Utilizing power of members number on bricklink
Bricklink is a place we buy 99% of our bricks, not counting support from TLG. All of the "black" resellers (as we call sellers that sell from their homes or on market) have emigrated to bricklink). The prices are quite steady, and spikes happen only from time to time, like when Avro brothers made Alien, and black "horn" things skyrocketed
But, every now and then, a seller comes up with a large number of bricks for extremely small amount of money. This is how we bought 100.000 1x2 bricks for 0.007 eur per piece, a thousands of LOTR goblin hairs for 0,1 eur, a thousand of Spartan helmets for 0,1 eur or three hundred cows for 1 eur per piece
First rule - we always check feedback of the seller. If he is in our region - that is ok, he can't cheat us, but if he is on other continent, we can't reach him with our plea to return the money. So, feedback was something we leaned on, and later we felt safer with PayPal antyscam return policy that is on today.
But these deals don't stay long on bricklink. And there are too many lots for one person to go through new and good deals - so we agreed to split our survey of the bricklink - every willing member took a section - animal, land or minifig, headgear, and continuously swipe it for good new deals
If a section is really large, like mentioned minifig, headgear, we usually split it, so one member one page of lots, when in thumbnail view
This practice has allowed us to amass silly amounts of thing we would not usually buy, like mummy wings and headgear Mummy with Beak and Bird Head Pattern (Egyptian god Horus), tens of thousands of sabers and other things we utilize in our creations. We especially like minifig accessories, but are not immune to bricks, usually makeup (rocks, diamonds, barrels etc.)
The only reason we were able to stay atop with uniqueness with details were those orders
The bricklink wanted and notify options are great, but you can never tweak them good enough to replace a live search, although we utilize them a lot for one piece buys like zeppelin or clikits flowers with those tentacles - every and any that was put on bricklink in last few years - we bought them, with a system of e-mail notifications that go to members in different time zones, so even if it is posted at 3 o clock in the morning, it is 11 o clock for some of our members, he see it and he buys it - then later we discuss who needs it (we have lists of waiting:)
I hope this will give you idea
There is one great bysproduct of this practice - cooperation strengthens our bonds. It brings us closer, and every successful purchase fills the whole group with sense of accomplishment.
Although it is a really silly thing, there is much of tapping on the shoulders and congratulating :D It keeps members happy and on edge for new opportunity, and who ever finds one is held as a hero for a day of two - we actually had a party for one big find (although it is not a measure of any kind, we had a party because someone saw a cloud shaped like a brick - and I was there, it took A LOT of imagination to see it :)
Anyhow, I hope this will help your group to make some bonds, and get some better deals :)
By Ivan Angeli