The following comments do not address the OP’s original post, but I wanted to add a few things for anyone who stumbles on this thread later as it is a good topic.
Here’s a few recommendations for anyone planning on selling their standing timber.
Definitely get at least 3 timber buyers to come and look at your property. Don’t automatically go with the buyer that gives you the highest price. If you do, you may regret it. Do your homework if you don’t want to get fleeced. How long has this buyer been in business? Do they have proofs of insurance (liability and work comp) that their insurance company can send you? Do they do a proper cleanup…..do they cut the tops or chip the tops? Can you see the last 3 jobs they have done? Do they have recommendations or can you talk to the owners of the last 3 jobs? Do they own their own equipment? Are they SFI (sustainable forestry) certified? Will they market all the wood or just certain species or types? What will they pay you for each type? Ask them if waiting for your timber to mature or for the markets to bounce back is a good idea. A reputable forester may very well tell you it’s best to wait a few years.
The reason I say to have their insurance company send the insurance proofs is that there have been crooks that white out the expiration dates and enter their own and then send you copies of their “fake” proofs. If it comes directly from the insurance company it will be valid. A reputable logger/forester will have no problem having their insurance company send you proofs. Note that Amish mills will not have comp, which is one of the reasons they may make you a better offer, as comp is very expensive for loggers and truckers. But, many of the Amish mills won’t cut or truck your wood either….they contract that out to loggers and truckers. However, you don’t want to have a logger or trucker (without comp) on your property and get hurt. If they don’t have comp, guess who’s insurance they are going to go after? So, if the logger or trucker is contracted out, contact those companies and get proofs of comp or have the mill do that for you.
If you decide on a logger, ask them to give you scale sheets of all the loads leaving your property every day or week . Make sure you know the difference between pulp wood, bolt wood and veneer…..listed least valuable to most valuable. The veneer will likely have individual barcodes (after they have been bought) put on them as they are very valuable. It’s not uncommon for landowners to not have much, if any, veneer. If you do have veneer, you should contact 2-3 veneer buyers and have them come out and bid on it. They will do this for even a couple of veneer logs as they can be very valuable. But, keep an eye out in the difference between bolt wood (that mills can use for boards) and pulp wood (that mills can use for paper pulp or particle board) or is used for firewood. I’ve seen crook loggers who will give a landowner a scale sheet for wood and tell them it’s pulp wood but then take it to a bolt wood mill. Granted, this doesn’t happen often….but I have seen it happen. The best bet for you is to get a copy of the scale sheet from the place that actually buys the wood. Most of the time the trucker will get a slip when the drop the load off. Most mills do not buy both pulp and bolts so just the mill name on the scale ticket will tell you what kind of wood it is. That’s not always possible, but it’s worth asking for. I would also set up a trail cam so you can see the loads leaving the property. You can pretty much tell what kind of wood it is just by looking at the side of the log truck and trailer. Plus, you can make sure you know how many loads have left your property each day.
Also when a logger/forester gives you an estimate on your forest…..keep in mind….it is an estimate. Anyone that absolutely guarantees you a specific dollar amount, I’d be very weary about. There was a local crook around here who did that and he would pay half up front. The landowners would never see another penny. Their property was ransacked and he was gone. When the landowners tried to go after him legally, they found out they were last in a long line of others and there was nothing to go after. He gambled the money away and didn’t own a single piece of equipment and had zero net worth. His “contracts” for his ‘LLC company’ were worthless. He moved on to another area after about 5 years or so when the law started coming after him. Not surprisingly, he was difficult to pin down. I don’t think he ever went to jail b/c he set up the LLC, but I really don’t know what the end result was. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is in another state doing the same thing he did here. He was FULL of excuses of why the checks weren’t coming in. He’d keep telling the landowners he just needed to wait to get paid from the mill before he could pay them so the landowners would give him time. He originally got landowners contact information at the court house. He would go through the plat book, find those parcels that were large, and send the landowners an offer in the mail. It was amazing how many of those landowners contacted HIM back and gave him the go ahead.
Clearly the larger your piece of property is and the longer amount of time that is has been untouched, along with the species of the wood will have an impact on how much your timber is worth. It never hurts to contact friends or neighbors about their experiences with past cuttings. What would they do differently? Were they happy with the job? You can never have too many opinions. Call local mills and ask questions. Call local log truck drivers and ask who they would recommend if it was their property? Contact local timber or logging organizations and ask them what their recommendations are for folks in your area. If the folks had done any of these things who dealt with the crook I was talking about above, they never would have gotten taken for a ride. A few phone calls may not be all it takes to get the very best logger, but it will prevent you from using someone who has a bad reputation.
Statistics: Posted by angie_nrs — Tue Mar 14, 2017 1:33 pm