Hiring a logger is a big decision. After all, how do you know that you have selected the right person for your property or project? As a landowner, there are some decisions that only you can make. When you hire a logger, you need to consider if any given logger will be well-suited to achieving your objectives and handling your project quickly, ethically, and affordably.  This can be a challenge because there’s rarely a great deal of information available about a logger at a glance, but there are some key factors to look for.

What Are Their Qualifications?

If your logger makes a mistake, there is no undoing their work. Hence, you must look for a logging contractor that is best suited to the kind of work you want to get done.  In Maine and New Hampshire, it is easier than many other states to search for a qualified logging professional thanks to our regional master logger certification program.  

Generally speaking, a qualified logger is one who continues to take educational programs to remain updated on current business and forest regulations regarding harvest operations. It is important that your logger knows all about state laws so that you do not find yourself in a legal mess later.

Certified Master Loggers have been through extensive training and been certified as experts.  They will have training in sustainable logging practices, state guidelines and laws, best practices from a technical standpoint, and are held to the standards of the Master Logger program or risk losing their certification.  This means that Certified Master Loggers are demonstrably reliable and capable. 

What Services Are Required?

When hiring a logger, you need to consider the kinds of services you need. Some loggers specialize in specific harvest styles, such as clearcut, shelterwood, or highly selective cutting.  While all harvest philosophies have their place and their uses, they may or may not be suited to your particular needs.

As a landowner, it is your responsibility to investigate if the contractor you are hiring can handle the needs of your project. These needs could include auxiliary capabilities such as road maintenance or construction of a temporary logging camp, getting top dollar for your timber, managing soil erosion risks dealing with slash, securing permits, and speeding reforestation. You must be aware of all your project needs before you hire a logger so that your objectives can be met.  Working with a reputable forester who can develop a logging plan and manage the project is wise in order to not miss crucial needs and to avoid problematic oversights.

What Are You being Charged?

Before you consider hiring a logger, it is important that you know beforehand whether you will be charged on a dollar-per-unit basis or a percentage basis. 

You should meet with your potential contractor and find out exactly what services are included at the prices discussed. You should also make sure that you get everything you’ve agreed to in writing to keep terms clear and all parties honest.

What Does the Logging Price Include?

One of the most important things to understand before hiring a logger is precisely what services will be delivered and what the timeline for the project is.

You and the contractor need to decide who is operationally and financially responsible for slash disposal, improvement of roads, installation of culverts, and any other requirements for the project. Make sure that the price you are quoted takes into account log trucking after the harvest as well.  This is usually a given, but if the project goes poorly, or there are other disagreements, having this clarified in writing can be very helpful.

Who Exactly Will Be Doing the Work?

Often, loggers will subcontract some aspects of the project work to individuals or companies separate from their organization. This is completely normal, especially for smaller outfits. However, you must make sure that these aspects of the project are accounted for in the logger’s plan. A lot depends on how well the logger manages any subcontractors.

It is also important that you know exactly who will be the person in charge on the worksite in case you need to convey information, receive updates, or coordinate with the logging team. After all, your project’s success will only suffer if there is inadequate communication.

Insurance Coverage

You never know what might go wrong with a logging operation. In case of any mishaps, it is important that you, as well as the contractor, have insurance to cover your financial responsibilities in case of the worst. The logger you employ should have insurance coverage that is sufficient enough to cover any damage to property or liability, such as vehicle liability, umbrella liability, and workman’s compensation. 

Before you sign a formal contract with your logger, make sure to ask for certificates of coverage. Checking for this beforehand could be the difference between a small problem and a total disaster. You can never be too safe.

Written Contract

You may find that some people work without a formal written contract. This is certainly legal and a decision purely between the contractor and landowner.

However, if you go without a written contract you leave open the possibility of far more legal and financial damage than if you make sure to have one. This benefits both parties. The contract must clearly state the responsibilities of each party. Moreover, it must be legally binding so that both parties are protected from the failure of the other to fulfill responsibilities.

Day Logging

If it seems like going through this process of questioning and vetting your logger is arduous, you should consider choosing Day Logging.  As Certified Master Loggers with an impeccable reputation, large team, and decades of experience, we check every box, and we back up our agreements with written contracts.  So if you’re hiring a logger for a project in Maine or New Hampshire, maybe you just should go straight to the best and contact Day Logging.