How Much Does a Pallet Cost?

23 December 2019

How much you pay for your pallets depends on a host of variables, many of which have nothing to do with the manufacture process or who you buy them from. Before you can make an accurate estimate of how much you should spend on pallets, you first need to know how you’re going to use them.

Some pallets are better used in certain circumstances or for a particular industry, while others might be completely unsuitable. For example, it is imperative that you find out whether you’ll employ pallets to ship goods overseas or whether you’ll be using the same pallets for extended periods of time.

Pricing Factors to Consider

If you intend to deliver items overseas, your pallets will most likely fall into the export and shipping category, which means that their lifespan does not have to be that long. Because their sole purpose is to make sure your merchandise gets to its destination safe and sound, these pallets are much cheaper. You also can’t expect to reuse them, though, as the transport costs far outweigh the price of a new round.

However, because these pallets are a necessary expense for any freight conditions, their cost has to be factored in when you calculate your overheads. Alternatively, reusable pallets will have to last more than just a couple of days or weeks’ worth of transportation. These structures will have to bear great weight time and again.

Despite being slightly more expensive to buy, reusable pallets can bring more value to your business than single-use ones. It’s likely that you’ll have them in your warehouse for months, perhaps years before the wear and tear gets to them.

In order of impact, other aspects that influence the cost of your pallets are as following:

  • The material. Wood, for instance, is cheaper than metal, but not as resilient, nor can it hold the same amount of weight.

  • Fluctuations in the price/availability/labor cost of the raw material and the pallet itself. Depending on the region, as well as industry output, these variations will impact production costs, so expect them to be reflected in the final price.

  • The state of your pallet. If you’re buying new pallets, they’ll definitely cost you more than used or refurbished pallets. Warehouse managers usually classify them as A (or no.1 for new) and B, C/2,3 etc. for second hand ones.

  • Last, but certainly not least, their size. The most used pallets in the U.S. are GMA ones, which are 40×48 inches. By comparison, European ones are smaller, 39.37×47.24, so their cost is also a bit lower.

Wood Pallet Prices

Wooden pallets are incredibly widespread, so much so that experts estimate close to 95% of all pallets currently in circulation are made of wood. For the 40×48 Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) wooden structure, you can expect to pay anywhere between $11 to $12.50. Naturally, this price will vary across multiple regions of the United States.

While grade C recycled wooden pallets can easily go for $4-5.50 each, depending on their state, grade B ones will typically go for anywhere between $5.60 to $7.60.

On the other hand, new, heavy-duty block pallets (such as the type people normally use to make a yard pool) will be much more expensive. They tend to go for about $25 or more. Since over half of the pallet price is in the material, you’ll want to pay close attention and place your bulk order whenever wood is abundant and cheap.

Plastic, Paper, and Metal Pallet Prices

Either to provide more durability, bigger load bearing capacities, or lower price, pallet manufacturers have also specialized in the production of metal, paper, and plastic structures. Because plastic is very easy to recycle when properly disposed of, but also due to its high durability, these pallets are also the most popular ones after wood.

The cheapest plastic pallet starts at around $10, while very durable models will take anywhere from $80 to $110 per unit. In addition, metal pallets, which are often required in clean rooms or food production, come in at about $200 or more per pallet.

At the other end of the spectrum, paper or wood composite pallets are rapidly becoming the new rave. Lightweight, cheap, and easy to recycle, these structures start at about $7 per unit. However, their load-bearing capacity is much smaller.