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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy all,
I just found this forum, lotsa good info. I run a one man show in the Pacific Northwest and bring on one or two helpers for big projects. Question for ya’all. I do a fair amount of decks/fencing/porches. Rebuilds, expansions, and new projects. Most of my customer prefer ‘real wood’ vs trex or vinyl fencing. I usually go to the lumber yard and sort/pick out/haul my decking and fencing materials personally since I find the quality can be very poor on 30%( or more) of the lumber. This means ALOT of time on my part. I try to build this time into the labor portion of my bids, but Im sure I generally under estimate. Thats simple to fix but Id REALLY like to havethe lumber delivered to the job sites. I have the yard deliver framing and fence posts, etc(lesser demand for good looking by clients & myself).

Is there a solution for getting the quality of lumber I need without me spending the time in the yard? Should I order 20% more decking than I plan to use so i can sort/cherry pick and then return the rest???

how do you all handle this?
Chris
 

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IMO, returning a bunch of material will get you on the yards black list.

Go talk to the sales manager etc about getting the quality of lumber you want.

Finish grade lumber is getting harder and more expensive to come by. Redwood, cedar are getting close to being useless, cost and quality.
 

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GC
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IMO, returning a bunch of material will get you on the yards black list.

Go talk to the sales manager etc about getting the quality of lumber you want.

Finish grade lumber is getting harder and more expensive to come by. Redwood, cedar are getting close to being useless, cost and quality.
You can still get very high quality redwood/cedar if your willing to pay through the nose. I just picked up some 1x4 V-rustic Cedar that was almost to good to nail on a house. Clear, vertical grain and only $18 a board foot.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Finish grade lumber is getting harder and more expensive to come by. Redwood, cedar are getting close to being useless, cost and quality
Thats the truth! Cost is crazy high and quality is crazy low. I also think the yard is continuing to pile up the crappy wood that people(like me) set aside when we sort through the stacks looking for quality lumber. So we end up with a stack of rejects.

Good other points. Im slowly shifting my supplier and I think the newer(to me) yard will be more considerate. Disadvantage is I need to plan abit more time for delivery.

thanks
Chris
 

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Design Build
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As part of the level of quality you’re providing your customers, you might have to factor in that it will always be you hand selecting the best materials. Passing that information onto your customers is a great way for them to feel like you are making their project special. Those are the things that are worthy of pricing your jobs higher than your competition.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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Passing a little cash around...bringing a box or 4 of donuts once in a while never hurt in making sure you got better material delivered or loaded either.
 

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Premium Member
Retired deck builder
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Imo it's a huge waste of time picking up lumber yourself. Talk to the manager and ask about getting "select" lumber and that you are willing to pay extra for it. They can get one of their more experienced hands to pull your load. Sort through your lumber stacks when delivered and set aside unusable boards and take them back for exchange.

Like stated above, do not overorder then return huge amounts for refunds. That's not fair to your supplier. During the time I worked as lumber salesman we would not accept returns unless done so in a timely manner and sticks tossed on the ground, stepped on with muddy boots, ect were not acceptable for return.
 

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Passing a little cash around...bringing a box or 4 of donuts once in a while never hurt in making sure you got better material delivered or loaded either.
Beer works better. I made a habit of bringing a case to the yard hands at least once a month.
 

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Radical Basement Dweller
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I asked an owner about beer a few years ago.
He preferred not as the liability and drinking laws around here are pretty stiff.
Plus some guys don't drink or are trying to quit.
 
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I always pick through when it matters. They give me a rack, I sort, usually with one of the yard guys and then they delivery.

No excuse for not taking the small amount of time it takes.

When I can't sort, I go out to the yard and ask them to give me the good stuff and explain why. They do a pretty good job of sorting.

Just treating them like human beings goes a long way.

Sent from my SM-N975U using Tapatalk
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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I always order extra, maybe 5-10% based on what I’m doing, but that never gets returned.

On the other hand, I tell my supplier that I’m not the guy you dump your junk on, and if I get a load of torn up lumber, they are picking it up. They won’t get the next order if they try that $)(t with me.

If I have one or two messed up sticks it’s not a big deal. But if I have to cull 20% of my stack, damn rights it’s going back. 👍
 

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I always order extra, maybe 5-10% based on what I’m doing, but that never gets returned.

On the other hand, I tell my supplier that I’m not the guy you dump your junk on, and if I get a load of torn up lumber, they are picking it up. They won’t get the next order if they try that $)(t with me.

If I have one or two messed up sticks it’s not a big deal. But if I have to cull 20% of my stack, damn rights it’s going back. 👍
Yes, i agree returning culls and junk, just not a couple of sticks.

Paying your bill on time and treating the yard boss right goes a long ways in getting what you want.
 

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I asked an owner about beer a few years ago.
He preferred not as the liability and drinking laws around here are pretty stiff.
Plus some guys don't drink or are trying to quit.
I do beer, gift cards, cash, etc... but make sure to ask first. It goes a LONG way in terms of getting good stuff and less complaints about returns. I figured the #s once for a year and spent $1200 on goodies for my main lumber yard- my salesman easily saved me over 4k that year.

Just took my dump site scale house guy a 12er yesterday and my lawyer a $100 bottle of armagnac.(fancy cognac) Both really appreciate that I think of them and it shows with the service I get.

On the other hand, I have no problem recommending that ****ty people be fired too. Pretty sure I've got 2 HD 'Pro desk' guys canned after talking with managers.
 

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Howdy all,
I just found this forum, lotsa good info. I run a one man show in the Pacific Northwest and bring on one or two helpers for big projects. Question for ya’all. I do a fair amount of decks/fencing/porches. Rebuilds, expansions, and new projects. Most of my customer prefer ‘real wood’ vs trex or vinyl fencing. I usually go to the lumber yard and sort/pick out/haul my decking and fencing materials personally since I find the quality can be very poor on 30%( or more) of the lumber. This means ALOT of time on my part. I try to build this time into the labor portion of my bids, but Im sure I generally under estimate. Thats simple to fix but Id REALLY like to havethe lumber delivered to the job sites. I have the yard deliver framing and fence posts, etc(lesser demand for good looking by clients & myself).

Is there a solution for getting the quality of lumber I need without me spending the time in the yard? Should I order 20% more decking than I plan to use so i can sort/cherry pick and then return the rest???

how do you all handle this?
Chris
The lumberyard must love you...
 

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Don't any of you guys buy lumber from big box stores? I stopped using local yards years ago mainly for the no-questions-asked ease of returns with HD, Lowes, etc.

I always order about 20% extra and return the rest, the return desk folks don't give a crap and they'll take it back no matter what it looks like. Beats wasting time hand picking lumber.
 

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Capra Aegagrus
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Get a pile of crap delivered and you'll still be hand-picking through it for what's usable. Then wasting more time with the return.

You figure that puts you ahead of the game?
 

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Get a pile of crap delivered and you'll still be hand-picking through it for what's usable. Then wasting more time with the return.

You figure that puts you ahead of the game?
I should add that the quality of lumber at HD - in my market (Toronto) at least - is as good or better than I've received from local lumber yards.
 

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Don't any of you guys buy lumber from big box stores? I stopped using local yards years ago mainly for the no-questions-asked ease of returns with HD, Lowes, etc.

I always order about 20% extra and return the rest, the return desk folks don't give a crap and they'll take it back no matter what it looks like. Beats wasting time hand picking lumber.
My lumberyard beats the crap out of HD- 4x4x8 cedar there buys me a 4x6x10 cedar there.

I’ll get gate wood at HD- it’s drier stores indoors.
 

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Don't any of you guys buy lumber from big box stores? I stopped using local yards years ago mainly for the no-questions-asked ease of returns with HD, Lowes, etc.

I always order about 20% extra and return the rest, the return desk folks don't give a crap and they'll take it back no matter what it looks like. Beats wasting time hand picking lumber.
Why buy anything from them box stores...

Stand in line to return chit from hd...

NO FRIGGIN' way....got way better things to do with my time.

Who's paying who what wages while your standing there...

So now you are spending time picking material, loading on a cart, stand in line to check out, go load it on your truck, drive to job and unload????

And then load your 20% back on the truck, drive to hd, unload onto a cart, go inside and stand in line again to get your money...

What am i missing?????
 

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Goin' Down in Flames....
Highwayman
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Don't any of you guys buy lumber from big box stores? I stopped using local yards years ago mainly for the no-questions-asked ease of returns with HD, Lowes, etc.

I always order about 20% extra and return the rest, the return desk folks don't give a crap and they'll take it back no matter what it looks like. Beats wasting time hand picking lumber.
I don't.

No Lowes, Menards, etc., in my area. My closest HD is an hour and a half away.

Their lumber is garbage. Not even worth building forms out of.

I'm in the middle of timber country, and I'm pretty sure HD gets the second rate crap from the local mills.

Stuff like block or ready mix is great. Comes from the same manufacturer, and cost half the price.

I like supporting local, but I'm not paying twice the price for the same stuff.
 
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