- Business Services & Support
Mac Tools is part of Stanley Black & Decker, a $12 billion global organisation employing over 30,000 people worldwide and owner of the world-famous Mac Tools, DeWALT, Facom, Britool Expert and STANLEY.
Mac Tools was founded in 1938 in the USA by seven men who wanted to manufacture the finest tools in the world. Our franchisees operate in a potential UK market of over £150 million with a 25% annual growth for three consecutive years.
The Mac Tools franchise network currently consists of over 160 franchisees in the UK. In 1990 Mac Tools expanded to the UK and since then we have grown our network nationally. Our franchisees are trusted distributors of what we consider to be the best quality tools on the market to customers such as car dealerships, automotive repair shops, manufacturing units and engineering companies.
The Mac Tools franchise package provides you with a full support team. You will have access to our Train, Launch and Coach (TLC) programme which includes:
The Mac Tools franchise is an exciting opportunity for you to enjoy work and be the master of your own destiny. A van franchise is different to other franchise options in the sense that being out on the road is a definitive lifestyle.
This lifestyle not only offers the freedom to travel your own route and the flexibility to stop at different places within your territory, but also to meet different people on a daily basis.
Neil Whitford is a franchisee for Mac Tools who covers the Skipton area, he became a franchisee back in May 2015. After a move away from where his previous business, Neil was looking for new opportunities when he came across and advert for Mac Tools.
“My career up to now has been quite varied. I started in retail and then went to work for a blue chip company in marketing as a product manager. I moved into journalism as a magazine editor in the consumer field. I progressed into an off shoot of the automotive industry demonstrating cars for Land Rover. I then started my own business distributing organic food boxes.”
“Another regular job really didn’t appeal to me again. I had a change in personal circumstances and moved away from where my previous business was based. My last business was a good opportunity at the time but not something I could replicate in a new area. As soon as I saw the advert for Mac Tools, I knew it was right for me – it didn’t take a lot of research for me to know that it could work for me.”
For Neil, Mac Tools provided everything he wanted out of a business.
“I didn’t want to work for somebody else. I wanted to be in control of my own business, so for me, Mac Tools just ticked so many boxes. It didn’t require a huge amount of initial capital investment and it worked with my circumstances at the time. I was able to get into an established network with very little initial capital outlay. I didn’t look at any other businesses because Mac Tools fitted exactly what I wanted. I liked the sound of the business and what it stands for.”
Mac Tools provide training and ongoing support for all of their franchisees. Neil learnt everything he needed to know and more from the 2 week training course they provide over at their head offices in Sheffield, and for anything else the Mac Tools team are never more than a phone call a way for advice and support he may need for the business.
“For my initial training I did the 2-week residential course at head office. The training was excellent, thorough and extremely rewarding. Every step of the process contributed to me thinking that I’d made the right move. Everything was positive and I came away feeling that I had the information I needed to get started.”
“The support has been very positive from both regional managers and the rest of the network. There are aspects that could be improved. The franchisees are a huge resource in terms of their experience which isn’t exploited or shared.”
“I was very nervous initially but the first couple of weeks are spent with an Area Manager so you have someone stood next to you. After the first week the nerves wear once you’ve got sales and you’ve met friendly and receptive people. Your confidence builds and by the end of the second week you’re ready to get out there and do things your own way.”
“I’m very pleased with the business now. I’m 12 months in and the business is growing well. I’m now reaching customers who were initially resistant but who are now on board and supporting the business.”
“If you have the confidence in your ability to run your own business, don’t be afraid if you don’t have the specialist knowledge in that particular field. That’s not critical, you just need the confidence in yourself to build a business.”
“I want to pursue a steady growth without it absorbing a lot of my time in return. I’m happy with the financial risk and growing the business. From a personal point of view, I want to continue at this level for the next 10 years, it will leave me in a position to retire comfortably.”
Anthony Halsey, who joined Mac Tools in November 2015, with his franchise in Paignton, is a qualified mechanic. He had worked his way up to workshop control manager, in fact cars are his life he is a self –confessed petrol head who has always been in the motor trade. He had been looking for a chance to run his own business.
As a mechanic Anthony had known about the Mac Tools franchise for a considerable time and knew almost immediately that was what he wanted to do.
“I got to a point where I wanted to do something for myself and after looking at a few different options I decided to choose Mac Tools. I was nervous to begin with but really didn’t need to be; I started with 10-15 garages and now I visit 25-30 per day.”
“Mac Tools was the ideal choice for me because I know what the guys want and understands the technical terms of the jobs. Because I have been in the motor industry all my working life my knowledge of mechanics work enables me to give advice. I can identify the tools they need to meet their requirements and sometimes I can see if I can sell them something to make their lives easier.”
“My advice to potential franchisees is to make sure it’s for you. It’s a lot of money to invest if it’s not the right opportunity for you. Go out with someone on their van to get a good feel for how the day to day running of the business is and to make sure that it will be suitable.”
Mac Tools is part of Stanley Black & Decker, the world’s largest hand and power tool manufacturer, a $12 billion global organisation. They are full members of the British Franchise Association (bfa) and their offering is a combination of a tool franchise and a van franchise. Franchisees are trusted distributors of what are considered to be the best quality tools on the market to customers such as car dealerships, automotive repair shops, manufacturing units and engineering companies.
Mac Tools know that not all franchisees have experience as mechanics or knowledge of their range of tools so recognise the important of offering comprehensive training for franchisees. Although Anthony had experience as a mechanic, he still needed training in the tools on offer at Mac Tools and their sales systems.
“I spent 2 weeks at Head Office in Sheffield undergoing the training, which is suberb. I have enjoyed the ongoing support of the franchise. I can’t fault them. Ongoing there’s always someone at the end of the phone, such as customer services, the tech team or the franchise team and they always answer your call.”
In addition to the training on offer at Mac Tools, franchisees also have access to a network of other like-minded business owners who are out on the road running the same business. Anthony has found this to be an invaluable part of running his business.
“It’s a bit like family and we all help each other. It’s nice to know you’re not the only one out there.”
“I chose a franchise opportunity because of being able to run my own business but with the added support provided by Mac Tools. It’s more about the freedom for me and the chance to enjoy my kids while they are younger. I enjoy the flexibility that working for myself provides. The financial benefits are good and the business has grown quickly for me.”
“My plans for the future are to continue to growing my business. I love it and I wouldn’t change it. I can see where it’s going and where I am. It was 100% the right choice. I might even get a second van and try to beat the competition.”
Alan Johnson joined the Mac Tools family in September 2015. Alan spent most of his working life as a mechanic, but has also had stints as a telecom engineer and a radio communications engineer. After working in his last job for a few years, Alan decided it was time for a new challenge. When he saw that Mac Tools offered a franchising option, he knew immediately that it was the right option for him.
“Mac Tools felt like the the perfect opportunity for me because I had the product knowledge from being a mechanic previously and I had used Mac Tools as a customer a number of times before. I’ve been purchasing Mac Tools for well over 20 years now. I just happened to be on the Mac Tools website when I saw that they were offering it as a franchise. It only took me a couple of weeks after making first contact to opt in with them.”
Having worked for himself in the past, he knew how hard it can be to find business and build up a reputation for yourself. For Alan, buying into a franchise was a much more attractive option.
“Having worked as a mobile mechanic for myself in the past - I know how tough it can be and how it can sometimes be a struggle to find business for yourself. When I started to look for new opportunities, I was looking to go back into self-employment of some sort and franchising seemed like the best route for me to follow. You know that you’re starting with a known product and a reputable brand so you have credibility from the get go, plus all the major marketing is more or less done for you which takes a lot of things off my plate to help me focus on building my business.“
The main priority for Alan with his new business venture was the flexible nature of the business allowing him to fit it around his lifestyle and his family.
“More than anything, when I joined Mac Tools, I knew I wanted a better life for me and my family. I wanted the flexibility of working for myself, as well as the ability to work around my family when I need to. I’m now happier in myself and I enjoy the job on a day to day basis. I also make a good wage to top it all off!”
Alan was impressed by the training and support that Mac Tools provided him when he first started, and has found their ongoing support reassuring as he knows it’s there whenever he needs it.
“For my training I went out on a couple of van rides with a few of Mac Tools’ existing franchisees. I was also required to complete the two-week training course in Sheffield at the Mac Tools headquarters, which I found very useful. They cover a lot of ground over the two weeks so it’s quite intense, but you come out at the end with all the skills and knowledge necessary for when you go out on the road.”
“In terms of support, if I’m ever in need of any I can contact my Regional Manager. Personally, I only really make contact with him when I really need to. Most of the time I like to try to cope with most problems myself because I like to be in control of my own business. If I work the issue out myself I’ll remember how to deal with it in future. But it’s nice to know they’re there if ever I get stuck with anything.”
Alan is overall really pleased with how the business has been going for him, and is looking to expand in the near future.
“After initially feeling excited but anxious about it all, I’m very pleased with how things have turned out and I definitely made the right decision in choosing Mac Tools. If I ever got the chance to purchase a Mac Tools franchise again I definitely would. It works the way it should and it‘s straight forward. If you put the hours in there’s money to be made.”
“As long as you do the maths and be sure to carry yourself through the first three months when money is tight, you won’t regret it! Be sure to go the extra mile to keep building your business. I recently set up a Facebook page for the business where I can let customers know about any promotions I may have on, as well as drumming up interest for new products - it has done very well for me.”
“I’m now hopefully planning to have a second van in my territory, as I still think there’s room to grow. So I’ll be able to employ another person to assist with that.”
Germaine Ash became a Mac Tools franchisee in March 2015. Based in Redditch, Worcestershire, Germaine comes from a background of engineering and design and also holds a degree in Industrial Design. After a run of previous jobs she didn’t enjoy and starting her own business, Germaine made the decision to become a franchisee. Since then, Mac Tools has provided Germaine with the flexibility to fit her work in and around her personal life and the extra support and training which she wouldn’t have received in starting her own business.
“Before starting with Mac Tools I’d previously worked as a design engineer, with gaming & quiz machines. I then decided to start my own business and found it really tricky! I found Mac Tools while looking for an alternative career path and they just seemed to tick all the boxes. I wanted the extra support but also to keep autonomy of my working life which was why I ended up going with Mac Tools.”
“The flexibility and generous living that the Mac Tools business provides was a big part of the appeal for me. Being able to fully fit my work around child care needs and even allowing me to take my dog with me in the van is a massive help!”
“Although Mac Tools offered me training and support in their business model, I knew a lot about the business side of things from running my own business previously although this is not a requirement when joining Mac Tools.. I also had a good knowledge of tools and what’s involved with this area of work from past experience.”
Mac Tools were founded in 1938 over in the U.S.A, and expanded over to the U.K in 1990 and now have more than 130 franchises in the U.K. Mac Tools became part of the world’s largest tools manufacturer Stanley Black and Decker in 1980, who provide industrial tools and security products all around the world. They have a net worth of around $14.07 billion. Mac Tools franchises are distributors of what are generally considered as the best quality tools on the market and provide these tools to a variety of businesses and individuals.
“The idea of working with the most trusted tool manufacturer in the world was a big plus to me, I’m familiar with the products they provide and that they have around 130 franchises in operation around the U.K alone so they know what they are doing.”
“It took a while before I came round to purchasing the Mac Tools franchise as I first had to sort out initial arrangements and I wanted to make sure this as a whole was right for me. The main worry for me when first purchasing the franchise was cost, as it can be a significant investment. I then discovered that Mac Tools provides a finance package to help with that. This is a great perk, as not many other franchises provide that kind of service.”
“The franchise package they provide you with in the end is more than worth the initial cost. Mac Tools provides ongoing training and allows you to operate under their brand which is great for reputability and support from a marketing perspective such as free of charge promotional materials and access to exclusive brand recognition deals.”
With the business now going very well, Germaine is positive for the future.
“I really love what I do now, I’m incredibly happy that I decided to purchase the Mac Tools franchise.
I’ve being living very comfortably since doing so. I love the social aspect of my job, being able to go out and talk to a wide variety of people is great and adds another layer of enjoyment to my work.
”My plan for the future is to carry on with Mac Tools for maybe another 10 years or so up retirement, and then kick back to goat farming!”
Another Mac Tools franchisee completes his first 12 months on the road using skills gained in a previous career to enhance his thriving business.
“Getting my new van is really like a big boy’s toy shop and meeting so many new people is great,” is how Jonathan Rochead talks about the highlights of his first year on the road with his Mac Tools franchise. He continues saying with a smile, “Having a Mac Tools franchise is as good as you want to make it.”
Like so many others who have taken the leap into self-employment with the support of a big business by choosing a Mac Tools franchise, Jonathan has changed his life for the better. While there are plenty of Mac Tools franchisees who join the brand having spent their working lives in garages there are an equal number like Jonathan who, prior to joining the brand, have had no experience in the field. In Jonathan’s case, he had spent the past 12 years of his working life as a contracts manager for a sports construction company. Explaining why he decided to leave that life behind and join Mac Tools he simply says, “I wanted to be in control of my future.”
Evidence of just how much control he has over his future now is clear as he explains, “There’s so much less stress in my life now, or should I say a different sort of stress – a positive one that motivates me when I wake up each morning. I relish being able to make decisions that have a direct effect on my business, it’s so rewarding. Obviously I’m human and I don’t get it right every time, but even if I feel I’ve made a mistake, I treat it as an opportunity to learn and improve going forward.”
Thankfully, mistakes are a rare occurrence for Jonathan thanks to his past experience as a contracts manager where he has been heavily involved with sales and customer service. As a result, he recognises the importance of providing a high level of customer focus where, even if a mistake is made, it is quickly rectified, ensuring that the relationship remains strong. Given the way he talks so happily about his customer interactions, it is clear that the garage and workshop technicians he deals with on a daily basis appreciate the effort Jonathan puts into keeping them serviced.
It is not just Jonathan’s past work experience that has made his first 12 months with Mac Tools so successful, as he is quick to point out just how good the support he gets from the business is. “Mac Tools has a great customer service team that is always there to help and point you in the right direction. As more Mac Men hit the road it’s good to know Stanley Black & Decker is investing in more staff to keep up the fantastic level of backroom support.”
Knowing that there is great back-up when he needs it no doubt accounts for Jonathan’s willingness to work hard to make his franchise such as success. Talking about a typical working day he says, “My days are long, but that’s all I’ve ever known throughout my working life. Normally, I’m up at 5.00am and in the office by 6.00am. As a Mac Man, on four days of the week, I’m on the road by about 8-8.30am so that I can make my first call by 9.00am. However, on Wednesdays, I have an early start when my first call is 07.30am.
“For most of my days my last call is around 5.00pm, but on a Friday evening, I do call on mostly commercial garages that run late or that have night shifts. I really enjoy this as I’ve been around trucks from a very young age and I think the guys do appreciate seeing a tool van, especially as I’m the only one some of them on permanent nights get to see.
“When I arrive home it’s normally in for tea and then back to the van or the store to restock and check my deliveries for a couple of hours. Most nights I have a least an hour in the office at the end of the day.”
From Jonathan’s comments, it may seem like the hours he works are very long and he is quick to acknowledge this with some advice for anyone considering following his example. “The best piece of advice I’d like to pass on is, ‘Don’t fill every day of the week to the max from the start.’ I know from experience that you’ll get busier and time will be tight if you want to see most of the good garages every week. I’d love to have two or three hours one day a week spare. I’d use that time to organise toolbox deals or demo diagnostics equipment as this is the sort of thing that can really make your time tight on a normal day. But of course, you are your own boss so you can make your day as long as you like, especially as it doesn’t feel like work in the traditional sense,” he concludes with a laugh.
Claudio Zanobini runs the Mac Tools franchise in Exeter after working in the motor trade for many years. His specialism in retail sales means that he is fully equipped to deal with the professional customers he sees every day. Here, Claudio gives an insight into his franchise journey, and why Mac Tools was the business opportunity for him:
“I have worked in the automotive industry for a number of years. I did 25 years with Kwik-Fit after starting as a YTS trainee and then progressing to divisional director with the responsibility of running 127 branches and managing 750 personnel. I became fed up with the day-to-day hassle of senior management, so I sought an intermediary position as a regional sales manager with Nationwide Autocentre (now known as Halfords) until I found another option that suited my changing priorities.
“I decided to stay within the motor trade because that is what I am used to and I enjoy dealing with the public because I’m good with people. Likewise, I felt that I had reached a stage in my life where the quality of life was more important than financial needs. I didn’t want to work for anyone, but I also knew that I wasn’t bothered about the hassle of setting up on my own. A franchise option therefore became a good solution because it offered the security of a big name behind me and had the benefits of advertising and marketing support.
“I’d had a number of interviews with a competitor of Mac Tools and had even been accepted as a franchisee. Then I found out that they didn’t have any suitable territories available. They seemed very complacent as though I was willing to wait forever, so I spoke to Paul Clegg (Mac Tools UK recruitment manager) and arranged a meeting with him… in less than a week, I’d handed in my notice.
“The initial training took place over 5 days at the head office and European Headquarters in Sheffield, and was followed by 10 days at the Mac Tool School in Ohio, USA. There was training given about products, sales, computer software, and health and safety. When I launched my Exeter-based territory in June 2010, I felt well-prepared for the journey ahead.
“Ongoing support has been equally fantastic. Mac Tools hold annual Toolfairs where the entire tool categories are displayed with specialists on hand to help. At these franchisee events I have attended additional training seminars about sales and diagnostic equipment to ensure my knowledge is up-to-date with the latest innovations. Help and advice is always available on the phone if required too.”
Claudio has dual nationality because of his Italian heritage. He lives with his wife and has two grown-up daughters, enjoys watching football and is a member of Manchester United FC, but keeps an eye on motorsports too. “I’m not a dedicated fan of motorsports but I will occasionally watch Moto GP and Formula 1 so I have something to discuss with customers,” he said. “You often find keen enthusiasts on your route, so it’s important to have common ground on which to build a conversation. Anyone who naturally shares that interest will find it to be a great advantage for their customer relationships.
“My recommendation for anyone looking to buying a franchise for the first time is not to dilly dally. Don’t be too cautious unless there’s something particularly important stopping you, such as finances. If you are an overly-cautious person, you won’t be successful in this role. You have to be full-on, just go for it and get stuck in – it’s worth it and the Mac Tools franchise opportunity really is a good one.
“It’s great to find that there is life after the mundane day-to-day work that many people get involved in. I’m already planning to put another van on my territory in order to maximise the business potential, and then hopefully retire when I’m 60!”
John Booth has worked in franchising before with Amtrak, as well as running his own courier business for 15 years. He decided he was ready for a change when he felt he was enjoying his work less and the stress of employing and managing so many staff became more evident.
John takes up his story: “I thought I might struggle to get another job at this stage in my life but I knew I was ready for a different challenge. My brother was an existing Mac Tools franchisee in the north of England and was doing really well financially so that gave me confidence in the idea. The company seemed to have a sound business model and, as well as doing a bit more research, I also happened to meet the guy who owns what would have been the adjoining territory to mine. He and his girlfriend were Mac Tools distributors and told me more about the franchise opportunity.
“Having owned a franchise before, I already appreciated the benefits it offers as opposed to building a new business from scratch. Franchising means you have a big brand behind you and ongoing support for different aspects of the business such as product knowledge, sales and training development.”
John was more than happy with the endorsements he received from more of the existing franchisees that he contacted and went on to launch his own territory in Falkirk during February 2010. His initial training consisted of 3 weeks at both the Stanley Black & Decker European Headquarters in Sheffield and at the Mac ‘Tool School’ in Ohio, USA where he learnt about all the different products. There was then another week of training in Sheffield to plan for his individual territory launch.
Asked about the merits of franchising, John said: “My advice to anyone who is thinking about buying their first franchise would be to remember that you get out of it what you put in; if you work hard and can be reliable, that is the most important thing for your customers.”
Now in his third year as a Mac Tools distributor, John will tell you that all that matters to him is for his business to be running properly and earning him the living he requires. What modest John probably won’t tell you, however, is that despite only being in his third year, he is already a very successful Mac Tools distributor – based on exceptional performance that he sees as ‘just doing his job’.
In 2010, John won the Rookie of the Year award for excellent sales during his first year. He also won the Franchisee of the Year award which compares the entire UK franchise network based on their sales, turnover and performance. This is the top award that Mac Tools present to their franchisees and for John resulted in an all-expenses paid holiday to Las Vegas, an American-style Superbowl ring for himself and a matching pendant for his wife, £2000 of high street vouchers, 1% payback of all his purchases, the best room in the hotel for two nights during the award ceremony, and a trophy.
John reiterates however that anyone can achieve these commendations: “If you work hard, are regular and reliable for your customers, I can’t see it failing. I put in a lot of hard work and effort to get the rewards. I also have my wife supporting me throughout, which is a big element because I don’t think I could do it without her help.”
In 2011, John went on to win the Top Toolbox Seller award, the Top Performer of the Year award, and the Franchisee of the Year award for the second time. He and his wife were given another reward package with a holiday in Nashville, Tennessee.
Moving forward, John’s plans are simple: “I want to continue developing my area and perhaps expand by setting up another van. When you run a good territory, there is scope for that so I definitely want to consider the potential.”
Given the choice of either being at home at the end of every working day or having to spend an average of three nights a week in a hotel, most people would surely take the first option. It was this choice that led Nigel Hammond to become a Mac Tools franchise holder over five years ago.
Before Nigel became a part of the Mac Tools family of franchisees he was a national accounts manager for a large scale trailer manufacturer. In that role, he was responsible for 30 distributors and 40 key accounts across the south of England. However, all that time on the road servicing those accounts meant many nights away from home. “I was constantly travelling, averaging three nights a week away in a hotel,” explains Nigel. “This was taking its toll and I wanted a role where I had a better work-life balance, ideally working for myself if possible.”
This search for a career that would give him a better quality of life led Nigel to consider taking on a franchise. “I was looking at several potential jobs and businesses, and after many long discussions with my wife, we felt that Mac Tools offered the best opportunity. I was keen to work for myself but with the backing that an international operation like Mac Tools offers, it was an easy decision to make.”
His decision to join Mac Tools as a franchise holder was immediately rewarded as he was able to spend every night at home with his family. The benefits of becoming a Mac Man are far greater than that for Nigel though. “It’s also fun running your own business and making your own commercial decisions rather than doing so for someone else in their business,” he says with a laugh.
Having been a national accounts manager before he joined Mac Tools, Nigel was used to spending time on the road and meeting different people on a daily basis. These were skills which stood him in good stead when he first got behind the wheel of his Mac Tools van. He has other experience which he has brought to his new venture, as he says, “I have a fairly good understanding of accounts and this helped with the initial business planning as well as managing the costs and growth of my franchise. Working for large corporate entities in the past has also helped me to understand some of the constraints that the Mac Team have to work within and I think this helps me to be a better franchisee.”
Solid business skills, like those Nigel has, are certainly an advantage for anyone starting a Mac Tools franchise, but there are other areas where people’s experience or previous careers can be helpful as Nigel himself is keen to acknowledge. “When I first left college I was an apprentice mechanic, this led to me qualifying as a plant machinery mechanic and then becoming workshop controller. Having a good knowledge of tools certainly helps when it comes to selling them. When I’m talking to technicians in workshops I not only understand their needs, but also the challenges they face on a daily basis. Having that little extra bit of knowledge can make the difference when it comes to getting the sale.”
Having a great skillset and a workshop background no doubt helps when first going on the road as a Mac Man but, as Nigel points out, because Mac Tools operates as a franchise programme there is always support there when it’s needed. “The support Mac Tools provides is excellent.
“After the initial training, I had a sales manager with me on the road for the first two weeks which was fantastic and Mac Tools still offers this, so if you’re at all unsure about anything when you first start, you’ve got the support you need right there. The Mac Tools team has a route planned for your workshop visits, so from day one you set off and do the job rather than sitting there with your head in your hands wondering what to do first.
“It’s still a big challenge going solo for the first time, but the sales guys are always on hand to offer help and support,” Nigel adds reassuringly.
Having now been on the road for over five years, Nigel has plenty of experience that he is willing to share with those considering joining the Mac family. His first offering is a word of caution. “Do not go into a franchise thinking this is an easy ‘get rich quick’ scenario. A Mac Tools franchise is a way of life but it is hard work too. Having said that, you get out what you put in. The harder you work the greater the rewards. I say it’s a way of life as the hours on the road, backed by the additional hours spent working on the business back at home mean it’s not a 9-5 style job - you really do live the experience.”
Nigel may initially make it sound like hard work, but for him, operating the franchise has brought great results. When asked what the best thing about being a Mac Tools franchisee is, he doesn’t hesitate before answering, “Working for myself and running all aspects of my own business.” He then goes on to elaborate on how his hard work has paid off. “I’ve seen my sales grow over the last five years and I’ve increased my customer base from a healthy number of referrals as well as my own efforts.”
It is not just personal rewards that Nigel is now reaping either, as he says, “I was voted onto the Mac Tools Franchise Council which I feel helps me give something back to Mac Tools as well as helping to shape the future for all franchisees.”
Nigel’s election to the Mac Tools Franchise Council was no doubt helped not only by his own hard work but also by Mac Tools’ recognition of his dedication which has seen him win two gold and two silver franchisee awards.
To get a better idea of what needs to be done to make a success of being a Mac Man, Nigel talks about a typical day. “I begin quite early and check my emails while having my breakfast. It’s then a case of getting out on the road around 8:00, ready to make my first garage visit by 8:30. At each workshop I visit I demonstrate the new tools while ensuring any concerns are dealt with. I have a set route that I follow each day, which ensures I can offer a regular, reliable and professional tool service.
“I tend to take a short lunch break and use that time between garage visits to check my emails and catch up with any calls. Then it’s back on the road - even then I’m always looking for any potential new accounts along the route.
“It isn’t just about selling tools when I’m out visiting technicians and mechanics as I promote tool boxes and workshop equipment as well as hand tools. I also carry out credit checks for higher value capital items when necessary and I have to manage customers’ expectations if they fail to meet the criteria.”
Once he has finished all of his garage visits, Nigel still has work to do, including checking in any deliveries from Mac Tools, restocking his van and preparing any warranty returns. After five years this part of the day is now simply another part of the job.
Nigel is aware that it sounds like he works long hours and accepts this, but he goes on to say, “Having been involved with Mac Tools for over five years, I can honestly say that if I knew then what I know now, I would still have become a franchisee. I believe Mac Tools wants us to succeed with our franchises and it does what it can to help. However, at the end of the day, it’s down to each individual to make a success of their own business. All the necessary support, training and tools you need are provided, so you really do have a great opportunity,” he concludes.
Julian Strauss was all done with work, he’d even retired. But when that got a bit boring in May 2011, he decided that a new business challenge would be the perfect thing to keep him occupied.
Having worked at different levels in various areas of the automotive industry, Julian was already well-informed about the notion of becoming a franchisee – a form of franchising is common for car dealerships. As well as liking the idea of being in charge of his own destiny, working for a reputable company and a secure brand also offered all the credentials he needed.
Asked if making the move into franchising was an easy decision, Julian said: “For me it really was. In fact I think the entire thought process took about 10 minutes! I’d been considering another company to buy a franchise with for a long time, but the application process dragged on and on. In the end, they told me that I couldn’t have a territory in the area I wanted, so it was instantly game over as far as I was concerned. My partner then found information about Mac Tools on the bfa website whilst researching other potential franchises.
“When I contacted Mac Tools, the first question I asked was if I could get a territory in Thurrock. For me, this was essential. I didn’t want to be travelling miles every day and getting home late – don’t get me wrong, I was looking forward to working hard, but it needed to be on my terms. Once I knew the territory was available, there were only a few questions I needed to ask to clarify things in my mind, but I was pretty much set.”
Julian has two grown-up children and enjoys sailing his yacht when he gets chance. His partner is an avid horse rider, with Julian proving to be a reliable stable-hand after choosing to no longer participate himself. He does saddle up in another way however – on his Harley Davidson.
Julian has a BSc (hons) degree from Loughborough University in Automotive Retail Management which has provided fundamental knowledge throughout his work.
“Originally I hadn’t been looking to buy a franchise at all; I had been considering buying and running my own garage,” he said. “It wasn’t until my friend, who has his own garage, asked why I would want to come out of retirement and worry about all that, like dealing with staff wages and so on. Why didn’t I just find something that looked after me? I realised he was right, and that reinforced the attraction of a franchise.
“Franchising in general is good as long as you pick an established brand because all the groundwork is done for you and you’re just latching onto their tried-and-tested methods. I would recommend making sure you have enough money saved to pay for living costs while you set up your franchise to give yourself time to generate a comfortable living.
“Do your market research and look at your personal circumstances, what would be your worst case scenario? I’m doing alright, and I’m enjoying it. I’m out all day and barely do 50 miles worth of travelling. The Mac Tools business model is good, and based on the potential income, it pays for itself. When you first start out, Mac Tools provide you with about 150 contacts in the area and suggested routes. The brands more or less sell themselves though, so most products are easy to sell if you know how to approach it.
“Now I’m settled into my routine, I think I definitely made the right decision to pick Mac Tools over other companies. I see myself as a bit of a maverick, and Mac Tools allows me the freedom to run my franchise, my way. I’m very happy to be doing something I enjoy, and I know there’s always excellent support available if I need it. The Mac Tools training strategy is very good and they’ve paid a lot of attention to detail – I’m a firm supporter of staff development.
“My plans for the future are to keep working on my territory as there are still areas that I don’t get a chance to visit. I’d like to step-up a second van if the economy improves because I think the territory is big enough to support an expansion plan. Otherwise, I’m just enjoying being a Mac Tools man, so I don’t plan to retire again just yet.”