Other Wood chipping business

Filip

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Hello everyone,

I know this not about self sufficiency, but I could use this forum's and Mark's (if he reads this :D) opinion on something. I feel like you guys can share a good thought.

I moved from an apartment to a house (that my grandfather has built) with an almost 1 acre yard some 5-6 months ago. About a month and a half ago I stumbled upon Mark's youtube channel and I gotta say I have been hooked ever since. I never thought I would be interested in gardening, but Mark, along with some other channels ignited a spark in me towards me being more self sufficient.

I live in North Macedonia, which is a country in southeast Europe. We are basically a third world country. We don't have a lot of "innovative" things here, and for people that want to start gardening the options for soil, fertilizers, compost are very limited. Also everyone here have no idea what raised-bed gardening even is. Thankfully I am able to inform myself from lovely people form the internet.

That being said, I found myself looking constantly for a woodchipper here. After watching Mark give a good example of what you can do with cut down trees ( and I had to cut literally tons of trees since the place has been deserted for 15 years) I wanted to hire a woodchipper and make piles of woodchip so I can use for mulching and hopefully after some time for the piles to turn into humus (had to google it... I almost wrote hummus). But as I said, I live in basically what is a third world country and as it turned out there were no woodchippers here to hire (go figure).

My question is:
Is it a good idea to open a woodchipping company since there is not one here ? What do you guys/gals from this forum think? If you are coming from a place where woodchippers are common, what is your opinion on a business like that?

Because if it something that is feasible, I see it as a win-win situation. Not only I would take care of my own wood chipping, but I can also provide the service for those like me that need it.

Any advice/opinion would mean a lot to me. I would like to thank you all in advance and apologize if this is not the place for a question like this.
Also my English might be a little off, so I apologize for that as well.
 

Grandmother Goose

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I'm in a similar predicament with regards to wood chipping and even just compost shredding. I live in a somewhat remote town in the outback of Australia, far west NSW. I can't hire any shredders or chippers in my town, but I could buy a Hanza chipper from the next largest town a few hundred kms away. So I'm torn between buying one that will just suit my needs, vs spending more money buying something bigger that I can either hire out to other locals, or take it to their property to use for them as a little business. On one hand I'm thinking if I want one surely someone else does too, but then I think the fact that no one else does that here already maybe I'm the odd one out and it wouldn't be feasible to do. Then I think if I get a smaller one I can always turn the branches that are too thick for it into firewood, but then I ponder what would I do about thick palm fronds and yucca plants that are common around here. I won't be able to afford a chipper for a couple of years anyway, so I've got time to figure it out, but you're not alone in your isolated I want a wood chipper and there's none available to hire near me situation, as I may be in a different country on the other side of the plant in a totally different climate, but we're still in the same situation.
 

JP 1983

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Sounds like you've got an opportunity for a monopoly, Filip!

Before committing, you could think about hiring a chipper, either small or large, if available, and see how it goes in terms of operation on your property. I realise you said this is difficult in your country, but you might try a neighbouring country if you really want to give it a go, if possible. While you have a chipper, ask your neighbours and do jobs around for cash before returning the hired machine. Try before you buy!!

To make it a viable business you'll need to think very carefully about equipment overhead costs (purchasing costs) and ongoing fuel/maintenance costs. You'll need at least 2 excellent quality chainsaws (a large one for huge trees/logs, one smaller one for smaller trees, shrubs and logs). Stihl, Husqvarna or another top tier brand is recommended. Chainsaw blades and motors require regular maintenance, as well as fuel.

You'll need a tipper truck, probably 6 to 12 tonne or so. It will need a cover over the tray so you can blow the chips into the tray at a job site without them flying over everything else. E.g. [LINK]. Alternatively you can charge a customer more if they want to keep the chips on their property. The tipper truck allows you to move the chips where you want them, either away from a job, or to a purchasing customer's site.

The chipper itself will be the most expensive piece of equipment. One can acquire small chippers for $2,000 to $4,000 new, less second hand. But these are suitable for small branches and leaves only. If you want to make this a business, you will eventually need something heavy duty and trailer mounted for towing it around. A heavy duty commercial chipper can destroy entire trees with ease (and quickly - about 5-10 minutes to eat a 20 year old pine tree, depending on how it is cut up prior). But they are a very expensive investment - €10,000 to €35,000 second hand, or €75,000+ new. They also drink diesel fuel like water, which could be a concern with Europe's current diesel fuel crisis.

Alternatively, you can consider a tractor mounted chipper. E.g. [LINK]. It connects to the tractor's rear universal joint. These are much cheaper if you have a tractor already, a good option. Even if you dont have a tractor you can get a second hand one for cheap. Make sure your tractor has roll-over protection bars. The tractor and chipper mount can be towed to jobs, and can also be used as a front-end loader for moving chip piles.

Lastly, you will need to consider space to compost piles of chips you have taken from jobsites. A suitable parcel of your land that allows easy tipper truck access and for potential sales. You might also need a front-end loader, but this can be bought later (tractor loader might be an excellent multipurpose vehicle for this + other future farm tasks). Shovels still work!

So there are a lot of up front costs and ongoing costs to consider. But in a place where there arent any, you could be on to a winner of a small business.

All the best! Greetings from Sydney, Australia.

JP (former tree lopper and stump grinder)
 
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