Direct Marketing For Mixed Species Flooring
Get Paid Full Value for Your Trees "Show and Sell!"
Forest owners must realize that when they sell timber, a customer somewhere is going to buy that wood and pay an average of one hundred times what the landowner received for the standing tree. Those logs will be manufactured and sold to a person just like you.
A growing number of small woodlot owners across the continent are now finding that they can operate a forest to finished flooring business and earn the full value of their timber through direct marketing to customers.
The most important reason for a direct marketing system is to enable forest owners to properly manage their forest resource. The forest managers for the Menominee Tribal Enterprise Forest in NE Wisconsin explained the issues involved: A forest manager must harvest the natural output of the forest with absolutely no pressure from market demand. The good of the forest resource is the only consideration when marking timber for harvest. Whatever logs that do come out of the forest go to the sawmill, where the sawmill and marketing managers must make the best of the existing opportunities.
This way of doing business is obviously the opposite of the traditional timber market. To be successful at this different type of forest management, a new market system is needed. Direct marketing of wood products offers a way to develop a new local market for timber. The focus is to sell what your forest produces using "Show and Sell!"
One important part of running a successful business is to sell high quality products. A new generation of machines have been perfected to manufacture high value wood products on a small scale. Low-impact logging equipment, portable sawmills, small kilns, and affordable molding equipment are now available. A forest owner needs a new set of knowledge and confidence, based on the full value of their timber. Local wood processing requires training and a different philosophy than held by the traditional timber industry. Forest owners can learn to actually create their own market, escaping the usual pitfalls that occur when selling timber.
Another key is to focus the business on several products, balancing simplicity and diversity. The two products that seem universal across the globe to support a wood business are kiln dry lumber and flooring. Beyond these high value essentials, there are literally millions of other wood products used by people everywhere, everyday.
Forest owners should start by looking at what their forest will be producing over the next ten years in terms of volumes, species, log sizes, wood quality, etc. What products can be made from that flow of timber? What size machinery is needed to process that volume? Design and build your business based on successful methods used by other profitable businesses.