Christmas tree farming: How do you price your tree for best income?

Hello rob here from flanigan homestead And east fork christmas tree farms i Want to talk a little bit about pricing Your christmas tree and there’s Different people that do it different Ways Uh barry my business partner and i have Talked about possibly doing it Differently over the years but we’ve Pretty much stayed the course And we actually do it a little bit Differently than other people there’s Advantages and disadvantages to that But today i just got done visiting with Glenn thornton the owner of Thornton’s treeland the largest u-cut Christmas tree farm in the county They’re famous around here he sells About five thousand Uh u-cut trees a year approximately And uh so and he obviously does really Well much larger farm than I am and uh so the what he does And he said he used to do it price per Foot which a lot of people do so let’s Talk about that Uh first of all in our area anyway in The pacific northwest the most common Thing To see is when you show up at a Christmas tree farm they’ll say a price Per foot And this might be a standard of what you Might have seen in the

In our area last year i didn’t do price Per foot myself so I don’t know exactly but there a lot of Farmers would have been similar to this So You know you uh a noble fur or an ordman Fir might have been 11 Per foot so you get an eight footer and You’re at 88 dollars Grand furs and doug furs would be a Little bit less and that’s really Typical Of what is going on actually in this Area you know there’s Some people that sell for more some People that sell for less Uh last year which would have been the 2020 season Uh this is what we sold for at uh our Christmas tree farm or Approximately i think i don’t remember Exactly the doug first might be a little Bit different But if you bought a noble fur nordman Fur It was 75 dollars any size tree and the Reason we decided to do any size tree Is we don’t have a huge inventory right Now So if people wanted to buy a smaller one For less money and i Was like you know they’re like but it’s Only four feet tall and i was like yeah I can’t give that to you for 30 bucks

Because in two years i’m gonna sell for 80 85 bucks We don’t have the extra inventory that We could afford to sell smaller Trees cheaper we wanted to grow them up To full size also we had a few rare Trees Still on the farm that were 10 feet tall Or taller And you know we’ve talked about raising The price on that but then when you Raise the price on that it slows some People down on taking them And then that means another year so they Might still be there another year so now They’re 11 or 12 feet tall And that means i have to get up on a Ladder and shear it and work the tops And everything So we don’t price our taller trees At least currently we don’t and it’s Something we discuss every year but we Don’t price our Really tall trees at a higher price Because we want them Gone and we want to put a new tree in That place and we want a tree that we Can work While standing on the ground and Thornton’s who’s the largest started Doing this several years ago and they Have tags That they put on their tree and they Individually price

Every tree so on this tag you there’s Multiple you I’ll show it up close on a different View but there’s multiple Prices on here there’s probably at least 20 different prices Uh they wire this onto the tree and they Take a hole punch and they punch the Hole Of the price of the tree that they’re Planning to sell that tree for And he says there’s no way he’s not Going to do it that way He makes a lot more money by doing it he Gets more value out of his trees And he was referring to another Christmas tree farmer Uh here that uh is probably the second Largest who’s three miles from me Who switched to that and he was saying How that guy that Switched recently is going to price for Uh individual tree From now on and that’s where he swears He’s going to go now i’m going to Show some comments that glenn made During our visit today i’ll work them Into the video here But there’s the price per type of tree That people do Price per foot and then there’s Individually pricing The individual pricing they swear they Get a lot more money for their trees but

It does take a lot a little bit of time To go mark them one of the other Advantages of tagging your trees and Pricing them individually is If there’s no tag on the tree you can’t Buy it and so If he feels like he needs to leave a Certain section of trees or a certain Number of trees behind He doesn’t tag those trees people know They can’t buy it obviously if someone Comes and Begs him for it he’ll make him a deal But generally speaking That way he could set aside the certain Amount of trees that he feels is Necessary for the following years Okay you’re talking about this market And you know i i’m getting a decent Price for my tree when i got started the Guy said do you want to be a price taker Or do you want to be a price setter Actually he said do you want to be a Price Setter like glenn thornton or do you Want to be a price taker And what he was saying is do you want to Set the price And get good money for it or do you want To just take what people will give you So walking up to this tree i saw this is Last year’s price tag This is last year’s price tag you Individually price

Every tree right um So you know i i know a few farmers that Do that some do it by the foot some do By the variety Have you always done individually priced Trees and Uh what’s the advantage of that and Who prices all of them I started selling trees for seven Dollars a piece flat rate And i got up to about 13 flat rate And then i said i’m gonna buy tags Well the first year see any any tree out There’s 13 bucks Well i had a Ticket made i didn’t get too aggressive But i think I had like 19.95 was my top price in That day And um i so i’ve been selling for 13 well right away here’s two customers Coming Young lady and this older gentleman And the guy he paid I had a 1995 that’s a tree i won He bought it and this young lady she Came along she said She wanted a smaller tree it was 13.95 And um got time well last year you were Selling that 1995 tree for 13.95 And the guy who bought it said yeah but He says i got a lot bigger trees So

That’s helped keep us in business yeah Now i have another friend he’s down in Uh silver and that’s so state in oregon Somewhere down in there And he came out and he wanted to see how I was doing it And so he went got some tickets made up And he priced these trees individually He said man i’m getting a lot more money Out of my trees than i would be if i had To do a flat rate And one year he got it’s been about Three or four years ago now He come by and he said hey i’d like to See one of your price tags I said okay and i gave him Well what he was doing he went and got His own tax price and Started individually tagging and pricing Trees And somebody came in here and they were Talking And this woman was talking about why These trees are high priced And she says um to her friend let’s go Out to weisman’s And she says i just out there your trees Are eighty dollars So anyway then bruce went to ask tong Tim Yeah he says 15 years I ignored my so flat rate 15 years he says 15 years So funny story on that name wendy you

Know a couple years ago we All ran out of trees down there we’re Shutting down early and bruce Shut down a month a week he’s shut down Earlier than we did And being a friend and three miles down The street he drove up and said I’m sending mine your way i was like Don’t do that we We have we don’t have enough trees Anyway but he goes and you got to raise The prices on your trees because we were Selling trees at 70 that he was selling At 110. So anyway yeah that’s what he said to me So barry and i were talking about how We’re not good businessmen because we’re Both nice guys And but so The shortage of trees last year you know Weisman’s closed down early we had to Close down early and We did raise our prices from the year Before but we raised him 10 bucks And the market would have bear bore more From where we were But we’re like we just can’t stand to Raise our price more than 10 A year for these people have been coming Back every year so i mean there’s a nice Balance between Go get yourself a ticket and print it up And put it on that tree and you’ll find How much are you charging for a tree

Last year we sold Nobles for 75 but that included Trees that were 10 11 feet tall well we Didn’t We didn’t have a whole lot of those but Here’s our reasoning on that and we We’ve been rounding around on Marking up the bigger trees for more and Everything And we did that one year and then the Years that we didn’t do that The big trees were gone the years that We did do that some of them stayed and Then i had to climb up on a ladder And shear that sucker the next year and Put a top on it So there was value in us getting that Tree out And yes it’s a great deal i mean people For a while there we had because as we Were developing our customer base We got to where we had a lot of big Trees then when people found out that we Were selling 10 footers for the same price as eight Footers We got flooded and they got cleaned out And we were like we could have made a Lot more money which we could have But we were happy to get these trees That we were climbing up on ladders out Of there And get new ones started well see i I’m really interested in talking to you

And i i don’t want to be offensive So tell it like it is i’m a nice guy The inference is i’m not a nice guy well You’re not glenn just kidding No but we’ve had that discussion about You not i mean But we just said you know glenn’s a Better businessman Well i no i don’t know how much see I actually was able to quit my daytime Job in 1987. I Thanks for joining me on the flanigan Homestead where christmas trees are my Business Teaching and cleaning horticulture is my Job and outdoor projects are my passion