I wanted to begin my series of articles on some of the numerous ways that people have found a way to make a short-term buck. Be it investing in the obscure, or simply investing in that certain something that we all readily overlook because it is not that pretty, shiny new something that will make you rich quick. In our world, ¨rich-quick¨ is a relative term; for some it can mean 6 days, for others it could mean 6 months or even 6 years.
For Dale C. of North Carolina it pretty much meant about six years to the day; ¨I more or less had no options for myself, most of my friends were either joining the military or mailing it in with jobs at Walmart or in the service industry. For me, I wasn´t above that stuff, but I had a plan¨ Dale spent much of his youth with his grandparents in Western North Carolina, and remembers quite vividly working with his grandfather on hillsides and fields of Fraser Fir Christmas Trees. Pruning, marking cutting acres and acres of Christmas trees.
So when the time came to find his way after two years of community college, he shared a bit of insight with us on how he made his chance work. ¨I should state that I was much more fortunate than the average person, but the opportunity is certainly there for the average Joe, if they do their research, and delegate properly.¨
¨I took 14+ years of what my grandfather taught me, as well when they passed a very modest inheritance of land and made something of it, in the process I earned the respect of my much older colleagues. Some of which came to me to sell their own plots as they retired.¨ Dale also wanted to point out to us several other factors, ¨By far the biggest opportunity to make quick money for the novice is as a spot retailer, or as a reseller from a wholesale Christmas tree farmer aspect¨.
¨For months ahead of time we prune, shape and start tagging the Christmas trees we have earmarked for the holiday season. We´re able too keep the labor costs relatively low during this period, and when things start getting hot and heavy, I have a well-trained crew of young men that can knock-out the cutting and wrapping for pre-shipping.¨ Dale also states that the wonderful aspect of it all is this is modern-day income that subsidizes his living for the other 8 to 9 months. ¨I put about a 1/3 of my earnings back into the business, be it new chainsaws, fertilizer, excavators every so often and general maintenance. I also tend to use the castings, cuttings and odds and ends for wreaths and staging for scenes and holiday festivals.
¨I am also looking at trying to set-up in more North-Eastern regions of the US, and try to get into the higher pricing there for trees. There are not that many Balsam Fir Christmas trees down in the southern parts, they tend to fetch a higher price on the market and year after year seem to be the much more preferred Christmas tree.¨ Not to mention, he added that ironically, the the big box discount stores such as Walmart, are starting to drive the price and quality of Balsam Firs down. ¨They buy from large resellers who, some say, strip trees too quickly without proper inspection from land that is bought super cheap…super cheap because the farmers who are selling it know it is infested with disease and fungi. So you see it is a bit of a quid pro quo, none of the parties complains because they are getting something cheap.¨
We will come back to revisit Dale as well as others in our series mapping Wholesale Christmas tree Farm opportunities in time for your holiday season, and other Wholesale Christmas tree farm workers.