Having worked as a mechanic for most of his life, David Banfield made the move from consumer to supplier in November 2015 by joining American tool company Mac Tools’ new UK franchise. Here, he tells Business Advice how his life has changed for the better.
Prior to starting his Mac Tools franchise in November 2015, David was aware of the brand and recognised the quality of the products, thanks to a 30-year career in the motor trade.
He started out as a truck mechanic, progressing to become a workshop supervisor and assistant manager for a large bus company before making the decision to branch out on his own.
This experience in the motor trade has proven to be one of the keys Banfield’s success as a Mac Tools franchisee, as he explained: “Having been a mechanic is a great help when it comes to understanding what my customers want.
“I have the knowledge to be able to offer them an alternative tool where appropriate, which they had maybe not considered previously. Not only that, but having worked for a Ford dealership, the training I previously received in customer service has helped a great deal now that I’m my own boss dealing directly with customers.”
Making the move from consumer to supplier has brought a great many changes to David’s life and, as he says, they are all for the better. “I don’t have the responsibility of a workshop full of staff anymore. I am only responsible for myself and my actions and I am now fully in charge of my destiny, which is fantastic.
“My wife also now works part-time for me, so Mac Tools has become a joint venture for us. This gives her time to herself at home or to see the grown up children who are now living away from us.
“As I have just reached my first year as a Mac Tools franchisee, I’ve upgraded my van for a larger one, which in the first week with my customers has seen an increase in sales along with a real sense of positivity from those people who are choosing to buy tools from me.”
While Banfield may no longer be responsible for a workshop full of staff, neither is he alone as a Mac Tools franchisee. He, like all Mac Tools franchise holders, has the back-up and support of the brand.
Banfield outlined how valuable this is to him: “My regional field manager is always at the end of the phone if I need help. Great deals are offered by the brand each month, which gives us franchise holders the opportunity to increase our sales by passing these deals onto our customers.
When I started, I received two weeks’ training before going out on the road and then, during my first two weeks on the road, I had my regional field manager guiding and supporting me.”
After the first weeks on the road with full support, Banfield was ready to go it alone. Here’s how he describes a typical day, now that he is well established: “I tend to leave home at around nine as I’m not really a morning person and this allows me to miss the traffic heading into London.
I usually arrive at my first customer around 9.30am, and on an average day I visit around 25 workshops, which means I usually have lunch on the move. I try and return home by 5.30pm ready to complete all the end of day banking and ordering.
“Then it’s time to check the following day’s deliveries and load them onto the van. If there is any other admin that needs doing I might not finish my day until around 9pm. I know that makes it sound like long days but I enjoy the job so much it doesn’t feel like hard work.”
Talking about his first year as a Mac Tools franchise holder, Banfield gives his advice for anyone considering following his example. “Be bold and be brave,“ he said.
“Customers want someone who is confident. Definitely take at least one van ride with a current franchisee and stay with them for the whole day so that you can see the other work that has to be done when you get home, such as loading the van and checking deliveries in.
“Having some knowledge of tools helps but it’s not essential, a big personality helps more as really the tools sell themselves, and it’s you that makes the extra difference.
“Don’t expect a get rich quick scheme, it takes time to build the business and lots of hard work. However, if you are willing to put the time and effort in, the rewards are worth it.
Franchisee profile: Lee Eaton from Manchester-based Signs Express
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