Reno newcomer: two trucks in two years

After a year and a half in business, Mac Tools distributor Jeff Mitchell is already in the process of launching a second truck in the Reno, Nevada area. Not bad for a market that has suffered high unemployment. The second truck will serve the Sparks, Fernly and Fallon areas, which are just north of Reno.

Mitchell credits much of his success to the 30 years he spent as a shop technician, where he gained a strong understanding of what tools technicians need and how they appreciate being spoken to. He also credits his wife, Alicia Nyland, a military veteran in the human resources field (now working as a civilian military employee) who handles his bookkeeping for him.

When he became a tool distributor, Mitchell made it a point to respect the technicians’ professionalism. He made sure he didn’t make them feel he knows more than they do.

He also trusted his own instincts on how much credit to lend a customer. In comparing his receivables with some of his fellow distributors, he has observed that receivables have been much less of a problem for him than other distributors. He attributes this to the scrutiny he gives to customer credit worthiness.

Once his application for second tool truck is finalized, Mitchell plans to hire a driver. The driver will be paid a straight salary. He has already started looking for applicants. He is looking for someone with some automotive knowledge who is trustworthy and has a lot of ambition.

Mitchell is confident he’ll find a good employee since many technicians are interested in getting into mobile distribution but lack the resources to do it.

He plans to train his employee on his own truck in addition to the training that the Mac Tools district manager will provide.

Once the second truck is up and running, Mitchell anticipates that he and his employee will periodically switch trucks. This will give him a chance to meet his new customers and it will give the employee a chance to see different stops.

“It’s not the tool; it’s the man behind the tool,” Mitchell says of mobile tool sales in general.