Mines, Marinas And More

Mac Tools' top distributors offer insight on servicing non-automotive customers.

Other than the obvious reasons, I service CONSTRUCTION/PAVING EQUIPMENT shops because:
"When I started with Mac Tools a lot of mobile tool distributors had passed through one of these shops. So when I showed up, one of the shop King Pins, which is how I refer to a leader in the shop, said it would be two years before he'd buy a thing from me. After those two years he became one of my best customers, spending $200 a week."

They buy:

"As you'd imagine, these guys buy a lot of the bigger stuff: 3/4"-drive power tools, 600-pound torque wrenches, 2-5/8" or 2-1/2" sockets, 10-ton jacks, and 2" box-end wrenches. I also sell some special Caterpillar puller tools and a lot of larger offset wrenches for hydraulic line fittings."

They are:

"… better paid. These guys are paid an hourly wage, as opposed to flat rate like a lot of the automotive guys, so they make more. They tend to have better employee benefits as well, so they don't move around from shop to shop as much. It also seems easier to peak their interests when showing new products."

Ken Pankopp; Tyronne, GA

Other than the obvious reasons, my only customer is DELTA AIRLINES at Hartsfield Airport in Atlanta because:

"All tool purchases are deducted from their checks, based on the receipts that I submit to Delta. Then I get a lump sum payment six weeks later covering all of my sales for that week. But because it's an individual technician purchase, I'm protected against bankruptcy fillings by Delta.

"Aviation overall is like a roller coaster, it's either up or down billions, and I'm just along for the ride – peaks, valleys and all. Generally speaking, any new technician has a list of tools that they are required to have, so I'm able to capture their business right from the start."

They buy:

"Airplanes are designed to fail. What I mean by that is instead of a couple big fasteners, there are a ton of small ones. So I sell a lot of 1/4"-drive tools for accommodating these smaller fasteners.

"My customers also fall into three main categories, each of which has a different collection of needs. Avionic technicians deal with the electronics. Hydraulic techs are similar to heavy-duty guys in that everything they need has to be bigger in size. Sheet metal guys are like body shop techs, so they need a lot of tools for working with metal. This translates to selling a lot of hardlines and rivet guns."

They are:

"… second and third generation technicians who are often licensed pilots, so they see it as more than just a job. 9/11 had a very personal impact on them, and I. The airport was eerily quiet, and all you heard was planes landing. There was even a plane parked where I usually have my 32' tool trailer. These guys are also highly educated and their work is heavily inspected."

Earl French; Gillette, WY

Other than the obvious reasons, I service COAL MINE EQUIPMENT shops because:

"This is one of the primary businesses in this area, and I've been stopping here since I started with Mac Tools in 1982. I also service oil field outfits and drilling machine shops."

They buy:

"These guys buy larger 3/4" and 1"-drive power tools and bigger 2" and 3" wrenches. They are also just getting into the metric sizes, which will create more sales opportunities. And a lot of them buy tools for when they go home and work on the race car."

They are:

"… always losing tools when they make service calls to the mine."

Mike Hess; Dillsburg, PA

Other than the obvious reasons, I service FARMS because:

"My territory is pretty rural, and I'm always wondering what's going on down these long driveways that I pass. One time I followed a trail back to a bulldozer owned by an excavating business, which right now is a $100/week customer. My tools save them a service call.

"I've gotten some good business from farmers because there's a limited number of people who will put in the time it takes to sell these guys. It can be tough in terms of when they're available, as well as the initial price objection. The first sale is the toughest, but they understand quality, which leads to more sales, as well as referrals."

They buy:

"Farmers often buy professional tools to help them save time and just make things easier. For example, I'll show them how some basic sockets and a ratchet is easier than using a vise grip or adjustable wrench. Another time it was a power tool over a breaker bar, and from there it leads to things like air compressors. Also, if you treat them right, they all have buddies that they'll tell you to visit."

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