Tales From the Road: Two is better than one

Sept. 5, 2023
In order to keep his truck constantly stocked and downtime essentially non-existent, this independent distributor owns two tool trucks.

Independent tool distributor Mike Yarter does things a little differently with his tool-distributing business. While there are many distributors out there with two tool trucks, most of those second trucks also come with a second driver. In Yarter’s case, he uses both trucks himself.

“Everybody talks about customer service, but my philosophy is you demonstrate customer service,” Yarter says. “I can't go to my customers and say, ‘Hey, my truck’s down today, I can't get you that tool you wanted, or I can't do anything for you.’ So, I took my first truck, and I kept it. It's fully loaded, fully stocked. All I have to do is switch computer systems.”

A gradual start

Yarter hasn’t always had two tool trucks. In fact, when he was first testing the waters, he was actually driving his brother-in-law Chris Stone’s truck on Saturdays.

“I worked up the business to where it was quite lucrative for him,” the independent recalls.

At the time, he knew his current position at IBM was being lost in a reorganization, so when Saturdays became a success, he got his own truck and began using vacation days to take it out more often. Working up from one to three days a week.

Currently, he’s out on his five days a week visiting dealerships, towing companies, an army base, tractor sales locations, chicken house feed stores, truck shops, body shops, performance shops, and more throughout Lee, Moore, and Cumberland counties in North Carolina.

Read more about Stone and Yarter, back when Yarter was just getting started at VehicleServicePros.com/53065392.

Unconventional success

Aside from keeping two tool trucks, Yarter does a few other things to set himself up for success. Starting with keeping a lot of inventory on board. So much so that he’s even had customers comment that he has the most out of the other trucks in the area.

“I've learned over the years that these individuals are very what's on their mind right now…so when they come on [my] truck and they see it, ‘Oh, man, that's I need, right there.’ It helps my sales,” Yarter says.

It’s not just a surplus of inventory that helps Yarter make the sale, it’s the customer service he offers. If a customer calls him saying they need a tool right away, Yarter doesn’t hesitate to use his personal vehicle to drive it to their location. He also handles all the warranties for his customers. If a tool is broken and needs to be repaired or replaced, Yarter will reach out to the company and get it handled for the technician. On top of that, he will help finance larger purchases for some customers who may not have the credit to finance the purchase themselves.

 What’s next?

Much like how his brother-in-law introduced him to the business, Yarter has two nephews with mechanical backgrounds who may be interested in getting into the tool-selling business.  If that happens at least one of them will end up running his second truck, potentially expanding Yarter’s business. 

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