Sometimes being in the right place at the right time counts for a lot. For Mac Tools Master Distributor Todd Smith, being in the right place at the right time wouldn’t have amounted to anything if he hadn’t spent years laying down the groundwork. Todd’s territory covers the Uintah Basin in...
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Sometimes being in the right place at the right time counts for a lot. For Mac Tools Master Distributor Todd Smith, being in the right place at the right time wouldn’t have amounted to anything if he hadn’t spent years laying down the groundwork.
Todd’s territory covers the Uintah Basin in Utah, specifically the cities of Duchesne, Roosevelt and Vernal. The area’s economy, particularly Vernal, has been in a boom phase, based on natural gas and oil fields, for about four years. Todd, last year’s No. 1 distributor for Mac Tools, has been serving the area for 18 years. For the majority of that time, his extremely rural route has been enough to pay the bills and enjoy what he was doing.
Now that the boom has hit, all the relationships he’s been cultivating are really paying off.
“It just exploded,” Todd said of his business following the boom. “I had my clientele built up and here we went. I was just in. I think that’s probably the biggest trick to my success of why I’ve done so well … through all those rough times, taking care of my customers and being persistent. Even when they maybe weren’t buying very much, I was there, every week, taking care of them.”
Todd said there was a similar economic boom in the area in the early 1980s that he missed.
“I actually started out here when it was really depressed,” Todd said. He got into the tool-selling business after several years as a heavy-duty diesel mechanic in Provo. “People thought I was out of my mind starting this business out here. They said, ‘Man this area is really depressed, there’s no way you can make a business out of this.’ ”
That’s all changing now, and his business is perfectly suited to take advantage of it.
“A lot of these places went from two mechanics to 10 or 12 mechanics, just over the last few years.” And that’s good news at a shop where you already have a strong relationship with the current staff.
The boom in business gave Todd about $1.5 million in sales last year, or roughly $900,000 in Mac Tools purchases. Todd estimates his customer count in the basin is close to 400, and he makes contact with about 250 to 270 of those techs and shop owners each week. He tries to average 250 transactions (total of sales and payments) per week.
“When you get to 200 transactions (per week), you’re going to do a certain amount of business, guaranteed. That’s just the way it’s set up, that’s just the way it works,” he said of his weekly goal. “That’s what I look at, I look at my transactions.”
The biggest part of his business for his transactions, due to the natural gas and oil field economy, is at heavy-equipment shops.
IN THE BIG TIME
Though Todd estimates heavy-duty shops are about 50 percent to 60 percent of his stops, they make far more money for him.
“I do bigger numbers on the oil field end of it, because they’re the ones making the money, right now, so they’re going to have the money to spend,” Todd said. “I think I hit about as many automotive shops as I do big truck shops. It’s just, I don’t do quite the business at them.”
With heavy-duty shops and big machine shops, there is also the bonus of some companies that will keep their techs in tools. At one of Todd’s stops a more rural town, a machine shop pays him monthly for tech purchases. There are roughly 25 techs in the shop, and each month the shop pays Todd so each tech has $100 in truck money. That, of course, doesn’t include any tools the tech may purchase on his own.
“It’s definitely worth stopping there, for that,” Todd said.
Aside from the boom at heavy-duty shops, Todd would like to expand his sales of more big-ticket equipment items to all shops.
“I’d like to do more in the lifts, but that’s quite a competitive market. … It’s a hard thing to try to get that. I guess that’s probably what I lack in more than anything is the shop equipment,” Todd said.