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Jeez brings the hardware store to your own home.

A man stands at the open side door of his Sprinter in front of a warehouse

Never carry home a bucket of paint again: with its Sprinter fleet, the start-up, Jeez, provides home handymen and DIY renovators with brushes, paint covers and rollers – and even delivers them to the fifth floor. Professional advice from the Jeez experts is all part of the service.

Jeez: “Design where you live”.

The Jeez warehouse is a hive of activity: Robin talks on the phone while he walks through the aisles examining the goods. He picks out buckets of paint, covers and rollers with practised ease and loads them into the bright green Jeez Sprinter before he disappears into Darmstadt’s commuter traffic. Hardware stores are often located on the outskirts of town. This makes for a long drive, especially in major cities. Then there is the problem of navigating your way through the innumerable aisles while keeping an eye on the prices. This inspired Robin Lanzer to provide an alternative with his start-up. Jeez’s mission: to offer customers added-value for their interior design through advice and service while delivering high-quality articles at typical hardware store prices. The hardware store on wheels either drives to the customers at home or directly to the building site when visiting commercial customers.

A man stands in a warehouse with a tablet, looking off to the side with a critical gaze

Robin regularly checks the stocks so that he can resupply in time.

Everything from a single source.

Currently, the Jeez pros make deliveries to between eight and fifteen customers per day. Customers who already know what they want for their DIY project simply order their selection online via the website and arrange an appointment for the delivery. The van arrives with the right range of additional articles, based on the category. If the customer has forgotten anything, they can purchase any of 2000 articles directly from the van. “We not only carry customers’ buckets of paint up to the fifth floor but also all of the other articles that we have in our product range.” If customers also need advice in addition to the delivery, all they have to do is click on the pink button on the Jeez website to request a consultant. The consultants visit the customers at home, free of charge. “Our consulting service covers every area of work and all of the articles that we have in our product range – Thanks our Jeez experts’ training, their years of experience at hardware stores and their familiarity with the entire product spectrum.”

Jeez belongs to the category ‘Digital meets the real world’: We are digitally accessible at any time and from anywhere. But we visit our customers personally.
A man holds a colour fan and a woman points to a red tone

The Jeez experts see the situation on site and can provide help and advice.

From chemical laboratory technician to start-up founder.

But how do you end up launching a mobile hardware store? “The main reason was that I have been involved in the hardware store sector since the beginning of my career.” Robin initially trained as a chemical laboratory technician. After then studying business administration, he completed an internship at a leading German paint manufacturer. He worked there in sales for many years. Eventually he thought: why not start a company with a paint truck offering all of the necessary accessories? The idea for his start-up was born. “Thanks to my position in sales, I had the necessary network which gave me the access needed to provide Jeez with a solid and sustainable start and expand the company step by step.” The concept ultimately developed into a mobile hardware store which he launched with two partners in 2016.

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Robin's ultimate tips for launching a start-up:

  1. Never give up and remain persistent: Start is always difficult. Persistence and determination are essential.
  2. Give things time, even when the end of the month is approaching. Sometimes you have to be creative to make things happen when times are tight. But it is worthwhile in the end!
  3. Allow room for mistakes: Do not work with the aim of growing the start-up without any mistakes. Instead of waiting, put things into practice, try things out, test and even do things wrong. Then learn from your mistakes and try not to repeat them.
  4. “Stay hungry. Stay foolish.” In the words of Steve Jobs. Always be hungry to learn more, and always be curious and open for changes.
  5. Teamwork: When selecting employees, focus on a positive mentality. Because optimism pays off in the end.

  • Someone holding fanned out colour cards
  • A bucket of paint in a paint mixing machine
  • View of the interior of a Sprinter with an integrated paint mixer
  • A man hands a tradesman a roll of adhesive tape out of a van

Delivery service up to the fifth floor.

One thing sets Jeez apart: “We have a different relationship with customers because we are there on site.” The ability to imagine one’s own home while at the hardware store amounts to about 30 to 40%. On site, the Jeez experts can ensure just how a particular colour or tile would look in the customer’s own four walls. One thing often leads to the next, explains Robin: “The scope of orders based on trust is orders of magnitude higher than in a hardware store. The fact that we stock material and carry it all the way up is another service.” Yet even a sophisticated concept is not safe from initial difficulties. “You start from nothing and first have to establish a customer base. At the same time, you have to maintain staff and cover your operating costs.” Jeez currently has 10 employees and is growing: “We currently add another two employees every quarter. But it will definitely take another two or three years until I no longer have to worry at the end of each quarter because everything is finally running smoothly.”

The fitted interior of a Sprinter with hardware store articles

Customised vehicle equipment and safe transport thanks to the Sortimo click system.

Thanks to the Sortimo system, the Sprinter keeps everything within reach.

A clear trend is currently developing in Europe, says the company’s founder: “The DIY market is transforming into a ‘do it for me’ market.” That is why Robin sees the greatest potential for generalists: a tradesman who is not an absolute specialist in a single field but rather serves as an all-rounder. “Customers simply want a solution. That is why we offer the Jeez Maker service.” Various subcontractors who work for Jeez cover all of the work areas in and around the house: from dry walling to landscaping, from roofing to painting. Sortimo’s portable click system enables the Jeez experts to travel with precisely the right products. They chose the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter because the click system from Sortimo best fits in the Sprinter. “And because we want to have a strong and reliable brand by our side.”

The Sortimo system provides a solid quality, protecting the goods and enabling us to transport them safely.

Competition makes the business lively.

The businessman is convinced that a lot will change for tradesmen in the next 10 years. “I think that similar concepts to ours will follow in future. When major hardware stores begin to provide mobile service, this will essentially help us by strengthening our brand.” Where does Jeez want to be in the future? “In 20 years, we want to be active throughout Europe,” answers Robin without a pause to think. The vision: to offer the best service for people who want to create their own home. “We do not want to deliver products but rather complete solutions.” That is why customers should be able to select materials as modules, have them delivered and enjoy the benefits of a complete package if they wish. “That is why I regard the service and the total package as our mission and as far more important than the pure product delivery and the diversity that we have.” Robin’s phone rings again and it is time for the next delivery. He is off again.

Two tradesmen stand in a warehouse with a bucket of paint and a paint cover

After receiving the customer’s order, the Jeez pros search for the goods in the warehouse.

Side view of a shelf in a warehouse filled with hardware store articles

Everything the DIY heart desires: The Jeez warehouse stocks articles by theme.

A man squats in an outfitted Sprinter and opens a shelf

The “Painting and renovation” van is equipped with all of the products needed for interior design.

Someone holds a tablet showing a wall painted red

Before painting begins, the desired colour tone can be tested on the wall using a special app.

A van with the side door open, showing a craftsman adhering a label to a bucket of paint

The paint mixer installed on-board lets the company fulfil customers’ colour requests right before their door.

The final mix and it will be time to paint.

A man seated in a warehouse gestures

Robin Lanzer is a hardware store expert through and through and understands the branch’s ins and outs.

Photos: Maren Wiesner

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Regardless of what job you have to tackle – the Sprinter will make your day-to-day tasks easier. And even if those tasks are weighty ones, together, you’ll move mountains. Thanks to a host of different variants and over 600 optional features, the Sprinter can meet a wide variety of requirements.

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