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Did you know that you can market mail order materials in your own area, to your own friends and co-workers without losing any money? It's easy! All you have to do is find a product, mark up the price to take care of your commission and sell it.

One of the easiest items to sell in your local area is printing. Call any print shop (Minuteman, Quik Print, Pip, etc.) and ask them the price for printing 1,000 copies of the same original (one-side). Prices will differ across the nation, but I have found the medium range to be between $60 and $90. However, most mail order printer's prices range between $20 and $30 for the same job! That's about a 50% difference even going by the lowest local rates.

Okay - now we have an idea. Let's do our preparation and I'll lead you step-by-step into the marketing of this idea. Let's stick with our example of printing. Before you begin to advertise printing services in your local area, you need to locate an honest and good mail order printer. If you don't, you will be stuck with unsatisfied customers if the order isn't right.

In order to locate a good printer, you will need to read mail order publications. Compare prices and services. Look at the quality of their advertisement. Is it professional looking? Does the printing look sloppy? Find a printer with the lowest prices but the most services. It is more important to have someone who is reliable, ships on time and never lets you down versus saving $1 per order. Three printers we recommend are

Kem's Graphics, 549 Friendship Rd, Seneca SC 29678;
JRS Printing, PO Box 2508, Calcutta OH 43920
Tom Leash, 64 W Main St, Dallastown PA 17313.

However, there are many other good ones in mail order. To get a current Big Mail of up-to-date information, write to George Norr, PO Box 70268, Salt Lake City UT 84170 or G&B Records, PO Box 10150, Terra Bella CA 93270 and request a copy of their current publications to get you started.

Once you've narrowed your company selections down to a few choice ones, you probably will want to send each of them a small order. Keep records of the date you sent each order and how long it took to get back. I would mail all my orders on the same day. This way, you would automatically know "which" printer was the fastest in shipping orders. (This fact is very important when dealing with local customers who want their order yesterday or last week.)

Now, compare the quality of the printers you have selected. Choose the best! Remember, when you deal with local customers you will have to provide the same type of commercial quality they are used to receiving locally. Even though they will be paying less, no customer should expect "less." Your business will grow if you offer the same quality for less money.

After you have selected the printer you want to use, write them a letter. Explain that you are going to market their services locally and would like to obtain their "best" price. Often times, they will discount their prices even more just to get repeat business. This brings you in more commissions.

Now, all that's left is to make yourself a price sheet listing YOUR prices (marked up from the prices your printer charges you and how much the same item sells for locally). Pass these price sheets out at work. Place on car windshields. Tack on bulletin boards. Advertise in the paper. Drop off at small business establishments. Contact people in the paper who are planning a wedding or pass out flyers in your neighborhood. When you get an order, you keep your portion of the customer's money and send the order to your printer, who normally dropships to you or your customer.

This is only one idea for selling mail order printing in your local area. There are 1,000's of other mail order products that are superior as well as a lot of talented folks who provide exceptional products that cannot be purchased at all locally! Just choose one that interests you and find a way to sell it in your neighborhood.

Another way of selling locally is by contacting Coal Publishing, 27 South 4th Ave, Highland Park NJ 08904. Start a newspaper in your area and have local businesses place advertisements. When you have secured advertisers, send the ads and payment to Coal's "Small Business Keeps America Growing" newspaper services. Copies are professionally printed and shipped back to you. Have kids and teenagers help you distribute them and you're in business. This idea can net you as much as $1,000+ per week once you build up the advertisers for it.

Selling locally is the quickest and easiest way to start a business of your own without any money. It's better than working for McDonalds. Just look around - opportunities do exist everywhere!