Good thought. @Alexander and I were discussing something similar after our last meet up.
I'm on vacation till Monday, with poor access to Internet. But I have an idea on how we can centralize the process. When I get back I'll see about the best way to implement, likely run a beta and see how it goes.
Expect a new thread in the forum in this regard next week.
Hey Everyone, Hope all is well.
Group Sourcing Metal, what are our goals? What are potential limitations? Risks Associated?
These have been the thoughts in my head lately.
Here are the ideas I've had to date to try to accomplish getting metal easier for everyone, (both good and bad ideas ;P)
Corporate accounts with local suppliers
--> (I've reached out to Encore, and a couple others, no response. Who all I should contact?)
--> This option I think will still result in everyone having to go to the location themselves
--> Some corporate accounts also come with regular billing, and therefore centralized billing
--> Twice now I have been told that corporate accounts offer 0 discount, and they wanted me to fill out a credit application, so we can buy as a group, then pay back at the end of the month. Which is not really what we need.
--> So far there hasn't been much friendly banter with the people who have contacted me (You should see the legalese BS credit application I was sent. One other company just said "We have sales periodically, you should just watch for those, and tell your organization to shop here with no group buying." lol
I'm guessing the rest of the industry functions in a similar way to what I've dug up above, but will continue to call around if you guys have any other suggestions. As the above doesn't really feel like it's going to workout, let's discuss figuring out a way to manage this ourselves.
Group Pre-order, then single purchase // Single Purchase, then sell to group?
--> How would this be managed? This puts us in one of two positions, either we ask members to trust and pay up front, or we get opt in, then someone risks getting stiffed with a thousand bucks worth of metal.
------> Taking a deposit on all orders maybe? Then we can tally easily, and everyone has skin in the game equally? How much deposit?
--> How would we handle money? (I have experience running Paypal accounts?) The forum software has a payment function built into it, but I haven't spent the time to learn it yet.
--> How would we handle pickup/delivery?
--> Inventory becomes an issue, both for management, storage, as does the above noted up front costs.
--> Why pay online when you need to meet to pass the metal around anyways?
What to buy?
--> Managing orders will be a pain, I'm happy to put some elbow grease in if we can get this sorted though.
--> Like, do we say, "We'll be making a trip once we get to 100lbs worth of opt in" then bombard encore with 400 different metals and cut sizes etc? Or do we say "Who wants 4140, 1" rod?" etc.
--> Could make a section on the site specifically for different metal varieties, with like a poll system for opt in maybe? Then once enough opt in is hit, move on to whatever the next step is?
Anyways, lets figure this out and get metal easier!