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Finding Building Materials and Lumber Suppliers

In the owner builder, home building type of business, suppliers of building materials and lumber are your friends. Working with the right suppliers can make your life easy.

In the owner builder, home building type of business, suppliers of building materials and lumber are your friends. Working with the right suppliers can make your life easy.

One good aspect is that they can direct you to some great subcontractors.

We want to help you start a great relationship with them.

Any owner-builder must know how to find the requisite suppliers, get a quote, find the best deals, order building materials, and pay bills.

We'll first uncover the type of suppliers you need.


You will need to find a building materials and lumber supplier that does a lot of business. These suppliers will help you in creating a cost estimate. And these suppliers can provide everything you need.

When assembling your cost estimate for materials, you may need other building material suppliers such as:

  • Construction Rental Equipment
  • Floor Coverings
  • Cabinets and Vanities
  • Appliances
  • Hardware
  • Windows and Doors
  • Steel
  • Masonry Products
  • Concrete
  • Sand and Gravel
  • Trusses
  • Trim Materials
  • Garage Door
  • Prefab Stairs
  • Glass and Mirrors
  • Nursery (Landscape Materials)


Lucky for you, there's a variety of large corporate suppliers such as Home Depot and Lowes in your nearby city or town.

Somes builder owners are happy working with these suppliers.

However, others may want to work with a smaller home-town building materials supplier.

There might be a lumber yard where you live. But be aware. Your lumber should be dried to a level of moisture content. Your lumber may have to be grade marked as well.

Sometimes they may not be able to furnish a few things. In this case, the building materials and lumber supplier will point you in the right direction. When speaking with subcontractors, you should get their recommendation on which suppliers to choose. They should have connections with excellent subcontractors in your area. They also usually hear about their reputations.

Check Online
You may also research the internet. It's amazing what you can find online. You can find many deals such as antique plumbing fixtures to hardwood flooring.

Just make sure you know the time for deliveries. Make sure to check the online suppliers thoroughly. There can be a few scammers out there.


As a building owner, you can always ask for builder prices. However, the suppliers are savvy themselves. They can choose to price their items, however they wish. But if you tell them that you need a whole bunch of materials, they will be keener to earn your business.

And if they see your construction loan, then they know you're committed to getting the supplies.

Just make sure to ask for a discount on the materials politely. Ask if they will give you the discount given you are the builder working on this home construction project. If they say no, you can always walk out and buy from someone else.

Also, check their return policy on unused materials and if they may offer any cash discounts. Some suppliers provide a generous 2% discount on the invoices paid within the first 30 days.

As technology can electronically withdraw payment these days, it's becoming less popular, but you can always ask.

One Supplier
Some frugal builders will be tempted just to buy the cheapest items out there. I mean, a 2x4 is the same no matter where you get it, right?

Wrong. Grade marking and wood species should be taken into consideration when looking at 2x4's. Sometimes, you should just stick to one supplier. Materials are lumber are better to buy high quality since you'll be using them throughout the entire home building process.

With one supplier, you don't have to recall where one stick of lumber originated from. It's essential to know in case you have to return it. With one supplier, you'll also be shown much better customer service.

Work with Building Materials and Lumber Suppliers
Make sure to first obtain a quote from your lumber and building materials supplier.

Create an Account
Once you've determined which supplier to use, it's best to get your account created so you can purchase it on credit. Speak with the credit managers that work at each supplier to figure out what they require.

If you're someone with local references and excellent credit, you won't have any worries. When it comes to more significant purchases, the supplier may propose to have the framing draw sent out to you and them in conjunction.

A lot of construction loans are set up to bill that way. Another way is to pay the subcontractor or supplier directly. You will figure out these nitty-gritty details when you are finding your home construction loan.

Some suppliers may require that you have the construction loan approved before finalizing and approving your credit application. Once the loan is complete, then you shouldn't have a problem with this credit application.

Once you've completed the construction loan, everybody will be willing to do business with you!

Order Materials
A smart owner-builder is always keen to look for subcontractors weeks in advance.

Once the cost estimate is complete, you will be familiar with your supplier's office. You'll also know a lot about the details of each item that you ordered, such as the units of measure, model numbers, and others. You need to know this precise information when ordering.

Many of the builder material suppliers should be using easily understood metrics such as square yards, linear feet, cubic feet, and others.

Few might throw a board foot or a thousand board feet on you to make things complicated. If so, ask the supplier to translate the measurements given into linear feet.

Translate Board Feet into Linear Feet
You might be curious to know how to convert board feet to linear feet. A board foot has a measurement of 1" x12" x12".

You must multiply the nominal dimensions with each other. Next, divide it up by 12. For instance, 2x4 has a total of 8. We then divide that number by 12.

Now you get .67, which means that every linear foot of 2x4 gets .67 board feet. In this scenario, a 2x4 is 10 feet, so that 6.7 board feet. If you have ten 2x4's, then you have 67 board feet.

If you need to translate board feet to one hundred board feet, then you just have to divide it by 100. And to convert this to a thousand board feet, divide it up by 1,000.

Lumber suppliers may price their items this way because it was bought using this measurement.

Here's the good news!
But don't worry, the salesperson for the building materials supplier will likely measure the materials you've ordered for you.

And in other cases, you may have a subcontractor who takes these measurements as well. But just remember that your supplier can take unused suppliers back to the store for a refund.