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Thread: Lumber and Sheet good markups at lumber yards

  1. #16
    Do what Jim Becker mentions, find one of the local sheet goods jobbers, and see if you can make "will call" purchases. Or maybe even get it delivered if you buy 10 or a dozen sheets or maybe $1,000 minimum. (typical break points)
    Some will not sell to you without a tax number. Some will on walk in basis. It's worth knowing what the sources are when necessary to buy it locally from someone who gets it from one of the jobbers.

    Since it is under discussion, the economics of Baltic Birch is interesting. As the Economist (magazine) asks, how many SE Asia countries actually have birch forests?
    The logs make it to China by rail, then either logs, veneer, or semi-finished sheets make it to a country that has favorable trading status with us, then we buy it.
    The markets show that Scandinavia, e.g. produces only a small fraction of world trade. Much comes from the usual suspect but the name and the product stamps have changed.
    & more middlemen make a profit, on top of the scarcity profit.

    Last edited by stephen thomas; 05-22-2024 at 8:54 PM.

  2. #17
    Join Date
    May 2021
    New Hampster, USA
    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Coers View Post
    A shed is a poor way to start drying lumber. You need a lot of air flow to prevent mold.
    Maybe a regional thing but not all "sheds" have four walls where I live. Roof-only lumber storage buildings are called sheds.

    I don't do enough air drying to give advice about mold formation but last year I stacked leftover construction grade 1x white pine, freshly sawn (not KD) and unstickered, in a fully enclosed barn/shed and it is now dry and shows no sign of mold. I used some to build shelving and to my surprise it machined like KD pine, whereas the pitch was bad when I milled shiplap siding from it when green. Winters are dry here though.

  3. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    SE PA - Central Bucks County
    Quote Originally Posted by stephen thomas View Post
    Do what Jim Becker mentions, find one of the local sheet goods jobbers, and see if you can make "will call" purchases. Or maybe even get it delivered if you buy 10 or a dozen sheets or maybe $1,000 minimum. (typical break points)
    Industrial Plywood out of Reading and Lewisburg have no minimum but a $300 minimum for free shipping. There is a small fuel charge but it's less than the gas I'd use to drive to Reading not to mention the travel time. They will also replace defective on the next delivery day. (They are in my area twice a week)

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  4. #19
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Ogden, UT
    Blog Entries
    I so far haven't had a big enough baltic birch job to order bulk. My biggest job was melamine and in that instance I ordered from the cab CNC shop (i.e. parts, not sheets). I've had some pretty good sized lumber orders, but not sheet goods. OTH, 5 to 6 sheets of BB certainly feels like a big order when you spend four figures : )

    It would be good to order a pallet of 1/2 and 3/4 BB and pick away at it over the year, but that would be a big hit to my budget for that month.

    Edit: Our delivery rates are a flat $25.

    Anyway, I was curious because I wanted to know how much the BB supplier was actually selling their sheets for... 3/4 for $50 ish?
    Yes, I have 3 phase!

  5. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Moscow, ID
    Our store, a local lumberyard/home center with two locations, sells Baltic birch plywood in thicknesses from 1/8" to 3/4". Currently, we are selling 3/4" sheets for a retail price of $109.49. Our current cost for these is $79 per sheet, but our average cost is $88.15, which indicates that we were buying them at a higher price in previous orders. I do know that our retail price for these sheets has been as high as $149.95 within the past year, but as our cost comes down, we lower the retail price as well.

    Markup is very market-dependent. The markup on clothing at retailers like Ross or Burlington is huge - 100% or more. My wife used to work at Ross and she would be amazed at the markup. Then again, once something is out of fashion, it gets sold at a discount, sometimes as high as 80 to 90%, so they need that markup to cover losses from clearance sales.

    I used to work at a video game & computer store, and markup was all over the place. For game consoles like the Playstation and Xbox, the markup was basically 0. We bought the consoles for $395 and had to sell them for $399. If we had to pay shipping we lost money. The games sold for a 25% to 30% markup on average. We bought and sold used games and hardware, so we were able to make some money on that. Accessories typically sold for 30% markup or so.

    Computer hardware was also all over the map. We got about 10% markup on a computer we built in the shop. Processors averaged between 15% and 20% markup, as did memory, hard drives, etc. Accessories, like keyboards and mice, were better, with margins up to 50%. Cables were where we made real money. We would have some that were 1000% markup or more. The idea was to be price-competitive with the other retailers in the area, like Walmart and Staples, while finding the best places to buy for low prices. We found a cable supplier that had their own factory in China, and sold through their California business. We could, for example, buy a 7' network cable for $85 cents (if we bought at least 20) and mark it up to $9.95 and sell them all day long, as that was still cheaper than Staples or Walmart. It's more difficult today, with places like Amazon and Monoprice, but those low-cost items are still where the real money is in retail.


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