How to Get the Best Price for Your Timber

When it comes time to sell your timber, you want to get the best price to capitalize on your years of patient investment. There are a number of steps you should take before you sell your timber. Some of them can take place years in advance! Follow this process to get the most out of your timber.

Hire a Consulting Forester

You may only sell timber a handful of times in your life, so hiring a consulting forester who has likely sold a handful of timber sales in the last month is a powerful tool. Establishing a relationship with a consulting forestry firm unlocks years of marketing and timber sale experience and connects you with many contacts in the industry. A qualified forester will help you with each of the following steps. Look at what the Association of Consulting Foresters website says about hiring a professional forester.

Get Certified

Certifying your forest with programs such as American Tree Farm System (ATFS), Forest Stewardship Counciel (FSC), and Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI), may increase your chances of attracting a logger and/or getting the best stumpage rate. In some cases, mills will only accept certified wood. Certifying your forests is typically done by your managing forester for a small fee and demonstrates that you are practicing environmentally sound forest management practices.

Hit the Road

Prospective buyers will need good access to your tract to harvest your timber. Improving the tract infrastructure before marketing your timber can go a long way toward attracting a logger. This may include installing or repairing a culvert, putting a load or two of gravel on your road system, clearing downed trees and/or maintaining boundary lines.

“Know what you got.”

Known as a timber inventory or timber cruise, this is the first step to marketing your timber when you decide to sell to establish an inventory of your standing timber. An inventory evaluates the species, diameter, height, and quality of trees in a stand of timber and determines the product type(s) of that timber. Use your inventory to establish a stumpage value (the value of standing trees), target marketing, find the appropriate mill(s), and evaluate bids.

Follow the Market

Do your research to find out what mills are closest to your property and fit the type of timber you are selling. Does a particular mill look for logs of a certain species, size, or quality? What are the current values for your product types and is that product experiencing market highs or lows? A forester can help you answer these important questions and help you decide when the time is right to sell and capitalize on market opportunities.

Finding the Right Buyer

Now that you have done your due diligence, you are ready to market your timber and find a prospective buyer. You and your forester may decide to market the timber as a lump-sum sealed bid or as a pay-as-cut sale with an advance payment. Aim for at least two to three bids, regardless of the approach you choose. Your forester will have a network of reputable timber buyers they will contact to market your timber as well as an established bid process. Once you receive all your bids, pick the best one and be sure to get a detailed timber sale contract signed between you and the buyer.

Selling timber can be a long and complicated process. As in all cases, knowledge is power! Do your research and consider hiring a consulting forester to help you capitalize on your timber resource.

When you are ready to sell your timber, contact Kingwood Forestry to help you get the most for your timber and we’ll guide you through the process.