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Author Topic: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t  (Read 320 times)

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Offline woodshax

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Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« on: April 12, 2017, 03:52:34 pm »
I am hoping to start up a series of conversations about how to maximize profits for those of us in the firewood sales game.   As we all have our own territories, sharing best practices will only serve to give us new ideas and avenues rather than making the competitor better at taking our business.  The agenda is not to shamelessly plug my invention but to start gathering info on how to cut costs during production and places and people to sell to for maximum profit......without ripping anyone off.
I have been focusing on the retail end of the business rather than the production side so, I have not invested in automated processing and bagging equipment.  As a result my firewood costs are high.  I buy from guys who sell it by the cord or have Tree Services drop off wood rather than dump it (but that is generally green wood and if I am not there to watch…a lot of garbage wood and debris).  I make it up by selling by the stick at State parks at a price that reflects the convenience of having the wood there and not having to tote it in when you could have that space available for more beer.   I can’t wrap my mind around doing all the hard work and selling to a convenience store owner only to have them double the price for having it in their store from.

So share your secrets to success and what has failed for you so we can all learn

Woodshax.

Offline armechanic

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2017, 09:22:29 am »
I sell bundled firewood (3/4 cu.ft.) in North Ark. I think I may have talked to you before. I would like to use vending machines at some point, but will have to get a heat treat kiln first for state parks. I am only selling to a couple of stores close by right now.  So I am glad to see this post and will check in often.
1989 Lt 40, D6C CAT, Home made wood processer in progress.

Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2017, 12:19:49 pm »
I think there is a untapped market for these type products at Campgrounds along with bags of Charcoal.  Stores are expanding displays to carry bags of Oak, Mesquite, Hickory and these I took a picture of.  Retailing just under 4 dollars a bag makes me wish I had a Forest of it.  These items would definitely compliment your operations.  I'd estimate the percentage of our meals over charcoal are at least 25%.  Well over 50% of our Dinner is cooked outside.  I use these chunks on the perimeters to get some smoke flavor and the bags last me.  I brought 6 bags of Apple with me when we went to Maine last year and went thru 4.  I've also used these chunks in my Smoker with better results than the Chips.  Charcoal pricing hasn't gone down in the 40 years I have been buying it.  On the Charcoal side I'm disappointed with Kingsford quality and have found better products that last longer and at 60% of the cost out there.  Only thing worse is having to go hunt some down when you need it. ;)

   

 
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Offline woodshax

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #3 on: April 18, 2017, 01:34:39 pm »
Absolutely,  Firewood and charcoal go hand in hand when camping and we sure do see the need in the 11 parks that we have now.   I have parks throughout Texas that want the machines but they are too far away for me to service.....I am considering leasing them to the Friends groups at these parks and doing all their back office record keeping for a percentage of the sales if they fill them....I prefer to use very local wood or heat treated (we are playing with kiln building now) but it is very difficult to find a reliable firewood dealer to take on the task in these parks.  And.....pretty soon every state will adopt the Local wood or heat treated wood policies anyway.  The National Parks are already at gather it on site or heat treated only.  I was just contacted by the friends group at Inks Lake near Austin and they have 200 camp sites and have gone through 15 cords since 1 January but it is on an honor system and they have a lot of "shrinkage".... The only thing I can figure to do is take them down a big trailer of bundled wood and Have it secured at the park maintenance site and then the friends can fill when needed and then I will only have to go down once a month or so.  At $1200 a cord in the machines there is still a profit

Offline armechanic

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2017, 05:51:45 pm »
I am wanting to build a heat treat kiln, It looks like that is the coming thing, already is in the state parks and would like to try the vending machines.  We have a large chain of convenience stores that claim they lose to much so I might change their minds with the idea of machines and the state parks, but that is a huge investment trying to buy that many.  I also have a lot of hickory and cherry wood. I guess I just need to get out and hustle.
1989 Lt 40, D6C CAT, Home made wood processer in progress.

Offline woodshax

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #5 on: April 25, 2017, 12:56:46 pm »
Don't know if you have thought about apartments with wood burning fireplaces in the winter for a machine or sales but to rent some land space from the apartment manager would have higher profit than the gas stations....those owners want to just double the price you sell to them for

Offline WV Sawmiller

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 08:45:35 pm »
I can’t wrap my mind around doing all the hard work and selling to a convenience store owner only to have them double the price for having it in their store from.
Woodshax.


   I've said this on other threads but I really can't understand the issue with someone else marking up any product to what the market will stand. As long as they pay me, the supplier, a price that I am satisfied with what is wrong with them doing their marketing, handling and taking a chance it will sell? I really see nothing wrong with this.  We buy a log for $.50/bf, process it into lumber, slabs, etc for another $.50 then sell it for $4/bf. What is different about that?

   BTW - I recently forwarded a link to your site to a friend who sits on our county parks and recreation committee. They took over several parks from the state last summer and are still trying to figure the best way to run them as a service and to best benefit the county and residents. He is looking into using your machines.

    Do you sell and support your machines as far away as southern WV?

   
Howard Green
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Offline armechanic

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #7 on: Yesterday at 10:23:29 am »
As of right now, the stores markup is two dollars a bundle.  I don't have any thing to do with how they price  If I used machines I would just pay them for the space.  We have lakes and camp areas here where the machines would work good, but would have to be heat treated, several thousand dollars, machines to sell, several thousand dollars each.  I don't know if it would pay out or not.
1989 Lt 40, D6C CAT, Home made wood processer in progress.

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #8 on: Yesterday at 10:52:58 am »
I can’t wrap my mind around doing all the hard work and selling to a convenience store owner only to have them double the price for having it in their store from.
Woodshax.


   I've said this on other threads but I really can't understand the issue with someone else marking up any product to what the market will stand. As long as they pay me, the supplier, a price that I am satisfied with what is wrong with them doing their marketing, handling and taking a chance it will sell? I really see nothing wrong with this.  We buy a log for $.50/bf, process it into lumber, slabs, etc for another $.50 then sell it for $4/bf. What is different about that?

   BTW - I recently forwarded a link to your site to a friend who sits on our county parks and recreation committee. They took over several parks from the state last summer and are still trying to figure the best way to run them as a service and to best benefit the county and residents. He is looking into using your machines.

    Do you sell and support your machines as far away as southern WV?

 

Completely agree on the pricing points you make.  If you are happy selling it to someone for a price X than why do you care what they do with it? 

Offline Jeff

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #9 on: Yesterday at 11:23:54 am »
The comment isn't in regards or contest to how much the other guy is making, its in regards to how much HE could be making by selling himself given the opportunity. I understand completely. Just because one wonders if you can make more instead of the other guy, doesn't mean you have an issue with someone else making money.
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Offline Mooseherder

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Re: Retail Firewood Sales what works and what doesn’t
« Reply #10 on: Yesterday at 11:40:27 am »
Retail Stores have high operating overhead.  A 50 thousand square foot Grocery store with refrigeration has a monthly electric bill around 25 thousand.  Rent or Mortgage and Employees is a whole lot more.  Plus you have to make money for keeping everything running and replacement costs.  There are pages of other expenses.  If you have theft from employees or customers you're out of business quickly.  Smaller convenience stores have the same expenses proportionally lower but it's all relative.  The Market will dictate prices as customers will either buy the products or buy the item at another location that they know has it at a cheaper rate.  Without volume, none of it works out for anybody big or small because of your fixed expenses.
Lane Circle Mill