Wondering how to start a firewood business? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Growing Demand for Firewood as a Fuel Source
With rising energy costs on the minds of many homeowners, firewood is increasingly becoming a sought-after fuel source for home heating. More than ever before, wood burning stoves are making their way into family rooms of rural, suburban and urban energy consumers throughout the nation.
Most firewood consumers purchase their wood from a firewood provider. The typical delivery unit is a "cord" -- a 4'x4'x8' stack of wood. Pricing for a full cord falls in the $125-$200 range, but many providers also offer half cords (or "face" cords) as well as other delivery units.
Starting a Firewood Business on a Shoestring
The majority of firewood industry entrepreneurs are experienced woodsmen who have firsthand experience in cutting firewood for their personal use. Depending on your situation, you probably already have the essential equipment for a firewood business startup: A pickup truck, several chain saws, a log splitter, wedge axes, etc.
So as your transition into a firewood business, your biggest hurdle will be securing a steady supply of timber. In some areas, state game lands may be available for firewood providers. Even so, a less restrictive strategy is to find a privately owned forested area where you can harvest firewood at low- or no-cost.
Growing Your New Firewood Business
If you decide to launch your business on a shoestring, equipment upgrades and expansion will be important business goals. To increase your customer base, you will need to present a professional business model to your clients and the community.
In a firewood business, nothing communicates professionalism more than your vehicle. By replacing a beat-up pickup truck with a more recent model and possibly even a trailer, you can dramatically improve your brand image and gain the ability to cut/deliver larger loads.
Sooner or later, you will also need to hire staff to meet the demand for your services. All hires should be familiar with the operation of chainsaws, log splitters and other equipment, and prepared to maintain your company's image. Uniformed work shirts and other details are nice touches you can use to further reinforce your reputation as a serious firewood provider.
Creating Business Plans for a Firewood Business
Never underestimate the value of a good firewood company business plan. With the right ingredients, your business plan will keep you new venture on course and help you avoid the pitfalls that plague other startup entrepreneurs.
To assist your efforts, you may want to consider enlisting the aid of a professional business plan writer.
Time and time again, the best entrepreneurs we see rely on professionally crafted plans to guide their decision making. However, outsourcing doesn't completely eliminate your responsibilities in the writing process.
As the primary stakeholder in your firewood business, you will intentionally need to insert yourself in various stages of the plan's development.
Take a Look at the Competition
Long before you open a firewood business within your community, it's a smart move to find out what the competition looks like. Try our link below to get a list of local competitors in your city. After clicking on the link, type in your city, state and zip code to get a list of firewood businesses near you.
It's important to be aware of what the competition is doing. Take the time to visit the competition to properly assess their strengths and weaknesses.
A Good Source of Advice
If you are seriously contemplating launching a firewood business, the next step is to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. If you think your local competitors will give you advice, you're being overoptimistic. Why would they want to educate a future competitor?
But, a person who owns a firewood business outside of your community may be willing to share their entrepreneurial wisdom with you, after they realize you reside far away from them and won't be stealing their local customers. In fact, they are often very willing to share startup advice with you. If you are persistent, you can find a business mentor who is willing to help you out.
What's the best way to find a firewood business manager who is willing to talk to you but doesn't live nearby?
It's easy. Here's a link you can use to find a mentor outside of your area.
Is It Easier to Buy an Existing Firewood Business?
Tough decisions are what business ownership is all about. And one of the first decisions you'll have to make is whether to start a business from scratch or buy an existing firewood business.
In general, purchased firewood businesses fare better than startups, at least during the initial few years. When you buy an established firewood business, you gain access to a functional business operation with a customer base and a steady revenue stream.
Entrepreneurs who are committed to a highly unique value proposition may need to pursue a startup approach. However, in today's business-for-sale marketplace, there is an abundance of firewood businesses worth considering.
Explore Franchising Options
Purchasing a franchise does not mean that can take it easy and just be in cruise control but does make everything a lot easier.
Prior to starting a firewood business, you should determine whether there are good franchise opportunities available that might alleviate your startup process.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing firewood business, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to firewood businesses, you're in the wrong place. These resources are more appropriate for you:
If you are still exploring all of your options, please browse our directory of guides below.