By Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616
Radio talk show host Clark Howard claims his show will help you “pack a punch in your wallet, and avoid getting ripped off.” Howard is a self-proclaimed cheapskate, and he usually refers to customer service as customer NO-service. I usually don’t enjoy listening to Clark Howard. As a businessperson, listening to Clark Howard tends to put me on the defensive. However, he does provide some good information to consumers needing help.
I was listening to Clark the other evening when it occurred to me that a timber buyer might feel the same way I feel while listening to “The Clark Howard Show” when they are reading my Timber Update column. My negative feelings toward Clark Howard might be similar to the way a timber buyer might feel about me telling a timber owner how to sell his timber to get the highest price.
Regardless of how I feel about Clark Howard, he still gives the public very good information. He is able to help consumers negotiate their troubles with businesses, save money and avoid getting ripped off. In this regard, I also provide timber owners good information in appraising and selling their timber, helping them get what their timber is worth.
Timber buyers understand it is my job to represent the landowner and market their timber as if it were my own I was selling. The timber owner hires me to appraise their timber. I am thereby able to keep the few bad apples in our business from ripping off the seller. Unfortunately, this still does happen occasionally, and you do not want to be the one.
It does not take a “bad apple” to prevent a landowner from getting the most money for his trees. It can happen by selling your timber to a local friend of the family or a timber buyer down the road. This is not saying your neighborhood timber buyer is ripping you off. It’s just the nature of business. On any given day, one timber buyer will pay more for a timber tract than another. In our bids, we do not have the same buyer presenting the top bid on every sale; otherwise, we could simplify our bid process by contacting the same one buyer every time.
Having one buyer offer to pay you, the landowner, significantly more than another buyer is not always a sign that timber prices are going up due to an increase in demand. These price differences happen in the normal process of taking bids from two different buyers, even though they are situated in the same local area. As we have discussed so many times before, there are many reasons one timber buyer is willing or able to pay more than another.
Georgia Farm Bureau News – December 2005