5 Automotive Tool Franchises

automotive tool franchises

The automotive tool franchises market, worth a staggering $691.7 billion in 2020, is on a fast track, with projections set to reach $828.6 billion this year. This surge underlines an escalating demand for professional-grade tools, carving out expansive opportunities for franchises in this niche.

Icons of the industry like Mac Tools exemplify the potential, with their widespread mobile franchise network and robust distribution hubs in strategic locations such as Ohio.

For aspiring franchise owners, the moment is ripe to ignite a venture in the world of automotive tool franchises and capitalize on this upward industry trajectory.

What is an Automotive Tool Franchise?

An automotive tool franchise operates as a mobile retail outlet that supplies a range of high-quality tools and equipment to professional mechanics and automotive repair shops.

The franchisee, typically operating out of a customized vehicle, serves as a rolling store, delivering, servicing, and selling tools directly to customers at their places of business.

This model is appealing in the automotive industry because it provides convenience and personalized service to a market that relies on timely access to professional-grade tools.

automotive tool franchises

The Automotive Tool Market Today

Professional mechanics use a variety of power tools that will fuel their services. In fact, the increasing demand for this type of equipment in the automotive industry is expected to grow to $42.7 billion by 2030.

The need for industry-leading tools is on the rise this year. Even last year the power tool market was worth $32.2 billion. These businesses provide convenient services that make them profitable.

Why You Should Consider an Automotive Tool Franchise

There are several compelling reasons to consider starting an automotive tool franchise:

  • Scalability: A mobile franchise offers a unique opportunity to start small, often with just a single van, and grow organically. This scalability allows you to control overhead costs while expanding your business at a manageable pace. Renowned brands like Snap-On provide a diverse inventory, including high-quality hand tools and sophisticated tool storage options, giving you the breadth of products needed to grow.
  • Customer Relationships: The direct service approach of mobile tool franchises facilitates the building of strong, personal relationships with customers. Regular visits create a dependable presence and trust, which can lead to increased sales and customer loyalty, benefiting both the franchise owner and the client.
  • Flexibility: Many entrepreneurs are drawn to the autonomy that franchises provide, including the ability to set your own schedule. This flexibility allows you to balance work with personal interests or obligations, offering a more tailored approach to business ownership.
  • Direct Sales Advantage: By taking your products directly to the customers, you provide a service that saves them time and hassle. For busy professionals who need quick access to tools and equipment, this convenience can be a deciding factor, leading to higher sales volumes. Brands like Mac Tools further support sales with programs that cater to specific customer segments, such as student technicians.
  • Low Startup Costs: Compared to traditional brick-and-mortar operations, a mobile tool franchise generally requires less capital to get off the ground. You avoid the costs associated with leasing commercial space, and because you’re delivering directly, you can manage with less inventory on hand. Companies like Stanley Black and Decker offer a range of products that can be easily showcased and sold from a mobile store, keeping initial investments lower.

automotive tool franchises

Our Methodology: How We Chose the Best Automotive Tool Franchises

For those interested in entering the automotive sector, investing in an automotive tool franchise can be a lucrative opportunity. We’ve formulated a set of criteria to aid in evaluating different automotive tool franchise options. Each factor is rated on an importance scale, where 10 signifies the highest level of importance. This approach helps in making an informed decision by focusing on the most critical aspects of a franchise opportunity. Here’s our methodology:

  1. Franchise Reputation and Brand Strength
    • Our Importance Scale: 10/10
    • The franchise’s market presence, brand recognition, and reputation within the industry are crucial for initial success and long-term growth.
  2. Initial Investment and Ongoing Fees
    • Our Importance Scale: 9/10
    • Evaluating the upfront costs, royalty fees, and any other ongoing expenses is essential to determine financial feasibility.
  3. Product Range and Quality
    • Our Importance Scale: 8/10
    • The diversity and quality of tools and equipment offered, as these directly impact sales potential and customer satisfaction.
  4. Training and Support
    • Our Importance Scale: 7/10
    • The quality and extent of training and support provided by the franchisor, including sales training, product knowledge, and business management.
  5. Territory and Market Saturation
    • Our Importance Scale: 7/10
    • Assessing the designated territory and market competition is important to avoid oversaturation and ensure adequate market potential.
  6. Profitability and ROI Potential
    • Our Importance Scale: 6/10
    • Analyzing potential return on investment and profitability based on existing franchisee performance data.
  7. Marketing and Advertising Support
    • Our Importance Scale: 6/10
    • The resources and support provided for marketing and advertising efforts to help in building and maintaining customer base.
  8. Compliance and Regulations
    • Our Importance Scale: 5/10
    • Understanding any regulatory requirements or compliance issues specific to the automotive tool industry.
  9. Innovation and Industry Trends
    • Our Importance Scale: 4/10
    • The franchisor’s approach to innovation and adaptation to changing industry trends, impacting long-term sustainability.
  10. Community and Peer Network
    • Our Importance Scale: 4/10
    • The strength of the franchisor’s community and network, offering peer support, knowledge sharing, and collaboration opportunities.

By thoroughly evaluating these criteria, potential franchisees can identify an automotive tool franchise that aligns with their financial capabilities, business goals, and the market dynamics of their target location.

automotive tool franchises

Top Automotive Tool Franchise Opportunities

The entrepreneurs that sell automotive tools and related equipment do well. These enterprises have become a popular industry in the United States. Here are some of the top franchising business opportunities in the field here in the US.

Some of these choices have founded manufacturing plants and locations in other parts of the world. Snap-On, for example, has been smart enough to create a European Division office.

1. Mac Tools

This is an American company that produces items in different Stanley Black & Decker facilities worldwide. The primary distribution center for these tools is located in Ohio. There’s also a partner proto-Dallas plant.

That’s where the USA hardline tools line is manufactured. This outfit has been around since 1938, so there’s tons of brand recognition and a strong reputation. That was the year they started in Ohio. Shortly after that, they began franchising. Their headquarters are still in Ohio.

The Mac Tools business model uses a mobile system for distributing tools and related equipment across North America. Initial investments range from $106,026 to $259,255.

The Mac tools lineup consists of tool storage products as well.

2. Snap-On Tools

This product line has been around since 1920 with a strong brand reputation and tons of support. Snap-On is an American company headquartered in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Snap-On tools business model works for 4,600 franchisees globally. An owner gets access to custom software.

3. Matco Tools

Matco tools is another leader when it comes to assorted air tools for an automotive enterprise. The initial franchise fee is $8,000. Putting together all the items for an initial inventory can be expensive. Working with them can set you back between $50,000-$84,000. Matco tools have an excellent line with tons of variety. Check out the tool storage and hand tools in their shop equipment catalog. They were founded in 1946.

Their manufacturing plant is in Jamestown, NY. That’s where they make toolboxes. The Mac tools line consists of many competing items.

4. Cornwell Tools

This is an employee and family-owned series of mobile franchises. The company started in the automotive and other tool segments in 1919, they’ve been selling high-quality tools with a mobile model to customers since 1977.

They offer shop equipment and mobile franchises including modern software like the iron businessman network. This is a solid company with an excellent business model. This company still makes hardline tools in the USA.

5. K&N

This company has been serving customers since 1972. There’s an initial franchise fee of $28,500. The total start-up cost to purchase everything is $68,000. That includes tools and a truck. This company offers a personal business coach and other support.

automotive tool franchises

Comparing Top Automotive Tool Franchises

Embarking on a franchise journey in the automotive tool industry requires careful consideration of your investment and the unique benefits each brand offers.

Below is a comparison table that delineates the key financial commitments and distinctive features of the top five automotive tool franchises, assisting you in making an informed decision.

FranchiseInitial InvestmentFranchise FeeUnique Selling Point
Mac Tools$106,026 - $259,255Not specifiedMobile distribution of tools across North America, comprehensive product line including tool storage
Snap-On ToolsNot specifiedNot specifiedGlobal presence, custom software for franchisees, extensive product catalog
Matco Tools$50,000 - $84,000$8,000Founded in 1946, offers a wide range of shop equipment and hand tools, franchise support
Cornwell ToolsNot specifiedNot specifiedEmployee and family-owned, mobile franchises since 1977, made in USA tool line
K&NUp to $68,000$28,500Serving since 1972, offers a personal business coach, includes tools and truck in start-up costs

The Best Automotive Tool Franchises Summary:

  • Mac Tools: Ideal for entrepreneurs interested in a mobile franchise model with a well-established North American presence.
  • Snap-On Tools: Best suited for franchisees seeking a globally recognized brand with robust software and support systems.
  • Matco Tools: A good fit for those looking for a franchise with historical roots and diverse product offerings.
  • Cornwell Tools: Great for individuals valuing a family-owned business with a strong tradition of quality and domestic manufacturing.
  • K&N: Offers a more personal touch with dedicated business coaching, suitable for first-time franchisees.

automotive tool franchises

How to Choose the Best Franchise to Set Up Your Automotive Tool Company

Embarking on an automotive tool franchise venture requires careful consideration to ensure you choose a brand that aligns with your business objectives. Here’s what to focus on before making your decision:

A Proven Sales Record

Success in franchising often hinges on the brand’s track record. Investigate the sales history of potential franchises, like Mac Tools, to gauge their market performance.

A franchise with a strong sales record can offer a more reliable investment. Examine the financial success stories within the franchise network to understand the earnings potential and the most successful franchise locations or tactics.

A Good Brand Name

The brand name of the franchise you choose is your instant mark of quality. Renowned brands like Snap-On carry with them a legacy of excellence and customer trust.

Research the brand’s history, how long they have been in the market, and their reputation amongst customers and industry professionals. A well-established brand can give you a significant head start in building your business.

The Competition

Understanding your competition is crucial. If you’re leaning towards a franchise like Mac Tools, assess the presence of competitors such as Matco Tools in your desired territory. Knowing who you’re up against can help you strategize effectively and choose a franchise that offers a competitive edge.

Support and Training

One of the key benefits of franchising is the support and training provided by the franchisor. Look for a franchise that offers comprehensive sales and technical training, which will be essential as you start selling tools.

Additionally, inquire about the support provided post-launch and whether there’s financial assistance or other programs to help offset the franchise fee and initial setup costs. The level of support can be a deciding factor in the successful launch and ongoing management of your franchise.

automotive tool franchises

How Much Does It Cost to Open an Automotive Tool Franchise?

The total investment for a Snap-On business is between $169,223 and $382,235. The brand is a good example because it was founded in 1920. The franchise fee is between $80,00 and $16,000.

The Mac tools line consists of a manufacturing plant located in Allentown Pennsylvania. The total investment here is between $109,000 and $250,000. They have a main office in Ohio.

Is an Automotive Tool Franchise Profitable?

Yes, an automotive tools franchise can be profitable. As of 2021, the median franchise sales for Mac tools was $440,474.


Image: Envato Elements

More in:

Rob Starr Rob Starr is a staff writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 7 years. He is a graduate of Ryerson University in Toronto with a Bachelor of Journalism degree. His print credentials include employment with various Toronto area newspapers and three works of fiction: The Apple Lady (2004), Creekwater (2006) and Sophistry By Degrees (2008) published by Stonegarden Press In California.