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How much are land consulting costs?

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
What’s current rates of some really good land consultants? The range maybe?? Any variables like travel & amount of days & size of farm???

I might do a few a year as folks ask me. Very limited. Just a few. Ive done a few every year for maybe 5 years but mostly did them as pretty big favors on pricing. & I’m 10000% sure the ones I did made huge difference. Why I only wanna do few a year at most.
My farms eat me alive but when the right person asks & makes sense- im wondering what a fair deal is?? I don’t want to be in the premium price at all (even though- yes, I can do anything anyone can IMHO ;).). Id still want to be more on the “fair to slightly favor” side of pricing. Depending on if I did any work while I was there. 1-2 days & could do some work or show how to do things. Like Tsi - I could mark that in patches or cut a bit. Could cover any other topic known to man…. CRP, screens, farming, soil, tree stands, browse, bedding, anything trees, anything CRP or natives, access, Anything hunting strategy. Anything surrounding topic of mature bucks. Nothing is off table that can’t be made lot better.

What’s ballparks or thoughts for a a guy doing a couple or few a year if I did a few?

Past those few- gladly help anyone out on RIGHT HERE for free ;).
 
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Duckriver

Active Member
I don't have an answer for you. But 20 years ago when I was doing forestry and wildlife consulting full time..it was base fee plus a fee per acre. Round numbers would be $1800 base fee plus $10/acre for less than 200 acres. If someone balked at that fee structure then I just charged $100 per hour include office time plus travel expenses.


Now days I work as a biologist and forester for NRCS and they don't pay me $100/hr. But I don't have overhead and budgets to deal with. I do basically the same work as a consultant.
But in a few more years when i retire, I will go back to consulting.

I would guess that most consulting biologist are likely $3-7k base fee now. If you want services such as TSI, dozer work, deer survey, analyze harvest data,mark timber sales, timber appraisal, etc.... that additional cost. Some things such as TSI implementation, dozer work is sub contract led out. Figure at least 30% added to actual sub contractor prices for a consultant to manage.
I really believe that the good consulting guys charge 2 or 3 times the going rate to cheery pick good projects that the owner are serious and property will be successful.
 

Hawk32

Well-Known Member
I would love to have to someone come through my place and give me ideas and suggestions for things like improving plots, tree plantings, TSI, new ideas on stand locations, etc, etc. Was actually talking about this the other day.
 

letemgrow

PMA Member
I always thought it would be interesting to get 3-4 of the top tier consultants to all write up a plan for the same piece of property and see where the differences are.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I would too.

But, with what Duckriver just said, I'm out. That blows my mind.
Ya- that’s crazy. I wouldn’t feel right, personally, charging that kind of $. someone PM’d me and said he spent bit over $7k. Don’t fault dude charging that or dude paying it but I could/would never do that. & heck- the info here is FREE & top tier & thats always how it will be.
I wouldn’t wanna be the guy asking for insane $. At the same time from other side…. I’d pry only do it for guys that were easy to deal with & had farms that made sense where some real changes can be made & problems solved.
If I’m only doing “3” a year- I like that cause I can be choosy too. Don’t need to do them either which is nice part but if it’s win/win - makes sense. My only side motivation is this: 1) seeing new areas and I like fixing farms. My home farm is essentially done. Needs regular farm work & maintenance but it’s fundamentally finished. 2) it’s some $ I can use to buy a conservation toy that my wife can say “ok, u did a few extra things - all good”. Like this year- have an old drill needs fully rebuilt. This could cover that cost.
 

abell3

Active Member
Land consulting has been booming over the last few years. the floodgates have opened. I have seen the well known industry guys charging anywhere from 5-7K... A lot of young inexperienced guys as well getting in the land expert game. I would hope the guys that have the pedigree would be getting most of the work. Far too often I see guys have killed one good deer and now they're charging you to walk your ground. Skip, you could charge whatever you feel is fair. You're proof is in the pudding so to speak.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Im pretty sure Don Higgins charges $10k for a full consult
I believe you are correct, he just upped his prices substantially this year, as in doubled them I think. In part because he was overwhelmed and overscheduled. So he raised his prices considerably, but also added some additional consultants to the team. Those guys "sell" for a lower price too, but still a pretty penny.

However, there is quite a market there and lots of people that can afford land these days have little trouble spending that type of money to get expert advice.
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
I do see a huge boom in land consulting. I’ve seen it for last 5 years. I am NOT jumping on that wagon!!!!! ;). For last 5 years, I’ve probably been asked 10-20x a year & it made sense to do 2 or 3 & help the rest in other ways. I don’t have time or desire to do this even close to part-time. 3 max!!! I like it that way! I like working on my own farms too much & don’t like traveling like I did when I was a youngster. I’m happy as a clam with even 2, or just 3 a year. & not “let’s see if anyone would pay this?!!?!??? $_____”. Basically, this isn’t about the $ even though I am asking what’s fair.
 

Jbohn

Well-Known Member
I've seen $2500.00 -$10,000.00 . Skip , Honestly you would kick ass man . You all ready give a lot back to everyone and the information and resources on DLBtree Form are Incredible information for anyone who takes the time to read. You have a vast knowledge on all subject's . If you wanted to be a nice guy I don't think you should step foot on someone's ground for less then 5K , Honestly if others are getting 10K I don't see how they are anymore experienced then you. You shouldn't sell your self short and if your only going to do say 3-5 a year it should be worth your time . You are already give back a lot .

On a side note if you wanted to do a test run , my farm is available :) , I will give you a proper evaluation and let you know if your good at it :)
 

78mac78

PMA Member
Who are your target clients and farm sizes? People like me with 50 acres who live on it, or people with 80-120, 160-300, 300+. I would assume in the medium to larger sizes……Then are you targeting those guys who just want help identifying and can do the work or people who want the full on hands off Skip take care of this anyway possible?
 

Sligh1

Administrator
Staff member
Who are your target clients and farm sizes? People like me with 50 acres who live on it, or people with 80-120, 160-300, 300+. I would assume in the medium to larger sizes……Then are you targeting those guys who just want help identifying and can do the work or people who want the full on hands off Skip take care of this anyway possible?
In general- I honestly think the folks on here can help solve most issues on parcels like 40 acres and less.
The ones I’d do…. 100-300 acres is probably ideal. & obviously I’m not out seeking them- just if they ask me and we determine it makes sense to go out there.
So- I can pretty much go over a whole farm & list, map, explain - anything that needs done. I can go through how it gets done as well. I can do some of the work to show a guy how to do it. I probably will steer away from a lot of manual labor as that’s not where I’m best used. I do enough on my own (too much ;) ). I have a lot of contacts & methods for getting the manual labor done though. There’s always solutions there & each case- that part will get solved one way or another.
For most the projects that need done too…. Most of that info is on here in detail. & folks like Rob (IBH1983) can do a lot of the work too. That part would be tee’d up after leaving on exactly what needs to be done, why & how.

On a side note…. Im doing this small scale, 2-3 a year. Wonder who to recommend when I can’t do one?

Last side side note…. Honestly… I think we can help 90% of people on HERE. All the info, all the pics, all the advice. All the different experienced folks on here. We continue to make some better YouTube videos as well that go through all of this. All for free with no promotion, motives, $ - all simply to help folks out. I do enjoy helping folks with zero motivation behind it. I had folks doing that for me since a very young age & I want to give back.
 

IowaBowHunter1983

Super Moderator
Staff member
Doesn’t 1983 offer this service? He’s a mod here. Maybe he’ll chime in.
I do a little bit. You really have to have the right client to have it make sense (see below) Most of what I do is actual implementation of the work. Most advice I give is for free. As Skip said, a lot of great advice right here on IW for FREE for those that want to dig in and learn.

Here's where the consulting thing comes into play and has it's place... IMO. There are guys out there that have the financial means to pay to hit the easy button. I am not saying there is anything wrong with this whatsoever. It is a great way to skip the learning curve and get great advice and have a top-notch farm as a result. Alot of folks I deal with are very busy people. They do not have the time or desire to implement farm changes. The same can be said for the TIME & EFFORT it takes to really dig into the necessary steps of understanding things related to their farm using resources like IW. Folks can get decades of knowledge by writing someone a check and are happy to do so. It has its place.

That market (if that's what you want to call it), is sort of like the "land agent" market. It's become flooded, so tread carefully. People like Skip are the real professionals. There are too many so-called experts with a 30 HP tractor, a 5' tiller, and a chainsaw that think they are a consultant. (ie someone was playing a video at the Deer Classic a few years ago of hinge cutting white oaks!)

A few pre-requisites I would look for. Does so called consultant own and manage their own farms? How much experiance do they actually have? What is their track record on harvests? Farm recommendations have to be tailored to individual goals and circumstances, but the lense I always start with is "If this was my farm, this is exactly what I would do..." Most of that has been learned through decades of successes and failures while using resources like IW for FREE.
 

Daver

PMA Member
Good discussion here...FWIW, the aforementioned Don Higgins raised his rates to $10K this year and is still overwhelmed with demand. For someone that is truly a pro, like him, there is REAL potential here. I would see someone like Skip in a similar manner, a true pro that has a bona fide track record, etc.

I also agree very much with IBH1983...just having a tractor, a tiller and a chainsaw, etc, does NOT mean that they are really a pro. There are plenty of people in this "space" these days, just like land agents, that are more "posers" than pros, so be careful if you are going to spend for this expertise and advice.

IW really does offer high quality advice for little to nothing. That can go a long, long way for those that are willing to digest it all and then apply their own labor to the cause. But, some have more money than time and will gladly pay someone else to do it for them.
 

MN Slick

PMA Member
I spoke to Higgins about consulting on a farm back in 2015. I think he was about $2500 back then and wouldn't take on a client unless he was sure he could make it better. We didn't get to the point of hiring him but it was obvious he didn't like the layout and would not have accepted the job. Now days, he seems to be much more accepting of business and despite his opinion, that farm was great and we killed some great bucks on it.
 

hans1

Active Member
I have walked a few Propertys and helped review plans from a few of the big names. Overall these landowners felt that the money was well spent. Their focus seemed to be on access which is smart. The negative on both were their seemingly lack of basic agronomy knowledge. They wanted to move the main destination plots from a 80+ CSR secluded bottom to a less than 30 CSR ridge that barely grows grass and cedars. All to gain a slight access advantage.
The real home run would be someone who would write the plan AND implement it.
With Skips knowledge and proven track record I would bet his plan and knowledge would be far superior to someone from out of state that spends 4-6 hours walking a farm and then sends a boiler plate,fill in the blank style plan.
 

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