Don’t let his laid-back approach fool you — Brian Gallagher, an independent mobile tool distributor (Ironman Tools) in Savannah, Ga., is anything but. How else can you account for the guy who is running three trucks (with a fourth on the way) and still finds time to be a board member in the...
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But Brian’s biggest accolades are for his association with Genius Tools. He’s signed on with Genius to be the exclusive Genius distributor in his area.
Before bringing Genius on his truck, Brian said his biggest sellers were pneumatic tools — as much as 20 tools a week. But, “until I was carrying the Genius line, I didn’t know you could sell that much hardline.
“I was kind of leery of doing all Genius,” Brian admits. “One week, I had some GearWrench and S-K, the next week I showed up and it was all gone. Everything was just Genius.” Customers can be funny about little changes like that, he said.
“But I sold a little bit of the Genius here and there,” Brian said. “It worked out pretty good. They make a pretty good product.”
Brian sees the Genius Tools brand as a “saving grace” for his business, not only due to the quality of tool that’s made for good word of mouth, but the pricing.
“You’ve got to double your money, minimum,” he said. “That’s the tricky part on that question.” With Genius, it’s been easy to make that money and more, he said. But that leads to some consideration for the other trucks in Savannah for Brian.
“You have to be somewhat respectful to the other trucks, you can’t just go in and kill them,” he said. “You have to kind of stay in line … You don’t want to go in there and sell something that’s $200 cheaper.
“I’ve had dinner with some of these guys. … It’s all business during the day,” he said. “I try and get along with everybody, but I do my best to respect them and not pull into driveways where they’re at, try not to badmouth them.”
Brian sees the other trucks as friendly competition, and even works closely with a couple of the other branded distributors on occasion to help customers. He sees the parts stores and online tool sellers as the tougher competition.
“The parts stores ruin the markets for us. That’s one difficult thing,” Brian said. Mobiles can’t compete on price with places that can get enormous quantity discounts, he said, and then sell to techs at just above what his cost his for smaller buys.
Brian concentrates on “good service with a smile,” and stresses to his customers that his warranty and service extends only to the tools that he sells. “I’ve lost too many big deals to parts stores.”
Brian does have a strong business going in Savannah, regardless. There’s no other explanation for his multiple trucks doing so well and his strong footing in the area.
Brian Gallagher credits much of his success as an independent tool dealer to the Independent Mobile Tool Distributors Association. He also serves on the IMTDA board.
“I love being involved in IMTDA. I wish I had more time with it,” Brian said.
“There is a lot of fun. And there’s a lot of seriousness, too. Buddies telling you, ‘Hey, watch out for this. Or, ‘You guys run across this problem?’ … You get to help people out, you get to learn from what they know. … You’re that much further ahead.
“One of our focuses this year is to grow the membership and have more participation, so everyone can find a good deal somewhere.”
For more on the IMTDA, go to www.imtda.com.