Tips Choosing Wholesale Lumber Provider

7 Tips for Choosing Your Wholesale Lumber Provider

If you are planning on a building/construction project of any meaningful size, you might want to think about purchasing your lumber from a wholesaler as opposed to a big retail hardware store. The savings you can get from doing this can be quite substantial, maybe enough to allow you to take on other projects in the immediate future.

While you might not realize it, the process of buying retail and wholesale lumber differs. Also, choosing to purchase your lumber directly from a wholesale lumberyard has a positive impact on the environment. How? Wholesale lumber companies benefit by acting responsibly on behalf of the environment by replanting trees cut down for use. It ensures they have access to abundant sources of lumber without straining forest resources.

Since choosing wholesale lumber can get a little tricky, we want to offer you the following seven (7) tips to help make the process easier and more beneficial.

1. Ask for Free Delivery

If you are buying large quantities of wholesale lumber, you have to primary ways to receive your lumber. First, you can show up with your own delivery vehicle, load it up, and take it to its intended destination. The problem with this choice is it takes time and puts an extra burden on you.

The other choice you have is to request delivery by the lumberyard. If by chance you are purchasing large quantities of lumber on a regular basis, you should be able to leverage your volume of business loyalty for free delivery service. Sometimes, your wholesale lumberyard might be able to arrange deliveries directly from the mill if it offers more convenience in terms of time and money.

2. Check for Availability

If you have a pretty good idea of what kind of lumber and the quantity or quantities you will need, you should call area lumberyards and see what's available. The time savings could be quite substantial if there are several wholesalers in the area and you are looking for lumber that's not always available. Also sign-up to our Daily Deals to be alerted of deals on construction materials.

If you are looking for really large quantities, you might want to get in the habit of always calling ahead because of the potential benefits of doing so. First, you can confirm that the lumberyard has what you need. Second, it will give them time to gather what you need if they don't have it readily available. Finally, calling ahead will give them time to prepare your order ahead of time, which could translate into time savings when you arrive.

3. Take Advantage of Knowledge of Wholesale Expert

If you are a fairly new developer or builder, there is a chance you have a lot to learn about lumber. In a retail setting, your employee encounters will be with folks who know a little about everything the retailer sells with no expertise in a particular area.

Wholesale lumberyards tend to hire employees who know a lot about lumber. Sometimes, they even have experience as builders and craftspersons. These are folks who can be a wealth of knowledge when you have questions about things like

  • Treating/finishing lumber materials
  • Which types of lumber work best for certain types of projects
  • Nuances about how to work with certain kinds of lumber
  • General information about where particular types of lumber come from and how they are milled

As a knowledgeable resource, wholesalers are a good place for developers, builders, and craftspersons to get advice from experts.

4. Research Prices and Do Price Comparisons

The price of lumber, regardless of the type, can vary by day. Also, each wholesale lumberyard has its own profitability model that they have to consider when pricing their lumber.

As long as you have multiple options, it would be prudent for you to always compare prices between wholesalers. It would also be prudent to stay in tune with lumber price trends. If you see lumber trending down in price, waiting as long as possible to make your purchases could result in material price savings. Likewise, buying extra lumber inventory and storing it when prices appear to be trending higher is another way to save money.

5. Seek Information About How a Lumberyard Cares for Its Inventory

Larger wholesalers tend to hold larger inventories of lumber. When they do that, they are responsible for storing that inventory until they can move it.

You would be well-advised to ask how prospective lumberyards care for their inventory. You can ask questions like:

  • Is the lumber stored indoor or outdoors?
  • What is the yard's lumber turnover rate and timeframe?
  • Where is the lumber coming from?

The answers to these questions and others will speak directly to the quality of lumber the yard has to offer. Simply put, the better they care for their inventory, the higher the quality of the lumber will be at any point in time

6. Focus on Wholesalers That Provide Good Customer Service

If you are looking for a one-time purchase, customer service matters, but it wouldn't be more important to you than prices and the types of lumber they have available. If you are a developer/builder of note and make frequent purchases of lumber, you can truly benefit by choosing a wholesaler that offers great customer service.

What you want is a personal relationship with the lumberyard through a knowledgeable employee who might be willing to look out for your best interests. They will do that because they work in a competitive industry and want you to come back for more. As you form relationships with your favorite yard, you will benefit from their proactive behavior aimed at making sure you get what you need when you need it. It's called preferential treatment, and it often translates to time and money savings.

7. Buy Inventory When Prices Are Right

We touched on this in the "research prices" area. This is something you should really focus on if you need large quantities of lumber on a regular basis.

When lumber prices become volatile, as has been the case from May 2021 to the first quarter of 2022, there will be opportunities to buy and times when you might want to avoid purchases if possible. It makes good business sense to buy as much lumber as possible when prices are at the lower end of the scale. Yes, you will need storage space. However, the amount you can save by buying extra inventory at low prices will almost always offset the price of storage and then some.

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