How Did They Get That Price? The Facets Underlying The Cost of Lumber.
While some lumber suppliers may prefer the mystique that comes with keeping their customers completely in the dark regarding their pricing process, J. Gibson McIlvain prefers the open-book approach. We realize that an educated customer will truly appreciate all that goes into sourcing quality lumber, and we seek to help our clientele understand the many factors that go into our pricing. From solid hardwoods to milled wood products, we realize that pricing does matter to our customers. That makes it matter to us.
A lumber yard can be quite intimidating to the novice lumber buyer. After all, in our personal lives, most of us are used to up-front pricing and — Black Friday and Lightening Deals aside — fairly static pricing. Understandably, the lumber-buying process can seem quite frustrating, due to the following situations:
- No price list is typically posted, requiring a specific pricing request or order
- Prices on apparently comparable boards can vary quite a bit
- The price on the same board can vary greatly, sometimes even within the week
If you’re used to comparison shopping or haven’t yet decided on a wood species or other pivotal details about the lumber you’re going to buy, these variable pricing factors can combine to have you almost ready to go with composite materials instead. Please wait. There are reasons for why we, as a lumber industry, handle pricing the way we do. Trust us. We wish lumber pricing could be simpler and more static, instead of constantly fluctuating and requiring careful grading and calculating. But genuine high-quality lumber and lumber products are truly worth your (and our) investment of both money and time.
Understandably, lumber customers often walk away feeling as if they’re at the mercy of random pricing by the lumber supplier. They can feel like the supplier is the “bad guy,” trying to take them for as much as possible on their orders. We certainly don’t want our customers feeling that way or wondering if we were just in a bad mood when we gave them a price. Instead, we see ourselves as our customers’ allies, helping them achieve their goals, including staying within that all-important budget. Because of that desire, we want to be as forthright as possible, taking the mystery out of lumber pricing.
We arrive at pricing based on a complex algorithm that takes the following factors into consideration:
- Whether you’re purchasing packs comprised of mixed-grade lumber or only a particular grade.
- What length and width you want (and how common the requested sizes are in your species-of-choice).
- Where the lumber originates and the associated seasonal issues, transport time and cost, species-specific regulations, and import/export fees.
- How the current market scenario looks for the particular species and grade, considering issues related to supply-and-demand.
- How much lumber you’re ordering and where your order will need to be shipped.
In the posts to follow (see links below), we’ll look at these factors in detail to help you better understand precisely how they affect the price we quote you on your next lumber order.