead stationery and
business cards are all that important, but it would not be a bad
idea to have a business card to hand out to people who might want
to call on you later.
You must have a telephone, however, and it would also be wise to
have a sign at your wood yard, especially if it can be seen by
passers by: why waste the advertising opportunity?
In your wood yard, arrange your products by category and make
EASY to sell. Stack your firewood by type wood, size of the logs
and length (you will soon learn the most popular wood and size in
your area. You can also save a few poles that can be cut to
custom lengths (some people have unusual sized fireplaces or
If you live in an area with termites, invest in a gallon of
chlordane and spray the ground (never the wood) before you stack
the wood. It is also advisable to place a treated wood (like
landscape timers) as a base, so your firewood does not actually
touch the ground (this keeps it cleaner too).
You can apply the chlordane with a inexpensive hand sprayer --
just be sure to follow the directions on the label EXPLICITLY.
DO NOT get the spray on the wood, as it is extremely toxic and
could cause dangerous fumes when burned.. A single chlordane
treatment will last up to twenty years (it does not break down
like many other chemicals).
During the summer quiet times, make a few wood holders that
measure out a half, quarter cord when filled. These can be used
to measure wood that is loaded into the trunk of a car or back of
a pickup.. Smaller holders can be used to measure out bundles of
wood and/or kindling that is tied into bundles.
If you do a lot of sawing at the yard, save any valuable sawdust,
like hickory or mesquite, which can be sold as "flavoring."
Note that if you burn charcoal or ordinary wood, you can dampen
hickory sawdust and sprinkle it around the edges for a hickory
smoked effect. It may not be the same as real hickory smoke, but
it is better than nothing - this idea has been profitable to many
a wood yard!
Another trick is to tie bundles of wood of about 15 pounds and
wholesale them to stores for winter sales. You can also sell
these bundles along the highway on cold days, especially during
the holiday season. Vendors have really make good money doing
this.. The price per cord for wood sold in these small bundles is
awesome. Also, don't throw away those small pieces -- package and
sell them as kindling.
If you have enough business, it could even be profitable to
invest in a com[poster -- something like the city uses to chop up
trimmed tree limbs so they will fit into their truck (consider
buying their chopped brush!).
With a composter, you can turn waste sawdust, leaves, small
branches and twigs into compost that can be sold by the sack or
cubic yard. When considering a composter, make sure to think
about using it a work sites.
For example if you clear a large lot, you can compost the trash
and harvest the firewood. This would undoubtedly make your
clearing service more valuable.
You might also check into picking up left over lumber from lumber
yards, construction projects and tree trimmers. Perhaps you could
even sell newspaper logs ( or the machine that makes them).
The message here is to figure out how to make a profit from what
would otherwise be wasted time, effort or material. This is often
the difference between a successful business and one that just
Naturally, your heaviest firewood sales will be in winter, which
means your income may be limited in summer when you are preparing
for the selling season.
It is possible to receive some income from clearing lots and
removing trees, however, and there are always the restaurants and
BAR-BE-QUE houses. The bottom lines is that with a part-time
summer effort and a modest investment, you can have a very nice
NORTHERN HYDRAULICS, Box 1219, Burnsville, MN 55336,
800/533-5545. Log splitting machines.
WHOLESALE AMERICA, INC.,4777 Menard Dr.,Eau Clare, WI 54703,
800/847-5000. Log splitting machines from $99.
AMERICAN CYTECH CORPORATION, 5700 Broadway, Crystal, MN 55428.
Sells a 40 pound machine that makes fireplace logs from
newspapers, trash, scraps, etc. for about 8 cents each.
DOVER PUBLICATIONS, INC.,31 East 2nd St.,Mineola, NY 11501.
Discount books, clip art, stencils, etc.
QUILL CORPORATION, 100 Schelter Rd.,Lincolnshire,IL
60917-4700,312/634-4800. Office supplies.
NEBS, 500 Main St.,Groton, MA 04171, 800/225-6380. Office
IVEY PRINTING, Box 761, Meridan, TX 76665. Letterhead: 400 sheets
plus 200 envelopes - 418.
SWEDCO, Box 29, Mooresville, NC 28115. 3 line rubber stamps - $3;
business cards - $13 per thousand.
ZPS, Box 581, Libertyville, IL 60048-2556. Business cards (raised
print - $11.50 per K) and letterhead stationery. Will print your
copy ready logo or design, even whole card.
WALTER DRAKE, 4119 Drake Bldg.,Colorado Springs, CO 80940. Short
run business cards, stationery, etc. Good quality, but no choice
of ink or color.
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