Start A High Demand
And Create Hot Profits!
The firewood business is better than ever. The high cost of fuel oil and heating gas has created high demand for firewood. What a business opportunity this provides you.
A firewood supply and delivery business is just what your empty wallet needs.
No doubt you have seen home owners selling firewood as a part-time business. The nice thing about this business is you can start small and grow the business to the point where you need a small crew to help you.
This business isn't for everyone. The very nature of the business requires hard physical work. Logs and firewood are, after all, quite heavy and a large operation requires special log handling equipment.
If a little hard work doesn't bother you, then great! You will have less competition because of it.
The Firewood Market
You need to decide what market you want to serve. Retail and/or wholesale. Understanding the needs of your market will help you decide how to best meet those needs.
Do the customers in your region burn firewood in wood stoves, fire places, or indoor or outdoor wood furnaces?
An apartment dweller will require smaller bundles of wood. They don't have the room to store more. Wood stove users like shorter lengths and smaller diameters than someone who uses a fireplace or wood furnace. Wood stove and wood furnace owners need larger quantities also.
My father heats his house almost entirely with wood. He buys 5 to 7 chords of firewood per year. He only uses about one 200 gallon tank of fuel oil a year.
Every state will have firewood customers. People in southern states like to have a warm toasty fire to watch and heat their homes as much as those in northern climates.
Your firewood market may require you to deliver firewood to their door. You limit your market if you expect people to come and get their firewood themselves. They may not own a trailer or truck.
Some customers will want you to also stack the firewood for them.
Sources of Firewood
Your firewood business requires a few sources of logs. Where are you going to get the wood? Do you want to be a lumberjack and harvest the trees yourself cutting the trees down in the forest or wood lot and skidding them out?
My brother-in-law was a lumberjack and a sawmill operator in his younger years. Lumberjacks usually work in the winter months to cut the trees and skid the logs out.
You need to work when the ground is frozen as you will encounter swamps and marshy areas. It is far easier to work these areas in the winter.
If you don't own any wood lots then you will need to contract with land owners to harvest their wood lots. Selective cutting is required. Clear cutting (cutting all trees down) is frowned upon by many land owners and conservationists.
State and national forests may be harvested in some areas. You will need to obtain a permit from the governing body. Contact the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, or Ranger Station. Usually the agency's forester will only allow you to cut up windfall trees.
Small sawmills are a source of wood for your firewood business. They have mill ends that can be purchased. These you buy in quantity and then package into sacks of firewood. Apartment dwellers are your market for these.
Sawmills may have logs that were unfit for lumber, or slab wood, available.
Perhaps you would prefer to have logs delivered to your property so you can cut them to size and split them yourself. Personally, I prefer this method. Contact logging operators and sawmills for these.
Cutting trees down is dangerous work. I just lost a friend of mine when his son cut a 3-4 inch branch off a tree. The branch hit him on the head. Cutting a whole tree down is far more dangerous.
Furniture factories and woodworking shops are sources of scrap wood that may be used as firewood. Some people like to buy kindling wood to start their fires. Another source of profit for you.
Firewood Equipment Needed
You will need to invest some money into your firewood business and buy the equipment and tools you will need. Here is a short list to purchase as your business grows.
- Large chain saw
- Helmet with face guard and ear protection
- Steel toe shoes
- Log splitter
- Stake or dump truck
As your firewood business grows you can increase production by purchasing these tools:
- Firewood processors
- Firewood conveyors
- Log Grapple
Here are a few vendors of log splitters, firewood processors, and conveyors:
Timberwolf Wood Processing Equipment - www.timberwolfcorp.com
Chomper Rainier Hydraulics Inc. - www.chomper.net
The Woodbine Firewood Processor - CRD Metalworks LLC www.crdmetalworks.com
Hud-son Forest Equipment, Inc - www.hud-son.com
Cord King of Canada - www.cord-master.com
American-CLS - www.americanmsr.com
If you are serious about investigating this firewood business opportunity, I highly recommend getting a copy of
Start Your Own Firewood Business!
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This excellent book is available as a hardcover book, CD rom, and as a download. It will give you a more thorough understanding of the firewood business.
The firewood business is not a business you can run from your suburban garage, at least on a large scale. Most likely it will violate your local zoning ordinance.
You will need a property large enough, in a properly zoned area, where you can handle large log trucks and have a large enough area to store the firewood.
You will need to dry the firewood for a minimum of 6 months, and preferably one year for hardwoods. Unseasoned firewood will not burn well, and creates more smoke and creosote.
The basic unit of firewood measurement is the cord. A cord is a 4ft. high x 4ft. wide x 8 ft. long stack of firewood. A face cord or rick measures 4ft. high x 8 ft. long x 16 inches wide. A face cord is 1/3 cord.
Well, there you have the basics of the firewood business. Give good customer service and you will have repeat customers for many years to come.
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