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Author Topic: Thinking of getting into the business  (Read 4525 times)

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Offline bikedude73

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Thinking of getting into the business
« on: September 14, 2009, 08:07:07 pm »
I am doing a lot of research into getting into this business any ideas?????

Offline Chuck White

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2009, 08:16:19 pm »
Welcome to the Forestry Forum and congrats on your first post!

Best suggestion I can give you is do a lot of reading throughout this forum, and ask questions as you go.
I think it's great and you'll always be learning.
This is a wonderful place to meet friends and learn at the same time, and in no time you'll be offering suggestions to others!
~Chuck~
Retired USAF, Retired School Bus Driver, and now a Mobile Sawyer
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Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook and others.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.
I LOVE MY SAWMILL

Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2009, 08:17:40 pm »
Hey thanks I am looking at a wm lt 28 or a lt40

Offline Tom

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2009, 08:18:11 pm »
Go find a mill, take a chair with you and sit and watch a couple of days or so.   It can be hard work and you have to have the aptitude to stand the repetition.  That's a good start.  You'll find that most sawmillers will be quite friendly toward telling you about the business.   That includes here too.  But, it's better to have some questions to get started.  :)
extinct

Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2009, 08:20:46 pm »
Hey thanks a lot tom I love your website I have read all your stuff thanks for all the time u spent to help us newbys

Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2009, 08:25:31 pm »
I have been doing research for a few months but I can not figure out how to see what kind of maket is in my area.  I have been in retail for about 20 years but it is a lot different retail is a numbers game and not sure how to judge the sawing business.......

Offline Magicman

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2009, 08:34:58 pm »
First, Welcome to FF.... :)

It takes time to build up a customer base.   One option  is to parttime/sideline until you do.  Another consideration is the expense of equipment and "support equipment".  Determine what your "market" will be.

Whatever you do on any business venture, don't make hasty decisions with unrealistic expectations.

For me, sawing was a very good decision.  Good luck..... 8)
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2009, 08:38:32 pm »
Hey thanks magicman I am planning of doing the partime thing I was hoping to bring in a few $100 dollars a week above my expenses is that realistic????

Offline sdunston

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2009, 08:43:01 pm »
Welcome to the FF. It took me about 2 years to buy a mill, as a matter of fact its comming next week. I went for the LT28 as an entry level mill and for the price I think the payback will be short term. In every part of the country things are not good and people are staying home and building stuff and fixing up around the house, they need lumber. The market I am going after is the farmer that needs stall and fence boards and may also want some of his logs cut. The one thing I have learned in life is you can think things for a long time then when you go for it you say to your self why did'nt I do this earliler. Go with your gut feeling then pick a mill that is going meet your needs.

Sam
WM LT28, American fordge 18x8 planer,Orange and white chainsaws, NH TC33, IHT6 dozer, IH-H tractor and alot of other stuff that keeps me agravated trying to keep running

Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2009, 08:47:00 pm »
Sam thanks I feel that way too.  I live 40 miles from indy so I have been to wm headquarters two times and I am closer but I have had a business fail and don't want to go throught that again.   I am a go getter but I want to be real and know what the guys that have weathered the storm have to say too.....  Good luck with your mill Sam

Offline ladylake

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #10 on: September 14, 2009, 08:51:33 pm »
Go find a mill, take a chair with you and sit and watch a couple of days or so.   It can be hard work and you have to have the aptitude to stand the repetition.  That's a good start.  You'll find that most sawmillers will be quite friendly toward telling you about the business.   That includes here too.  But, it's better to have some questions to get started.  :)

 Don't be sitting in a chair, offload some 2 x 12 x 16' oak then see what you think. That said I wouldn't get rid of my mill for anything.    Steve
Timberking B20 9000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter

Offline Magicman

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2009, 09:12:46 pm »
hoping to bring in a few $100 dollars a week above my expenses is that realistic????

Maybe not at first, until you build up a customer base.

Talk to your County Extension personnel, and ask about setting up a field day and do a live demonstration for landowners.  Talk to your County Forestry Ass'n. They love to do stuff like that, and you get free advertisement. 
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline pnyberg

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2009, 09:46:20 pm »
We're in a similar situation.  I'm also fairly new around here, and I'm also thinking about "getting into the business".

I've spent quite a bit of time going through the archives of the "Sawmills and Milling" section of the FF, and I think I've learned a few things.  One thing is that there's more than one business model that gets discussed around here. I've got these mentally categorized as "stationary custom mills", "portable custom mills", and "lumber sales".  In pure form, the first two don't buy logs or sell lumber, they are focused on providing, and charging for a service.  The third category focuses on turning logs into a product that can be sold.  Of course, in the real world, nothing is pure, so there are a lot of hybrid operations. But what kind of business are you thinking of getting into?

Another thing I've learned is that this is a very diverse country (well, actually, it's a very diverse world, but I'm going to assume for the time being that you're in the USA).  Successful business models and business practices seem to vary significantly based on geography.  For example, in most of the US, it is apparently difficult to get customers to pay for custom sawing based on an hourly charge, but in the northeast, this practice is common.  I make this point in a round-about way of suggesting that it would be in your interest to fill in your profile with a bit more information. 

Trying to get a handle on the market for the service or product you're considering offering is to me the hardest part of the analysis.  My process started as a customer looking for a portable sawmill service to saw a few logs into lumber.  Since I usually spend most of my day sitting in front of a computer, I was using the internet for this.  Initially, the closest sawyer I could find was about an hour's drive away.  This was the point where the idea of starting my own portable custom sawmill business first occurred to me.  But, I kept looking around.  I discovered the Forestry Forum, which is a wonderful resource.  I also eventually discovered a portable custom sawmill business who parks their mill about 10 miles from my house. 

It took me two weeks of researching the topic of portable sawmills before I stumbled across a link to their website because the business is all but invisible unless you already know their name.  Since they were close by, I arranged for them to come saw my logs last week. I've had a couple of conversations with the sawyer, and I mentioned to him that I was considering buying a mill and becoming his competitor.  His reaction was entirely generous and supportive.  He tells me that he keeps as busy as he likes, relying almost entirely on word-of-mouth, with a minimal amount of advertising.  I'm taking this as an indication that there's more work to be had with a little digging.  My wife is not so sure, but one of us needs to stay sane.

So, I'm suggesting that you should try to find your nearest competitors, and talk to them.  A call to Wood-Mizer will get you the names of mill owners in your area as well. 

--Peter
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Offline bikedude73

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2009, 10:24:39 pm »
Peter thanks a lot I have gotten the list from wood mizer and I have called and the guys close have not called back and the others have been very helpful.  Thanks so much for your time everyone on here so far has been great!!!!!!!

Offline fishpharmer

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2009, 11:19:03 pm »
Welcome to Forestry Forum bikedude73,

This is a great place with great folks as you are finding.

I have been thinking of getting in the business since Katrina hit.  Soon after Katrina it looked like sawmills were on every corner. Mainly I wanted to cut all my own trees laid down by Katrina, making money would be gravy.  I decided I didn't know enough to make a "store bought" mill pay for itself.  So I built my own. In hindsight I think I would have been ahead, buying a mill. I have actually made a little money cutting with it.  Could make more if I had a fully developed reliable mill.  I am getting there.   

Now I have to many irons in the fire and probably wouldn't make a good custom sawyer, always in a rush.  Seems to me that a portable mill would increase your potential customer base.  Someday I intend to give custom sawing a shot.  Reading Tom's website has been an inspiration.  This site is my "Sawmill Bible" if you can say such a thing.  I think I wouldn't trade all the friends I have made here for a brand spanking new LT 15.   

Now with an LT4O hydraulic or Cooks AC 36 I will miss them. :D :D ;) 8)   
Naw........I hope, when I learn a little something, I could help new folks out like I was helped. 8) 8)
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Offline Ron Wenrich

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2009, 05:49:27 am »
When you're starting out, sometimes its best to go with used equipment.  It brings the price down and helps you to conserve capital.

All business is the same.  It all revolves around marketing.  If you can't effectively market your product or service, you're going to have problems.  Figure out your niche and where you fit in in your area. 

You will also have to factor in your learning curve.  Its pretty steep for the first 6 months.  Its best to have a few of your own logs to make your mistakes.  Don't figure that free logs will be a stable log supply.l
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2009, 06:26:21 am »
Biker Dude,welcome,it takes a good job to support a mill at least starting out.As stated its best to start off with a good used mill to get your feet wet.You have to find a nitch and not try to butt heads with Home Depot for 2x4's.If you can mill lumber and use it to sell a finished product your ahead.Example, design a small shed perfect to store a motor cycle call it Harley homes.Frank C.
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Offline jdtuttle

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2009, 06:33:02 am »
Welcome to the forum Biker Dude. I am still in the start-up process of my business. I retire from my regular job in 2 years & plan to saw & make custom molding & other products. The best thing I did was right a business plan. It helped identify the niche market I hope to fill. It will also provide important financial information so you can make realistic profit or loss projections. Just do a search for "free business plans". You'll get a lot of choices. Good luck.
jim
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Offline solidwoods

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Re: Thinking of getting into the business
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2009, 01:58:55 pm »
Make a business plan.
Sales/Marketed items first.
The machinery required will be one of the last decisions made.
Owning a sawmill does not a sawmill buisness/income make.
jim
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