I really need…scratch that… WANT a router lift and PC7518 router or clone but dang, if you aren’t spending in the neighborhood of $550-650 just for those two items Then you need a fence/table (which I already have).. What I need is advice on how to set up an group buy, what pitfalls to avoid and how to approach a vendor. Do you get the group together first then talk to a vendor or vice versa? I’ll listen everything you all have to say.
I’ve done it for car parts, I started by approaching the vendor to ask if they were open to them, number of people required, if they would only ship to one person or each person in the group and what the estimated cost would be. In my case I knew it was a highly desirable item that wasn’t available retail. You might want to start with a group buy feeler and assume 1/3 of respondants won’t come through and approach with that number. Don’t be surprised if they have a dealer network if they won’t even talk to you
Consider forming a cooperative for misc. buys of wood, finishes, tools and equipment.
If you wanted more buying power, you might consider a non-profit (501c) corporation. Of course, there is paperwork involved, but if you group is large enough, it could be worth while.
The dealer pit falls noted above aside, you may only have to make a buck profit, and be limited to sales within your group.
Most the time, people will jump on the opportunity to profit, if only through savings, is someone else does all the work. Even more so, if the others absorb expenses. As such, you may have to keep some them honest by membership dues.
For dues, you could take a Lloyd’s of London approach and divide actual expenses up between members, or tack them on to resales to cover mileage, fuel and wear and tear on vehicles.