Mark Houston

Mark Houston - Snap-on Tools FranchiseeHow Mark Houston developed from a great employee to top performing franchisee.

You want to start a business? What do you need? - money and sometimes loads of it!

So what about the would-be franchisees who have great potential but slip through the net because they have limited access to funds? For Snap-on the answer is simple; create a means of entry that doesn’t require immediate investment.

Mark Houston is a man dedicated to his business. He has owned a Snap-on franchise for two years. However he started with the company as an employee of another franchisee. Mark explains “I had been a dental technician for 11 years, but was feeling restless. Despite being good at the job and earning good money it no longer stretched me - I needed a challenge.”

His next door neighbour was a Snap-on franchisee looking for someone to run a second van. So he discussed it with him at length and decided to take the plunge, becoming his employee working a neighbouring territory. Life was good. At last he was enjoying his working day and still earning good money.

As time passed his confidence grew and he felt increasingly capable of taking on a franchise himself. Mark explains “I had never been self employed before, but working a Snap-on Tools mobile store made me realise that I was competent and efficient. I followed the same programme that a franchisee would and I was becoming highly proficient at the job.” He felt he was already putting in enough commitment to become a proper franchisee so started to make enquiries. His franchisee employer didn’t want to lose him offering a pay rise and company car as incentive to stay as he was, but Mark was determined “I felt that if he could afford to pay me and give me these extra bonuses then it was obvious that I should take on the whole business myself”.

A territory was offered, but Mark was practical. “I asked for some time to think about it, but really I was investigating other franchises. I wanted to see if there was another business venture that would suit me better. There are some tempting franchises available, but there was always an aspect that wasn’t right. I soon realised that Snap-on Tools offered me the best opportunity”.

Mark had been an employee for two years and over that time had accumulated enough working capital to invest in his new franchise, yet he craved more. “I wanted to be my own boss so much” Mark enthuses “I had developed a taste for the business and it became my goal to wholly own my business. My Snap-on Tools Field Manager Ian Thompson was great. He sat down with me and helped me work out a business plan”.

Ian remembers “Mark was confident, he already knew the business, and was pretty sure that he’d be free of debt in the time we set.” Sure enough Mark stuck to the plan. Ian was pleased to see that the closer he got to the goal the more he pushed himself. Ian continues “Towards the end Mark thought of getting a bank loan but then he decided against it. He set himself the target of selling an additional £1,000 worth of tools every day to speed up the repayments. True to his word and all credit to him he did it.”

That was two years ago and Mark hasn’t looked back since. “I’m very proud of myself. I’ve been top franchisee in my group for the last two years, and I bought a BMW recently as a treat. A few years ago that was just a dream. My ultimate fantasy is an Aston Martin DB5, but mainly because I love those old James Bond films”. On a more realistic note mark explains “My life is great now. I plan my week so that I don’t have to work weekends. This means I get to spend time with my wife Cathy and our two boys Ben and Alex. Ben is very into his football and plays in a junior team. Alex is only three so he’s too young for that but he’s full of energy and lots of fun – ‘Asbo Alex’ we call him!”

Snap-on Tools take pride in being a premium brand offering its customers supreme quality. They offer passionate customer care and are fearless innovators. But for those who want to step into the ranks of the many franchisees who have invested in a mobile store this is a company that doesn’t let a good opportunity pass them by.So, do you still think you haven’t got enough cash?


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