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Working With Foresters

When you select a private consulting or industrial forester, the ideal choice is an individual or company that has a good reputation with both landowners and timber buyers. The forester you choose should serve you and represent your best interests in all matters concerning your woodland.

Hiring a forester

When selecting a private consulting or industrial forester, make sure you check:

  • references;
  • affiliations with professional organizations whose members must meet education standards and adhere to a code of ethics;
  • years and type of experience;
  • education;
  • fee structures (hourly, percentage, per acre basis);
  • insurance (liability, errors and omissions, workers' compensation insurance);
  • availability throughout your entire project;
  • willingness to practice sustainable forestry which integrates environmental, economic and social concerns;
  • willingness to listen to your objectives;
  • special skills your job may require, such as log scaling and grading experience; and
  • background information. To find out if any complaints have been filed against a company, contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection [exit DNR] or the Better Business Bureau.


When you hire a private consulting or industrial forester, it is important to have a written contract or a letter of agreement signed by both you and the forester. A written agreement will help avoid misunderstanding and make clear what is expected. Whenever you enter into a contract or other legal agreement, you should consult with an attorney or other appropriate licensed advisor (such as an accountant, tax preparer, surveyor or realtor) if you have questions. The DNR foresters cannot provide specific legal or tax advice, or act as your agent.

Here are some things to consider including in your contract with a private consulting or industrial forester:

  • location and description of property;
  • whose responsibility it is to determine and mark property or project boundaries;
  • description and time frame of services to be performed;
  • frequency of inspections or other supervisory duties (in the case of timber harvests);
  • required documentation, reports or forms to be completed;
  • legal requirements for the work to be performed (permits, cutting notices, etc.);
  • ownership of data such as timber inventory, survey notes and maps;
  • amount you agree to pay and the schedule for payment; and
  • penalties for failure to meet contract terms.

For more items to consider in your agreement, see this information about Contracting with a Consulting Forester.

The DNR does not guarantee the performance or services provided by private consulting or industrial foresters, including cooperating foresters.

If you have a complaint, contact the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection [exit DNR] (1-800-422-7128), or the Better Business Bureau [exit DNR]. DNR foresters are also available to assist you.