Lumber pricing can seem a bit puzzling to those who aren’t extremely familiar with the ins and outs of the lumber business. Different suppliers can quote customers vastly different prices, leading to the conclusion that certain dealers may be trying to price gouge their customers. Often, this assumption ends up being wrong.
Lumber Pricing is Complicated
The reality of the matter is that there are a whole host of factors that can cause the price of lumber to fluctuate. For example, consider the required Length, Width, and Thickness of the boards, the desired pattern or grain of the wood, and the type of moulding or milling a customer expects. All of these details that change from project to project can dramatically alter the price a lumber wholesaler or dealer will quote to their potential customers. Not to mention that, based on the species of wood, supply and demand will also vary widely throughout the year. This price change normally has nothing to do with a lumber dealer’s ethics and everything to do with the availability of that species due to regional weather conditions in locations where the wood is sourced. For Ipe, a much sought-after decking material, the spike in demand that comes with the summer decking season can lead to higher prices.
In this series of articles, we’ll take a look at a hypothetical scenario involving an Ipe decking order. Hopefully, this detailed example will highlight the type of common misunderstanding that can arise when customers lack awareness of price-impacting variables.
Ipe Decking Costs Vary Widely Depending on the Season
In our example, a high-end residential contractor calls a lumber wholesaler searching for Ipe decking. His customers love Ipe decking for their luxury home decks, because it’s easy to maintain, has unrivaled durability, and is aesthetically pleasing. The contractor’s latest job includes plans for a 2000+ square foot deck located on two levels of a newly constructed property. Finding the wholesale lumber dealer on the internet, the contractor contacts them and asks for a quote.
Because the contractor is calling fairly early in the springtime, the wholesaler has plenty of Ipe decking inventory that meets the contractor’s size requirements. The packs of Ipe decking are imported from a number of different Brazilian suppliers. Since the inventory is so large this time of the year, the wholesaler can search through their extensive supply and find just what the contractor is looking for at a reasonable price. The only thing that will cause the price to go up is that the relatively small quantity of boards needed to fill the order will require the packs of Ipe lumber to be broken up. Whenever a customer buys quantities that require packs to be broken and searched through, the price automatically goes up due to labor costs and potential wood damage.
As you can see, finding a good price on quality Ipe decking lumber isn’t a straightforward process. In our next article, we’ll continue our hypothetical scenario. We’ll explore how different purchasing decisions on the part of the customer can make a big difference in the overall prices they end up having to pay for decking materials.