Buyers Group

For a lot of people, payday is Friday.  A common routine on a Friday will find someone in the family pick up that check, run to the bank to make a deposit, run to the supermarket to pick up groceries.  I've seen this practice going on with coworkers and friends all my life.  Money is tight for a lot of people.  There is not much to invest in a deep pantry.  Groceries are packaged in volumes to last about a week.  People pick up a weeks worth of groceries, paying top dollar for small volumes.  Come Friday, the cupboard is bare.  Every week sees the same pattern.  Each cycle takes time and costs money in fuel to get to the bank and store.  This is inefficient.  We can all get more for our grocery dollar if we work together.  

Take sugar for instance.  A 5 pound bag at Walmart is $2.62.  A 50 pound sack at Sam's Club is $18.38.  This large sack could be repacked into smaller containers to provide the same product people are already buying for a better price.  If the price is the same, that 50 pound sack is effectively resold at $26.20 for a profit of $7.82.  200 families buying 5 pounds of sugar all at once demands 1000 pounds of sugar.  20 sacks of sugar would generate a profit of $156.40.  We still need to go get it and repack it.  We've already got the truck and trailer in place.  A drive from my area to the nearest Sam's Club is around 75 miles making a round trip of 150 miles.  At 15 miles per gallon, 10 gallons of fuel would be consumed at a cost of $35-40.  We also needs bags to contain the portioned sugar.  Pick these up for a few bucks at Sam's while we are there.  An accurate scale can be had for a couple hundred bucks and can be used for many projects and products besides weighing up sugar.  Put the cost of the scale in the bookkeepers column under Tools.  A sugar run can offer $100 in profits to work with.
Since we want to make money as well as save money, perhaps there is a point in between the supermarket price and the warehouse store price which immediately saves people on their grocery bill and also offers a small profit for the company.  A price of $2.37 for a 5 pound bag of sugar saves each buyer 25¢, pays for the travel expenses, pays for the bags, and leaves around $50 in the company till.

With the price less than the supermarket, the sugar becomes a viable product for sale to the general public.  There are 200 people with a vested interest in moving as much product as possible.  Their job is to tell their parents, cousin, brother, coworker, neighbor, the guy who fixes their car, their buddies, and people they meet on the street.  It will take time to build sales volume and the money is not available to invest in inventory.  A simple solution is for buyers to order ahead and pay when they order.  If it's not paid for, we don't pick up the products.  With the equipment available, a truck and cargo trailer, there is a capacity of a couple of tons of cargo which can be picked up with each trip.  In the above example, sugar fills about a fourth of the capacity and has paid for the transportation cost.

We'll be looking for more items which can offer savings to the customers as well as a small amount of profit for the company.  There are hundreds of them. Sugar, coffee, flour, toilet paper, paper towels, salt, cleaning products, soap and hygiene products, HBAs, pet food, light bulbs, breads, meats, cheeses, herbs and spices, batteries, plastic wrap, aluminum foil, air fresheners, grains, cereals, canned goods, snacks, dairy products, fresh produce, diapers, tea, soda, drinks, desserts, lunch items, soups and stews, sauces, jams and jellies, peanut butter, rice, school and office supplies, trash bags...anything that is consumed regularly, available in volume at a better price, and can be brought to the home base offers potential for customers to save a little and the company to make a little.

There is not money in the company account to buy a fraction of a weeks worth of groceries for 200 families.  To make a project such as this work, the goods will need to be ordered and paid for ahead of time.  The lead time need only be a few days.  This allows orders to be totalled, a shopping list to be assembled, and planning the logistics of pickup, receiving, processing and picking up orders.  Ordering and payment can be done easily with a website, it's done all the time.



Cooperative Enterprise, Plan Outline