If you want to become a hand tool distributor, there are some organizations such as Matco Tools, Mac tools, and Snap On that provide you with that opportunity. These organizations allow you to become a franchise and you normally have to pay a fee up front for your inventory and merchandise as well as pay for operating the truck you will need. As a tool distributor, you will frequent mechanic shops such as automobile dealerships, auto repair shops, back yard mechanics, and other places that mechanics work to sell them tools.
As a tool distributor, you have to be able to service your mechanic accounts regularly. A lot of times, they will need tools repaired, and sometimes they will want to purchase new tools. You should have a regular schedule that allows you to visit the mechanic shops at the same time every week. Mechanics then know when to expect, and they can plan their schedule based on your visitation. If you don’t show up regularly, a mechanic will start buying tools from another tool company.
Mechanics will sometimes make major purchases such as a large tool box. These tool boxes can cost as much as $12,000 or more. Every so often they will need you to service a tool box which is not functioning correctly, and if you are not there, they can become irate.
As a tool distributor, you will be responsible for collecting money from mechanics every week. Sometimes mechanics will have a cash account which allows you to collect $15 or $20 every week for some hand tools the mechanic purchased until the account is paid in full. For large ticket items such as a tool box, the mechanic will more than likely have his distributor account debited each week for a certain amount depending on the amount of the purchase. If for some reason a mechanic does not pay, you will have to resolve the problem. It could be due to financial difficulty, or maybe they were off work due to sickness. It’s your job to collect the account just like a debt collector would. In some cases, you will need to forward accounts to collection agencies for legal action.
Mechanics are very transient. You can show up one week and speak to a mechanic and come back the next week, and they are no longer working at that particular shop. If they owe you the money, you will probably have to track this mechanic down. Chances are you will run across this mechanic somewhere on your route because most mechanics will leave one shop and go right up to the street to another shop. Any legal fees that you incur as a distributor will be your responsibility.
Distributors normal attend some type of training at the headquarters to start their career. It is here that you learn how the business operates. You will learn who to contact if you need help. You will also need to know how to fill out applications and contracts; therefore, the training is crucial to your success. Most of the times if you run into some trouble, one of the customer service representatives or credit analysts at the headquarters will be able to provide assistance and walk you through the steps if necessary.
You will have certain expenses such as your truck expense. There will be a gas to purchase, tires, oil changes, just to name a few. As a distributor, you will need to keep your truck in tip top shape because it helps you to make a living. Any other expenses you incur will be your responsibility. Some companies will allow you to submit an expense report for certain things such as training and travel expenses to visit the headquarters for training. Get with your tax person or accountant to see what can be used as a write off for your taxes.
Your route will cover a designated area, and you may not want to wander over into another area unless of course, they are not being serviced. Distributors can have a high turn over rate. If you are a new distributor taking over a route left vacant by a distributor who left the business, it will be very hard to get the customers to trust you and rely on you. You will have to gain their trust over time. As a tool distributor, you can put in some long days, sometimes as much as 12 and 14 hours. After you finish your route, you have to take care of the necessary paperwork. Some have to be turned in to headquarters, and other paperwork helps you to balance your cash accounts.