Choosing Timber Merchants / Timber Suppliers, Wood Yard
My advice is to visit the supplier first.
Retail DIY outlets
The DIY outlets and I’ll include Wickes sell various sizes of “White wood” PSE / PAR. If you pick good pieces they will be fine for many DIY jobs. Be prepared to chuck 20% - 30% of what your buy in multi packs. The outside pieces of each pack might be OK but there’s often horrors hidden inside. I’ll buy a pack for battens and boxing in if I don’t need long lengths that have to straight. It’s often cheaper than going to a timber merchants.
The range of carpentry grade timber at most builders merchants is limited. It could be worth having look round but don’t expect too much.
Timber Merchants / Wood Yards
On the first visit tell them “I’m looking for a decent timber supplier for some projects I’ve got on the go” or words to that effect. If they treat you right at this stage and everything else pans out, you’ve found your supplier.
You want to know:
What they stock, to make sure you can put your shopping list together.
What’s the stock like, ask to have a look and get a feel for the quality.
Delivery costs, if the length will be too long for your own transport. They should saw lengths down for you if required or at least let you saw it down.
Last off, ask about the prices, but relate it to the quantities you will be purchasing.
All this can be a bit daunting if you’re not used to a commercial environment, you’ll be rubbing shoulders with professionals, forktrucks, lorries and big machines.
If you can help them make easy quick sales by knowing what you want you’re likely to get the better discounts. If you end up as troublesome, time wasting retail customer you’re likely to get retail prices instead of trade.