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After 10 years of putting an average of 35 cube a year through various stoves, as well as processing for other people, one of my greatest desires is to build a house that doesn't need a stove. So tired of stoking fires! 😄

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As said above it's hard to be in the middle, you can make money on a small scale by getting cheap/free wood from other jobs. I think more people are realising the value of wood now but that's another discussion. 

 

You can also make money on a larger scale but it's very difficult with constant price rises on inputs and sourcing timber. 

 

You can do a surprising amount with a chainsaw and splitter but to go into the hundreds of tons you need to start thinking about machinery and that's where the costs start to rocket... You start with a processor but that needs a tractor to power it, it's quicker with a loader so you get one of those, then you want a forwarding trailer to get logs in so you want a bigger tractor for the road. Then you need more storage space so you buy ibcs, they get wet so you build a shed which can't hold enough so you get a kiln which is heated by chip so you get a chipper which needs a second tractor by which point your processor needs replacing.. 

 

My vague point is there's still money to be made if you expand but not a lot and where do you stop? 😉

 

Firewood is our main business by the way and it's getting harder but we've no plans to stop in the immediate future. 

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I visited my folks in France a couple of years ago with my saws to do a bit a garden tree work.
The local firewood guy popped by.
He saw my gear and looked very unsettled.
He asked if I was going to be selling firewood.
I explained:
I don't have a hectare of yard space to store wood,
Or a forest to cut from.
Or a large tractor and timber trailer,
Big wood processor, barns to store it in,
Contacts with hundreds of local clients,
Or even a vehicle to deliver 3m3 at a time.
But you do.
He looked rather happy when he left.

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I do firewood for myself and a couple of neighbours for beer money, and cos i like doing it, but to be honest a couple of extra shifts at my real job would earn enough to buy the wood. However I like doing it as i have an inside job and the excercise isn't doing me any harm either, also it keeps me in touch with the neighbours and I feel that I'm doing my bit for the environment by reducing the heating oil by burning timber that would be left to rot if I didn't harvest it.

As people say wood doesn't just heat you once !!

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23 minutes ago, Silverhooker said:

I do firewood for myself and a couple of neighbours for beer money, and cos i like doing it, but to be honest a couple of extra shifts at my real job would earn enough to buy the wood. However I like doing it as i have an inside job and the excercise isn't doing me any harm either, also it keeps me in touch with the neighbours and I feel that I'm doing my bit for the environment by reducing the heating oil by burning timber that would be left to rot if I didn't harvest it.

As people say wood doesn't just heat you once !!

Ditto all above.

 

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The bigger players with all the large fast processors, tractor grapple, and storage building have gone through the eu grant system, that farmers have taken full advantage of for their stuff.
The ordinary guy can rarely justify splashing out their own savings on tackle like that.

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10 minutes ago, oldwoodcutter said:

The bigger players with all the large fast processors, tractor grapple, and storage building have gone through the eu grant system, that farmers have taken full advantage of for their stuff.
The ordinary guy can rarely justify splashing out their own savings on tackle like that.

I totally disagree. You don’t start a business and go out and buy all that equipment you have to work bloody hard and work your way to upgrade your system. People these days want all the modern equipment from the start instead of scrimping saving and doing the extra effort to make the job work

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I started out with a push mower at thirteen but had a splitter and saw from about 22..It bought me nearly everything I have today (plus a lot of graft and keeping overheads as low as possible) got myself a processor last year. Paid for it up front, mostly log sales, hiring it alone brings in a decent few quid, it's basically free when it's there in the yard for my own use. The bought in softwood has a low margin but the free timber brought back off site is all profit really! Still need the splitter for the awkward lumps though.
I wouldn't be going into firewood as a standalone business unless I had some access to timber either below market value (own wood or arb arisings) or in large volumes (own big wood or 1000 ton plus buying ability)

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23 hours ago, Chris Reeve said:

 

Hi guys.

 

Due to the increasing price of timber is the log business beginning to become more of a side line for people rather than a full time job? My main job is landscape gardening etc but wanting to do less of this and focus more on the firewood instead but is it worth the switch due to running cost and the price of timber increasing if you can find it emoji17.png ? I roughly sell 150 ton a year. Any opinions would be gratefully received. Cheers

 

 

Where are you located in the UK and how are the timber prices for you?

Somerset prices for hardwood have reached 80/t delivered. Talking to Haulers it seems like more and more suppliers have had enough. If you are in an affluent area gardening businesses I know of are doing really well, whereas firewood suppliers are barely ticking over. Landscaping is an easy business to expand in areas where people have money as they rarely want to lift a finger. I've seen one man bands expand to 4 teams of 2 with vans.

Edited by arboriculturist

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After 10 years of doing firewood as a sideline moving about 100tonne a year I have given up this year simply because the hours and space needed and equipment cost in repairs and maintenance and the main reason my body is broken.

 

There are easier ways to make money.

 

Now that everywhere around me wants to sell "seasoned" wood  that clearly has just been felled via face book or eBay...

 

The public want cheap products and if a cube of hardwood from me is £100 and a cube of "hardwood" from pikey Dave is £60, they will always go by the cost even the customers I have had for years are saying "dave" down the road can do it for less.

 

I know my product is actually hardwood and seasoned and below 20% and the customers know my product is too, but they see the £40 as a saving so will always go for it no matter how much you advise.

 

 

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