Before You Group Buy

akabryanhall

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Hey Guys,
Some of you may or may not know that I have been doing group buys for a while and I wanted to try to impart some of the things I have learned over the years.
I had originally started doing this as a way to make this hobby more affordable, and what it turned into was quite surprising. We ended up with a little community of about 30 people who rotate in and out of group buys. I was shocked at how many people wanted to participate. I have made friends in the process, and am quite surprised I have not made any enemies!
This thread is not an attempt to promote my own group buys, I am kept busy enough as it is and actually have been taking things slow recently.
Over the years I have made some mistakes and done some things right. Here are a few of these things:

1. When you find a coral or frag pack you want to do a buy with, try to assemble those that want to take part and collect money from all of them before you buy the coral. If not you may end up getting stuck for two or three spots on the buy.

2. Work out before hand who is going to be growing the coral out.

3. People are putting a lot of trust in you, if you are the organizer they will be sending you their money believing that you will do what you say you are going to. If you are the grower, you are responsible for everyone’s baby as it were. Do everything you can to uphold your end of the bargain.

4. Do your best to have a very open line of communication between you and your buyers. As soon as people feel like you are ducking them, things get ugly very quickly.

5. The most important thing you can do is keep a record of the progress of each coral in your buy. We have a website set up that shows the coral, the amount of heads/eyes, the buy members, when a coral was fragged etc. You can do the same thing in a thread in the group buy forum. Just have all the members subscribe to that thread.

6. Deaths do happen. When and if they do, refer to the last point. Be as open and honest about what happened, and provide documentation; pictures and maybe what your parameters were when it happened.

7. To go along with this, if you are one of the group buy members and this happens, try to find out everything you can about the incident and write it off as a loss with as little fuss as possible, provided there wasn’t any gross negligence on the part of the grower.

8. If you are the grower, you have a lot of responsibility on your shoulders. You will be responsible for growing, fragging and distributing. See if you can work out with the others in the group if maybe you can get the lion’s share of the frags when it is ready to be cut.

9. I would suggest that when the piece have grown enough to be split in half, spead the wealth to another tank, thereby reducing the risk of losing everything.

10. Try to keep things local if you can. Shipping can be a hassle, and if you are not prepared to handle it, keeping the buyers local to you will help relieve a lot of the burden.

11. Almost all of my buys have been frags that have been bought and grown out. I think the absolute best way to do these buys is to eliminate the growout all together. Try to find a nice colony that would be ready to be fragged immediately. This will take a lot of the risk out of the equation.

12. Getting into this, I could not have ever imagined that the hardest part about group buys is not the growing. It’s not the fragging or even keeping a record. The hardest part is getting people to come and pick up their coral when it has been fragged. Sometimes it can take weeks. Be prepared for this and make sure you have enough room to house the frags. I would give people a time frame. If the frag is not picked up by this date, the coral will be sold and the funds split between the rest of the members.

That is all I can think of for now. If you have done any group buys and want to comment on what I have written or provide your own insight, please feel free.
 
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emerald525

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Good advice. I would also stipulate "ground rules" before hand and repercussions (if any) if those ground rules are not followed. For example in our local forum, growers are expected to post at the beginning of the month and the end of the month but nothing was really said if that didn't happen. You also have to have a great deal of trust in the grower. We had one grower who would not respond to pms, neglected his tank and most of the frags in his care died. I would also include in the price of the growout the cost of frag plugs and glue.
 

dougers31

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Good advice. I would also stipulate "ground rules" before hand and repercussions (if any) if those ground rules are not followed. For example in our local forum, growers are expected to post at the beginning of the month and the end of the month but nothing was really said if that didn't happen. You also have to have a great deal of trust in the grower. We had one grower who would not respond to pms, neglected his tank and most of the frags in his care died. I would also include in the price of the growout the cost of frag plugs and glue.

Yeah, I don't think I would ever want to be the "grower" just too much pressure;) Sorry about what happend in your instance.
 

emerald525

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Yeah, I don't think I would ever want to be the "grower" just too much pressure;) Sorry about what happend in your instance.

I just chalk it up to a learning experience and we learned who could be trusted. Guess what that particular person will never be a grower LOL!
 
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akabryanhall

akabryanhall

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Lol to give you an idea of the pressure, I eventually stopped paying for my spot in the buys. I was organizing them, growing, fragging and distributing, all while not really getting anything for my efforts. I posted a long e-mail to all the members asking if it was ok if I abstained from putting any more money in and everyone agreed that was cool. Even still not sure its worth all the stress lol.
 
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skinz78

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Just curious, I just skimmed through this thread and I didn't see what was expected in the grower for buy in.

Is it kind of the norm for the grower to just pitch in a couple of their own corals into the grow out and not pay the buy in? For instance say the growout was for 6 Chalice's, would it be acceptable for the grower to pitch in 3 more Chalice's from their own collection if everyone agrees and likes the Chalice's being offered?

Or do they pay what everyone else does and get nothing but their frags from the growout in return?
 

sf_ramsden

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Just curious, I just skimmed through this thread and I didn't see what was expected in the grower for buy in.

Is it kind of the norm for the grower to just pitch in a couple of their own corals into the grow out and not pay the buy in? For instance say the growout was for 6 Chalice's, would it be acceptable for the grower to pitch in 3 more Chalice's from their own collection if everyone agrees and likes the Chalice's being offered?

Or do they pay what everyone else does and get nothing but their frags from the growout in return?

It depends on what is decided for the grow out. My opinion is the grower should get something for the headache of doing the actual grow out (Food, cutting, shipping, etc). Either they pay less, throw their own corals in, or get money from everyone else for food, dosing supplies, etc...
 
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akabryanhall

akabryanhall

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Just curious, I just skimmed through this thread and I didn't see what was expected in the grower for buy in.

Is it kind of the norm for the grower to just pitch in a couple of their own corals into the grow out and not pay the buy in? For instance say the growout was for 6 Chalice's, would it be acceptable for the grower to pitch in 3 more Chalice's from their own collection if everyone agrees and likes the Chalice's being offered?

Or do they pay what everyone else does and get nothing but their frags from the growout in return?

Not doing this to be funny lol I think I answered it in this part
Lol to give you an idea of the pressure, I eventually stopped paying for my spot in the buys. I was organizing them, growing, fragging and distributing, all while not really getting anything for my efforts. I posted a long e-mail to all the members asking if it was ok if I abstained from putting any more money in and everyone agreed that was cool. Even still not sure its worth all the stress lol.
 
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