FAQ's - Buying Club

What’s involved in running a Buying Club?

Successful clubs need to have a leader, or a team of leaders. Usually a core group of members keeps the Buying Club on track. The leaders of a Buying Club ensure that all the work gets done, but they don't necessarily do it all themselves. Consider the following roles and tasks that must be covered for a Buying Club to function smoothly:

Coordinator

  • A key position acting as liaison between ONFC and the members of the Buying Club
  • Forwards important ONFC news to club members
  • Develops a schedule for ordering, delivery, and pick-up
  • Submits the individual orders from members as a master club order using our Online Ordering System

Receiver

  • Agrees to receive the delivery at their home
  • Has a home that is accessible to the truck and safe for the driver to unload
  • Has sufficient storage space, including freezer and fridge space
  • Is present on the day of the delivery
  • Verifies that all the boxes have been unloaded and signs for the goods
  • Pays the driver if paying C.O.D. (cheque or money order)
  • With the help of club member volunteers, unpacks the boxes and checks the food order against the invoice
  • Divides the order into individual orders and stores freezer and fridge items
  • Is present when members arrive to pick-up their orders, sometimes receiving cheques for the Treasure
  • General troubleshooting, such as cleaning up small spills, explaining procedures to new members

Childcare Provider(s)

  • Supervises young children

Treasurer

  • Totals the amount that each individual owes using our Online Ordering System
  • Handles returns and credits
  • Keeps records of credits and other bookkeeping issues
  • Receives payment from the Pick-up Coordinator or directly from the members
  • If paying COD, the Treasurer arranges to have a cheque for the full amount ready at the delivery location on the delivery day
  • If not paying COD, the Treasurer arranges to get a cheque to the ONFC within seven days of the delivery
  • Coordinates opening and managing of Buying Club bank account

You can mix and match the above roles and tasks to fit the needs of your Buying Club. It is very likely that one person will take on more than one role. And, it is likely and advisable that the roles are rotated so that all the members participate.

Here is a PDF of our Buying Club Basics info sheet which you can download and email to potential members Buying Club Basics.

Does it cost money to start up a club?

There is a one-time membership fee of $10 charged per club upon submission of your application.

Will having a Buying Club save me money?

It’s important to note that Buying Clubs do not receive wholesale pricing but depending on what types of items you will be ordering you could see savings from 10 – 20%.

There are several other discounts which your order may be eligible for:

Members in good standing receive a 1% discount on all orders.

Many of our vendors regularly offer discounts on their products. ONFC features monthly specials for 10 - 25% off selected products.

Case prices are on average 4% lower than if you were to buy the same number of singles. Buying by the case saves the members and the Co-op money.

Some products must be bought by Full Cases Only (e.g. 1 litre non-dairy beverages).

The case discount applies only when a full case is purchased, not a half case.

If you pick-up your order you are entitled to a 2% Pick-up Discount.

Do I have to buy by the case or in bulk?

You do not have to purchase by the case or in bulk, you can purchase single units unless the item is a Full Case Only product (ex. milk alternatives, chips, small juice). Please note, there is a saving of 4% when purchasing by the case.

What does being an ONFC co-op member mean?

We are a co-operative, which means that as a member, you are also a co-owner. As a member-owner you have the right to vote, participate on the ONFC committees, and run for election on the Board of Directors. Not only do members get access to wholesome, natural foods at affordable prices and a member discount, they have a voice in how the organization is run.

All members are invited to participate on the Board of Directors, Committees, and at the Annual General Meeting. Member participation is the strength that makes ONFC a vibrant, thriving co-operative.

Member Loan
On December 1, 2004 ONFC introduced a new Member Loan of 1% on all invoices. All Members pay the Member Loan and it is your member investment to ensure that ONFC remains a strong, relevant, and responsive co-op.

You do not need to add this 1% to your payment, it is incorporated into your invoice. The Member Loan is reimbursed if the club ceases Membership with the ONFC, as per our Member Loan policy.

Member Discount
All Members in good financial standing with the co-op receive a 1% discount on all orders. Member Discount and Loan are calculated for you on your invoice.

How often do I have to order?

Buying Clubs typically order every month to every second month. You should place at least one order per year to keep your account ‘Active’. Clubs that have not ordered for over a year are taken off the mailing list.

Using the Delivery Route Schedule is a great way to plan your Buying Club's orders.

Do you deliver to my area?

We deliver to most of Ontario and East to the Atlantic Provinces. Check the Delivery Route Schedule to see if our trucks deliver to your area. If you don’t see the name of your city/town, this means your area is not serviced by an ONFC truck. In this case we will send your order via Common Carrier and the minimum order and delivery charges will be specific to your delivery zone. Please contact our Buying Club Rep for more information: 1-800-387-0354 ext. 228 or 905-507-2021 ext. 228. buyclub [at] onfc.ca

Is there a minimum order? Are there additional delivery fees?

There are minimum orders. As long as these minimums are met, we do deliver free to most places in Ontario. In some cases, we will charge for delivery to help cover the costs of shipping.

Minimum Orders:
Within Metro Toronto:
$500 minimum order

Outside Metro Toronto:
$500 minimum order if delivered by ONFC truck

Pick-up Orders:
$200 minimum order

Off-Route Deliveries:
Vary according to your location, please contact our Buying Club Rep for more information. 1-800-387-0354 ext. 228 or 905-507-2021 ext. 228. buyclub [at] onfc.ca

Delivery Fees:
All orders less than $800 will be charged:
- a minimum 2% surcharge, depending on delivery location, which is calculated on the sales total.
- And, a minimum $25 handling fee, depending on delivery location.

Ottawa/Quebec, North Bay, & Georgian Routes:
A minimum $25 (plus tax) charge is levied on Buying Club orders on these routes in order to supplement the costs of delivery.

Off-Route Deliveries:
Freight charges for Common Carriers vary depending on your delivery location. Please contact ONFC to see what the charges are for your area.

Are there any other rules or policies pertaining to the delivery location?

Deliveries are to the main entrance only. Any assistance with carrying boxes is greatly appreciated.

Ensure that the unloading area is safe. If the location is dangerous (i.e., pathways that may be slippery), our driver has the right to refuse to deliver the order to the designated receiving area.

Be sure to count all the boxes with the driver and sign your receipt recording the ‘piece count.’

We do not guarantee a specific delivery time during the day.

How do I pay for my order? How long to I have to pay my invoice?

We accept payment by:

  • Cheque or money order handed to the ONFC driver or mailed within 7 days.
  • Debit if the order is being picked-up at ONFC.
  • Credit Card if the order is being picked-up at ONFC or if you receive delivery via common carrier.
  • Internet Bill Payment (Please contact our Buying Club Rep 1-800-387-0354 ext. 228 or 905-507-2021 ext. 228 buyclub [at] onfc.ca for more information)

We do not accept cash payments.

The first order for all Buying Clubs must be paid C.O.D. Full payment (by cheque or money order) must be paid on the delivery/pick-up day to the driver or staff.

Subsequent orders must be paid for within 7 days. The ONFC reserves the right to ask for C.O.D. payment if the 7-day credit schedule is not met.

What is the Member Loan? Do I have to pay it?

On December 1, 2004 ONFC introduced a new Member Loan of 1% on all invoices. All member groups pay the Member Loan. It is tracked per Buying Clubs and is your Member investment in order to ensure that ONFC remains a strong, relevant, and responsive co-op.

The Member Loan is reimbursed if the club ceases membership with the ONFC, as per our Member Loan policy .

All ONFC Buying Club must pay the Member Loan. Please note each Buying Club in good financial standing receives a 1% discount. Therefore you do not see the impact of the Member Loan on your invoice total. The Member Loan and 1% member discount are calculated for you on your invoice.

How do I suggest a new product for ONFC to carry?

We are always looking for new and exciting products to add to our inventory. If you know of a good quality product you would like to see ONFC carry, please email our Buying Club Rep at buyclub [at] onfc.ca

Feel free to take a look at our Product Selection Criteria to get a better sense of the types of product ONFC is looking for.