Veteran Mac Tools distributor succeeds with variety of shop stops

Dave Capp, a Mac Tools from Walnut Bottom, Pa., is now in his 27th year of the mobile tool business. He attributes this longevity to his ability to work well with people. "I started in 1988, the 50th anniversary year of Mac Tools," says Capp.

Capp had worked at as a repair technician at an automotive service center through high school, and transitioned to full-time after graduating. "I’ve always had a fascination with tools. I never dreamed I’d become a salesman and be my own boss."

A Mac Tools distributor had begun to stop at Capp's shop, when he got the idea to go into business for himself.

"I liked him (the Mac Tools distributor); he was really easy to get along with," says Capp. "I got interested in it. I never went to college or took any classes at trade schools. I wanted to try move up the ladder. I thought becoming a distributor was an opportunity to do that without going through a lot of expense and time."

"It’s proven to be pretty good. I don’t know if it was the ultimate answer, but it seems to have worked itself out."

Variety of stops

Capp's route consists of both suburban and rural stops. On Thursdays and Fridays, he has more windshield time to reach a variety of small shops. 

“I do a little bit around a large town, which takes about three of my days. The other two days, I’m through the mountains of Pennsylvania, which is kind of, what I call, open running – all small mom-and-pop shops."

Capp services a variety of other businesses in his area as well, including farms, motorcycle shops, some dealerships, large warehouses, school districts, construction companies, rental equipment shops.  "I deal with a large variety of people."

"For school districts: I have divisions that work on the school buses, and then I have some of the maintenance guys that work at the school districts that buy some stuff from me too," says Capp. "The school buses are more regular; those people I see pretty much every week with a large fleet."

Capp comments that a lot of the inventory he already has stocked on the truck is suitable for these different stops. 

Capp sells DeWalt and Milwaukee power tools on his truck. "The cordless tools are very popular." He advises that he also keeps up on new specialty tools that come out. "That seems like what a lot of guys are buying today," says Capp. "I call them convenience items. The new specialty tools that can make the (technician's) job easier are definitely selling."

"I have one large outfit that has a lot of people working for them that work on aerial lifts and boom trucks that lift way up in the air, they get into hydraulics.”

He also advises that Mac Tools provides a special line of products for smaller vehicles. “We do offer a line through MotionPro, for motorcycle and four-wheeler work.”

Overall, Capp appreciates this variety in his route.

“That’s what really helps me out," he explains. "Sometimes when the economy gets really tight, a lot of those fleet shops, rental places and municipal stops (townships, states and highway departments) that I visit, they’re still buying things.”