An increased interest in both recycling and history has generated a growing market for those who wish to sell recycled wood flooring. Whether the material comes from your own existing remodeling project or from old factories, buildings or barns, buyers are eager to incorporate the features of this previously used wood into their homes. The first-time recycled flooring seller, however, should understand the steps required to get top dollar and maximum customer satisfaction from the transaction.
Items you will need
Business directory of local and regional contractors, interior designers and lumber mills
Business letterhead stationery
Camera and film
Know your product: Identify the type of wood, measure the average board lengths, widths and thicknesses. Measure the dimensions of the flooring section you have to allow you to refer to the exact number of square feet you have available. Weigh a sampling of boards, if possible, so that you can give an estimate of the total weight of the wood if a buyer wishes to have it shipped.
Carefully examine your recycled wood material for the presence of insects. Do not put yourself in the position of being fined by the federal or state government for transporting wood material that could be harboring dangerous pests that could infest and destroy existing live tree stocks. Examine the boards for hazardous chemical residue if the material was recovered from an industrial setting or that of a garage where petroleum and other toxic products were used.
Identify any special characteristics of your wood, such as whether it is a rare specimen, one associated with a national or local historic event or location, or exceptionally finely grained. Promote these strengths to separate your product from those of larger companies selling recycled wood. Develop a descriptive paragraph for the product you have to sell. Include details regarding whether the wood is “as is” or whether you will also be planing it into standardized sizes, creating tongue and groove detailing or smoothing a rough finish. Note whether the initial use of the recycled wood was flooring or another purpose, such as joists or support posts (which are also often sawed into boards to be used for flooring). Be honest and indicate whether there is any staining or damage in the recycled boards.
Contact local contractors, interior designers or lumber mills that provide wood flooring for customers. Fax, email or mail a copy of the descriptive information you developed, including wood type, size, amount available and special features. Remember that people interested in “green,” sustainable living are very interested in purchasing recycled wood and that is a strong selling point on its own. Note in your communications if you have photos available of the wood so that potential clients can see the exact color and condition. Expand your marketing to a regional level if you are unable to find local buyers, and place a listing on appropriate green contractor and historic renovation lists.
Play up any local historical significance. Take photos of the flooring before removal from the original site to document structure and layout. Emphasize the positive benefits of old-growth wood, such as longer lengths, wider, finer grain, and lower moisture content than new wood. Don't forget to include the words "green," "recycled," "historic" and "antique" in your marketing to attract buyers looking for your specific product.
Be a thorough and professional business person. Obtain all the required local, state and federal licenses to sell wood products in your vicinity. Provide written communications on company letterhead stationery. Determine whether you will make delivery of the recycled wood materials available and be prepared to quote the potential buyer an accurate price estimate. Offer the buyer names of long-distance haulers you know to be reliable if you do not provide long-distance delivery service.
Remind buyers that each lot of recycled flooring is one of a kind and cannot be matched. They should purchase an adequate amount to complete their project at one time to avoid possible future disappointment.
The National Forestry Service is very concerned about accidental transportation of invasive pests hiding in wood products to new regions. Contact your local Forestry Service office or county Extension Service to discover whether there are any quarantines in place that would affect the transportation of your recycled flooring.