Starting a Portable Sawmilling Business

young sawyer
Some sawyers get started on their business earlier than others!

Making the decision to start your own milling business with a portable sawmill can be as profitable as you wish, depending on the amount of work you are willing and able to put into it.  Whether the business will be designed to supplement your present income, or replace it entirely, you can generally make as little, or as much, as you want based on your commitment of time and effort. 


Even though operating your own portable milling business can be hard work, the great thing about it is you can control the amount of work that has to be performed.  That’s because your contribution of hard work is directly proportionate to the type of machine you purchase. Many new owners start with a basic configuration and the minimum of what they will ultimately require until they can decide how much they want to grow their business.

You can always start out with a base model for only a few thousand dollars to become proficient and comfortable with the equipment.  At the point when your business is growing enough to warrant it, then you can always move up to a more powerful model, with more features and accessories like hydraulics.  Typically, the amount you spend on add-ons for your machine will pay itself back in increased productivity, as you will be able to process larger amounts of lumber in shorter periods of time.

For instance, a fully hydraulic portable sawmill can run upwards of $30,000, but when operated properly it has the potential of producing thousands of feet of boards every day.  Your initial investment can be made back very quickly, especially if the boards are special hardwoods, which can demand higher prices.

But when deciding budget, you have to look at more than just the upfront cost.  A portable bandsaw mill with additional features means increased upkeep, not to mention higher potential repair and replacement parts costs.  Of course, you will want to choose a machine from a reputable sawmill manufacturer which will stand up to the rigors of a milling operation. However, repairs and maintenance will likely be required at some point so you will need to ensure that the machine will be able to sustain its ongoing cost, as well as turn a tidy profit for you.

The great thing about portable band sawmills is they typically do an incredible job of holding their value over time.  Most, if not all, of your original investment should be easily recouped, depending on the amount of wear your mill has sustained and how well the overall condition of the machine has been maintained.  There is a certainly a market for used sawmills when you’re ready to upgrade and reinvest the value you’ve realized.


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