Sawing "on the shares"

      A discussion of sawing lumber in exchange for a share of the yield. June 20, 2000

I would be interested to know if any of the sawyers here do work 'on the shares' (sharing the lumber instead of being paid cash).

If so, what kind of a split is normal in a case where a customer delivers a nice clean log to the mill?

Once in a while is O.K. if I need the lumber. Otherwise, my back yard would soon turn into a lumber yard.

I do a straight 50/50 split, and only for one to four logs. With the price of gas now, you can't do it a lot. But it is good advertising. My paying customers get priority, of course.

We only do it if they bring them to us, they are high-grade logs, and if the customer pays for fuel, log transport, and our loader's time -- or if we have an order for that type of wood. The split is 50/50.

I've gone 50/50 with customers that have lumber which is in demand such as good Doug fir or cedar or hardwoods. I think if you have a way to sell it you will be money ahead. Look at what you mill the lumber for by the board foot (BF), compared to what it is worth on the open market.

Even good pine 1 x 12, if you milled it at 25 cents a foot, sells for well over a dollar a foot. What could YOU sell it for? If you sell it for just twice the amount you usually mill it for, you have made the same amount of money as if you had milled the entire amount for the customer.

You must figure in your time and trouble to transport and air dry and re-sell the lumber, but if it is primo black oak that you would mill at 25 cents/BF you would certainly get more than just 50 cents a foot, so now we're talking maybe it IS worth your time and trouble.

The same goes for large fir. Price what a 6 x 12 header goes for at the lumber yard. Now figure what you charge a customer for milling the same. BIG BIG BIG difference. Just because your customer wants you to mill his half into 2 x 6's doesn't mean you can't take yours home in any size you want.

My point being that it depends on the type lumber you can recover and the market you plan to sell it in. I think in certain circumstances you can make MORE money by going 50/50. The trick is to recognize when and when not to.

I sell lumber and also make cabinets and furniture. So if I'm custom sawing and the customer's lumber is something I can use or quickly sell, I'll say let's make a deal. I let the lumber establish the amount of split between customer and sawyer. 50/50 is normal.

Only when it is a wood I really want. I use a 50/50 split also.

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