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What is my timber worth?

These are some of the most common concerns with landowners considering harvesting their timber.


Question:  How do I make sure I get paid what my timber is worth and how do I know I am not getting cheated?  Can’t I just get multiple prices to ensure I am getting top dollar out of my timber?

Answer:   SELLING TIMBER IS NOT A “DO IT YOURSELF” PROJECT.  Instead, hire a 9 west professional consulting forester who works on a commission that is based on getting you the most money out of your timber.  Trust a consulting forester when I say, “You do not want to try to match experience and wits with a savvy seasoned timber buyer.”  Hiring a 9 west consulting forester to represent you and your interest through this sometimes complicated process of selling standing timber can give peace of mind.

Question:  If you were going to court against an insurance company with a valuable personal injury claim, would you consider taking on the project by yourself and claim that you know how the legal system works.  Would you think that after a few days of searching on the internet, that you would have the knowledge and skill to litigate your own case?

Answer: Of course not! You would want to hire the most seasoned professional injury attorney to help protect your interest and get you the most money possible.  You would also typically want an injury attorney to represent your case who works off of a commission if he wins your case and gets you paid.

At 9 West, we are here to represent and protect your best interest throughout the entire process of a timber sale. We work on a commission based fee, getting you absolutely top dollar for your timber.

Question: Well your fees seem to be costly. Will I recuperate those fees and get more money by having you represent me and my timber?

Answer: Absolutely! On a national average, landowners who hire experienced consulting foresters will receive 30-40 percent more out of their timber than landowners who decided to take the task on as a “do it yourself” project.  Many times when you bid sale a large amount of timber, there can be $10,000-$30,000 difference between the winning bid and the second bid, and sometimes more if you have a large amount of veneer timber.  Therefore, it is important to have a consulting forester that knows the difference between a veneer tree and a big lumber tree. The only real way of knowing this is experience. Hiring the right forester is important. If a forester does not inventory and grade your timber and veneer properly, the timber buyers and sawmills may not put in a proper bid because the report they were given by the forester was not accurate.  Sometimes these timber companies will not walk the entire woods and assume that the consulting forester has inventoried the timber properly.   I have had 17 years of on the job training and experience in the timber industry. I can give you advice on which sale approach to take with your standing timber that will yield you the biggest return on your timberland investment.  Many landowners will only be able to sell timber once or twice in the lifetime. As a landowner trying to do it yourself, the on the job training experience you receive on your first sale may just leave you without any timber to sell again in your lifetime.

Question: How is timber graded?

Answer: Selling high grade veneer timber can be compared to selling a valuable coin. There are 70 different grades of a coin and only an experienced professional can apply and grade these coins. Thankfully, there are not 70 different grades of timber. However, there are several basic categories and grades that standing timber can fall into. Having a professional forester who is able to view your timber and evaluate the grade and value is important.

Question: What are some of the basic grades of timber?

Answer: Pulp wood. Pallet. Tie. Saw Timber. (Flat Saw, Quarter Saw). Rotary Timber/Veneer. Veneer Timber (Flat slice, Rift Cut). Architectural. Export Grade.

Question: Why should I not just use a timber buyer, logger, or a sawmill that has their own forester?

Answer:  A timber buyer, logger, or a forester working for a sawmill has one goal: to buy your timber as cheap as possible. Like a car salesman, they know every trick in the book to get that done.  Most of the time, these buyers work off of large commissions and profit sharing incentives to buy your timber.  The cheaper they can buy your timber, the larger their commissions will be.  At 9 West, we can eliminate the fear of being taken advantage of, because every consulting contract we sign is based on a mutually beneficial consulting commission.  This gives us a strong determination and desire to get you the most money out of your timber.  The more money we can get you out of your timber, the more we will receive; thus, eliminating greed in an industry that is driven by it.


Little M helping out at the log yard

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