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8 points to consider for new log home business start up

This is an open letter Andrew Woodlandia shared with his prospects who wanted to start log home business from a scratch

 

Dear Sir

 

You shared with me that you just wish to start a log home business... Please let me share few things with you.

I helped quite a few people with different machinery. What I am doing is not only selling our machines. I also try to educate my prospects a bit so they to understand what they are getting into and what to expect.

So here are few notes for your consideration:  please take it as a friendly suggestions :-)

 

1.

If you are going to build just one log home, it is unlikely that the machine will pay for itself.

You shall compare cost & time of a log home kit package to buy and a cost of self-manufactured logs = your operational time multiplied by hours spent to mill logs for the log home. 

The suggestion: consider what you prefer more: spend more time milling logs or pay extra $$$ for the 3rd party log home kit, which you can assemble and have more time for life or other projects.

 

2.

If you plan to build more than one log structure then the machine can pay for itself but...

If your budget is under $10,000 I'd suggest to go with inexpensive band-sawmill to mill 6x8, 8x10 or 10x12 from your timbers + buy a dove tail corner jigs from internet and use both to build dove-tail style log homes like on this picture.  But first you have to research more about how correctly to build dove-tail homes.

The suggestion:  calculate how many average log home kits you shall produce to have your investment returned (more expensive machine require more time to pay for itself)

 

3.

If you consider buying a log lathe, please, note ANY log lathe are slow (if it is not a plywood making lathe). 

I think there are nobody in North America who seen so many this type of machinery as I did. It was my passion for a while. ALL log lathes are 10-20 times slower than rotary type mills like this: http://www.woodlandia.ca/machines/machines/rlm-machines/log-machines-of-rlm-series

More time you spend for milling logs = more expensive product you produce.

The suggestion:  you have to optimize your production process the way to spend less time possible on each milling operation.

For some businesses RLM-260 can be more optimal solution than a log lathe as RLM-machine is fast and versatile it allows to produce house log , lumber and timbers.

RLM-machine is so fast that it can mill logs for a log home during a day or two (depending on a log home size). Then you may spent another 2-4 days milling notches in logs. So if you have a market then RLM-machine is a way to go.  Here is video of our client who has RLM-320MF and he is very busy there... The machine produces for him: lumber, timber, fence posts, fence sidings, house logs.

See One Pass Sawmill in action! RLM-320MF from Woodlandia.

 

4.

Log home market is a niche market, it also has ups and downs.

In Canada it suffers now due to stricter energy requirements in building codes of many provinces. This is why we introduced LL-700 as it can mill bigger logs which can meet new requirements

The suggestion:  learn your local housing market perspectives.

 

5.

Consider alternative models for new businesses.

For example: buy just a notcher,  buy milled Swedish cope logs from somebody else.

Notch the logs accordingly to your project. This way you can probably gain some profit, simplify business and decrease your startup expenses.

The suggestion:  notching logs on site can be better and more economical startup alternative than getting into full scale operation.

 

6.

We sold about 30 Log Lathing machines to Canada and USA. From what i know:

- 3 clients could not do well in the business and closed it up

- 3 clients in a year or two after buying 1st machine ordered second one.

- 2 clients who after few years operation wanted to sell the machine as they changed the business (one went to saw milling, other into construction business)

- But at the moment there is no available used log lathes for sale, probably it is indication that the machine pays for itself and there is no sense to sell such a workhorse.

The suggestion:  think upfront about diversification or business exit strategy

 

7.

People are very important in any business.

The suggestion:  be prepared for the "human factor"

 

8

Proper waste management is VERY IMPORTANT.  Bad waste management may slow down your production process a lot and bring extra troubles to the business. Consider using waste for:

  • Animal bedding
  • Gardening & parks
  • Burning in a biomass burner/stove/furnace/water heater to generate a hit for your shop or lumber kiln
  • Small pellet or briquet making machine

 

Well... I hope i didn't scare you. I hope all this will help you in your decision making process.

 

Sincerely,


Andrew


Woodlandia Corp.