As you’ve begun to understand the eccentricities of the Ipe buying season, hopefully you’re also beginning to realize the significance of when you purchase the Ipe you’ll need throughout any given decking season. Here at J. Gibson McIlvain, we’re essentially forced to purchase all the Ipe decking lumber we’ll need for the upcoming summer in December or January. So when you come to us in June with your order for the first deck you’ll be installing that season, we’ll be glad to quote you a price for just that one deck. But we think there’s a better way.
How Thinking Ahead Pays Off
Now, let’s say you let us know that you typically install six Ipe decks over the course of the summer months and would like to get a quote for all the Ipe you’ll need. The price will be significantly lower than if we’d quoted 6 different contractors, each purchasing lumber for a single job. The reason isn’t that we’re “playing favorites,” but that our decreased need to break the packs decreases our need to handle the product.
Of course, it also means that you’ll be getting the entire decking season’s worth of lumber at June prices. Now, you may not have the capital available to cover such a large order at once; we completely understand and realize that many contractors face a similar dilemma.
What Happens When You Wait
Let’s say you simply purchased enough Ipe in June for the deck you were building in June, but then in July, you come back with an order for 15,000 lineal feet for three additional decking projects you have been contracted to build. Since you assume that we’ll be able to fill that larger order without breaking any packs, you expect the per-lineal-foot price to be lower, as it would have, had you placed the very same order last month. But it isn’t.
The reason is that the material that cost less has already been purchased the previous month, and most packs have already been broken as we’ve assembled previous orders (including your June order, as we discussed in Part 1). So we’re forced to assemble your large order from several partial packs, leading to increased labor costs once again.
Why End-of-Season Ipe Is Even More Expensive
Remember how we mentioned that those who purchase Ipe earliest in the season get their pick of the lowest priced lumber? That lumber is typically the same high quality as the higher priced lumber we end up with at the end of the season. Why so much disparity in price? Sure, overhead expenses associated with grabbing boards from a variety of already broken packs is part of it, but so is certified lumber. Certification and the manpower associated with it leads to higher prices.
In order to maintain the massive amounts of inventory associated with our customers’ needs, we’re essentially forced to purchase a certain amount of certified lumber. The more costly certified lumber represents the end-of-season availability of Ipe, so when you wait until the end of the season, you’ll be pretty much guaranteed to pay more.
J. Gibson McIlvain Company
Since 1798, when Hugh McIlvain established a lumber business near Philadelphia, the McIlvain family has been immersed in the premium import and domestic lumber industry. With its headquarters located just outside of Baltimore, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company (www.mcilvain.com) is one of the largest U.S. importers of exotic woods.
As an active supporter of sustainable lumber practices, the J. Gibson McIlvain Company has provided fine lumber for notable projects throughout the world, including the White House, Capitol building, Supreme Court, and the Smithsonian museums.
Contact a sales representative at J. Gibson McIlvain today by calling toll free (800) 638-9100.
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