Are you a savvy consumer?

May 11, 2018
With each purchase you make, you’re buying more than just a tool.

There are so many ways to buy things these days ... and there are so many things to buy! We as consumers seem to be bombarded with goods and pricing and purchasing options, coming at us from all directions; from our Facebook page to the flyer in the mail.

There is an upside to this. With all of these products on the market, and all of the buying options, comes the opportunity to be smart consumers. It is doubly important to be a smart consumer when purchasing goods for your business. I’m sure this audience knows that all too well.

It’s important to take a look at buying practices, as some of you are making tool purchases on a weekly basis. There are those seldom used but must-have buys, the always-good-to-have-extras product and the just-in-case orders. To be sure, all these new-to-market and updated versions of tools are driven by the latest changes to new vehicles rolling off the assembly line.

The sheer volume of tools and equipment in shops today is impressive. I hear there’s a reason why toolboxes keep getting bigger!

When it comes time to pull the trigger on a purchase, what factors play into your final decision?

Quality is king

In our recent Aftermarket Profile results (published in the April issue of PTEN), we learned that for 53 percent of readers, quality is the single most important factor of a tool purchase - not price (8 percent), not even immediate need (11 percent) or brand name (2 percent).

First and foremost, technicians want something that will hold up to repeated use and get the job done - something that can hold its own in terms of materials, machining and mechanical design. Will that impact wrench keep up with multiple techs working on hundreds of jobs over the course of 10+ years? (I also know some of you are holding onto good tools that rarely see the light of the day - or are not even applicable to 90 percent of cars -- but are valuable nonetheless.)

Service seals the deal

Where you purchase is a strategic move as well. According to the aftermarket report, 85 percent of shop owners and technicians purchase tools from mobile tool distributors, more than they purchase from online retailers, parts stores and retail stores. The reason for this often comes down to service. Your “tool guy” who shows up week after week can help you with financing and warranties better than an online or big box store. They can give you additional insight on a product, and even training in some cases.

Where and how you buy matters. After all, a tool is not just a tool. A well thought-out purchase can mean the ability to fix more vehicles, more efficiently ... and perhaps even save some money in the long-run.

About the Author

Sara Scullin | Editor | PTEN and Professional Distributor

Sara Scullin is the editor of PTEN and Professional Distributor magazines. These publications are part of the Endeavor Business Media Vehicle Repair Group, which includes Fleet Maintenance, Professional Tool & Equipment News (PTEN), Professional Distributor magazines and

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