Blog

The “Best” way to sell firewood
People getting into the firewood industry ask questions like this all the time. The easy answer is, “Whatever way nets you the most profit per cord…”

Firewood seems to be one of those products that people don’t think of as a product. If you are selling 50 cords each year, you probably go after the market a lot different than someone producing 5,000 cords annually.

To me, the key isn’t “sales”, it is marketing. And how do you market firewood? Well, that depends. It varies a lot, locally, regionally, and nationally. So the starting point is “How big do I want to get?”… if you plan to sell 50 cords within 5 miles of home, word of mouth will get you there pretty quick. And forget about “Johnny Beermoney” – he is not your competition. Not if you are going to be a professional firewood supplier – he won’t be there when people are in need and he won’t provide good seasoned wood (or better yet, kiln dried). Continue Reading

Spring is the time for Firewood
Wait, what? Why is Spring the time for firewood? You all know this one – unless you have a kiln, you need to season your wood. Doesn’t matter is you are a commercial supplier, making bundler, or just wood for your own uses – wood burns better when it is dry. Silly concept, right?
I talk to guys all the time that say, “I only burn green wood. It burns longer…” This is sort of true… it smolders longer. Because you are basically boiling all of the moisture out of it as it tries to burn. And it sizzles, pops, snaps – makes all the sounds you don’t want coming from your fire. It also makes tons of smoke, and your heat it wafting away in the form of steam. And creosote, Oh so much creosote. So, it may burn a little longer, but it sure doesn’t burn better.Continue Reading  

Almost show season again
It’s just about that time again, the first show of the season is in Eugene, OR February 22-24. A chance to get some face time with all of you. There is a lot of logistics in doing a show – it’s not as easy as just showing up. It starts 6-8 months before the show normally. Booking space, making reservations, deciding what we want to show at each show. And this year, because of how personnel is allocated, most of the prep falls into my lap.

Not complaining, mind you. It’s one more set of things in a day. The prep work is the hum drum part. We try to pre-sell everything going to a show (save on bringing anything home). When you start loading up is when the real fun begins. Continue Reading  

The Holidays get hectic
This time of year gets crazy for everyone – between family gatherings, holiday parties, other activities… you never really get to sit still for more than a few minutes. And then there is yearend tax accounting, and realizing that if you don’t spend a bunch of money on equipment, you get to mail an even fatter check to the IRS. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

With capital equipment, the last couple weeks of the year get pretty crazy as people try to take advantage of tax benefits by adding and upgrading equipment. Not complaining, I hate to give Uncle Sam a penny more than I have to. Most of us probably wouldn’t have an issue with tax time if the government were as good with our money as we have to be, but they are not. And it really doesn’t matter which party you run with, they all like to spend like there is no tomorrow. Continue Reading  

It’s finally winter!

Well, it looks like winter has set in here in Wisconsin… only took until the 1st week of December. And here in the southern part of the state, we are still waiting on snowfall. “Up North”, I hear tell they got several inches last night. And now, your customers are starting to think about ordering wood.

After a couple soft winters, it’s about time. And if you believe the weatherman, we should be in for a good one. Which means everyone (hopefully) will sell out of all their seasoned wood and clear the lot before the weather breaks.

Depending on the size of your operation and checkbook, you have probably at least looked at kilns – while we don’t build them, many of our customers tell us about theirs. When winters are rough, the “seasoned” wood guys often complain about running out of wood early in the season and not being able to service their customers. Continue Reading  

Holidays
Well, it’s that time of year again – the holidays are on us. We’re all thinking about a crackling fire and being with our loved ones. And many of you are seeing that fire as crackling cash registers – it’s a good time of year to make money in the wood business!
But this time, let’s not talk business. It’s an awful cliché to wish for peace on earth – but we really all should.

Many years ago, I passed through Belfast, Northern Ireland and remember seeing a huge mural that had been painted on the entire end of a building, “Pray for peace, prepare for war.” Reality is that’s the way to be – peace is always easier when you are the biggest kid on the block. You need to be ready, but you don’t need to be aggressive – until it is time to be aggressive. As Patrick Swayze said in Roadhouse, “be nice. Be nice until it is time to not be nice.”  Continue Reading 

There has been some trouble in America lately, 58 people murdered and over 500 injured by (we are told) a madman. I feel for their families and those that were hurt. Let’s not talk about the official story, because, let’s just say I ain’t buying it. Politicians with no idea what they are talking about are blabbering within minutes. Not to belittle the horror of it, people are in a tizzy, and while it is tragic, it’s not that far beyond a normal weekend in Chicago. I won’t get into gun control… the only kind I believe in is being able to hit your target. Continue Reading 

In case you haven’t noticed, I bleed red, white, and blue. My parents were legal immigrants from England – while they loved England, they became Americans (not English-Americans). They instilled a great love of American in me, and taught me why America is the one country in the world that people stand in line to enter.

So, when I see a bunch of anti-Americans trashing our great country, I get angry. It’s the destroying of history – destroying of property – rioting – looting – trying to destroy the very fabric of America and her flag that gets to me. Continue Reading 

Climate Change – yeah, in my neighborhood, we call that weather.
I got into a discussion with a friend who is a true believer, it went something like this…
James – Can you believe it, two once in 500 year storms in two weeks…
Me – James, we’ve been keeping weather records for 150 years, we have no idea if these are once in 100, 500, or 5,000 year storms.
James – Oh yes, we do and we need to stop what we are doing, or the entire planet will be destroyed.
Me – So you want me to believe that the same people that couldn’t predict Irma’s landfall within 1,000 miles 2 days before it hit can predict the weather within ½ degree 50 years from now?
James – Yes, the computer models… Continue Reading 
When you can’t get into the woods because it rains every day. I’ve been way slow updating blogs lately – things have been hectic. And show season is getting ready to ramp up. It has been one wet summer this year, all over the country. It started pretty early in the Spring out West, and has jumped around the country. Back in May I heard about part of Florida getting 25” in 24 hours – ouch! Earlier in July, there were areas in the Midwest that had 9” rainfalls in a day or less (unheard of around here). A couple days ago, the weatherman said we hadn’t had 3 dry days together since early May. And it looks like this three days will be over tomorrow, with threat of rain the rest of the week. Continue Reading