Purchasing lumber seems to be a straightforward process for the customer, but it’s not so simple for the dealer. A whole host of factors can impact prices. We’ve already considered how lumber grades, board specifications, seasons, regions of origin, and even political unrest can cause prices to go up or down. Next, we’ll turn our attention to some more crucial components of determining how much you can expect to pay for your lumber.
Lumber Prices can Increase Due to Import and Export Fees and Regulations
Many exotic lumber markets around the world are strictly regulated. Lumber dealers have to pay extra to see to it that the lumber they carry is in compliance with the regulations such as the Lacey Act so they won’t face penalties. There are several different charges which can be levied on imported wood. There’s the cost of shipping itself and getting the necessary paperwork completed. If the wood ends up staying on the ship longer than expected, there could also be some demurrage charges. All of these fees can increase lumber costs at the lumber yard.
Dealers who aren’t extremely careful about which mills abroad they do business with can end up in a real dilemma whenever governments impose new regulations on harvesting or exporting certain wood species. Those who take their time to inspect and evaluate the practices of the mills they work with to make sure they’re following sustainable harvesting practices tend to fare much better in the long run.
As a customer, it may be wise to ask your dealer about how they select their suppliers and whether or not they take sustainability into account. Not only is it better for the environment, but it’s also better for business. Lumber mills which are not diligently careful can end up getting shut down, leaving the lumber dealers they supply short on materials to sell. Lumber dealers and even consumers could end up getting into legal trouble, if they purchase lumber that comes from unscrupulous sawmills that aren’t Lacey Act compliant.
Shipping Costs can Drive Lumber Prices Up
Getting lumber delivered to your job site is a convenient option, but you’ll need to expect to pay for the increased cost it will add to your lumber purchase. There will need to be additional charges in order to pay the truck driver, pay for fuel, pay the workers who load and unload the lumber, and pay for wear and tear on the truck.
Be sure when you make a lumber purchase to ask whether or not shipping costs are added in automatically or whether you’ll be charged an additional fee. You should also find out in advance if there’s an extra charge to have the boards unloaded from the truck for you if you so desire. If you don’t like having to pay the shipping costs, you could always consider transporting the lumber yourself if you have access to a vehicle that would be an adequate size and you have the amount of help you need to get the job done.
Inform the lumber dealer about the conditions and accessibility of the job site. Some sites are easier to unload materials at than others. If your job site is difficult to access with the normal shipping vehicles, it may require specialized shipping which may take a long time and could result in extra fees.
In our final article in this series, we’ll take a look at how order size can impact the cost of lumber. We’ll also recap the information we’ve looked at so far and close with some final thoughts on this important topic.