Of the many factors that influence lumber pricing, we’ve discussed a few and then a few more. While these posts are by no means exhaustive lists, and there’s no precise algorithm, our hope is that by learning more about how lumber pricing works, you can gain a greater sense of trust for your local lumber supplier — and be better equipped to place your next order with confidence.
Not only does the size of each individual board matter, but the size of the entire order makes a difference, too. While the line between wholesale and retail pricing may be a bit cloudy, the basic idea is that it takes about as much work to pull 1,000 board feet as it does to pull 100. Actually, it often takes less effort to assemble a larger order, since smaller orders often require moving and breaking up multiple packs. That increased overhead cost will get passed onto the customer. So if you can place a large order for all the decking lumber you’ll need for the year, early in the season, you’ll stand to spend much less than if you place several smaller orders throughout the summer.
The origin of your lumber makes a big difference, when it comes to pricing. But it’s not just about the cost of travel from their continent-of-origin to U.S. shores.
A single species with a wide growth range can have widely varying pricing, based on the distance — and traveling conditions — from where the lumber is harvested to the mill and then from the mill to the shores from which they’re shipped.
Not only does travel distance make a difference, but political climate and land concessions play a part as well. African species, in particular, endure hazardous travel routes through war-ridden areas, which can vary greatly from one day to another.
Regulations and Fees
In addition to the cost of travel, exotic species often accrue extra expenses in the way of fees relating to governmental regulations, exporting, and importing. Certified lumber comes with higher price tags due to lower supply and extra requirements. Other added expenses include CITES paperwork, port demurrage fees, and paperwork that supports Lacey Act compliance. That paperwork is the end result of countless hours of due diligence, which includes in-person visits to verify every link of the supply chain.
Instead of doing business with only those offering the least expensive lumber, a trusted and established lumber supplier like J. Gibson McIlvain will make choices that are unquestionably legal and responsible and promise to ensure long-term availability and a consistent, reliable inventory.
Perhaps you’re glad you only have to pay for your lumber, instead of dealing with all the variables that come up with lumber pricing. It really is an involved process, and if you’re starting to appreciate its complexities, then we’re achieving our goal. We have just one more collection of factors to consider, and you’ll find them right here.
Learn More About the Lumber Industry
• Guide to Exotic Hardwoods: Spanish Cedar
• Natural Beauty You Can’t Manufacture: Wood Color Change
• Hardwood Lumber Grading
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling (800) 638-9100.
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