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Janzer Architectural Products

Help enhance home exteriors by selling specialty mailboxes and porcelain signs.

Company name: Janzer Architectural Products

Description: Dealer of specialty mailboxes and porcelain address signs for residential exteriors

Year company began: 1980

Number of dealers: 403

Start-up costs: $1,800 to purchase sample products at cost from Janzer; about $5,000 for advertising and booth rentals at conventions, home and garden shows, and other events.

Contact: www.janzer.com; (800) 232-7522

When Tom Janzer's wife asked him to pick up a new mailbox one day back in 1980, he had no idea it would lead him to start a successful business that now has several hundred dealers. After scouring many hardware stores, he came to the conclusion that the mailbox market was filled with plain, boring choices and decided to custom-build his own. Soon, people were arriving on his doorstep asking where they could purchase a mailbox like his. Already thinking of starting a family-run business, the light bulb went off for Janzer and his newfound talent spawned Janzer Corp., which sells architectural products.

With the current strong economy, luxuries like home beautification are on the rise. In fact, Janzer's business has experienced a 26- to 31-percent increase every year since he began. Business only slows in February, when the ground freezes in some areas and holes for the mailbox posts can't be dug. "Our products are like an extension of egos, people trying to make a statement," says Janzer. "The appearance of homes seems to be very competitive. More important, the product does most of the selling."

Your target clientele will consist mostly of middle and upper-middle class homeowners who take the time and care to decorate their homes, especially women homeowners who are looking to improve their home's exterior appearance. Day-to-day activities include handling phone calls, making sales calls to homeowners and architects, and attending events where the products can be displayed so you can spread your name and garner sales.

Janzer Corp. provides personalized support by walking you through any questions or problem areas, and showing you how to close a sale. It's an opportunity that can breathe fresh air into your life because as Janzer says, "You can make money, be outdoors, be able to talk to people and be proud of your work because as you drive around the neighborhood, you can see it right there."

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