Selecting a Buyer

You can sell your stumpage through a single offer, an oral auction, or a sealed bid auction. Your forester can offer you advice about the desirability of asking a particular company or individual to bid on the sale and on a buyer who is right for your needs. Exercise caution in selecting a buyer who has new employees, buyers who have not previously logged in your area or buyers who don?ft understand your management goals. Most buyers perform satisfactorily when all the trees in an area are to be cut (that is, a clearcut). However, only experienced and careful buyers should be selected for a thinning or selection harvest in which valuable trees will be left standing.

Obviously, profit is important, but a buyer who employs skilled and experienced operators who anticipate and avoid problems is worth a lot. Seek out buyers who attend training courses on safety, good business practices, and practices that protect the environment. Timber buyers should have all necessary insurance.

Before making a final selection, ask the potential buyer for the names of a few woodland owners with timber similar to yours for whom the buyer has recently harvested timber. Call one or more of those owners and ask about the logging job that was done. With their permission you also could visit one of the harvest areas to look at the results.

Single Offer

One option is to negotiate a sale price with a single buyer. This procedure often produces a price that is well below what the timber is worth, because the buyer has no competition and the seller often is uninformed about the timber?fs market value. However, the single offer may be the best method for you if:

Oral Auction

A second option is to invite several buyers to inspect your timber and, at a given time and place, bid for it at an oral auction. To attract several buyers and create competition, you need to hold the auction at a time and location that are convenient to buyers. Auctions are most appropriate for high-value sales or when several timber tracts can be auctioned at one time, thus attracting several buyers.

Sealed Bids

A third option is to notify several potential buyers about the timber you have for sale, give them time to inspect your timber (usually four to six weeks), and request that they submit written sealed bids. Written sealed bids produce the best results for private woodland owners in most situations. Open all of the bids at a specified time and place. Select the highest bidder unless you have other information that influences your decision. To be fair to all bidders, no further price negotiations should take place after the bids are opened, and unsuccessful bidders should be notified that the timber has been sold.