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Thread: Lumber and Sheet good markups at lumber yards

  1. #1
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    Lumber and Sheet good markups at lumber yards

    I'm just curious (I'm not complaining or trying to get everyone riled up) what the average mark up is on lumber in a yard? I'm especially curious about Baltic Birch..

    I once called a CNC shop to give me a quote for something and said "well, I can bring the wood in if you need me to" (it was an odd thickness of BB). And I can't remember the exact price, but he said he could buy the same sheet for like 2/3 of the price I have pay. So I guess my mark up is really high and his mark up is pretty low (bought in big enough quantities). I'm wondering if we can get close to what the actual import cost is to the lumber yard.

    I'm not sure how the pricing works in general, but I'm guessing it's a price list type thing where the commodity price fluctuates daily.

    I think we've a few posters here that used to work at or still work at a lumberyard.
    Last edited by andrew whicker; 05-21-2024 at 10:33 PM.
    Yes, I have 3 phase!

  2. #2
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    No idea but normal retail markup is 100%. 400% for Jewelry.
    Bill D

  3. #3
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    Sheet goods specialty businesses will likely have better pricing than lumber yards...that's been my experience for sure. A lot of the yards likely source from them and then do the markups. Even has a more casual woodworker, I buy from the sheet good supplier. And they deliver, free, other than a small fuel charge, for orders over $300. (Which is not hard... )
    --

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

  4. #4
    I'd imagine it varies based on numerous factors. Or it should, in theory. But I'd imagine 100% to be around the average.

    I know at my local lumber yard, not the big box stores, they will occasionally sell boards at cost if there's not much demand for them, just to clear out room for stuff that does sell. So I can often find really good prices on lumber, assuming I'm not picky. But if I want the good stuff, I have to pay a good bit more. Then there's Rockler and Woodcraft, which often sell the same wood for usually about double what the lumber yard asks. So I imagine their markup is quite a bit higher. Especially with as often as they have sales. I think they both usually have at least some type of wood at 50% off at just about all times. So that says to me their markup is probably about 200%.

    A company that knows what they're doing will price things for maximum profit. Too high and it cuts into your sales. Too low, and you miss out on every sale. So there are mathematical formulas to determine the optimum pricing. Large companies do this. It's has nothing to do with markup percentages. It's all about maximizing profit. So one item might have a 10% markup and the one next to it might be a 500% markup. Some might even be loss leaders. I'm not kidding when I say it involves advanced calculus. Though, I don't know of many smaller businesses, like a lumber yard, employ the services of someone capable of crunching these kinds of numbers. Usually, the smaller the business, the more basic the pricing structure is.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Dufour View Post
    No idea but normal retail markup is 100%. 400% for Jewelry.
    Bill D
    I was under the impression jewelry markup is more like 1000%. But's that's a unique situation. Only recently is the worldwide De Beers diamond cartel starting to lose their grip.

    As for wood, I recall on online discussion years ago about how we might save money buying in bulk. One guy called a mill and they asked him how many thousand board feet he wanted. And that's the rub. It makes little sense for a high-production lumber mill to sell to individual hobbyists such as us. That's where a retailer comes in. They do buy in thousands of board feet and they fork out the overhead cost for storage and retail space. We must pay for that overhead plus more for profit to make it worth their while.

    Perhaps a coop could potentially purchase lumber in bulk and offer discounts to individual members of said coop. But there just aren't enough people buying enough lumber in a particular area to make it practical.

    I recently learned of a small, independent mill near me which sells directly to the public. I hope to check it out soon and compare their prices to my local hardwood store in town.

  6. #6
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    I bet lumber yards do not have to worry too much about shoplifters. That is one thing mentioned in the 99 cent store bankruptcy. They call it shrinkage. Before they shut down the safeway store in Oakland California people stole steaks under their coats.
    Excuse me sir, did you accidentally forget to pay for that sheet of Baltic Birch down your pants? Is that a 2x4 down your pants? No sir, it is just my wedding tackle.
    BilL D
    Last edited by Bill Dufour; 05-22-2024 at 11:45 AM.

  7. #7
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    I doubt if the local lumber yard marks materials up 100%. There would be more lumber yards around if they made that kind of profit. There are also middlemen. Nearly everything in the lumber yard comes from a regional dealer/distributor, not the mill. There is definitely a professional contractor pricing difference. A hobbyist comes in and wants to talk about their project and may not be sure how much to really buy. That adds to the yard's labor cost. Then the hobbyist may want to pick through the pile, again labor cost, then they might want to bring back a single board that twisted, again labor costs. The pro orders a quantity over the phone, adds his estimated scrap rate, then likely pays for delivery. Of course that warrants a discount.

  8. #8
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    The discussion of mark-up is meaningless without understanding the inventory turnover rate. For example, a supermarket might only make a profit of 5% on each can of soup it sells, but cans of soup might remain on the store's shelves for one day or less -- a turnover rate of 365 times/year. So, while the store might only make 5 cents for every dollar invested in cans of soup, but that equates to $18.25 in profit over the course of the year! That's not a bad return for each dollar invested. In other words, if inventory turns every day, a 5% markup equates to a 180.25% annual return. If inventory turns once a year, a 5% markup yields a 5% annual return.

    With this relationship between markup and turnover rate in mind, I suspect most lumber stores have different markups for different categories of lumber. Construction lumber, with high turnover rates, probably has a relatively low markup. Specialty items -- turning squares of exotic hardwoods -- that the store expects to have on its selves for weeks if not months will have commensurately higher markups. We cannot judge the fairness of the markup without knowing the turnover rate.
    David Walser
    Mesa, Arizona

  9. #9
    prices varied on baltic as the supplier told me he had to get it from different sources I past paid 72.00 to 90.00 on baltic 3/4 4 x 8. Their mark up is low and irrelevant. You want to see a mark up look at David Lees car collection, he sells watches.

    Ive always picked solid. stuff was too critical to order and get what you get. No easy thing to get in line with a supplier that will let you do that. Some suppliers have their own mills.

  10. #10
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    I paid $158 (ea) when I bought two sheets of 3/4 BB 13 ply two weeks ago and I think the 1/2" was around 90 bucks, if I recall. No idea what my local supplier gets it for, but it still seems high enough that I'm keeping a lot more small cutoffs than I normally do LOL.

  11. #11
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    The markup on lumber will vary by supplier, location, and many other factors. For some data points, retail shorts are 25% reduced price relative to listed retail price at one supplier local to me and I was able to get 30% discount years ago by buying wholesale quantities so I would be surprised if the hardwood retail markup is less than 50% and I would not be shocked if it is 100% or more. I assume the markup on construction grade softwood lumber is much lower. I have never bought lumber directly from a sawyer but they advertise locally. Might be a good value if you have a shed to air dry. My guess is that hardwood plywood prices are mostly about quantity. It is nice to have a large stack and not worry about retail prices but storage can be a problem.

    This from a local supplier: All of our lumber is put up in 500’ packs. We offer wholesale pricing based on the quantity purchased for any customer purchasing full packs of lumber, from one bundle up to a full truckload.
    Last edited by Holmes Anderson; 05-22-2024 at 1:09 PM.

  12. #12
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    A shed is a poor way to start drying lumber. You need a lot of air flow to prevent mold.

  13. #13
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    I bet markup on wood and hardware is very different. But in their favor there is no loss doc to expiration date sor getting spoiled.
    I heard Grocery stores it is like 2% profit but fast turnover. Reno is about 2-3% profit, Las Vegas is double that. But that is made in a few hours or days at most.
    Bill D

  14. #14
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    Years ago my wife worked for Best Buy and we got employee pricing which was basically cost. Markup on computers was low, 5 to 10% while accessories like cables, batteries and chargers was huge. I remember buying a $20 battery charger for $2.

  15. #15
    I bought BB 3mm yesterday for $17.50 a sheet and 6mm BB for $25.00 2 sheets of each. I paid almost twice that last summer at the same Dakota Hardwood store here in Tulsa Okla.

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