Choosing a Quality Logger

Choosing an experienced and qualified logger can make all the difference between creating a positive future for you, you family and your forest - and an unfortunate and irreversible amount of damage to your land. The vital job of selecting the right logger for timber harvest is now much easier thanks to educational programs and Best Management Practices that are being widely used. This information will help you to act wisely while preparing for the harvest of your trees.

Landowners should exercise as much care in selecting a timber harvester as they would in choosing a carpenter or painter for their home. The following questions, if asked with sincerity and good humor, will help greatly in the selection process.


Questions to ask Loggers:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • How long have current crew members been with you?
  • Are you and your employees covered by workers’ compensation and liability insurance? What are the dollar limits, and what kinds of accidents are covered? Will you provide me with certificates of workers’ compensation and liability insurance?
  • What kinds of equipment do you use? How does it match up with the conditions and requirements of my site?
  • Do you handle the entire logging process, or use subcontractors for part of the work? If the latter, how do you ensure your quality goals are met?
  • What types of roads and skid trails do you normally construct? What equipment do you use to build them? How will my skid trails, landings, and haul roads look when you’ve completed the logging operation?
  • Have you completed any kind of logger training/continuing education program? Are you accredited, certified, or licensed in any way?
  • How would you handle a dispute over timber trespass (the inadvertent or willful theft of timber) or cutting practices? What options do I have if my or my neighbor’s property is damaged?
  • What Best Management Practices do you normally implement? Which ones would be needed on my forest?
  • Can you supply me with references of previous jobs and the names of some mills you deal with?

Questions to ask when checking a Logger's References:

  • Did the logger fulfill verbal and written obligations for such things as road restoration, fence repair, and cleaning up trash?
  • Was the logger willing to listen to your concerns and answer your questions directly?
  • Did the logger get the job done efficiently and within the specified time limit? If not, why not? (Be aware that bad weather can cause unavoidable delays.)
  • Did the logger take pride in his of her workers and equipment? How about in previous jobs? Was the logger willing to show you any of these?
  • Was the logger careful to avoid damaging other trees and land improvements (gates, fences, culverts, etc.)? If there was damage, did he make appropriate repairs?
  • Did the timber harvester seem concerned about environmental matters, such as wildlife habitat, water quality, and visual concerns? Did he stop or modify operations appropriately during wet weather?
  • Did the logger communicate well with you? Did the logger explain, for example, any necessary changes in the operation? Was he or she flexible in responding to your needs? How were the logger’s relations with foresters and neighboring landowners?
  • In what shape did the logger leave your skid trails, haul roads, and landings?
  • Would you use the logger for future timber harvests? Why or why not?
  • For more information about choosing a logger visit our Professional Loggers page or the MLEP.