When I was younger, a lot of younger guys in my hometown used to earn money by cutting wood and selling it in the winter to people who used fireplaces to heat their homes. But can you really make money cutting and selling firewood? Is this a viable side-hustle nowadays?
Let’s talk about it.
First, we will talk about the principle. See a need, fill a need… right? The entire idea of business is to supply solutions to problems and get paid for it. In this side-hustle, the problem is that people who own fireplaces need fire wood if they are going to heat with them. But not everyone who owns a fireplace has the means, opportunity, or time to source their own firewood.
This means that they have to buy it from somewhere else.
This is a rather unique side hustle in the sense that it is actually more feasible in rural areas. In small towns, a lot more people tend to heat with wood fireplaces. This stands in stark contrast to the types of side-hustles that I usually write about. The side hustles that I usually cover are almost always more viable in metropolitan areas—so that certainly makes cutting wood for pay even more viable for people who do not live in larger cities.
But, there are a few requirements.
You Need Equipment
When I was in high school, I grew up in a small Midwestern town. I drove an old, beaten-up pickup, and most of my friends lived on dairy farms. So we had access to all kinds of equipment and room to cut wood on. This actually made it a viable side-hustle for me, and I did pretty well at it.
You are going to need a way to transport the wood. This means either a truck, or even better, a truck and a trailer. The more wood you can haul at once, the better—as this will reduce your travel time and increase your profits.
The next most important thing that you are going to need is a chainsaw.
This piece of machinery is an essential part of the puzzle… but use caution! These are dangerous tools. If you have never used one before, I would definitely advise getting a professional to show you how to use it safely before taking it out into the woods.
You will also have to perform routine maintenance on your saw to keep it running smoothly.
Other essential items will include things like…
- Straps or chains to strap the wood down
- An axe
- Wedges and a maul, for splitting wood
- Protective gear to keep you safe in the event of an accident with the chainsaw
- Gloves to protect your hands while you stack wood
- Clothing appropriate to the weather and climate
What Will It Cost To Start This Side Hustle?
These things will cost you a little bit. The most expensive part of the ensemble is the truck. But the second most important (and expensive) part is the chainsaw. You can buy a new or used chainsaw for as little as $100. This might work fine to get you started, but you will quickly find that a quality chainsaw is worth the money—especially if you plan to make this a serious side-hustle.
Spending $200-$300 on a saw will get you something with greater longevity that you can trust more. There is nothing more frustrating than having your chainsaw act up when the time comes to cut wood. Opening up a saw to check the spark plug is not a fun thing to do in freezing temperatures when you expected to be making money!
The other items are pretty inexpensive, and you can collect them all for one to two-hundred bucks.
All things considered, this is a pretty reasonable side hustle. If you already have a truck and a chainsaw, it would actually be the perfect option for you.
You Need A Place To Cut Wood
This can sometimes be a challenge. If you have land of your own with fallen wood on it, you can easily cut that up and sell it. But if you don’t have your own land, you really only have two other options.
- You can try to cut wood on government land
- You can try to find a neighbor, friend, family member, or someone in the community who you will let you cut wood on their land
Government land is iffy. You will need to contact the conservation department in your area to ask them about places where you can cut. I once had a friend who cut fire wood on government land—but he needed to buy a permit for it. There are other areas where you are allowed to cut wood at will, as long as you don’t cut down live trees.
The better option is to find someone in the community who will let you cut wood on their property. Many land owners will say yes to this simply because your actions will help them to clean up the dead wood and make their land prettier. But you can also offer to throw them a bit of cash for every load you haul out.
Either way, make sure that you get permission. If you really want to be thorough, print out a simple agreement on paper and have them sign it, just so that you can prove that you have the land owner’s permission in case some kind of misunderstanding arises.
How To Successfully Cut Firewood
Cutting firewood is a pretty simple process, but you will still need to understand a few principles. You generally never want to cut ‘green’ wood. You want to cut wood that is dried out and thoroughly dead. You also want to make sure that you are cutting the wood into the proper sizes.
A few YouTube tutorials should help you to figure out what needs to be done!
How Much Can You Earn Cutting Wood?
As far as pricing, this will depend on your local area. Where I was growing up, you could sell a pickup-bed full of wood for $40. But times have changed since then, and the prices also change with geography. Try looking up local Craigslist listings for firewood to see how much people are charging, and use that as a starting point.
If you deliver, oftentimes you can find more business… so that is also something to consider.
My Personal Feelings About Cutting Firewood And Selling It As A Side Hustle
I love this side hustle, and feel that it is one of the purest hustles out there… especially in rural areas. Personally, I really enjoy work like this. I like getting up early, putting on warm clothes, loading up the chainsaw in the back of the truck, and heading out to the woods to be in nature, cut wood, and make a bit of cash.
True, cutting wood is work. It is actually quite physically exhausting. But since most of the work I do is online and at a desk, I find a purity in it that makes me enjoy it from time to time. I don’t do it anymore, but I would not mind getting back into it if I had the time!
I don't think that this is a side hustle for everyone. If you have bad allergies, the sawdust will probably really throw you for a loop. If you have never cut wood before, you will have to learn and practice a bit to get it all figured out. If you are not very strong physically, you might find it quite tiring. Using a chainsaw is easier than using an axe, but it is still physically demanding.
You can make pretty decent money doing this, especially if you have a truck and a trailer. Some people cut wood while it is warm in the summer, stack it out to dry, and sell it in the winter. Others cut more wood in the fall as winter approaches.
Marketing this kind of side-hustle is a bit challenging. In small towns, word of mouth can be a great way to spread the word. You can also hang up flyers or put an ad in the local paper.
Some people park truckloads of wood at points along the road where people will be able to see them, with ‘for sale’ signs posted on them, along with a phone number. This can work… but it will require you to leave the wood and your truck or trailer at a secondary location… so that may or may not be desirable, depending on your situation.
At the end of the day, you will probably not get rich with this side-hustle. And if you don’t already have a truck, live in the right kind of community, or know how to use a chainsaw, it may even be a bit much to bite off.
But if it sounds appealing, and/or if your situation is such that this side hustle would be easy for you to get into, then you can definitely make some cool extra cash with it just by spending a few days outdoors.
It’s really not a bad gig!
Our Final Opinion About Cutting Firewood
Should you try to make extra money by cutting firewood and selling it?
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