After years of installing and servicing stationary engines all over the world, Ed Nolan decided he’d had enough travel. Back at the shop in Rockford, IL, he talked with their tool distributor about becoming a tool man, then contacted Mac Tools. He said picking a tool company was easy...
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One of the newer tools on his truck is Mac’s new Precision Torque brand of combination wrenches. It’s hard to imagine long-time customers buying something so basic as a set of wrenches, but Ed says they’re different from anything he’s seen before.
“I got really excited about them, and in this business if you’re excited about something, you’ll sell it. Guys pick up on your excitement … I’ve sold more of these in the past two or three years than I sold sets of (other) wrenches over my whole career. I’ve got guys buying the whole set, trading in their old wrenches, even other brands.”
Plans for the future
Ed plans to convert his business to a franchise. “All Mac dealers (hired) now have to be a franchisee. I have the option to remain an independent Mac distributor or convert, and I plan to convert … As an authorized distributor, I own nothing but my tools and my truck, but (after converting) I will own my route. That would give me the option to sell the route or hire someone to run it if I want to retire.”
Ed couldn’t say how many customers he sees in a 75-hour week, but there are about 250 on his books (plus cash customers). Even though he takes off the week after Christmas, he says during the rest of December he normally doubles his business for the month.
“Every promotion that didn’t sell (over the past year) is on sale ‘cause it’s inventory time. We’re dealin’, we’re movin’ stock and companies are at the end of their fiscal year, so business is good.”
Since Ed’s business survived a bad economy and forced medical leave, we asked his advice to new distributors starting out.
“Be patient, don’t expect too much. Good things come to those who wait. You will not make it big immediately. Like airplanes used to be when taking off from an aircraft carrier; when they leave the end of the deck, they go down a little before they climb. If you don’t hit the water when you first start out, you’ll climb.”
By working hard, working to his strengths and taking advantage of opportunities, Ed Nolan has indeed climbed above the flight deck.