Jump to content

Chalgravesteve

Member
  • Content count

    155
  • Joined

  • Last visited

About Chalgravesteve

  • Rank
    Senior Member

Recent Profile Visitors

The recent visitors block is disabled and is not being shown to other users.

  1. Chalgravesteve

    Considering increasing our Firewood prices

    My business model is different to most, in that firewood is a secondary business for me. My main business is a golf club, so I have 5 greenkeepers who are already employed anyway, but they have substantially less to do in the winter than they do in the summer. Well, they did. Now they are bloody busy all year! So, my initial set up was always based upon the fact that I don't have any staff overhead as they were already being paid anyway. I also owned most of the equipment, I've got 2 processors now though so I've spent a bit there. I also have an RHI kiln and we process arb waste, selling it in barrow bags not loose bulk. However, I do consider the real cost of producing the bags, and whilst we have incoming arb waste free, the wages costs are higher because its much slower to process and needs more manual handling, to process it, get the bulk wood into the kiln, get it out again, pack into barrow bags and deliver it. Our kiln dried product is a stovemix and will be absolutely anything, but we always make sure that every bag contains hardwood. We do process some really big chunks though, which could mean that an entire bulk drying cage can be filled with the same tree which might be a softwood - so we keep a stock of pure hardwood to mix in if need be. I dont sell pure hardwood except in nets which I buy in and sell to people who want to collect and they can't collect a barrow bag because of the size. My barrow bags are 50x50x100 so 4 = 1m3 and because we are essentially handpacking, as I don't want them to sag and fall over on the truck, I know that three of my bags is roughly 1m3 loose. I sell 1 bag delivered at £49.50, 2 at £47, 3 at £44 and 4+ at £39.50. I know 4 bags are a proper 1m3 and I sell that then for £158 - £198.00. My market is not the loose load 2m3 customer. Mine is the customer who doesn't have that much space to store it, wants it delivered in a nice clean back, to the log store on a sack barrow and left in the bag so the customer doesn't have to get their hands dirty. They don't want to pay the £7.99/£9.99 for crap seasoned logs from a garage forecourt though. I've got an 85% returning customer rate. They buy and they keep coming back and buying more, plus we keep getting more new customers. I'm fortunate that I have a very good head of population in my area, and excellent road access, so deliveries are easy within a 15-20 mile radius. I've got 6 bags on the truck to deliver now, its a 24 mile round trip to 2 destinations and I expect to be back in about 45mins to 1 hr. I am looking at the prices though, and what I will probably do, is leave the 1 bag price as it is and increase the multiples slightly and the 4 bag+ price to around £41/42 if things start getting to tight in my view.
  2. Chalgravesteve

    Carbon Dioxide Meter in a kiln?

    Like everyone else, I hadn't really given it any thought. Clearly, with pellets, there is a substantial surface area exposed, whereas with logs, its tiny by comparison. The build up of CO also requires an airtight room, where the kiln is venting air all the time. There appear to be absolutely no instances reported where logs are involved, its entirely based around pellets and their storage and the heat that they are stored at. Just for my own peace of mind, I'll be putting a sensor in there, just to see if it kicks off or not.
  3. Chalgravesteve

    Carbon Dioxide Meter in a kiln?

    OK, in the course of a visit from the local water authority, checking on our mains connections and backflow valves to the boiler, the commercial plumber I'm dealing with has suggested that drying wood using hot air through a kiln will warm the wood and it will release Carbon Dioxide in the same way that it would when its burnt in a stove. This seems a reasonable hypothesis. He suggested that we have a warning sensor in the kiln to show the levels, as the doors are closed most of the time. I am of the opinion that any levels that might exist will quickly dissipate when we open the main doors to move stuff about, so the risk is almost non existent. I'm quite happy to put a sensor in there anyway, so that's not an issue, I just wondered if anyone else had considered this before or had any issues with Carbon Dioxide emissions in a kiln?
  4. Chalgravesteve

    Ready to Burn from HETAS

    Yup there is nothing stopping anyone from doing that. Tree surgeon cuts a tree down today, puts salt and pepper on it and calls it seasoned..... still not lying. Wet wood at 40%, split and stacked for a day. Well its been seasoned for a day and there is nothing to stop anyone saying its seasoned. We have an entirely unregulated industry, so the only effective regulation is ourselves. I sell my stuff as stovemix, a random mix of hard and softwood of all species. There is one consistency. Its all dry. 85% of my customers buy from me again. The other 15% might try someone else but over time, about 50% of the 15% will come back to me as well. I don't need HETAS/Ready to Burn to help/hinder me.
  5. Chalgravesteve

    Ready to Burn from HETAS

    Yup!! And they are only policing the people who PAY them to be policed......
  6. Chalgravesteve

    Ready to Burn from HETAS

    That's taking my comment out of context. I agree with Woodworks in his calculations as to what can be achieved in MC for seasoned wood. If a benchmark of sub 20% is established, I can't see how any seasoned wood supplier can guarantee to be under that ALL OF THE TIME because the humidity levels change through the year and simply don't make it possible unless you can introduce another factor into drying it (such as polytunnels which increase the heat for example). Kiln drying does not defy logic in itself. We have plenty of "scrap" wood which is either surplus or really difficult to split and process, so we save ourselves a heap of time and chuck it in the boiler and burn it. The easy stuff, we process into firewood and dry it in the kiln. So we maximise the use of the wood that we have to create the best return for the business. Kiln drying means I don't need vast amounts of storage space to store stock for sale in 2 years time in barn A, stock for sale in 1 years time in Barn B and stock I'm currently splitting in Barn C. I don't have stuff that has lichen and creepy crawlies on it from 2 years outside. I just have the processors out, split the stuff, put it into the kiln, dry it in 7/10 days and store it for a short period (6 month max - but usually closer to 1 month in the season) before selling it, clean and dry and clean smart bags. You do not have a successful business because you have loads of stock. Stock is money tied up doing nothing. The faster you can turn over your stock and replace it with new and sell that, the more you will make. Yes, I would still do this if I didn't get RHI income from my boiler. I accept that that's just a nice bonus really and I'm not embarrassed to say that I saw an opportunity to expand my business and took the chance and had a go. I had to come up with £50,000 worth of investment first before I got the RHI but ultimately, the business would stand on its own two feet without it anyway. If burning wood to dry wood defies logic, from a self sufficiency or environmental perspective, then presumably there are no diesel lorries/transits delivering wood to customers, its all done with a pony and trap. RHI is always going to polarise opinions and I think the HETAS/Ready to Burn stuff does the seasoned log suppliers absolutely no favours at all. Somebody, in humour, mentioned it earlier. We can establish our own standard. I already use "ready to burn" as a phrase in promoting my wood in our local social media advertising and our website and will continue to do so. I've got no worries, I know I will have plenty of customers who want clean and dry wood at a sensible price.
  7. Chalgravesteve

    Ready to Burn from HETAS

    Yes to 20%. We kiln dry ours! 😂😂👍 can’t see how seasoned stuff can be consistently below this. So they will bias the market towards kiln dried which is good for me but defies logic really
  8. Chalgravesteve

    Ready to Burn from HETAS

    Has anybody got involved with this yet? Its supposedly a new industry standard the "ready to Burn" logo to certify that your wood is under 20% MC. You have to pay about £450 in annual fees, plus a point of sale "commission" on everything you sell, if you want to have the ready to burn logo on your product. The fees include independent audit and testing of your product to verify its under 20%. I have spoken to them about this and I think its far too expensive for a small business. I only deliver/sell within a 20 mile radius max, and my customers are on a 85% retention rate, ie if they buy from me once 85% buy more after that. My reputation for only sellign dry wood is as good as the ready to burn logo I think, so I don't see the point of adding more overhead and admin for someone else to tell me my stuff is good! I'd be interested to hear other peoples views on this?
  9. Chalgravesteve

    new toy! Thor magik petrol 13t

    There's a reason why its two hand operated.......if you modify it so its one hand operated, then one day you might need it to be one hand operated! It never ceases to amaze me how people seem to imagine that 10/20/30 tonne of hydraulic pressure can be stopped from damaging a human being by hope alone. Same with PTO's There's a reason why they have guards and chains.
  10. Chalgravesteve

    Imported firewood

    Whilst I understand the argument that marine diesel is not exactly environmentally friendly, unless the ship was carrying just timber, then its not making it any worse than it was already. The container ship system is circulating the globe, transporting millions of containers carrying everything under the sun. Whether is 1 more or one less container on there makes no odds. There is the argument that the more you get on, the less pollution there is per container. There is no way that we are going to go back to "the good old days" of the East India Company and "The Cutty Sark" skimming across the surface of the seas under wind power to bring us a cup of tea...... New Zealand may well be able to inspect every single container that comes into their ports, but they have a population of under 5 million people - that's almost 50% of London alone! If you compare our inspections with, say the massive port hubs of Rotterdam, Antwerp, Hamburg etc I would think that we would be more comparable.
  11. Chalgravesteve

    IBC to bulk bag

    I've got some Sainsbury's biodegradeable carrier bags at 5p each. They also hold a tonne.....
  12. Chalgravesteve

    Sitka thinnings for logs

    But unless the incinerator is at every port, then the issue remains the same. Its here and it has to be transported to an incinerator.
  13. Chalgravesteve

    Sitka thinnings for logs

    So, the power stations do a deal with the FC to take any softwood with bark on to incinerate it for them? Now that would be absolutely too simple wouldn't it..........
  14. Chalgravesteve

    How to sell more Firewood

    No problem. The point of a newsletter is to continue to engage with your customers. In my view, especially if you are selling in bulk, then there can be a longer period between them reordering? So, to maintain a communication with them also maintains your name in their minds so they are more likely to think of you as they need to reorder or you prompt the thought that they need to. If you dont don’t talk to your customer, someone else might. It’s just a simple mechanism to keep you in their minds.
  15. Chalgravesteve

    How to sell more Firewood

    I agree, we have 2 different markets. I cater for the people who can’t/won’t store firewood in volume. I’m way cheaper than buying nets from the garage and more expensive than loose bulk suppliers. I’m selling mine at around £150 per m3 and it’s a mix of hard and softwood. I’ve got 250+ local customers, I data capture and I’m going to be starting a newsletter for my customers next season, same as I do for my golf business members. I think the same principles apply to both sectors. Claiming it’s better for the customers health, them shifting the logs themselves, is pushing it though! 😂😂 So the elderly, disabled, etc etc are all better off by shifting it themselves? 😃👍

About

Arbtalk.co.uk is a hub for the arboriculture industry in the UK.  
If you're just starting out and you need business, equipment, tech or training support you're in the right place.  If you've done it, made it, got a van load of oily t-shirts and have decided to give something back by sharing your knowledge or wisdom,  then you're welcome too.
If you would like to contribute to making this industry more effective and safe then welcome.
Just like a living tree, it'll always be a work in progress.
Please have a look around, sign up, share and contribute the best you have.

See you inside.

The Arbtalk Team

Follow us

×

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.