A year and a half ago, Marc Leder was a junior in college wondering what he was going to do when he got out. The answer turned out to be Powercard/USA, a service providing small and medium-size companies with discounts on office equipment, car rentals, insurance, and the like.
Leder, 21, set up the service by working out deals with major suppliers whereby they would offer discounts, and he would offer their products. "I took it basically industry by industry," he says. "I think the first company was Liberty Mutual Insurance. The second was Xerox. Once I broke the ice, I could go to other companies and say, 'Xerox is doing it. If you're not going to, I'll get someone else in your industry who will."
He eventually managed to line up more than a dozen products and services, including Avis car rentals, Jartran truck and trailer rentals, Litton office products, Standard Register business forms and printing, Sony dictation machines, and Xerox computers. Discounts range from 7% (on Compucorp word processors) to 40% (on rooms at Ramada and Quality Inns).
In order to receive the discounts, a company has to buy a Powercard/USA membership for $75 per year. (Additional cards cost $2.50 each.) The member then presents the card when making the purchase and receives the discount on the spot.
Leder has begun marketing the card through trade associations. He says the response so far has been excellent, considering that he did not formally launch the service until the end of June -- about the same time he was getting his college diploma.