Selling Your Timber Without Regrets

tall white oak tree in ohio
It is no secret that the logging industry at large has a lot of unscrupulous members. In fact, some states such as Kentucky even publish a bad actors list to warn timber owners of the nefarious acts committed by some logging companies. Over the years we've heard many horror stories regarding bad experiences with logging companies that misrepresent the process of harvesting timber or, in some cases, lie out-rightly. As a company built on its reputation and referral business, Timber Works strives to treat our landowners and customers in a manner consistent with the highest industry standards of ethics and professionalism. Since most landowners are not experts regarding logging and timber sales, it is far too easy for them to be taken advantage of in these transactions. This is why our company seeks to educate rather than sell the landowners we partner with. Below is a list of some common mistakes landowners make when entering into a timber harvest agreement with a logging company, followed by the remedy Timber Works uses to avoid them.

Don't Sell "All Merchantable Timber"

"All Merchantable Timber" is usually logger speak for anything and everything that has a commercial value greater than the cost of harvesting it. In these arrangements, logging companies will pay a landowner a fixed amount for the right to harvest timber from your woods. The amount of compensation paid the landowner is often only loosely based on the actual value of the timber contained in the stand. Further, with no limit set on the number of trees or the amount of timber the logger is legally allowed to cut, the results are many times devastating to the health of the forest, leaving it under-stocked and reducing the potential for future growth and productivity drastically.

Our timber purchase agreements are never ambiguous. Trees harvested by Timber Works are always marked at chest height, marked at the base to ensure evidence of selection remains even after the tree is removed, and numbered. The land owners we partner with are encouraged to participate in the marking process and provided a numbered list of each tree contained in the timber purchase agreement.

Payment in Full Before Last Tree is Removed

If you've spent any time in the timber industry you've no doubt heard of timber purchase agreements that promise payment in full before the last tree is removed. Though on the surface there doesn't appear to be anything wrong with such wording, unscrupulous logging companies have used such a clause in the past to attempt to steal the timber they harvested on a job outright. In fact, we receive several calls a year from angry timber owners who have been compensated little or even nothing at all for their timber despite the fact that the harvest has been completed. These loggers leave a small pile of logs at the site and use this, coupled with the clause described above, as justification for not paying their landowners! Call it what you wish, but committing such an act against a landowner is theft, plain and simple.

If you choose to partner with Timber Works for harvesting your timber, you need not worry about such a situation. Our landowners are paid in full for each and every truck load before it leaves their property! This arrangement is spelled out in our timber harvest agreements, leaving no room for confusion or ambiguity regarding the terms of payment for their timber.

Ensure Trees Are Properly Marked and Accounted For

In cases of veneer or valuable species such as Black Walnut and White Oak, twice the average stumpage price still ends up being quite a bargain.
While a stumpage contract should relate only to a specific lot of timber, some companies include clauses that essentially allow them to cut trees beyond those agreed upon. Sometimes these clauses include the promise of paying "double stumpage" for the trees removed beyond those agreed to. While it is hard to imagine what double stumpage actually means since it is never specifically described in these contracts, in practice this usually ends up being twice the average per board foot price on the entire harvest. In cases of veneer or valuable species such as Black Walnut and White Oak, twice the average stumpage price still ends up being quite a bargain.

Our logging contracts contain no such ambiguous clauses. We only harvest trees that are agreed upon by both parties before logging takes place. Land owners who contract our company are intricately involved in the selection process and are educated along the way regarding which trees should be harvested in order to balance the financial return from a timber harvest while maintaining the health and future productivity of a timber stand.

Schedule a free, no-obligation assessment of your standing timber today.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.