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investment against return scale for wood processing

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Basically I want to drop the grass cutting side of the business and substitute it with wood processing, as currently i'm working stupid hours during the summer and doing a lot of sitting around in winter. I'm looking at a small scale operation that will eventually bring in a couple of hundred a week. Just trying to work out what the return v's investment is like in the logs business? I don't have expensive tastes or expect to get rich off it, just give me a few quid in the winter and seeing as I get a weird sense of enjoyment and satisfaction from chopping wood, why not give it a go? I understand if you don't want to make public the knitty gritty of your business but any help would be appreciated:thumbup1:

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In my experience you can make decent pocket money on a small scale (chainsaw, splitter and arb waste) or make money on larger scale (£100k worth of kit, yard, 1000+ ton a year). Much harder to make it profitable in between. The handling, storage, logistics, etc just make it difficult to make it hard to compete without it being back breaking.

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2 different ways I would recommend doing it.

Get yourself a small unit/barn and buy it from Europe. You will need about £5k to buy the container and it Comes in at the moment with the exchange rate at about £70 per loose cubic metre. Sell it for a minimum £120 a cubic metre and see how you go. You only need a pump truck (£50) a half tidy forklift £2-5k and a way to deliver it.

You can go down the arb waste, chainsaw and petrol splitter route but your going to have to be a year ahead of yourself. If you sell out in October your out for the winter and you can say bye bye to the customers you have gained because they will go elsewhere.

At least if you buy containers in if you sell it, just buy another one!

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2 different ways I would recommend doing it.

Get yourself a small unit/barn and buy it from Europe. You will need about £5k to buy the container and it Comes in at the moment with the exchange rate at about £70 per loose cubic metre. Sell it for a minimum £120 a cubic metre and see how you go. You only need a pump truck (£50) a half tidy forklift £2-5k and a way to deliver it.

You can go down the arb waste, chainsaw and petrol splitter route but your going to have to be a year ahead of yourself. If you sell out in October your out for the winter and you can say bye bye to the customers you have gained because they will go elsewhere.

At least if you buy containers in if you sell it, just buy another one!

 

Do this^^^ To 'get started', while you get on cutting, splitting and drying arb waste etc??

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In my experience you can make decent pocket money on a small scale (chainsaw, splitter and arb waste) or make money on larger scale (£100k worth of kit, yard, 1000+ ton a year). Much harder to make it profitable in between. The handling, storage, logistics, etc just make it difficult to make it hard to compete without it being back breaking.

 

That sums it up for me. It's the step from small scale to large scale that's hardest. If you have to buy your wood in the margins are very tight regardless of scale.

 

If you want to go into firewood and enjoy the work I would start off processing waste with a chainsaw and splitter and buy in any extra to keep customers happy. I would also try and buy from a nearby supplier instead of importing but that's just me.

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Yes that's another good way of doing it. Buy in to start and build up your arb waste stock. You can then sell 2 levels of products, seasoned and kiln dried.

Like GDH says it's always worth looking around first to see if you can buy local. The other good thing about that is you might be able to buy 10/20 cube at a time rather than taking the plunge and buying 70+ on a container.

My experience with trying to buy local for wholesale was I couldn't get under £85 a cube for quality stuff when wanting to buy 100+ at a time but it might be different where you are.

Like everyone has said it's a huge step from going small to big scale and something that took us 4-5 years of making pretty much no money. If you have £50/60k sitting in your back pocket you might have a setup to start making money but you won't have the customers!

Start small, build up slowly. Don't owe anyone money and treat your customers like royalty and you won't go far wrong.

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thanks for the advice folks, I already have saws, a hydraulic splitter, and van and trailer. Not even thinking about large scale at the moment. will contact the bigger local tree firms and see what they have regarding arb waste. there are a number of large estates in my area, would it be worth contacting them regarding some sort of forestry maintenance program whereby I can harvest any windblown, fallen trees for free?

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