Lumber pricing gets a bad rap, and we understand why. No, really, we do. Not one of us likes to feel as if we’re paying more than we should be, and when pricing isn’t published or straightforward, it’s easy to feel skeptical. Well, no matter how much we wish we could, we cannot provide a simple pricing structure. What we can do, though, is to explain the factors influencing lumber pricing, to give you a general concept of how complex it truly is.
We highly recommend that you start with these 4 posts, and then come back and read this fifth and final one.
- What Factors Determine the Price of Lumber?
- How the Size of Boards Affects Lumber Pricing
- How Seasonal Demand Affects Lumber Pricing
- How Governmental Regulations & Lumber’s Origin Affect Lumber Pricing
Shipping Costs and Lumber Pricing
Shipping cost is definitely one of those factors that can vary widely from lumber dealer to dealer; in fact be sure that as you compare pricing from various suppliers, you make sure that all are including shipping in the cost they quote you. Because we use our own fleet of trucks, we’re able to control the shipping costs more easily; at the same time, though, we’re unable to completely separate a shipping fee from the cost of lumber. Instead, it’s wrapped into our overhead costs. Of course, shipping cost will be reflected in lumber pricing, but it won’t necessarily be possible to itemize it in a neat-and-tidy way.
When a lumber supplier uses a common carrier for shipping, not only will it impact pricing, but it may also affect the shape your lumber is in once it arrives at your job site. It can also make a difference, when it comes to the level of service you receive and the added labor and cost you might need to utilize in order to get the order all the way to your job site. If your location isn’t accessible with a tractor trailer but requires the use of a specialty truck, that cost needs to be considered. If moving the lumber to a second vehicle will be required, the additional cost of unloading and loading should also be planned for.
Order Size and Lumber Pricing
Of course, larger orders are usually equated with lower per-board-foot pricing, but precisely where retail pricing ends and wholesale pricing begins can definitely vary. Why does it cost less to process a larger order? Well, it really takes the same amount of work to pull 50 board feet as it will 500. The smaller order will potentially take even more labor, though, if larger packs of lumber must be broken.
Sometimes a smaller order actually requires more labor due to the need for many full packs to be moved in order to get to the one partial pack. Add in the lower quality of boards left behind, and you have an added reason for increased cost. Since the paperwork is about the same, the cost will be spread over fewer board feet for the smaller order, increasing the cost.
Learn More About the Lumber Industry
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods and has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums. For more information on J. Gibson McIlvain’s lumber products and services, call Monday-Friday toll free (800) 638-9100 to speak with one of their representatives.