Frequently asked questions

There are many different motives and reasons why one would decide to start a group buying community. The motives range from controlling food sources to saving money by buying in bulk. Others include wanting to help local farmers, minimizing a product’s carbon foot print or simply yearning to get closer to the food system. some may evn want to create a source of income for themself by creating a group buying community, This is just a small list, and the reasons vary for each group buying community. We’ll see how the answer to this question impacts decisions below.

While the concepts behind most group buying communitys are similar, their structure can vary greatly. Some models made possible by is as follows

Owner Run – In this instance, a single owner would operate the group buying community as a business. Any price markup or member fees would be profit for the owner. While there could be a few part time employees, more often than not this model is a one person show.

Member Only Club – This type of club is generally more exclusive, sometimes even imposing a member limit. The members would be the owner, and may choose to hire employees to run the group. Member fees and markup help cover the business overhead, but the goal is maximize savings for the members.

Worker Co-op – Like most worker co-ops, this group buying community would be comprised of a group of members, each required to volunteer a set number of hours per month. the price markups and membership fees can be kept very low and while the group enjoys bulk discounts.

Farm Owned – Occasionally a farm will decide to sponsor a group buying community. Some sell only their products while some may place orders with other distributors. This type of club is great if you’re looking to establish a relationship with your local producers.

There are infinite variations on the above models, but these are the basic type of group buying communitys. The best thing about starting your own group buying community is that you are free to pick and choose elements from each model and create something that works best for you.

Most people assume a group buying community would be associated with products normally found at a supermarket, but that’s not always the case. At the very least, it can be just the beginning of a group buying community’s scope. For instance, group buying community can be created by MSME business to buy raw materials which can help them increase the profits or compete with business which are much larger .

There are several types of distribution to consider when forming a group buying community. This decision will require the group to really focus on what it’s trying to accomplish. Cheaper food for members? Getting food closer to its source? Generating more profit for the producer? These points and many others all have pros and cons.

Once the goals of the group are determined, there are three tiers of producers:

National Distributor –Start talking with national distributors that listens and understand what a group buying communitys is. The benefits include lower prices, greater range of products, order credit plans and organization. Some of the drawbacks are non-local product sources and greater transportation distances. Also, some companies require commercial loading zones for delivery, which is something we’ll talk about more later.

Local Distributor – The existence of a local distributor in your area isn’t guaranteed, but there is normally at least one handling fresh produce. The pros in this case are locally sourced product, generally smaller delivery vehicles and the possibility of forming a close relationship with the company. Downsides can include less formal delivery schedules, cash on delivery (COD) requirements and large inventory fluctuations.

Direct from Producer – Buying the product directly from the producer is an excellent choice if possible. Not every farmer/producer is willing to deal in small quantities typical for group buying communitys, but if an agreement can be reached this can lead to excellent business relationships. The plus to this arrangement is freshness of product, intimate knowledge of its source and the potential to even have a say in the product types available. Potential pitfalls range from a lack of delivery options, payment prior to delivery and inventory instability.

Visit us at The purpose of this site is to promote community food-group buying communitys. we have partnered with US based entity and launched this platform that makes the administrative and organizational tasks of running a food-group buying community (co-op) very simple. It allows people to join their orders together quickly, keeping track of prices for each item, and can even handle splits, where many people split a single case of something. It takes much of the headache out of combining orders to send to the wholesaler, and then figuring out how much everyone owes after the order comes in.

The software is provided as an online application through this web site. You can create a new account for your buying-club here.It is designed to work with any vendor, who order from many different vendors on various flexible order cycles.

As you explore and use the software, please e-mail us with any suggestions for improvements you would like. It has grown to its current state over years of use by buying-clubs across multiple continents, who suggest improvements and report bugs.