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Thread: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

  1. #1
    Flashaholic* lightlover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Mr Ted Bear:
    Yes, this deal has already been put together, the quesitons is, are there enough of us flashholics to make it work [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Well posted Mr Ted Bear.

    I think that this is what CPF is, or should be, all about.
    Administratively, it might be difficult, unless the dealer did all that kind of work.
    Ideally, the dealer would take orders for the whole range of all the different lights mentioned, even if they were 'wait for the delivery' special orders.

    Oh, and no problem shipping to the UK, [and outside the States generally] would be important for me, and a few others.

    What do ya mean by this deal has already been put together ?

    Fraternally,
    Lite-Lover [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  2. #2
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Yes shipping internationally, no problem.

    Special orders also OK, and actually they have many of our favoite brands besides besides Surefire. Pelikan, Steamlight, Underwater Kientics, all in stock, ready to ship.


    As far as this deal being put together..
    Well I have been working with them for the last few weeks, and they are ready for our business, that is, if there is a sufficient amount to give to them. They aren't going to be able to much for us if we can give them but a few orders for E2's. But on the other hand, it would be worth while for them if give them something like an couple M6s, 1 or 2 m4's, m2's, maybe some extra batteries etc. each month. Lets face it, there's very little profit in a $100 sale, but in $2000, there is a lot more profit - profit that equals greater discounts for us

  3. #3

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    How about adding "I want to buy/I want to sell" phrase to the dealers corner. Then any one who wants an E-2 can post what ever they want there..."willing to pay $50 for E-2" or "I would like a E-2, please post your best price this week".

    If a dealer see`s several request for something and he is interested in making a offer/deal he can post a price for members. "Hi, this is Ken with Boatrack. If I can get ten orders for E-2`s by July 12 each one will cost $48. Please contact me if you are intrested in this price".

    Anyone who felt comfortable with Boatrack company and liked their deal could contact them.

    The down side would be if there are not enough orders to proceed after you have waited a month.

    To be fair to the dealer we should delete or edit post often. And not post A request unless we really are in the market for X.

    Anyway, just an idea.

  4. #4
    Flashaholic* lightlover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Anything that can help bring prices down is a good idea.
    Looking at it from this side of the water, a dealer has to be trustworthy, and in my situation knowledgeable - I need a lot of info on the confusing SF's for instance.

    I think whoever it is has to be a Flashaholic's dealer - someone who can cope with the kind of detailed questions that we all ask.
    And then maybe cheaper would be OK, but however it works, just saving a few dollars isn't everything - service is a valuable point too.

    I am also surprised that there aren't more private sales on the board - does that point to anything, in terms of what Flashaholics want ?

    Jahn [img]images/icons/confused.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/rolleyes.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/confused.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Ken

    I think that this forum already affords any dealer the opportunity to solicit our business buy offering special sales or promotional offers. Like you said, it would be up to each individual to opt in or out, and for each individual to do their do diligence as to whether they are dealing with a reputable dealer or not.

    What I am hoping to achieve is a simple buying cooperative, where as members of the forum give as much business to one dealer (can be Tim Flannigan, Bright Guy, Arizona Gun Runner), who would in turn give us the best deal possible. The “best deal” is not just price, but also service and delivery etc.

    By the way, this need not be limited to once a month as I mentioned in my first post…. Why not day in, day out. I have already found a dealer that will do just that. But what the heck, let the dealers come to us, rather we to them. We have lots to offer…our money!

  6. #6
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Every few days, i can't help but notice that
    someone inquires about the "best" price on Surefire Flashlights.

    Every few days, I can't help but notice that someone has just bought a Surefire Flashlight.


    Now consider the following:

    What if we were to "pool" our buyiing power, say on a monthly basis, and give our business to a selected dealer.

    That dealer would in turn give "as good as" OR in most cases, better prices that anyone else on the internet. This dealer has done their homework, and knows their competetors pricing, and we would not have to spend a lot of time doing compairson shopping or have to ask them to match their competitos... they have already taken care of this for our special buying group!!!

    This dealer does not charge extra for credit cards sales, and only charges "actual costs" for shipping, not some flat rate of $5, $7.5 etc


    This dealer is a STOCKING dealer, not some mailorder house that might ship sometime in the next week. My experience has been that they will ship the same day if the order is received by 3 pm PST


    Dunn and Bradstreet AAA rating, and a clean record with Better Business Bureau. Most important is that they have excellent customer service.


    What is in it for them? The haven't spend a dime on advertising. Know one knows what the numbers might be, but I would not be surprised if we could give them upwards of $2,000/month or more in extra sales.


    Yes, this deal has already been put together, the quesitons is, are there enough of use flashholics to make it work

    [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7
    Flashaholic* Free's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    I think this would be especially effective on new products that everyone is waiting for. That is when the higher number necessary for a decent discount can be reached. A dealer can say, the price will be x if I get y pre-orders and will only go through if that number is reached.

  8. #8
    *Flashaholic* Brock's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    DavidW are you reading this? I think we should choose a company and try to all use them, at least try it out and see if it works for us and the dealer also. I think Tim Flanagan sort of does this but doesn't do it full time and probably doesn't have the extra time it takes to deal with all of us. Peter Gransee (Arc light) is a good example of what I would like to see a dealer doing, letting us know what is up and staying on top of customer service. If we could get a bigger company like Brightguy or whoever it would be great!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Well Mr Bear, what company are you talking to about this idea? [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  10. #10

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    How about AGR? I know that its a small operation (could be just one guy for that matter), but I've ordered from them 3 times and the service was fairly prompt. The price is good already, and their site is always boostering about volume discounts. I'm in for it. I get the deliveries from them like in 2 days after they ship (UPS Ground), I guess that's because I'm in Los Angeles and they are relatively close.

  11. #11
    Flashaholic* lightlover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Tim Flanagan, is you out there somewhere ?

    Jahn [img]images/icons/blush.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img] [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  12. #12
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Hello Ken and others,

    I am reluctant to identify the distributor at this time (saw your post last night) because I received an anonymous e-mail (anonymous in that I have no idea who this person is, or where this person is from). The e-mail suggested that in some way, I am personally connected to this dealer, and that I will make all kinds for money off this deal etc. My thinking is, I don’t need this nonsense….. let every one fend for themselves. Pretty chicken s--t don't you think? Hey, if you got what you wanted (price, delivery & service)at the price you wanted to pay and were very very happy, AND the dealer was making enough profit to stay in business then everything else does't matter. Too bad... by buying collectively we can save money.

    The other thing is, based on the limited responces so far, I think I was overly optimisit in what I discussed with the dealer. From what I have seen so far, just not enough interest.

    I hope that AGR or BrightGuy will rise to the occasion. After all, with all the stock I own in both companies, I would have personal gains LOL!!!

  13. #13

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Well Ted, right now I`m in the market for a Lightwave 4000...normaly about $63 including shipping. If I can get one for about $55 or less (including shipping) I might find an extra buck somewhere in my empty wallet. If their are others in here that are in the market for one light or another...maybe you should speak up now so it can be gaged whether this is worth pursuing.

  14. #14
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Exactly.. Number 1 on my list also based on others comments
    or
    Willcontact them tommorrow. They have told me that they are willing to work with our group. so I am anxious to find out if it was just talk, OR how many do you need, where do we ship to, and when do you need these by

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Yes, I need a M4 and UK LC 100 (Lantern). Please let me know the shipping to Hong Kong.

    Alan

  16. #16
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    2 more 18 watt lamps Part #: 44807 for UK D4R.

    Alan

  17. #17

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    well, I have 2 Lightwave 4000s on order from the website that was posted here, somewhere, I forgot if it was Lightwave or someone else..? (-edit; it was nielsenlabs.com ) Also waiting for the lux meter from Circuit specialists (already enroute) (got it!) and an Eternalite xray...
    Who will co-ordinate all this, and repack and reship everything? What about returns, and repairs, etc., do we then each deal individually, after the sale, with the seller then?[/LIST]

  18. #18
    Flashaholic* DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    My first choice is Brightguy. I've had good luck with him. And he seems easy to work with. My next choice is NDSProducts. I've also had good service from them. But I've made only two orders from there. Glowbug also. But they're only LED's and other non-filament lights.

    If any of you have any suggestions on a dealer to approach with this idea, now is the time to speak up.

    My online time has been cut severly since starting this forum. But I'll force myself to contact Greg Atwell on Monday.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    I had good dealings with Tim Flanagan.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    I heard that Brightguy is not too overseas-friendly. They charge extra in additions to actual shipping for overseas customers.

    Alan

  21. #21
    Flashaholic* Mr Ted Bear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Free (and others)


    The new model flashlinhts are an excellent "target". As an example, take a light that sells for 50 plus s&h.

    Now, you or I, or anyone else on this forum could become a "dealer" for this company by placing a minimum order (varies by company...could be a little as 12 pieces, as is the case with Eternal Light, could be $500 as it with another company etc)


    I can assure you that the dealer cost for this $50 light is $32 or less. With shipping and nominal a fee for handeling, we can get that $50+ light into the hands of the fourm members for 35-37 dollars, better that a 20% savings.


    MODERATOR: If this is too commercial for this forum, I will cease my efforts... my intent is buy flashlights for less money. Since so many other members have the same interests, might as well buy as a group and save money

  22. #22
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Group buy - LightWave 4000 or E2 or ARC - I would be interested in several of any of these or some combination if a group buy goes forward.

    What are Ya'll ready to buy?

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Greg Atwell has invited me to call him and discuss this. I missed my opportunity today but will call tomorrow. What I need from you guys is a plan. This is not my idea but what ever you come up with I will pitch like a true believer.

    What I need is ideas for flashlights targeted for group buying. Frequency. One group buy flashlight per month, for example. Or one incandescent and one LED per month. Expecteded number of participants. (What incentive does a dealer have if his sales only increase by 6 or 7?) Should we lock participants into buying every month?

    If you can think of any talking points that I have not thought of, please post them here. I'll call around 10am EST.

    If this is successful I'll try to open up dialogue with Tim Flanagan. Maybe Glow-bug since LED's is the most popular topic of this whole forum.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Well, as I’ve received quite a few emails, as well as a few nods on this thread (thank you guys), I might as well expound here for a bit. If there were firm orders and things could be worked out to everyone’s advantage, I would be willing to help. As Brock pointed out, I do run another company on a full time basis whereas Nor’east Knives is a part time venture with nearly full time hours. Therefore, I guess, not to put too fine a point on things, if everyone wanted the same exact thing, I could help with a group buy. If everyone starts putting little conditions extras/differences/requests, things can tend to spiral out of hand, for which, sadly, I do not have the time (assuming an order of 100 pieces spread out to here and there). I ran a special as one of the first dealers with the E1 and then the E2 and to date have sold a WHOLE lot of each of them. Specials like that keep me busy for a couple of days, which is not a problem. Everyone mostly preordered and I had everything lined up for shipping when they new product finally arrived. I think if you hear from any of my customers, you hear that while I may not be the cheapest (more on that later), I try to give the best customer service I know how- and my pricing is competitive. I generally ship anywhere from 75-200 packages a week, and my sales/specials have essentially been group buys, so if I can make something a whole bunch of you are interested in, work out for all parties, I’d be happy to help. For example, I am a stocking dealer for SureFire (not a lot of accessories, but anything is orderable, even though that’s not what your would like based on your initial post). I generally have $2500 in SF product at any given time and went through about $25,000 in SF product last year, down slightly from the year before (market jitters was my guess- less discretionary income). Sales trends dictate what else is in stock per company. I’m not, as you suggest, a filing member of D&B, but if you check my reputation around here, BladeForums, KnifeForums, The Firing Line etc., I don’t think you’ll find anything amiss. If you require more bona fides than this, I’m guess I’m not the guy for a group buy.

    That said I would like to interject a little business diatribe here, so if you’re not in the mood for some droll reading, you might want to consider signing off this thread now.

    One point that you mention, Ted, is that anyone can become a dealer for this or that company. Pretty much that is true. Get yourself a tax ID/resale license from your state (most states run under a couple hundred dollars for this and must be updated annually- some are much less), present it to a distributor or manufacturer and you can buy their products for resale, subject to their minimum orders and any contractual obligations that they attach. Ok, now you’re a dealer who sells products. This opens you up to filing quarterly tax payments for sales made within your state- depending on how much business you do, this can be a headache. If you are doing this as an “at cost” venture to help friends (or yourself- keep in mind that everything you see from a distributor/manufacturer says “for resale only” [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]), your costs are starting to add up.
    -Say you buy that $32 flashlight with a retail of $50 (just a for-instance).
    -You sell 10 of them to friends.
    -You need to cover your costs of goods ($320) plus shipping to you- figure this is $7 with a credit card. COD fees are $6 UPS but you need a money order (which costs you more money) without three business/trade credit references and usually a three year business history and credit approval, Let’s say you can’t meet those requirements since you’re new at this and doing it mainly to feed your interest and some friends. You tack it onto your credit card (which may incur a 2-4% premium depending on the manufacturer or distributor- some of the manufacturers and distributors I work with do not take credit cards at all, so you might not qualify to work with them at all). Net 30 is the cheapest way to go, but you need that credit history and trade references to achieve this. Let’s assume a 2% premium for using your credit card- the cost of getting those 10 units to you is $333.40, or $33.34 each.
    -Add shipping. Let’s say you use standard, non-priority mail, and the package weighs 5 oz. You use reused boxes and filler so your shipping materials are free, so your cost is maybe $2.28 with insurance for a package $50 and under. Add taxes (say your state is 7%- all of your friends are in-state sales, but not exactly local, so you charge them $35.6738 for each light, plus the shipping of $2.28 and they each owe you $37.9538, which is pretty close to what you predicted- $38. Two of your friends call and say “The wife said I can’t buy it now- I have to back out. Sorry. I’ll try to get you next month.” It WILL happen. So, up front and worst case, you’re in the hole for let’s say $80- from your pocket- yet you have to send the government a check for $23.34 (you could probably just skip a quarterly payment this low, but you might get a small penalty when you file for non-payment of quarterly business taxes- I’m not an accountant, but I pay my quarterlies for both businesses on time). As it stands now, you’re out $103 from your personal (now your business) funds. If you set up a bank checking account for the “business” you also might have a monthly fee there- I pay about $22. So to help out your friends (and they DO thank you, believe me- I started out thinking similar thoughts), you’ve racked up the following (worst case of course):
    $20 for a business license;
    $103 from your accounts for taxes and two pals who can’t front you a check now;
    $10 for a bank fee for a business account
    ------
    $133 and you’ve taken your time and efforts. In addition, you owe taxes on the one you kept for yourself- how unfair! [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] Also, you should probably get an accountant to look over your taxes (if you don’t already) to make sure you’re not setting yourself up for a fall. Three out of five years must show a profit or the IRS might conclude you’re doing this as a hobby and disallow any deductions you might have taken (say, 90¢ on each shipment) etc. if you’re ever audited.

    Now let’s try a concrete example:
    Let’s say I buy 100 of an item that retails for say... $74.99. Dealer pricing is 38% off (one of the distributors), so my cost is $46.49. Let’s say that each package weighs 5oz. Packed together, that’s 500 oz or 31.25 lbs. Shipping to me is oh, say, $35. Thus my total outlay for this shipment of 100 units is $4684 in round numbers. I’m on Net 30 so I have 30 days from when they ship to me to come across with $4684 to them- call it 25 days from when I receive the merchandise. That’s fine. Now, I’ve got 100 confirmed orders and I agree to sell them all for $50 (quite an assumption, but let's run with it). Shipping for one item per customer in the US (via Priority Insured Mail with Delivery Confirmation- that’s how I ship in the US) is $5.90 ($3.50 postage, plus $2.00 insurance for $74.99, plus Delivery Confirmation at 40¢)- I only charge $5 (flat fee, I know, you want to pay the 90¢ to avoid that flat fee but life is easier for me if you don't) because I’m A.) too lazy to compute the extra 90¢ or B.) too stupid to realize it's costing me money or C.) too nice of a guy- signs point to A. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I also include a receipt (program was a hundred bucks but that’s not important) with each shipment as well as email the tracking (I try anyhow) the day the package ships. This takes time, paper and ink- inconsequential (well, not MY time, but maybe the materials) if you send out 100 pages a year, it adds up with 100-200 pages per week. Some customers are gracious enough to accept Adobe .pdf files (another couple hundred for the program that writes them) as receipts- this saves me a bit of time and paper and ink (thank you guys who do this).

    So here’s how costs are running so far:
    -$46.84 unit cost
    -$5.90 shipping/insurance per unit
    -$1.50 per unit for my time- 15 hours of straight out work boxing/labeling/packing/invoicing- what’s time worth? Let’s say for sake of an argument that as a self-employed “businessman” I want to make $10 an hour (!!!) as a base- that’s $150 (in my other business, I charge $200/hour as a working fee- you do the math) or if I want to lose MORE money “helping out” and get less per hour.
    -25¢ per unit. $25 for packing materials (it’s tough to keep enough free packing materials on hand for 100 orders- the boxes are free and are shipped directly to me, thankfully).
    -$1.51 for each unit with a credit card- total billed to customer of $55 ($50 plus $5 flat fee for shipping) – I pay 2.2% + 30¢ per transaction credit card fee for PayPal as a Verified Business Account (this affords the buyer some measure of protection (like this https://www.paypal.com/verified/pal=...%40bigfoot.com ) (yeah, that’s the only way I accept credit cards- I never wanted to go through the proctological (try to work that word in at your next party or business meeting [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]) financial disclosures that the “real” credit card processing companies want- I value my privacy more). Anyhow, let’s say everyone agrees to pay that way.
    -----
    Thus, my total costs for this $55 “favor to friends” is $46.84+5.90+1.50+.25+1.51= $56.00 (it just worked out that way- really). So I’ve just given each friend a dollar leaving me $100 out of pocket- and I have to send taxes on whatever units went to folks in my state (I had to charge them $3.50 more for taxes). Guess what- I quit! [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] I didn’t even mention the cost of the business license, the added couple hundred my accountant tacks on for this business, the software, the internet fees, the phone bill, the gas to drive to the Post Orifice etc. ad nauseum. Oh- and I want more than $10 for my time- for $10 an hour, I’ll tell y’all to pound sand and go enjoy watching and playing with my eight-month old son (Timmy Jr. of course :-) ). At least my friends got one helluva deal. Except for the 5 who backed out at the last minute or never replied to my calls or emails. Or the one that got lost in the mail. Or the overseas one (assuming there was one) that got tied up in Customs. I have replaced items lost in the mail for customers- sometimes in the hundreds of dollars- with the “hope” that the insurance I paid for will actually pay me back in the six months it generally takes. Drat- the distributor wants their money before then- guess that extra $350 is out of my pocket, so I’m out $450 to start. Cool, huh?

    Does it sound like I’m whining? Yeah, it probably does. You’re thinking- “this jerk keeps a light for himself from every shipment (not quite true) and complains that he doesn’t make any money at it- he should be happy to keep himself in lights. What a whiner.” Well, just about five years ago when I started this, I’d have agreed with you- because that’s how I started – “helping out friends” and getting a good deal for myself. Now that I’ve been selling knives, lights and gadgets for awhile, I find time is very precious (I’ve been composing this for over an hour now- I type slow and think a lot before I write things- it’s a curse), but I’m willing to put the time in because a) I like knives, lights and gadgets..an awful lot and b) selling knives, lights and gadgets allows me to indulge in my other hobbies (besides knives, lights and gadgets) like home theater, computers etc. As such, and because of a very bad habit I developed in law school in the early ‘90’s, my waking hours stupidly end usually between 3-4AM – it’s 2:48AM now. But I enjoy the forums on knives, lights (here and SureFire), guns, HT and spend a lot of “after-hours" time on them when I’m not answering customer emails late into the morning. I also find that after all this time selling things I need to make some money at it to cover my costs plus a little profit to make it worthwhile.

    Another aspect of the group buy that you mention that I know a large percentage of you aren’t aware of is that some of the company names bandied about are not only competing dealers, but are, in fact distributors of the same product lines. As a distributor, they buy for anywhere from 20-30% LESS than the dealer, then make their profit selling to the dealer. Or, as some are prone to do, and I won’t name names, buy at distributor cost and sell to the public at or near the actual dealer cost. I get emails ALL THE TIME asking to match this and that price- if it’s a standard dealer, I’m usually happy to oblige- or point out that with shipping I may be cheaper anyhow. If it’s one of these distributor/dealers who sell to the public at or near my cost, there’s no way I can match that price. Sorry- I just won’t lose money to make a sale and hope to make it up in volume later. Yep- this sounds like more whining. Sorry.

    Anyhow, the group buy idea sounds good on its face, but in practical working- note how it’s worked out in the past year or two. Mercata.com, was one big group buying “dot-coms” that really offered some good deals- I bought from them a couple of times when I built my last computer. Customer service was horrible. Found this out after the fact. The more people who bought, the lower the price went- “make it up in volume” were the watchwords. I bought a real nice Nvidia video card at under dealer price- about 15% under. With the razor thin margins of computer parts that turned out to be under their price- so they lost money on me and the other 230 or so people that purchased that video card. Maybe only $10 on each ($2300 total of that limitless venture capital they had). Oops. I was wrong- there was a limit. They’re now a “dot-gone,” having closed up shop in the past 6 months or so (I forget when exactly). Or look at Onvia.com- they used to be GREAT on computer part pricing- until they figured out they were losing money at a rate that would close them up as of March 2001. Accordingly, they changed suppliers and raised their prices a lot. They are still open but who shops there? Not the folks out for a deal. Did they whine- no. They changed their policy one weekend and lost a LOT of customers. There are a whole lot of the group-buy companies online who aren’t online anymore. The internet economy has had a huge shakeout and pricing has pretty much settled in a lot of areas. Are knives and flashlights part of this? I still see them being “wh- - ed” out all over the place, but these “companies” tend to disappear in a few months once they realize that they’re losing money by undercutting everyone to “make the sale.” You want to buy from me, fine. You’ll pay a fair price and get good customer service- I guarantee that. I do make mistakes. I recently goofed on some math some early morning in replying to a customer- it was an honest mistake- I don’t even know how I arrived at the number I did, but in any event, I goofed and overcharged $26.20. I notified the customer as soon as I caught it (when I made out the invoice) and ended up sending him a check for $27. I threw in a little apology gift of an MN03 lamp ($10 item) for the E2’s that he had bought. Oops. It made him happy (I think and sincerely hope) and made me happy to have taken care of a goof up. It happens. “Mistakes were made.” [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I also have granted credit to a very select few based on their word (and what I know of their character)- I doubt you’ll find (m)any other dealers or distributor/dealers who will do this. Obviously, I can’t do this for everyone as I have gotten burned to the tune of about $1000 from two inDUHviduals in the past. I’ve been told by a few of the customers who I did this for that I was being naïve/stupid for trusting folks on the ‘net. Chalk that up to stupidity or faith in my fellow light/knife/gadget addicts or the fact that I’ll post the facts on the forums, ruining your reputation (I had to do this twice- not here and not recently) if you try to abscond without paying (I try to be a little more aware nowadays, but I’m probably still too trusting).

    Another thing that is sometimes overlooked is customer service- this does cost money. Personally, I'd rather pay a little more and get treated well than get the absolute rock-bottom price and get treated lousy. My wife hates that about me. But service is a component of retail - especially on the net- that's very often overlooked. To blatantly steal (and alter a bit) a quote from one of my knifemaker pals- Darrel Ralph- "The Bitterness of Poor Service Remains Long After the Sweet Taste of Low Price is Forgotten." I like the way that came out. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] Thanks DR!

    Anyhow, does this make you want to buy anything from me? Did it turn you off completely? Did it make your eyes hurt? Does it add anything to your thoughts on a group buy or trying to get better pricing (reasonable versus unreasonable?)? Does it add to your understanding of what the typical dealer goes through to earn and retain your business? Did it entertain you? I hope it does at least one of the above because I think it’s caused carpal tunnel syndrome in my left hand. :-) Or maybe that’s from the Luminox watch? I dunno. In any event, I hope this helps someone out, or if not, at least I achieved king whiner status for an hour or so. :-) If anyone is interested in a group buy and I can help out, please feel free to inquire and I’ll do my best.

    It’s 3:59AM and I’m off to answer three customer emails and then to bed- maybe by 4:15AM tonight. Take care and thank you for reading if you made it this far. Says I have too many images- are smilies images? I'll edit 'em and find out.

    [edited 2:22AM 20 June 2001 to correct some minor spelling errors - I think I caught them all- and to point out that you can't have more than eight smilies/images in your posts.]

  25. #25
    Flashaholic* DavidW's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    I didn't think you were whining. I found that very informing. I guess I'm naive in what it takes to keep a small retail business going.

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* lightlover's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img] Ummm, ahem, er, WOW !

    I think I kinda see the picture more clearly now.

    Respectfully,
    Jahn [img]images/icons/shocked.gif[/img]

    BTW - the CPF award for the longest post on anything, ever, undoubtedly goes to:

    Tim Flanagan !

  27. #27

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Wow, thanks for taking the time to explain to our group the in`s and out`s. Hmm...well Tim, I don`t think we would have orders for 100 of anything and I can see there is quite a bit of risk...and of course it would be nonsense to expect you or anyone in the buiness to do this without some profit built in.
    Do you think it would be better for us to simply post "I want to buy" in the dealer corner and when their`s enough folks wanting...say 10 4000 or 10 E-2`s let dealers make an offer...with the restriction that no orders will be filled unless 10 really do call him (dealer) and place thier orders?

    How about you...I hear you sell the SureFire`s at good prices and offer AAA customer service but I have never seen you post a selling price here.

    Are smaller orders of 10 not enough to get a good price from suppliers?

    Let me ask a more direct question...can you get Lightwave 4000...Photon 3`s...and offer them to members at a discount but still make enough profit to be worth your while...if orders were in small amounts...let`s say 10~12?

    One of the things I am not happy with regards to the buying club is "how to pay". I use my credit card for purchases online...but I would be more comfortable dealing with the distributor/dealer than giving my numbers to a member who might not be on the up and up...it`s sad that I think like that but thier are so many people trying to scam folks.

    And this forum could be an easy target as we are honest and trusting folks...at least from what I have seen...folks send their lights, money to each other freely and no one has ever got burned (that I know of).

    But this is a little differant...a lot more money involved...a lot more temptation. Would be very easy for ten of us to send money orders for for a total of $500 or $600 hundred bucks and never hear from the member again...wouldn`t it?

    I don`t think we should give up on Ted`s idea and I would like to hear idea`s from you on how this could be made safe and practical.

    Big thanks again to you Tim, that was great of you to take the time [img]images/icons/wink.gif[/img]

  28. #28

    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Notes to self:
    1) come up with a better signature file.... [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]
    2) call orthopedic surgeon [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

    I'm not not telling everything that's applicable- all of the above info is true and correct. There is a part that sells for $74.99 that as of today sells for 38% off in the distributor's catalog and/or on their dealer website. Those are the actual shipping costs and how I charge. There are distributors who sell direct to the public and hurt their own dealers who don't know that their own suppliers are undercutting them (no fun to be them!). A lot of the usual suspect dealers here are your standard dealers and deserve your support and loyalty for past business and good service. A few of them are the D/D who will give you even better pricing due to their nature. The winds of change may be upon us all. Who knows?

    Anyhow, I guess what I was trying to get across with all that blather was that your dealers work hard to make sure the customer is happy, but also to put a few dollars in their pocket to feed the family. Me? I don't work that hard- I'm lazy- ask my wife. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img] I don't advertise much, but when I do, it's usually a really good deal, IMNSHO. If you check out the dealer section you'll see a few of my posts there dating back over the past few months notating some interesting deals and special offers for CPF members only- I have a sizeable list of preorders for the 10x from one of those posts that should "help out" a bunch of CPF'ers and still allow me to make a few, fair dollars. That's one example. Too bad it'll be another month or so before that deal can be realized. [img]images/icons/frown.gif[/img]

    I wasn't trying to obfuscate anything in that novella above, just putting forth some salient points that I thought might provide a different perspective. Ask some of my better/best/repeat customers- I give perks all the time- maybe it's free shipping, maybe an added discount, maybe a lower standard price based on the dollars spent, maybe something at cost now and again as a thanks, maybe a free item now and again for the same reason, or maybe a neat contest now and then. I don't know what other dealers do, but I try to get my customers the latest and greatest at a fair price as rapidly as possible.

    I think that Ken's idea might hold more promise whereby once a fixed number for an item is reached, the deal can work. This is not a commercial offer- this is a red herring to see how many folks might possibly be interested in such an offer. If it sounds too "commercially", I'll move/edit it and apologize now. In any event, I'll offer the SureFire Hard Anodized M2 flashlight. 12 pieces at $105 plus shipping/insurance. That's 30% off retail, which is pretty reasonable on SureFire. Postal money orders only to afford you the protection of the US Postal Inspectors and this saves me that confounded credit card charge. Exactly how many of you guys would be interested in "something" like this? Does it work on $100 items? Does it only work on $50 items? Will it work on $250 items like a 10x? I have a couple dozen preorders on the 10x taht says it might. That's not all from this forum so the "group buy" numbers/approach might not work. And who wants to pony up $50 - 100 per month for these kind of sales? To be honest, $5 profit on a $50 order isn't really going to spin my wheels (or most dealers is my guess) if only 10 units are orders per month.

    Thoughts? Opinions? Alternatives? If the above seems a little disjointed, I really need some more sleep. [img]images/icons/grin.gif[/img]

  29. #29
    Flashaholic Ned's Avatar
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    How about a "Light of the Month' program working with a dealer (I recommend Tim as well). Seems like there is always a current obsession... usually a new gazilion LEd light, or one of those micor-lights that can double as landing lights on a 747.

    1: Dealer Sniffs out the latest hot property recently released.
    2: Special pricing to Forumites is announced, for example, always 40% off MSRP. (like the Barnes & Noble special prices on Best Sellers).
    3: Easiest no-special BS, payment plan is set up, to make dealers job easier.
    4: Restrict program only to the "Light of the Month".

    Seems to me this could satisfy most of the issues raised and it could put us all in touc with the hot new lights sooner as well as cheaper.

  30. #30
    Enlightened
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    Default Re: Candle Power Forum Buying Group...

    Tim,
    Do you really want to get into this??
    It seems like a good idea,but has all the "What if`s" of autos being retro activley legal in all fifty states due to a "misunderstanding" in leagalize!!

    I very much prefer your contest`s [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img].And pre-order deals...But,,If you think you want to handle this,You got my dollar,Hell you got my dollar anyway!

    Please excuce the knife content gentelmen,
    How-bout some light stuff...

    Ned, please give me some info on this "micor-light" used "that can double as landing lights on a 747".
    This is a real 747 landing light.

    The lamp on the left is a 747 landig light, spec`s 600w @ 28v.The lamp on the right is used as a landing light on many narrow-body jets it`s rated at 250w @ 28v.It`s also used as a Taxi-Turn-off lamp on many wide bodies.
    Rgds,Bill

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