Graduate on fire in own business
DAILY GRIND Winter is on its way and that means business time for Carlos Ter Huurne. Reporter Joe Dawson caught up with the young firewood merchant to learn about the wood trade.
Firewood merchant Carlos Ter Huurne is putting his marketing degree to good use in his own business.
The recent University of Auckland marketing and commerce graduate has opted to avoid the bottleneck of his peers hitting the job market by branching out on his own.
Last year Mr Ter Huurne, 21, set up his firewood business, Ignition Firewood, to give him some part-time work as he finished his studies.
But such has been the success of his company he has kept it going and will continue as long as business is burning.
‘‘I started up by cutting a few trees down on our rural block when I needed a parttime job when I was at univer- sity last year,’’ he says.
‘‘I ended up doing firewood and was going to stop when I finished my degree.’’
But the business ticks and the return is better than he might earn in a graduate marketing role.
The added bonus is he is developing and honing his business skills while working for himself.
‘‘I have three to four guys on a part-time basis, and two on fulltime.
‘‘Since I started off it has been fulltime, even in the offseason when I’m not selling, I still have to be working to get wood in for the next season.
‘‘There is always something to do.’’
There are other benefits to being self-employed too.
‘‘It’s enjoyable and the best thing is going home after a long day, relaxing and knowing that if I don’t want to work the next day I don’t have to.’’
Mr Ter Huurne sources wood from a variety of places.
He will fell the odd stand of trees at the rural Clevedon block he lives on, will clear trees for farmers who wants to get rid of a few trees and buy in a fair bit from down country.
‘‘The average day I spend mainly cutting or splitting wood and then organising other things like repairs.
‘‘Deliveries keep me busy all day Saturday. I enjoy chatting with customers and finding out what they like.’’
It’s an enjoyable gig too, mixing physical, outdoor work with a bit of business development and procurement thrown in too.
And for a man who once built a motorised couch in his garage there is plenty of tinkering with machines to be done.
‘‘I have a splitter, a bobcat, a truck for deliveries with a split cage and ute, and I’ve got a few good chainsaws.’’
Firewood merchant Carlos Ter Huurne at his Clevedon yard.