Only Part of the Story

An inside look at the tool and equipment business of a growing parts jobber.

To ensure enough product is in stock to meet the needs of all these customers, the Moog Louisville compound includes four separate warehouse buildings, with tools and equipment consuming about 1/3 of this space.

ToolPro might need more, but again, the company’s overall structure enables them to do some unique things, like buy and ship directly from equipment manufacturers. By contrast, some tools are purchased direct, but it’s usually more economical to work through their Alliance affiliation or a national tool and equipment distributor.

But regardless of what they’re selling or from whom they’re buying it, Grover states that customer service is the key, especially for equipment.

“When a piece of equipment goes down, the shop is losing money, which is why we have people in house who are trained to repair equipment. We also offer installation of new equipment, provide access to loaner units and they always get my personal reassurance that things will be taken care of. Sometimes this means going to work for a customer in dealing with the manufacturer. We try to be an advocate for the shop in getting them back in business.”

Knowledge Is Power

In working to build their tool and equipment business, ToolPro also sponsors a number of customer-focused events, such as:

  • Training seminars on a wide range of topics at their in-house tech training center. They’ve even held seminars at the famous Churchill Downs horse racing track to help improve attendance.
  • The company’s outside sales force uses fliers from K-Tool, OTC and others to help drive store and shop interest.
  • “Thank you” events where shop owners and technicians can bring their family to a Louisville Bats minor league baseball game.
  • Selling shows held right at the warehouse.

“We do all of these things to help ensure that we’re carrying the right products at the right price and that we’re delivering them on time,” states Grover. “We survey our customers on a regular basis to make sure we’re following up with service after the sale and staying on top of the problems they face.

"Our goal is to develop a personal relationship and earn their trust. We’re not here just to sell them, but to serve as an advisor for what’s coming down the road, and be their partner in providing the information, tool or part that they need.”

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