Here is an example of a potential business based on 100 acres of timber in the Midwest: 20,000 board feet of mixed species will be harvested each year. This wood will be manufactured into flooring and sold - installed and finished in customers' homes for $8/square foot. The $160,000 in gross income is about half business expenses and half profit. Of the business expense, about half is costs and the other half is wages earned. The profit is what is usually made by all the middlemen and retailers in the traditional market system. It is the accumulating of the profit at each stage in value-added manufacturing that makes a small business practical. You can sell the wood for a very reasonable price when you eliminate all the middlemen and most of the trucking costs.
When selling timber, logs, or lumber in the traditional timber markets, the forest owner is at an extreme disadvantage to the experienced commodity buyer. Woodlot owners are dealing with low value rough products that they know little about. The market is very competitive with strict and ever changing specifications.
When selling flooring direct to another homeowner, the producer is now the expert and has the advantage. The finished product is high in value, simple, and familiar. When selling your wood direct to consumers, nearly every person you meet is a potential customer. Every home and building that you see is a possible sale for your wood.
The common dynamic in the flooring business is the woman of the house usually makes the decorating decisions. The man of the house wants her to be happy and normally has less interest in the floor. See the "shopper" of the family as your "target customer" for selling flooring direct to the consumer. Show the women in the area your beautiful flooring and you will sell wood! Direct marketing to architects and builders is not recommended - they are already an established part of the traditional timber market.
A retail sales business must maintain an inventory. Open a factory outlet store with plenty of display area to show off the variety of wood from the forest. A 2,000 square foot room with 20,000 to 40,000 square feet of lumber and flooring is a reasonable inventory to start with. The humidity in the wood storage building must be controlled at about 40% RH to keep the kiln dry lumber and flooring at 6-8% moisture content. Tours of the forest and production facility give the customer an exciting experience and confidence that they know where the flooring is coming from. Customers will choose to buy from a professionally run small local business, rather than the "Big Box" store, once they know that they have the chance.
Get the word out that you have flooring for sale. A new business can get plenty of free publicity and this business is a great local story. Give informational presentations at your local service clubs and community organizations - they are always looking for interesting programs. Enter local parades, go to the farmers markets, be visible! Always carry business cards, brochures, and samples of wood to hand out.