Today we are introducing you to Tony who is the small business owner of BTS Firewood & Timber Products in Roma QLD.
Tony started his small firewood business in 2015 after noticing a high demand in Roma for firewood. After a few years, Tony recognised an opportunity in log exports. Today, log exports are the main part of his business and it has allowed Tony to grow his business to a size that would not have been possible if he had not taken this risk to move into log exports.
“Gordon, my Many Rivers business coach, helped me out with a microloan to get a trailer when I first went into log exporting. Then I was looking to get more equipment, but I was at a stage where I needed more than a microloan. He set me up with the right people who could offer a larger loan. Gordon gives me all sorts of business support throughout my journey depending on what I need at that stage. I took the Many Rivers microloan as a steppingstone and now I am looking at even bigger loan options.”
Read about Tony’s business journey so far.
BTS Firewood & Timber Products is a firewood and logging business, but I don’t do firewood as often anymore. At the moment, I am exporting logs but when I first set up this business I was sticking purely to firewood, and it was a much smaller business. I have been in business since 2015.
Before BTS Firewood & Timber Products
Before starting my business, I travelled Australia and did work in the mines, construction and all sorts of other work. I guess I am a jack of all trades. When I moved to Roma in 2015, I took the plunge and started working on my firewood business full-time. Then in 2017 I started logging and exporting overseas.
At the time there wasn’t much employment around Roma. It was coming into winter, and everyone wanted firewood. I thought the prices that were going around were ridiculous and so I decided to get into the industry myself and get the price back to what it should be – a very reasonable price! I was pretty much booked out for two seasons flat. There are not many people who sell wood at Christmas in Australia – but I did!
Working with Many Rivers
Lately, I just ring up Gordon, my Many Rivers business coach to get him to check over things for me. For example, I had a multimillion-dollar contract and he made some suggestions to improve it. He’s been good at helping me out with all sorts of tasks. He’s been awesome putting my name forward to Origin and their potential procurement opportunities.
Gordon helped me out with a microloan to get a trailer when I first went into log exporting. That loan has really pushed my business to the next level and got me out on my own. Then I was looking to get more equipment but I was at a stage where I needed more than a microloan. He set me up with the right people who can get me a larger loan and grow my business further. Gordon gives me all sorts of business support depending on what I need at that stage. I took the Many Rivers microloan as a steppingstone and now I am looking at even bigger loan options.
China decreased their imports from Australia in November 2019 and then COVID-19 started in March 2020. COVID-19 has been the biggest challenge. Ports are shutdown all over the world because borders are closed. There are containers that are stuck waiting to unload and then we are waiting for them to come back empty.
COVID-19 is still impacting us now because we can’t get containers so we can’t get orders. Some months I have plenty of orders because containers are available and then the next month there are barely any orders.
The biggest success has been achieving some large contracts and buying the machinery. Being able to go out and get finance without getting more microloans through Many Rivers has been a big success too. This has really sped up my business.
Changing from firewood to log exports. A day’s work in the logging industry is more than 10 times as much revenue as a firewood business. Just with the firewood business, I would never have gotten to where I am now.
Future Goals for BTS Firewood & Timber Products
I hope to have contractors that I can trust to do the job and I can stay home and do the admin side of my business. I can search for new properties to go to. At the moment, I am more hands on which makes it hard to look for the next property to go to. I would like to take the reins more and just be the owner, rather than be the worker as well.
Thanks Tony for sharing the story of BTS Firewood & Timber Products with us. We can’t wait to support you on this journey to achieving your business goals.
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