Examining the factors which affect how much you pay for your lumber.
In your lumber-shopping expeditions, you may experience frustration over what seems to be random pricing. Here at J. Gibson McIlvain Lumber, we believe that an educated customer is a strong customer, and we rely on a strong customer base to help us continue our centuries-long legacy of providing quality lumber and lumber products.
As you begin to understand the intricacies of lumber pricing (see Part 1), we hope your faith in the lumber industry will be renewed and that you’ll learn the best times to shop for lumber, in order to get the highest quality, best selection, and lowest prices possible.
If you wanted to reduce your bottom line and were planning several projects for which you would need Ipe, you could consider purchasing enough lumber for all those orders at once. Since we wouldn’t have to open so many packs, our overhead expenses would be less, and we would pass that savings along to you.
Of course, buying enough board feet for several projects at once would mean tying up valuable capital, and some builders simply cannot afford to do so. By the end of the summer, though, they’ll probably wish they’d found a way to secure the finances to buy all their Ipe up-front.
As the decking season progresses, our supply of Ipe steadily declines. Because of South American seasonal fluctuations, we’re unable to get any more Ipe in stock until our winter begins, meaning that we won’t get any more Ipe throughout the decking season than we have initially at the beginning of the U.S. decking season.
Of course, the economic powers of supply and demand come into play. The prices continue to climb, while the chances of finding wood that meets all your criteria become lower and lower, especially if one criterion is a set price point. Sometimes what’s left at the end of the season is the highest priced lumber. (The price we pay for lumber depends on many variables, including shipping container, Certified status, and many other issues unrelated to quality and dimensions.)
While not every species has the kind of time-sensitive issues connected to it as Ipe does, we hope that these sample pricing scenarios help you understand the market a little better and realize that even though pricing may vary from week to week, it truly reflects a unique collection of influences that simply can’t be reduced to a simple pricing structure.
Just as each order is assembled individually, each one is priced individually. It’s all part of the story when you’re purchasing an organic, naturally occurring product. While manufactured products might be more predictable, we believe that the beauty and environmentally sustainable aspects of lumber make it worth the trouble.