Top 10 Buying Tips

I've often stated that the best thing about my job is the people I get to meet. Whether it's at the end-user, distributor or manufacturer level, I've benefited tremendously from the insight and experience of those throughout the automotive tool and equipment community. So over the next couple of issues I'd like to share some of the things I've learned when it comes to making smart purchasing decisions for tools and equipment.

I'll never claim to be David Letterman, but here's our Top 10 Buying Tips from the home office in Fort Atkinson, WI.

10. Know your need. This sounds simple, but the reality is that there are so many options within a given category that you truly need to develop a purchasing strategy for each product, based on your expectations, usage patterns and overall impact a particular product has on your profitability. Once you've clearly defined these things, it will be easier to narrow down your selection.

9. Do your homework. This means understanding all components of the purchase, from quality to price, and then the value they combine to represent. Again, knowing what you want and expect from the tool or piece of equipment will make the purchasing decision easier and more straight forward.

8. Be demanding. If the seller can't answer questions about simple things like product composition or warranty, then it's a definite case of “buyer beware”. Not all distributors can be experts on everything they sell, but they should work to earn your business by being honest and following-up on questions that they may not know on-the-spot. Customer service and your overall comfort level with the seller needs to be a critical component of deciding what and from whom you'll buy.

We'll continue the countdown in our August issue.

Editor's Note: Thanks to all the technicians and distributors who responded to last issue's column about showing off your toolboxes. Starting with our August issue, we'll be spotlighting some of these impressive boxes and the equally impressive tool collections they safeguard.