The Tools to Succeed |
Published in the March/April 2013 issue of print Search & Employ® |
With a long history of success in the automotive tool and supply business, Mac Tools has a name that is respected by automotive technicians across the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and as far away as Japan. The company is growing, prospects for further growth are excellent, and an incentive program for veterans and military spouses is in place. Mac Tools uses a direct sales approach with a mobile force of franchisee distributors; the company’s program of training, marketing, and operational support has given its franchisees the tools they need to succeed.
Mac Tools headquarters are in Westerville, Ohio, northeast of Columbus. The company was founded in 1938 as Mechanics Tool and Forge. The founders were seven men with a common goal – to manufacture the finest tools in the world.
World War II brought prosperity to the company; it received a sizeable government contract in 1942. The management of Mechanics Tool and Forge decided to open a new, associate company with virtually the same stockholders, rather than expand the existing product line. On October 30, 1944, the Clinton Tool Company was born.
In 1945, a 20-year veteran of the hand tool industry presented Mechanics Tool and Forge with a program designed to purchase an allied line of tools. This resulted in the formation of Mac Allied Tools, which was moved to Akron, Ohio, to facilitate shipping. Even though there were three companies functioning as one, their collective product was always referred to as “Mac Tools.”
The companies entered the modern era in 1963, when Mechanics Tool and Forge officially changed its name to Mac Tools. The association between Mac Tools and Mac Allied remained under the collective banner of Mac Tools, Inc. In 1979, the long association between Mac and Mac Allied was severed.
The company philosophy of quality, price, and service has remained unchanged over the years. Mac Tools has a 75-year history of success, and has been part of Stanley Black & Decker for over 30 years.
Today, Mac Tools has a product line in excess of 42,000 items. From hand tools, tool boxes, and specialty items to a full range of power tools, electronics, and shop equipment, Mac Tools offers solutions to professionals’ ever-changing needs.
Brett Shaw has led Mac Tools since May 2010, and he was named president of the company in January 2012. He had worked for another division of Stanley Black & Decker since January 1991, serving in various sales and marketing roles with increasing responsibilities.
“Our job is to make sure our Mac Tools franchisees are one step ahead in helping their customers do their job for their clients in a profitable, safe, and efficient manner,” Shaw said. “Our success depends on doing everything we can to make our franchisees successful. Our dedicated Mac Tools team is committed to providing the best training, marketing, and operational support to assist our franchise network so they can achieve their personal and professional goals as individual business owners.”
There are a lot of advantages to being a Mac Tools franchisee, including the company’s history of success and continued growth. “We’ve seen 12 consecutive quarters of growth,” Shaw said. “And we’re just getting started. With everything we have in our pipeline, our growth should only continue to increase.”
The company has low franchisee fees and start-up costs, premium-quality products with monthly promotions, exclusive routes for its franchisees with at least 325 customers, a policy of no cold calling, company partnerships with motor sports and industry icons, and dedicated financial support programs. Mac Tools also provides field management support with on-location site visits and regional and national meetings to help franchisees understand the company’s products and promotions.
“There’s no question that if the franchisees are successful, then we’re successful,” Shaw said. “We work every day to do as much as we can to get them what they need; to set them up for success. Then it’s up to them.”
Shaw said that successful Mac Tools franchisees come from all walks of life; and while all sorts of personalities can become successful franchisees, he recognizes that most military veterans have the drive successful Mac Tools franchisees need. “It all boils down to the person,” he said. “Most veterans come with a sense of discipline that will make it natural for them to be on the road, working by 7 a.m. if that’s what their route calls for. They are prompt, precise, and show a commitment to success. They come from a culture where they know that a fellow soldier is counting on them, and if they can translate that commitment to their customers – that they are counting on the franchisee – the veteran can become a very successful Mac Tools franchisee. We’ve seen that people with a veteran’s work ethic can succeed here.”
But it takes a lot more than having a good work ethic. “To succeed as a franchisee, you have to want to be your own boss,” Shaw said. “There’s more to success as a Mac Tools franchisee than showing up and working hard. That’s part of it, but there’s ultimately no one else telling you what to do when you are a franchisee. You’re the boss.”
The company’s onboarding and support process provides one month of classroom and field training. During the onboarding process, new franchise owners ride along with established Mac Tools owners to learn the ropes of running a successful business. Once a franchise is established, the company provides ongoing field training and assistance to help the new owners achieve their personal and business goals.
Each new franchise owner receives access to Mac Tools’ virtual customer portal and mobile business system – digital resources designed to help them manage their business needs both on the road and at home. Franchise owners also have the opportunity to attend the annual Mac Tools Tool Fair, where they can participate in additional training opportunities and take advantage of annual inventory specials. And the franchisees can participate in the Mac Performance Rewards (MPR) program, which provides rebates based on annual purchases.
“A Mac Tools Franchise can be an extremely rewarding business opportunity for the right person, veteran or not,” Shaw said. “Someone who is self-motivated and enjoys serving customers’ needs with exceptional service has what it takes to succeed. We work hard to supply the franchisees what they need to be successful, but ultimately they are the ones out there making it happen. Our franchisees are special people who want to succeed.”
Shaw believes this is a great time for veterans to become a part of the Mac Tools family. The business is financially healthy – which allows it to invest in its operations and it new-product pipeline.
“The reality is that Mac Tools is ready to grow even bigger, and we think that more veteran franchisees will be a key component of that success,” he said. “We want to partner with more veterans because we’re confident that they have the right skills, experience, and drive to be franchisees.”
To bring in more veterans, Mac Tools established an incentive program for servicemembers and military spouses in 2012. Recognized by the International Franchise Association’s Veterans Transition Franchise Initiative (VetFran), the program offers veterans or their spouses discounts up to $10,000 off their starting inventory. Added incentives apply for additional routes. To be eligible for the military incentive program, each veteran must provide documentation certifying an honorable discharge from the Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, or Navy.
“When I came out of college 20 years ago, I knew I wanted to work for an American company that sold something tangible that improved people’s lives,” Shaw said. “That’s the reason I joined Black & Decker, and Mac Tools does the same. Now I enjoy providing that opportunity to America’s veterans.”