Your woodlot is a considerable financial investment as well as a source of personal enjoyment. Harvesting timber warrants the same careful attention as any other business transaction. Whether you hire a logger directly, or through a forester, consider the following points:
- Talk with landowners who have recently had a timber harvest.
- Request the logger provide names of satisfied landowners.
- Visit a site the logger previously harvested.
Insurance and Liability
Request copies of certificates of insurance. These may include:
- General Liability and Completed Operations
- Auto Liability for log truckers
- Workers' Compensation is only required if the logger has employees. Under New Hampshire law, independent contractors who only employ themselves are not required to carry workers' compensation insurance. Many competent and safe independent loggers do not carry this coverage because of its high cost. As with any business relationship, consider the liabilities, have a good contract, and consult with your insurance agent or a lawyer who is well-versed in these matters.
- Compare stumpage prices offered timber with published sources such as the N.H. Dept. of Revenue Administration reports or the N.H. Timberland Owners' Timber Crier Quarterly Market Report (603) 224-9699.
- Call the local mills for the most up-to-date market prices.
- Delivered prices offered by the mill are significantly higher than stumpage prices, which reflect the value of your trees standing on your woodlot before they are cut.
Actual stumpage prices for a given lot of timber are influenced by many factors including accessibility, timber quality, road distances, market demand, sale volume, species, and other factors. Keep this in mind when seeking a reasonable price for your timber. When in doubt, contact your local county UNH Cooperative Extension County Forester.
- Insist on a written contract, known as a timber sale contract, to protect the interests of all parties involved.
- Be cautious of high pressure sales tactics.
- Never grant permission to harvest your timber over the phone.
Most established loggers want to build a file of satisfied customers and follow customary business practices. With a little homework, a landowner can find a reputable logger who can satisfy their needs.
Certified loggers and truckers
Loggers and truckers who voluntarily participate in continuing education are certified by the N.H. Professional Logger Program (NHPLP). Certification reflects their commitment to safe, productive, efficient and environmentally responsible timber harvesting and transportation. There are other equally dedicated professionals who share a strong commitment to their own betterment and to the improvement of the profession who are not certified. The NHPLP is administered by the N.H. Timber Harvesting Council and its cosponsoring organizations, the N.H. Timberland Owners Association, UNH Cooperative Extension and UNH Thompson School of Applied Sciences.
For more information about the N.H. Timber Harvesting Council or the Professional Loggers Program call (603) 224-9699.