Typically, one of the most common services a consulting forester provides is administration of a timber sale. Often, timber owners are hesitant to consider the use of a forester due to the fees – either standard or otherwise. We certainly understand as we like to collect as much from our investment as possible, too. However, we have experienced significant value in letting a forester help us with this process. Consider this example:
Several years ago, it was time for a second thinning of one of our pine plantations that was about 20 years-old. The consultant solicited bids from about 15 buyers in the local market area and received six bids. The bids ranged from about about $25,000 to slightly more than $58,000. This is a whopping difference of about $33,000! In fact, the highest bid was over $16,000 more than the next closest bid. Obviously, we accepted the highest bid and paid our consultant about $5,800. Even after paying the consultant, we still made over $10,000 more than what the second highest bidder even offered! How likely are you to do that well if you only get one bid? Or if someone calls or knocks on your door and offers you an amount?
Sure, you might think we just lucked up and got the right bid, and maybe we did. However, we believe that because we were well-prepared, we set ourselves up for success. Others we have talked with have similar stories on how their consultants have made them money as well.
Consider your timber lands. Do you know how much the timber is worth right now? You may be able to Google timber prices and trends, but you certainly cannot search for the number of trees that are merchantable on your tract. How much volume is available to be sold either as a thinning or a final harvest? Do you know which trees need to be thinned, in the first place? Typically, buyers do not buy timber on a per acre basis.
For one, the average timber owner does not know the buyers in their market or how to approach them in order to procure bids. Additionally, landowners are typically not out surveying the volume their thinning or final harvest will produce. Many will not even know how to do this, which is perfectly fine. However, it is in your best interest to know the details of your tract and how much it is worth. That is where the consulting forester comes in!
Our timber bid was sent out with specifics on the total volume. Trees were marked. Stream-side Management Zones (SMZs) were flagged. A detailed contract was developed to protect us and our property. The buyer and harvester were closely watched. Sure, we participated in all of this, but we did not have to create or do any of it to recoup our investment.
We have many more examples of how our foresters benefit us … and how they pay for themselves.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments. Comment below.
Contributed by William Nipper, our oldest son.Photo courtesy of neuson-ecotec.com