Small companies are now banding together on the Web for volume discounts on everything from pencils to office chairs to phone service. Here's a sampling of some Web-based aggregate-buying services that can stretch your company's dollar.
What: LONG-DISTANCE SERVICE Where:www.essential.com The Goods: Qwest, $0.047 a minute, plus $4.95 a month The Good News: That's cheaper than the standard Qwest deal of $0.052 a minute, plus $4.95 a month Secret Weapon: Negotiated discounts
What: 401(K) PLANS Where:www.demandline.com The Goods: T. Rowe Price, setup fee of $2,500, plus $20 per employee; $28 per employee annually The Good News: Demandline customers save as much as 15% on annual administrative costs Secret Weapon: Reverse auction
What: VEHICLES Where:www.shop2gether.com The Goods: Dodge Caravan, $25,986 The Good News: The same car lists for $28,105 Secret Weapon: Negotiated discounts
What: WEB BANNER ADS Where:www.bcentral.com The Goods: Major-site banner ads ranging from $50 to $2,000 The Good News: Major sites usually require a minimum purchase of $2,000 Secret Weapon: Bulk buying
Note: These sample prices and products are based on March 2000 listings. Prices will vary.