Description of Job
• Pick up and deliver seasoned firewood to clients in rural and urban settings.
• Consult with clients about specialty woods for particular effects.
• Stack wood and protect it from rain and insects.
If you have a fireplace or a woodstove, you need a reliable source of good-quality
firewood. Especially if you live in a city, it may be very difficult to find and store
City dwellers may need frequent deliveries of small quantities of wood, and
they may need to store it inside. Quality wood for inside storage is dry and free
Rural and urban dwellers may be able to accept deliveries large enough to
last a full season; they may not have a truck for pickup of the wood and may not
have the time or inclination to properly stack and store the wood.
Some buyers may have needs or wants for wood of a particular species. Owners of woodstoves may need logs that are shorter and thinner than those used for
a large fireplace.
You will need to obtain a reliable source of quality wood in large quantities. The
wood should be insect- and disease-free, and should be seasoned about one year
after cutting to reduce the water content.
The wood will need to be cut into usable lengths and split to allow easy
lighting and efficient burning; in the best situation, this work will be done by
the wood wholesaler you deal with, leaving you to concentrate on resale and
Know the Territory
The preferred products for fireplaces and woodstoves are hardwoods and specialty fruitwoods.
Hardwoods, such as oak, maple, and elm, catch fire easier, burn more efficiently, and produce more heat than most other species. Specialty fruitwoods
have properties similar to hardwoods and can add aroma to the room; used in a
cooking stove or a wood oven, they add flavor to foods. Fruitwoods include
apple, birch, cherry, and peach.
Typically, a full cord of hardwood yields about the same heat as 200 gallons
of heating oil or 4,000 kilowatts of electricity. The heat from wood depends on
its density, resin, and moisture content.
Softwoods give a fast-burning, crackling blaze but deliver much less heat and
may produce resins and creosote that could cause a dangerous condition in chimneys and stovepipes.
Freshly cut trees have as much as 60 percent moisture content by weight; logs
containing that much water will not burn well—if they light at all. After a year of
seasoning, the moisture content of wood generally falls to 25 percent or less.
Wood seasons faster if it has been split and then stacked off the ground in a manner that allows flow of air in and around the logs.
A full cord of wood is defined as 128 cubic feet, which typically measures
four feet high, four feet deep, and eight feet long when stacked. In two-foot
lengths, a full cord typically includes about 600 logs and weighs about two tons.
In some areas, wood sellers offer face cords, which are only two feet deep
and amount to 64 cubic feet; basically, this is a half cord.
Wood is best stored outside where fresh air can help it continue to season;
it should be covered only when it is raining. If wood is stored indoors, it should
be cleaned of insects and stored in a rack or shelving that allows circulation
There are four ways to sell wood, at increasing levels of difficulty; the price
to the customer climbs accordingly:
• Self-serve pickup at a wood lot
• Delivery of orders to a client’s property
• Delivery and proper stacking of wood outdoors on a client’s property
• Delivery and stacking of wood inside in apartments and condos, including
carrying wood up stairs, where necessary
How to Get Started
Post ads in community centers. Place ads in newspapers and shopping guides.
Ask satisfied customers to recommend your services; offer a bonus or discount for any business they refer to you.
You will need to purchase or lease a heavy-duty truck and pay for licensing,
maintenance, and repair. You may need a ramp and hand truck or cart to transport
Other expenses include advertising and promotion.
How Much to Charge
Many states regulate commercial wood sellers by defining quantities of wood
(this to protect consumers); most use a standard cord size or cubic footage. In
some places dealers are prohibited from selling by undefined “rack,” “pile,” or
Prices for firewood vary by location and by difficulty of pickup and delivery.
A typical price for a full cord of hardwood delivered and stacked in a rural or
suburban area would be in the range of $200 to $250; a half cord might range in
price from about $125 to $150. Special-order fruitwood can be as much as 50 to
100 percent more costly.
To determine your price, start with your wholesale cost of wood. Add to it the
expense of owning or leasing a truck, travel to the woodlot, time to measure and
load an order, travel to the customer, and time for unloading and stacking the
wood properly. You should increase your price to cover extra time when you are
required to carry wood into a home or apartment.