Timber Sales 
 & Tag Sales

Timber Sales and Tag Sales

Say you want to have a "tag sale."  How do you go about doing it?  Do you just open up your house to the first person who comes along, tell them to go in and take whatever they want, and pay you whatever they think is fair?  Of course not.  That would be crazy.  But that's exactly how many landowners go about selling their timber.

A logger comes along and makes you an offer for all the timber on your property.  It sounds like a lot of money, more than you thought the timber was worth, so you sign on the dotted line.  Or a timber company buyer comes along and says he'll send in a logging crew that will take only what's "ripe" and pay you based on mill tally.  That sounds fair, so you sign on the dotted line.

In either case, how do you know whether they took what you wanted to sell?  How do you know whether they paid you a fair price for everything they took?  You probably don't know, and probably will never know unless you tagged (marked) and tallied every tree to be cut, had the latest timber market information, and made sure that they only cut the marked trees.

This is where the services of a consulting forester can help you make the best of your "tag sale."  A consulting forester will first take an inventory of what you have, show it to you and ask you questions to determine what you want to sell, and then go about marking and tallying those trees, and only those trees.

He/she will also lay out the sale to minimize damage to the residual stands and forest soils.  When all this is done, he/she will give you an estimate of the value of the sale, and then put it out to competitive bidding among loggers and lumber companies that he/she knows will do a good job.  A timber showing will take place and the bids will come in.

In most caes the forester's cost of marking, tallying, selling and supervising the sale--plus filing all the state-required paperwork--will be covered by returns from the sale of low-grade timber and wood/pulp which  loggers and lumber companies are generally not interested in cutting, but which should be cut to improve rates of growth on residual trees.

Another way of looking at timber sales is in terms of experience.  You may sell timber once or twice in your lifetime.  Loggers and procurement foresters for lumber companies buy timber every day.  Who do you think is more likely to come out ahead in a contest of negotiating skills? 

If you hire a consulting forester, nine times out of ten you'll end up with more money than you ever thought possible, even after the forester's fee.  And you'll still have a lot of good timber and growing stock left for the future--and the next "tag sale" down the road.  You'll also have the satisfaction of knowing that you did what's best for yourself and your land.