Sunday, March 7, 2010

Pooling for Price Reduction

Thanks Lion for suggesting this posting. Even careful shoppers will find themselves spending a lot of money for purchasing of products to use on Pesach. But there are a few ways to save even beyond watching out for sales and doing comparison shopping.

I mentioned in the comments on a different posting that a neighbor and I pooled resources for many years when it came to fruit and vegetable shopping. Since I was buying for both of us and since the purchase was a large one, I bargained with the owner of a local fruit and vegetable store to get a price reduction. The store charged less for restaurants and caterers and he gave me the restaurant discount price, about a 20% reduction in price for the total order.

There are also many wholesale distributors, both for fruits and vegetables and for other items, who might not take a discounted order from you for only a few dollars but who are more than willing to take a large order at the discounted price. We have such a supplier here in SI that I now use. This is where pooling resources can result in a huge savings. Even if two families get together and put in an order you get a savings. Now imagine if 3 or more families came together and put in one order. Sure, there is going to be some work to divide out the items ordered by family, but the savings are real ones.

Some of these wholesalers have a case minimum for purchase and delivery (for non-perishables and few types of perishables), although it has been my experience that you need only buy one case of each item as long as you meet the total case minimum. Since the number of items vary by case it is quite possible to make the minimum with only a few families pooling together. A case of potato starch, for example, may have anywhere from 8 to 16 cans per case depending on the size of the cans. A few families, particularly if they don't brok on Pesach, can easily account for two cases, and that's just potato starch.

One pool that I know of handles purchases a little bit differently. The pool contains 5 people. However, each of those five people has a mini-pool they are buying for, usually family members. They have had tremendous success in buying wholesale or at greatly reduced prices. One of the members mentioned that this year they have already had success with their egg buying. They have ordered 120 dozen large eggs from a restaurant supplier and they will be paying only $1 per dozen. Given the prices of these eggs in the various stores, averaging out at about $2.99 per dozen, they are saving 66% on eggs alone.

Of course, you would need to know just what items you will have to purchase for Pesach in order to make the pooling work. This is truly where a list of all the items, grouped as perishable and non-perishable can help. If you are considering this way of shopping you need to get started now in doing your planning, negotiating and ordering.


Andy said...

This can work even with large supermarkets as long as you are organized and don't drive the manager nuts. (We don't have a wholesaler anywhere nearby to work with.) Twice a year my siblings and I put in a case order with a local market. We generally buy basic supplies this way, such as ketchup, mayo, tuna, spices, oils, shampoos etc. The manager gives us his cost plus a small percentage for profit to the store. It looks good for his bottom line and we save a load of money. Took a while to get him to agree (I think he thought we might be going into business for ourselves) but it's 8 years now that we are doing this.

It does help that two of us have basements where we can hold the cases until we need the contents.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tip. I never thought about bargaining with the manager of a fruit market but you are right that the order for Passover can be a really big one and could qualify for some kind of discount. The eggs alone cost a fortune.