We did some searching online about this guy but very little is coming up. So question to those who might have gone through this process, what advice to you have? Things to look/watch out for? I know nothing about timber costs, and while he gave us a tutorial as we walked the property, how do I really know I'm not getting taken for a ride on this? Should I ask for an estimate on our return and how accurate should this be at the end of the project?
Any feedback or advice would be much appreciated!
2: Permit process, make it clear who is doing any permits for road work or wet land encroachment, or stream crossings.
Montana state univ. has a great site for forestry education. not that you need to take the class but one of the documents is things to consider when signing a contract to log. and there is an extensive list of things on it. http://www.msuextension.org/forestry/Resources/pdf/SampleTimberSaleAgreement.pdf
First off, state foresters do not regulate contract terms for any private timber sale. And, most have zero understanding of what timber markets are and, what makes them tick. Few of them understand logging and, even fewer of them have ever sold or bought a tract of timber, managed the harvest, and had to deal with the results of the obligations they promised and, the money they suggest it is worth. So, forget the advice about getting one involved. If you want to know what that little bush is growing in your back yard, they are the best at telling you that. But, if you want the best bang for your buck while meeting your wildlife goals, they simply do not posses the experience to be as good at that as you can get from other foresters.
Second, consultants can be your friend here. But, I say that as "can". They are paid a percentage of the harvested amount and, while it is common for folks to insist otherwise, have a financial incentive to see as much timber cut as possible. I'm not suggesting that a consultant wouldn't do you a good job or, be the best pick for you. Just know they get paid by your dollars and, I have witnessed many a management plan objective lose out to the interest of the consultant's payday.
Industry foresters work for sawmills. They are charged with the responsibility to log that mill. Hell or high water, they log it or they get replaced with someone that will. So, they will want to buy your timber. They also want to cut as much timber as possible from any sell. But, here is where the facts get mis-stated many times. They work by word of mouth more than any other way. So, it is very important for you to be happy with the work they offer. Most will not promise you anything they do not know they can get done. And, these are the foresters that know the loggers the best. They understand economics and the timber market, know how to best sort your timber for the highest market, they practice TSI work more than any other sector of forestry, and have the experience and responsibility to get it done right.
You'll have a score of suggestions from people who have done this and, people who "know" this, etc.... Bottom line is you get one or two chances in your lifetime to capitalize on the harvest of your timber. You want to get it right. So, get with all the foresters you can, meet them on sight, let them tell you what they think of your plans, pick one, and go with him.
Do some searching around as drycreek said. Get to know these guys. If you have a fella that hits you as being credible, he more than likely is. Same with being a blowhard. One last thing to remember; there are financial incentives driving all interests. But, you can meet all objectives you strive for if you get credible people to work with. For me, I'm working with industry guys by choice and, what I know. They have the workforce, the knowledge, and the incentive to see you get what you request and, you are happy with their services. This is coming from a guy that has and, still is on both sides of it. Cut out the middle man when possible, put more money in your pocket, and get the job you want. And, know that no retied 40 year experienced forester's mail flyers around in the mail looking for work. At the cost of stamps, that advertising gets expensive. I know. I do it weekly. You can't pay for that on SSI. God Bless
Good feedback All! Based on this I think the best route is to pump the brakes a little and get a few estimates as well as references if possible. I was hoping to get this done this winter but time is ticking and I might wind up having to push this out until the following winter if I want it done right.
So what is appropriate to ask and receive when it comes to the timber reimbursement? Do the land owners see any receipts? I like the trail camera suggestion about monitoring truck loads, and I have been given that advice from others, but what kind of checks and balances are in place for this? Or do I just assume that I am going to get a very small piece of the pie?
Before you sign any contract, Hire a private Consultant Forester to work for you.
It really is that competitive between mills, when you involve multiple mills. So, there is very little chance they are going to trust with that info for the EXACT reason I just told you. Besides, if you get multiple offers, you'll see the market for your timber in the offers. So, there is no need for receipts.
If you deal with a logger direct, you had better be sure to include that you get proof of load counts, pay rates, rock cost, etc..... I'm not insinuating they are thieves because most are not. But, they will not offer a lump sum bid likely either. So, you get that assurance in contract before agreeing to anything with them. If they don't want to show you that info, then you don't need to be working with them. Cutting on a percentage demands you see the costs where your share is going and, where it is coming from.
A consultant will put the sale together and offer it for a bid to the mills. He will take 8 to 10% of the lump bid amounts as pay for his services.
Ask everyone of them how they pay, what means they intend to log with, tell them your wildlife plans, and listen to their suggestions on how to achieve it. If they intend to do a pay as cut based on percentages, do not do business with anyone that won't give you copies and receipts for all costs and, demand weekly load sheets. Ask them when they plan to cut it and, if it is a winter job. If its winter work, it will drive a premium. Them knowing you understand that will ensure you get the best they are willing to offer.
Your timber is worth what a mill is willing to pay, minus the cost it takes to get it there. No matter who cuts it. That is how your offers are going to be derived. So, know what rock costs, what seed and mulch costs, what it costs to build a road suitable for trucking the timber etc... And use that info to determine who is offering you the best deal. Regardless of a percentage, pay as cut,or lump sum offer.
Good luck and God Bless .