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Author Topic: one man operation  (Read 2343 times)

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Offline furltech

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #20 on: October 29, 2014, 06:12:45 am »
I started on my own with a converted skidder made into a forwarder,just me and another guy then i thought i should expand so i bought a 230 timberjack forwarder and hired more saws .translation more headaches so i decided to switch to cut to length and bought a stroke patu harvester .translation more misery .finally decided to park everything went back to running harv for another company realized after about a year i am too pigheaded to work for someone else .went back on my own with an atv and atv logging trailer and now due to work piling up ahead of me i have decided to grow by adding a partner and skidder to the mix so we shall see where this chapter takes me .

Offline br389

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #21 on: October 29, 2014, 06:18:38 am »
Thanks for all the advice guys..... I am 25 years old and the old man and I started this about 5 yrs ago and we have a 540B a 648 Glll and a timber wolf processor and him and I used to work together doing construction but I couldn't get enough of the woods and wanted to pursue my dream job so I went doing this full time last year and my dad helps out on the weekends but I am just always trying to figure out how to get more production and find good lots at the same time

Online BargeMonkey

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #22 on: October 29, 2014, 12:07:36 pm »
 Youve gotta figure out where your losing time. I went from just a cable skidder and dozer because I couldnt put it out fast enough, bought a timbco then I couldnt skid fast enough. Added a skidder and I couldnt clean up the landing fast enough, its a vicious cycle. A loader on the header is 100% better than buying a cutter, if im alone I will handcut for 1-2 days and clean up for 2-3, seems like a good system. Adding more guys always turns into frustration, you go from a decent pace to trying to put out 3x as much to pay wages and fuel. I would sit down and see how you can make your operation smoother. There are very few operations around here with more than 2-3 guys, and if they are they are chasing wood to keep afloat.

Offline longtime lurker

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #23 on: October 29, 2014, 08:35:25 pm »
The phrase "It takes money to make money" applies to to logging as much as any other business or maybe even more.  If you wanted to successfully grow a logging business you would need to have cash to purchase equipment, purchase wood, and have operating expenses covered, a line of credit or trying to do it on cash flow alone just does not work any longer. 

I looked at a lot this summer the owner was considering logging, it had nice wood and I told the owner it would take me most of a year to log it all off and I pay on shares, they were looking for cash now so I gave them a couple of names.  I pass by it all the time and saw a guy I know set up there three weeks ago, turns out he was hired by a local mill who actually bought the lot.  I ship to the same mill and know the log scaler there, the bid for the lot was based on an estimated harvest of 325 MBF, the lot produced a bit over 400 MBF, so the mill got nearly 80 MBF for the cost of logging it, all because they had cash and could afford to spend it. 

Personally I think guys like us - I am a one man operation as well - can do a lot better by finding a niche that the other guys overlook.  Its nice when I need to do something on a Wednesday and I don't have to worry about a crew having issues or messing around while I am gone, the machine sits there waiting for me and is ready to go when I get back.  For what its worth I used to own a different business where we made and bagged wood shavings, had about 25 employees, worked around the clock and I did not bring home any more money than I do now at the end of the week.  If a guy wants the operation to be his life, then chase the monster, but if you want to have a secure income that balances with life then stay small and be the very best in your niche.

That about it sums it up. Before you expand the manpower you need to make sure that the existing manpower is utilised to it's fullest potential: ie work smarter not harder. You need equipment that can make you money and only when the equipment is not being worked to its limit for want of manpower should you look at hiring. it's often cheaper to pay off a loan on a better machine then pay wages to achieve the same productivity with lesser equipment.
Then you need the capital to operate said machines, with or without additional personnel, from one pay check to the next. Logs, fuel, wages etc can start to add up fast.

My advice is to really look at what you want to achieve and then figure out what pieces you need to get on the board to make it happen. We recently started to shift how we operate in terms of having "core" equipment and "essential equipment but we don't use it that much really", and hiring the latter in. Used to have two old loaders, one for loading logs in the bush and one for the yard - now we have one in the yard and hire the other in once a month. It means we no longer have a regular single truckload of logs coming in, instead we have multiple trucks shifting a whole whack of logs in just a few days a month. It also means that instead of me maintaining two old pieces of junk I have one decent one that requires less of my time (which I can then put to doing other things) and one that if it breaks down is someone elses problem, and they send me another one in the meantime.
Look at your competitors, half of them have gear parked up and under utilised that they may be willing to hire on an occasional basis. Look at the cat rental store. The beauty of going this way is that when you need a D7 you get a D7... but if you only need a 5 then you get a 5. Treat their gear like it was your own and they'll keep hiring it to you again and again.

Feeding more manpower at an inefficient system is only a stopgap. Get the system right, get the right equipment to do the job efficiently, and you'll find you can do more in a day. It also means that when you do hire someone that you get maximum bang for your buck there too. Nothing worse then paying guys to stand around and watch you fix a broken down skidder because until it goes you both are unable to start falling trees.

Having said all that I'd also say that if you've got the logs then go for it. The reality is that production shouldn't double when you shift from a one man to a two man operation. It should triple.

The quickest way to make a million dollars with a sawmill is to start with two million.

Online BargeMonkey

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Re: one man operation
« Reply #24 on: October 29, 2014, 10:45:05 pm »
 Exactly what he just said.  :D