From the November 1998 issue of Startups

Americans love their trucks--big, sturdy and ready to haul everything from the family groceries to landscaping equipment. But all this use can translate into a scratched, dinged or even rusted-out truck bed.

Enter Rhino Linings USA Inc., a 10-year-old, San Diego-based company that pioneered sprayed-on polyurethane truck bed linings. The linings, form a watertight, airtight seal, so truck beds not only resist impact and corrosion but insulate against road vibrations as well.

Rhino Linings offers two different opportunities, depending on your budget. If you already own an auto-related business, you can add The RhinoCast Silver System to your company for a $5,000 investment. The package includes both corporate and on-site training (four days total), participation in Rhino's marketing and advertising lead generation programs, basic promotional items, and the spray system and accessories needed to install the truck-bed linings. Technical support is available through a toll-free phone number.

To start a stand-alone Rhino Linings business, you can purchase the Full-Color RhinoCast System for $35,000. The package includes everything in the Silver package, as well as additional chemicals and equipment, a tool kit (wrenches, vise grips, etc.), an application accessories package, and a starter set of pigments and primers for creating standard and custom colors.

For more information, call (800)?22-2603 or fax (619)?50-6881.

Learning Curve

Stay-at-home parents seeking additional income may find Discovery Toys Inc. has what they're looking for. A multilevel marketing firm selling educational toys, games, books and software, Discovery Toys offers a homebased, part-time opportunity. "Educational consultants," or ECs, network among their friends and associates to set up hostess demonstrations where customers can ask questions about the products, test the merchandise and place orders with an EC.

For an initial investment of $99 to $228 (depending on the number of sample products ordered), ECs receive order forms, a training manual and sample merchandise. Discovery Toys also refers new ECs to an established EC for mentoring and assistance for the first few months.

The toys and other merchandise are designed for children's developmental stages from infancy to sixth grade. "In addition to [realizing] earnings potential, you're helping children [learn]," says Janice Kendig-Mazibrook, Discovery Toys' vice president of sales.

For details, call (800)?26-4777 or visit http://www.discoverytoysinc.com

Home Team

Everyone could use some help, especially when it comes to home repairs. With dual-income families the norm these days, few people have time to do more than pick a name from the phone book when searching for, say, a plumber or a painter. But who wants to entrust their home--and possibly thousands of dollars--to someone whose references they don't have time to verify?

Such concerns made the home repair referral service a profitable cottage industry for Debra M. Cohen, founder of Home Remedies of NY Inc. in Hewlett, New York. Started in February 1997, the business has proved so successful that Cohen is now offering her expertise and proven methods as a business opportunity, the Homeowner Referral Network Business Package, for an investment of $2,995.

Purchasers receive Cohen's book, A Complete Guide To Owning And Operating A Successful Home Referral Network; a starter set of all the forms necessary to run the business for the first three months; and eight hours of telephone consultations.

"Between the learning curve and consultations with lawyers, insurance agents [and others], it cost me $5,000 to start this business," says Cohen. "If you're coming into the business cold, my program can save you time and money."

For more information, call (516) 374-8504 or visit http://www.homeownersreferral.com