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## Convert Lumber Pricing From Per Thousand to Per Piece

It drove me crazy trying to figure out how to calculate prices per thousand and then convert it to per piece. It was very difficult and after a while, just plain annoying. So I designed a quick little spreadsheet in Excel that would calculate the answer for me and I must use it at least a dozen times per day, if not more.

Now that I have a good client, they are always asking me to change the price for them so I decided to do two things. Put an interactive calculator on our website so they can do it themselves and write an article to help others in the same boat find it.

So give an example and then how to convert it.

You need a 2x4x8′ truck. You call around and get quotes on materials. The best quote is $250/M for 20 packages (294 pieces per package). What is that per piece? So how much is it for the whole load?!?

Here is the formula for how you calculate per piece.

Step 1 – Get the board feet per piece. (See my other article – “Board Feet? How to Calculate”)

Thickness X Width X Length / 144 (Be sure to change to 8 feet 96 inches (8×12))

2 X 4 X 96 / 144 = 5.33333

Step 2 – Take the price per thousand (or per m) and divide by 1000.

250 / 1000 = 0.25

Step 3 – Multiply the board feet in step 1 by the answer in step 2.

5.33333 X 0.25 = 1.33333

Your answer is $1.33 per piece (necessarily rounded).

Okay, are you still with me? Good! How much is the cool truck now? Well, there are two ways to go about this. You can either take the long way or the short way (whichever is more accurate). I explain both.

Long Road – This is now taking 20 packages and multiplying by 294 pieces which will give you 5880 pieces. Now take $1.33 and multiply it by 5880 and you have the answer of $7820.40

or

Shortcut – Include the amount of packages and pieces in your calculations in the first step.

2 x 4 x 96 x20 x294 / 144 = 31,360 and multiply it by step 2 (0.25). You have the answer of $7840.00

Now, you’ll notice that there’s about a $20 difference? That’s because in the first calculation we just rounded all those decimals to two. This adds up to over 5880 boards ($19.60 to be exact!) so you’ll definitely want to use a shortcut that you know how to.

So one last question. Why do lumber companies quote per thousand rates? Just because of the volume and multiple sizes. It’s much easier to give a quote on 2x4x8, 2x4x10, 2x4x12, 2x4x16 at $250/M then to count all the different sizes and advertise them together or quote each size individually (a truck can have ten different sizes!) Also, if the truck is heavy And if the package had to come out, the lumber company would have to quote again when it was already painful to do it the first time!

There you have it. Hope this now gives you a clear understanding of how to calculate and convert to pieces per thousand. Oh, one last thing, if you’re really stuck and still can’t get the calculations right, just go to our website and there’s a free calculator program!

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