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Halloween and Timber Sales: Scary for Landowners

Posted by: Jim Griffith
Registered Forester #1616

Halloween can be a frightening time, with ghouls and ghosts and goblins on the prowl. Ghouls are the evil grave robbers that prey on corpses, while ghosts are more of a vague or shadowy appearance of something or someone. And a goblin is a grotesque sprite or elf figure that is malicious toward people.

Timber buyers have been given a reputation over the years that is in somewhat the same category as those associated with Halloween. Some people claim they have been robbed by timber buyers much like the grave robbing ghouls. Others claim buyers have misrepresented themselves as a shadowy ghost-like presence of someone pretending to help an unsuspecting landowner while engaging in acts of duplicity to take advantage. And finally, although they do not come in the grotesque or elfish form of a goblin, they have been known to maliciously take financial advantage of an unknowing timber seller.

Unfortunately, this reputation has been well earned by some in our ranks but I have to admit there are a lot of good honest people in the timber industry today. But as usual in all other walks of life, everyone tends to suffer from the acts of the baneful few. Buying land and paying for it with the value of the timber is a thing of the past. And fortunately, most of the shyster types out to take advantage of unknowledgeable timber owners are also falling by the wayside.

Knowing who you are dealing with is important in doing business of all kinds, but especially so regarding timber sales. My dad once told me that when you are dealing with someone of lesser knowledge regarding your subject of trade, you owe it to them not to take advantage. I am impressed when someone asks for references of sales I have done. Similar actions from other landowners could have prevented many-a-Halloweenish-type-experience when it comes to selling timber.

I just got a call from a timber seller who heard about me not only from my past Timber Update articles in the Georgia Farm Bureau News but from his adjoining neighbor that had an exceptionally good experience with my services. If memory serves me correctly, the neighbor was about to sell his timber before I came into the picture, and to make a long story short, he reluctantly ended up using my services to increase his sale by two and a third times. Not bad for a timber-ignorant seller. Timber-ignorant is not a derogatory term but a description of one not experienced in selling timber. The new client informed me that he knew all about me and had talked to a number of knowledgeable people about my services and business ethics, and he was ready to do business.

Again, what I am trying to say is know who you are doing business with. If you feel you cannot trust a particular timber buyer or are not comfortable with them, then find another forester to work with. When you deal with the right forester, you do not have to worry about scary-Halloweenish experiences when you sell your timber

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