Show Me Your Truck: Craig Starks, Mac Tools

May 31, 2022
This mobile tool dealer shifted his focus away from toolboxes to hardline with great benefits.

Sign up for the Professional Distributor e-newsletter today for the latest new product announcements, sales tips, and much more!

Mac Tools dealer Craig Starks has been in the tool truck business for 17 years. He says the last two years have been his best yet thanks to a new attitude towards what he sells off his truck. He decided to move his focus away from selling toolboxes and instead, home in on hardline items such as hand tools, sockets, scan tools, and cordless tools.

“I stock a lot more product now than I do boxes and carts," said Starks, who is based in Webster, N.Y, and calls on small auto repair shops, dealerships, heavy-duty truck shops, agricultural equipment shops, and farmers. "My business has increased tremendously over the last couple of years. I’ve done more business in the last two years without selling toolboxes, and it kind of made me realize I would rather sell $500 to 10 guys than $5,000 to one guy. It broadens my spectrum of customers.”

Starks drives a 2022 Ford F750 that’s 22’ long. He just got this truck from Herr Display Vans in November. He decided to do away with his 2008 Chevrolet C5500 with an 18’ box because he was tired of all the downtime. Prior to his Chevy, Starks ran his business, K&C Tools and Equipment, out of a 1995 step van.

“That’s the biggest thing: downtime. I knew I wanted to go new. I knew I wanted to stay away from diesel with fuel prices, emissions, maintenance, and cost of repairs,” he said.

The layout

When customers first enter Starks’ truck, the first thing they are going to see is the fridge — a great way to get techs on the truck! Right at the front is also his sunglasses display, knives, and scan tools. Next is a shelf with all of the monthly promotional items.

“Everybody knows it now. They gravitate right to it. They already know it’s there,” he said.

Under that shelf is a big opening for a toolbox which can be replaced with roll-around shelves that Starks had made for the truck if he doesn’t want to display a toolbox.

A sizeable section of the truck is devoted to Dewalt products, especially items his customers can use at home.

“A lot of our guys are also DIYers at home. Instead of going to Lowes, they are on the truck buying stuff,” he said. “I’ve sold more weed whackers, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers than you can imagine. It’s a big part of the business.”

Closer to the front of the truck, Starks has his “popcorn sale” items, such as air tool oil, airline fittings, butane, and cut-off wheels.

“It’s stuff that as they are coming up to the counter or heading towards the door, they go, ‘Oh crap, I need that,” he said. “A lot of times, they will grab it and turn around and purchase it.”

Just above the cab entrance is a monitor that rotates promotional videos, specials, flyer items, or any videos that Starks has filmed himself.

With the new truck, Starks decided to put in a much bigger desk than he had before that allows for a larger work area for doing tool repairs.

Since the pandemic hit, Starks made the decision to go “all-in” with his business and started purchasing in quantities.

“My mentality was, 'If I have it, I can sell it'. Because if you don’t have it, it’s most likely going to go on back order, and you’re not going to be able to get it for a while,” he noted. 

The same rings true for promotional items, and he has figured out how to keep making money off of them even after the promo is done.

“In any given month, I will recycle my older promotions in from two months ago," he says. "I’ll pop those in there, maybe one or two of them — and I’ll say, ‘Hey I found these left over, you better grab them. They were from a promotion.' It kind of gives them that urgency and that, ‘Oh crap, I have to get this.’”

About the Author

Amanda Silliker

Amanda Silliker is the former editorial director of the Vehicle Repair Group at Endeavor Business Media. She oversaw five brands  — Motor Age, PTEN, Professional Distributor, ABRNand Aftermarket Business World. Prior to her tenure with Endeavor, she had over a decade in B2B publishing at Thomson Reuters, ranging from writing and editing content for print and web to managing awards programs and speaking at conferences and industry events. Connect with her on LinkedIn

Sponsored Recommendations

Variable Valve Timing (VVT) Training Series

Almost every new vehicle is equipped with VVT technology. This video explains the weak points in OE designs and gives you a complete overview of the replacement options available...

Cam & Crank Sensor Training Series

Today's advanced engines depend on accurate and consistent information from cam and crank sensors for performance, fuel economy and emissions, and not all cam and crank sensors...

Buying Your Next Diagnostic Tablet

When you last invested in a diagnostic tablet for your shop, did you consider it a potential gateway to increased revenue? Probably not. It’s likely you viewed it as a necessary...

Access Carside OEM Repair Data with MOTOR TruSpeed

Now available on all Autel MaxiSYS Ultra Series tools, MOTOR TruSpeed Repair delivers expanded OEM service and repair data within days of being published by

Voice Your Opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of Vehicle Service Pros, create an account today!