Buying Lumber Direct

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When you own a business such as homebuilding and contracting, you may need a large amount of lumber on your next big project. To avoid the additional cost of buying from an intermediary, try buying lumber direct from the source. Buying directly from the mill has its pros and cons. However, if you know where to go, who to deal with and what to do, you will save yourself a lot of money and time by buying direct.

  • Call different lumber mills. Contact their sales representative and inquire about their products.

  • Compare prices. Do not settle for just one price quote. Get at least three to five quotes from reputable mills and then make your decisions on whoever gives you the most reasonable price.

  • Find out if they kiln-dry their lumber. Buy only the ones goes through this process.

  • Learn about the different lumber grades. The best grade of lumber is FAS (First and Seconds) and it must be 83% clear. They measure clearness in large rectangular areas called cuttings. For more information about lumber grades, see Resources below.

  • Buy in bulk or wholesale. Oftentimes, when you buy wholesale or in bulk from the mill, they will give you discounts. Many mills sell wholesale by the truckload only, which can easily cost in the tens of thousands of dollars. Make sure when you buy that you will use them right away or have a place to store leftovers; otherwise, it may cost you more in the end if they rot outside.

  • Calculate the delivery charges. Some mills that are out of state will charge you more for the shipping and handling based on the distance. You can save more if you buy locally or closer to home.

  • Always find out the current price. Prices may change weekly and depends on supply and demand. So keeping up to date with the pricing will help you keep your budget in mind.

  • Avoid fluctuation by cutting a deal with the lumber mill. If you plan to have a long-standing relationship with the lumber mill, then you can cut a deal by becoming a frequent buyer or loyal customer.

  • Pay on time. In order to get a good deal, establish a good credit. By paying on time, you establish trust that can guarantee a good relationship with the lumber mill. If you can pay in advance that would be preferable as well.

Tips & Warnings

  • Do not buy way more than what you need. You can purchase extras, but avoid buying too much or you may end up wasting the lumber if you do not have any place to store it long-term.
  • Do not expose the lumbers to the outdoor elements to prevent rotting and other damages caused by water or mud.
  • Photo Credit clarita/morguefile
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