Franchise business: auto tools empire expands

Franchise business: auto tools empire expands

An income of £50,000 to £75,000 is possible if you join the Mac Tools brand in its continuing UK expansion.

Part of Stanley Black & Decker’s $8bn global organisation since 1980, Mac Tools has the finances and expertise to back its franchisees with the setup, marketing and other support required to run a thriving sales-orientated business.

Mac Tools, a trusted, recognised provider of automotive services, tools and equipment, provides franchisees with a fully liveried van, world-class products to sell, and a unique territory with a database of at least 300 potential customers. You will then be able to sell directly to customers by calling into their workshops on a regular and reliable basis.

Experience in the automotive trade is an advantage, but not essential; being motivated and enthusiastic certainly is crucial.

Training and support

Owning your own business is as daunting as it is exciting. Mac Tools understands this and has developed comprehensive training and support infrastructure to assist franchisees in building a profitable business. 

Chris Dalzell, UK training manager, helps franchisees prepare their training plan. “Our aim is to ensure new franchisees fully understand their business and how to manage their cash and profit,” she says.

Training takes place at a Tool School in Ohio, US and at the UK Head Office in Sheffield, and field support is provided by regional franchise managers. Dalzell also attends regular meetings with franchisees and offers advice and support through the MacAdamy.

Our goal is to support franchisee development through innovative online learning that can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Chris Dalzell, Mac Tools UK training manager

The MacAdemy is a unique online learning portal designed to meet franchisees’ professional development needs. It provides training, development and advice in key areas such as products, promotional activity, business development and how to generate business.

“Our goal is to support franchisee development through innovative online learning that can be accessed 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” says Dalzell. With Mac Tools’ new learning website, franchisees can look forward to accessing a diverse library of content.

These courses cover a wide variety of subject matter to meet the various training needs of all franchisees, from business development topics to product application instruction. This information and associated components can be used as reference tool to help answer day-to-day on-the-job questions, or as part of personal development.

“We are finding more and more people are interested in a Mac Tools franchise business, even those not involved in the automotive sector,” says recruitment manager Paul Clegg. While an interest in automotive tools helps, it isn’t essential. “One of our current top performers was a plumber before he joined the team,” says Paul. 

The starter training plan will cover product knowledge, sales guidance, business management, financial planning and customer service. Once franchisees are up and running, the customer service, marketing and regional franchise manager team provides valuable input to enable franchisees to provide an excellent customer service to the network of outlets within their protected territory.

Regular business reviews are also held to identify training needs and improve performance.

National franchise manager Mark Stenning has been with Mac Tools for 10 years, having started out as a franchisee in Hampshire.

He says: “The support team we now have in place is first class and we are all striving to make Mac Tools great to work with for both our franchisees and customers.” 

If you have the desire and passion to work for yourself, available cash of £15,000 and the ability to build relationships, you can be a part of this exciting story. 

Franchisee case studies

The award-winner

  • Martin Eatch, 40, Lincoln and Sleaford, Franchisee of the Year 2010
  • Started: 1997 
  • CV: Worked at garage and briefly a Jaguar dealership

“I’d been dealing with Mac Tools for nearly 17 years and I liked the look of the job. I was confident I could do it. I’ve always worked in garages so I know the environment and I can relate to problems that mechanics come up against.

“Mac Tools offer such a wide range of products and it can take a bit of time to know them inside and out. Nowadays we have computers to help us find the right tool but back then we had catalogues, so there was quite a bit of page-flicking going on to begin with!

“The best thing is when you have a customer struggling to do a job and you think ‘I know a tool that can do that’, and they really appreciate it. I enjoy being able to find solutions that help mechanics do their jobs better, quicker or both.”

“You get out what you put in. I’ve grown the business and I now run a 7.5 tonne truck to service all my customers. The key to success in this job is routine and reliability, because your customers need to know they can rely on you.

“The potential to grow your business and make a good living is excellent, and it’s enjoyable. But it isn’t a 9-5, clock in and clock out kind of job, it’s a lifestyle. You need to put the customer’s needs first.”

Mac Tools for women

  • Edith Kuiper, 39, Edinburgh
  • Started: 2005
  • CV: Worked in shipping, lingerie sales

“I spent 12 years sailing, cleaning ships and unloading cargo. My children were ready to go to school and I didn’t want to put them into boarding school so I moved back onto dry land. In the UK [moving from the Netherlands] we had to start at the bottom again. We lived near Loch Ness and most of the work was seasonal, so I worked for hotels, a fitness club and even KFC! 

“I worked for a motor repair company and a Mac Man who visited us suggested I consider running my own Mac Tools business. He said that a woman used to run the Edinburgh territory and that I should give it a try. I thought ‘No way – I can’t do that!’ English isn’t my first language and I was worried about grasping the technical terminology. Also, I’d never driven a van and was always getting lost.

 “Then out of the blue, Tony Cooke, the Mac Tools Regional Manager, rang me and convinced me that I could do it.”

“The training was brilliant: very comprehensive and thorough. They are so positive and motivational that they really put you in the right frame of mind to get your business off to the best start.” 

“I really like the customers and every day you are guaranteed to have a laugh. It sounds silly now but I had no idea how good the products were until I started my business. Feedback from customers is very positive. And if you have a problem Mac Tools are always on hand to help you sort it out. I’d say women should go for it.

“You do get dirty and you have to wrap up in the winter but I love the freedom of being out and about in my van, visiting customers, instead of being stuck behind a desk. I get a lot of satisfaction from that.”

The young franchisee

  • Philip Edwards, 25, Newbury & Andover
  • Started: July 2010
  • CV: Diploma in advanced engineering, NVQ in motor vehicle maintenance, worked at garage 

“I always liked playing around with cars, but I developed an allergy to certain metals and left the garage I worked at. I hadn’t considered franchising seriously before, but I’d spent thousands of pounds on Mac Tools as a mechanic so I knew the products were really good. 

“I wasn’t sure I’d be able to afford it, but Mark Stenning and Paul Clegg were really friendly and helpful. I was massively impressed by their attitude and professionalism. There was absolutely no pressure and they did their best to help me out.

“They put me in touch with other franchisees and all the feedback was good. After weighing up all the pros and cons I decided I’d be gutted if I didn’t go for it.

“My parents had reservations as I’m still pretty young, but they agreed that I’d regret it if I didn’t do it. They support me 100%.” 

“The training was interesting and relevant, and the trainers are so enthusiastic and knowledgeable – you’re raring to go by the time you leave. I had a really good first day and even managed to sell £250 worth of tools!

“Because I’m young I do come across the odd older garage owner or mechanic who questions my abilities, but you find a lot of young people working in garages so I’m not that unusual. Plus, I’m pretty confident in my knowledge and skills because I’ve spent most of my adult life working in garages.

“I would definitely recommend becoming a Mac Tools franchise owner if this is the kind of business you’re interested in. It’s a total lifestyle change for me being out on the road and having paperwork, but I feel satisfied knowing that I make progress week by week.

“It’s great being part of such a forward-thinking, friendly and supportive company with an excellent reputation.”

The entrepreneur

  • Mike Szewciw, 47, Camberley, Surrey
  • Started: August 2010
  • CV: Mechanical engineer apprentice, police officer, then founded car valeting business

“I’d always liked cars and I was a bit obsessive about cleaning my own. People started asking me to clean their cars on my days off, so I thought ‘why not do it for a living?’ When the recession hit my work plummeted for my previously successful business. 

“I saw an advert about Mac Tools on the internet and recognised them from a few years before when I’d bought tools, so I gave them a call. My first impressions were excellent – the team were easy to talk to and I felt that there was a good relationship between the franchisees and franchisor team.

“After that I went out on the road with two different franchise owners, both doing very well but with different styles of dealing with customers. There was no hard sell and only positive comments from customers. That’s when decided to go for it.

 “I spent two weeks training in the UK and 10 days in the US and there was so much to learn at 47 – but I actually came top of the class for the first time in my life! A regional franchise manager came out on the road with me for a week or so while I found my feet. Once I was on my own in the van, the support was still there. In the early weeks I must have called up to 10 times a day!

 “Mac Tools is a major force in this sector, especially being part of the Stanley Black & Decker group, and the brand is very strong. The products are known for quality and we offer a lifetime warranty. The business has grown every month since I started and I’ve exceeded all my projections. I’m confident about the future.”

About The Author

Adam Bannister Writer
Adam Bannister writes for all titles in the Dynamis stable including, and as well as other industry publications.