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MATCO TOOLS Distributor Franchise [UPDATED]

Is Matco Tooling or Fooling?

Matco Tools aggressively promotes its mobile distributor franchise as a great investment. Angry Matco Tools distributors claim it’s a calculated, unethical franchise scheme that profits from their failures.  Who’s telling the truth?  Read more…

Matco Tools claims it’s the #1 tool franchise…

Matco Tools’ mobile tool franchise is aggressively advertised and heavily hyped on a national basis.  Matco Tools boasts that it is consistently ranked as one of the top franchise opportunities in the USA, that its recognized by Entrepreneuer Magazine as the #1 Tools Distribution Franchise and #19 overall in its Franchise 500 ranking.  Matco Tools claims to be one of the top 10 most popular franchises for military veterans.

But some Matco franchisees claim they’re getting the shaft

Once you get past the expensive and pervasive franchise hype, some alarming allegations about the Matco Tools franchise appear.

A recently filed class action lawsuit alleges that Matco Tools and TD Bank conspired to fraudulently obtain SBA loans for franchisees they knew would likely fail.

A report from law firm Marks & Klein alleges that 49% of Matco distributors are churned from the system each year, only to be replaced by new franchisee investors destined to meet a similar fate.

Our post MATCO TOOLS Franchise Complaints sparked more than 1000 spirited, often angry, comments in less than a month, an record.

Yet, other long-time Matco Tools distributors are strongly defending the company and its practices (MATCO TOOLS Franchise Defenders Speak Out)

Who is telling the truth about the Matco Tools Distributor Franchise Program?

Read our posts and the comments under each, and decide for yourself.

Matco Tools Franchise Posts & Discussions

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Complaints  June 8, 2011 (4000+ comments)

MATCO TOOLS: Veterans Against Matco Franchises Launches Facebook Page  February 7, 2012

MATCO TOOLS: Unhappy Franchisee Launches RoboCall Campaign<  January 16, 2012

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Information Video  January 4, 2012

<MATCO TOOLS: Franchisee Alleges Franchise Fraud (Video)<  January 4, 2012

<MATCO TOOLS: Lady Matco Speaks Out (Video)<  January 1, 2012

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Defenders Speak OutDecember 7, 2011 (Comments defending Matco invited)

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Report Alleges Distributor Churning  November 29, 2011

MATCO TOOLS 2011 Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) & Other Resources  November 22, 2011

MATCO TOOLS Class Action Lawsuit, “Secret” Sales Projections  November 22, 2011

FRANCHISE LAWSUIT Alleges Matco Tools Scam, TD Bank Fraud  November 15, 2011

Failure Rates of the 10 Most Popular Franchises  April 26, 2010


Other Mobile Tool Franchise Posts:

Mobile Tool Franchise Guide  January 3, 2012

<Mobile Tool Franchise Guide: Franchise Resales < January 2, 2012

<Mobile Tool Franchise Guide: List of Calls (LOC)<  December 30, 2011

MAC TOOLS Guilty of Franchise Fraud?  November 7, 2011

CORNWELL TOOLS Franchise Scam or No Scam?  November 17, 2011



To contact the author and site admin, email UnhappyFranchisee[at]


4 thoughts on “MATCO TOOLS Distributor Franchise [UPDATED]

  • MATCO#1

    hmmm…nobody here.
    MATCO Tools is the #1 Tool Franchise…again!

  • Todd A. Peterson

    I am here!

    Here is what Matco did for my FRANCHISE.

    First the Distributor before me only worked 3 days on a Matco route and yes I bought it. I also bought his truck. I could have taken a route closer to where I lived but I liked the truck and established customers. Did not want the Isuzu Matco was cramming down my throat.

    So I went to this distributors house and I saw his financials. I cringed he was not doing well. Of course, he only had 3 days on route per week the other two and Saturday he was restoring vintage cars.

    I talked to DM who had told me this was a great business opportunity and explained to him I had my doubts about the route. I told him I didn’t think by looking at the financials and the amount of customers on the books I could be competitive with the 333 customers I was given which was largely made up of very few shops:

    Monday- 13 shops 68 customers (One shop had 5 customers and while I was riding around with Trainer the first week he informed trainer and myself that he had told DM he didn’t want a Matco truck on his property) So -5 equals 63

    Tuesday- 6 shops 73 customers (5 shops were part of 1 Auto Park) it was really two shops.

    Wednesday-3 shops 68 customers

    Thursday- 4 shops 76 customers

    Friday- 7 shops 48 customers

    Grand total of 33 shops and 328 customers.

    So I explain to DM that this is a very low number and I think that distributor I did ride with has a lot more customers and definitely a larger route.

    He tells me “that Matco usually gives Distributors a minimum head count and leaves it up to them to grow their own route.” That made sense to me. People who work hard succeed and those who start up a franchise and don’t work will fail. He assures me that I will pick up shops that need a Matco distributor because they will call me when they see my truck on the road and get the number off the back and side of truck. He also tells me to call him if I want to add a shop so that I don’t pick up shops that belong in someone elses area or on an open route.

    So i go to training come back load up my truck and start my franchise. Things were terribly slow in the begining. Learning the computer, talking about tools instead of turning them. But after two months I found myself going home early every day two days by 2:00 and 2 days by noon. The other day 7-5.

    I was hitting all the shift jobs during the daytime when other distributors serviced them and I got to thinking when I was a tech and how it made me feel when other tool guys would not come and service me on a third or second shift. So, I restructured my route and started working longer hours and as people called me and needed service I would add them to my route calling my DM for approval first.

    After about 6 months I was kicking ass! My customers loved and respected me. I would work late come on their shift and not in between shifts. My DM was plastering my walls with sales achievements plaques from meetings. Life was good.

    I filled the holes in my day with shops I added with DM approval.

    Things are going so well I was inventory rich. I was putting on my truck 3/4 in drive everything. I was stocking specialty tools out my butt. I was adding pliers and all kinds of tools I thought I would need when I turned wrenches. I was living the Matco dream.

    In June of 2005 I had a fire on my truck and found myself in a bit of a pickle on a tool truck. It seems that no companies(Not Matco’s Vendors) except for the manufacturer of my truck would take my truck in trade. So I did trade my truck in and got a bigger one because I had grown my inventory to over $200,000 my cost. I bought a 26′ Peterbilt.

    So although I was without an actual tool truck for 6 months I had acheived a top 50 ranking with Matco Tools in 2005. I worked out of a temp truck and it was such a piece of crap that I ended up working out of my Jeep Cherokee a bunch.

    So at Cancun, Mexico Expo in Feb. 2006 I receive an award from Matco being 41 out of over 1500 distributors from my new RM Tim Novak. I also received a GOLD sales excellence ring as well. Our whole District received awards for being a #1 District. Our DM was pumped. He was talking about growing our District and helping our Region become #1 in 2006. I purchased around $25,000 at Expo.
    I remember Tim Novak asking me to tell the other distributors in our Region what I did that made me so successful. I told them say hi and talk to every customer in the shop every week. Work longer hours than your competiton. Tote and promote Matco products.

    In less than 3 months after Expo my DM was fired. A fellow distributor would quit has franchise (I believe he was 45 out of 1500+) and I would be threatened by Tim Novak to surrender shops I had established with my Ex DM (of which I had PSA written and credit apps approved and denied.) or I could lose my franchise.

    Having Tim Novak in my home and knowing that I am heavily invested in tools and truck and with Tim threatening my franchise I caved. He left me with Rick Pena to decide what shops I would be surrendering and I did.

    Before Rick Pena came to me he and another DM surveyed our entire area and only found around 100 shops not getting service between me and another distributor Bud Cook. Rick explained to me that during his surveys he only found two shops that had negative things to say about me and that over 95% of my customers were happy to have me as their distributor. But he also explains to me that one of the reasons my DM had been terminated was because he had promised a new distributor Michael Johnson a Distributor Franchise but had not surveyed a route to put him in. Rick had been tasked with the duty of finding this Distributor a route. I suggested to Rick that there were at least three different routes available in Little Rock and I knew that there were others elsewhere but Rick said that this distributor was promised a route in NWA. I told him I didn’t care and that everything I had had been approved through my DM to call on. I even told him about shops I had picked up temporarily to help prep a route Kevin Hodges dad Gerald had taken so that TP would be established and customers broken tools would get serviced before Gerald got there.

    He showed me his survey sheets and I asked him if I could keep them. I DID!

    He showed me sheets with tacks on them in different colors showing shops with no service, shops with my “LOC”, shops I was calling on but had not been signed into my route list. I asked if I could keep them. I DID!

    I told him that I wasn’t giving up one shop and that I was servicing them all and he himself said my customers were happy. He said that is all true but this distributor was promised a route and my shops that I had added were not secured on my route list. I told him my DM gave me approval to call on them. He informed me according to my contract that they have to be in writing and signed by me and DM. I told him I didn’t care. I also told him maybe it was time to talk to a lawyer.

    Fact of the matter is I was still paying off tools ordered from Expo. I owed over 10,000 on deferred payments of inventory that was rolling in months after Expo. I couldn’t afford an attorney at that time.

    But soon Tim Novak flew in from Texas and threatened me with my franchise. Showed me the same tacks on a route maps (which I kept Yes I have Tim and Rick copies of the same goople map crap) I ask him point blank “Can I lose my franchise if I don’t surrender shops” he says “Yes”.

    So I surrender because although I was sure I was right and I new my fired DM gave me those shops it did say it had to be in writing. I felt it would be better to float in the boat than hire an attorney and maybe sink it.

    Tim left and I gave Rick enough customers to give Michael 338 customers on his “LOC”.

    So I am thinking it is a shitty deal but it is over. Not so. Rick comes back to my house and tells me that I gave Michael “JUNK SHOPS” and tells me “Michael deserves the same opportunity you had to become a successful distributor.” I tell him. Yeah he is right and that him being successful is going to destroy me. He tells me I am a good salesman and that I can build it agian but this time make sure your DM does his job. I tell him I am “but I have a large inventory and a new truck. How am I going to make it with the bills I have. He tells me I will manage. Then he tells me he has been authorized to give me 3 MB4725 for my trouble. I told him I could buy four in one month with the over $2000 a week in TP I was being forced to give up before I give up more customers. He tells me well you can take the boxes and surrender the shops or not take the boxes and surrender the shops either way Matco was going to give him more of my shops.

    So, I gave him every 2nd and 3rd shift shop I had. My thinking was if this guy wanted my success he was going to have to work the same way I did to get it. So Mike ends up with over 450 customers to call on. I am reduced to 350 and a lot of what I was given were shops that Bud Cook didn’t want to call on. Yeah I can say that too because I have Matco route sheets to prove it.

    One of the last things I asked Rick to do was when I found new shops that I would be allowed to call on them. He told me he wasn’t my DM and he thought that my new DM Anthony Kramer (who was a previous Snap-On distributor and had been in my District as a Distributor for less than a year) could help me establish new shops on my route list.

    So within two or three months of surrendering shops I have two brand new shops opening up on a street where Bud Cook and myself overlap on Moberly Lane in Bentonville. I call and ask Anthony about a month before they actually open if I can call on them and he says to get him an address when they open with the name of the shop and customer count and he will add them to my route list.

    So I swing by on Wednesday, the day I service that area , and they inform me they already have a Matco distributor and he came by the day before. So I call Anthony and ask him if he gave the shops to Bud Cook and he tells me “No”. I remind him that he told me I could call on them and he tells me to call Bud.

    So I call Bud Cook and ask him if he is calling on the new shops. He tells me “No. I gave those shops to Michael Johnson.” I say “Okay” and I call Anthony back. I ask Anthony “Since when do distributors assign shops to other distributors?” Anthony tells me “They can’t” and I tell Anthony “Then why did Bud tell me he gave the shops to Michael Johnson?” He tells me “He can’t do that.” I tell him “That’s your job. Right?” and he says “Yes”. So we hang up with the understanding that I will be calling on those shops. Then I get a call from Anthony telling me that “things are going to stay the way they are.” I can’t believe it.

    So I don’t give up I tell him I need to talk to him. He comes to my house and tallks with me and my wife. I tell him that is wrong to let a distributor call on shops when he doesn’t have any shops on that street already. Not to mention the fact that I put him in business and he already has more head count than I do. Anthony once again tells me those shops are mine and that I am right and this should never have happened.

    Two days later Anthony tells me that this decision is not his and that “It is out of my hands.”

    Over the course of the next two years I will lose a large percent of my customers due to an ailing economy. I will have multiple shops close and work reduction in every shop I have. Hardly no new businesses will open doors and many will open and close within a years time.

    Sometime in the Spring of 2009 I will tell Anthony I need a route resurvey done because I do not have anywhere near the minimum a new distributor has to start a new franchise. He tells me he is very busy but can get it done around the fall.

    In Nov. 2009 I will call Anthony and plead with him that I am fixing to lose an Important dealership who is closing their doors forever Bob Maloney Ford and that it is imperative that my route be resurveyed. I am told once again that it is the Holidays and in the New Year it will happen.

    Then in January of 2010 Anthony sends me an email stating I am at a YTD purchase average of $1,608.02 and that I am not at 80% of the National average. It also states that “Our end-user customers expect and deserve Matco products from their Matco Tools Distributor. Since I didn’t find this email until after I was terminated because Anthony knows I have never communicated by email. I ask you why would a DM who’s job is supposed to be supporting distributors not at least call me? Is it because I had already asked once and begged another time in the same year for a resurvey?

    So Anthony said resurvey in the new year. It never happened!

    On July 12, 2010 I get “THE LETTER” stating I have 90 days to cure a violation of my purchase average. Not being at 80% of the National Average. If I do not cure within 90 days Matco has good cause to separate. If I repeat same violation within a year Matco can terminate my franchise.

    As soon as I get the letter I come home and start raising hell with Tim. I told him that it was pretty shitty that He would separate me from Matco after I had been begging for a resurvey of my route Anthony said he would perform. I also told him that I had not received one shop added to my route list since he ruined my business in 2006.

    I felt like I was getting nowhere so I started calling corporate and gathering route list to prove I had a low head count to corporate.

    Thats when I received a letter from Anthony stating he had performed a survey of my route and found I was only servicing 67% of my of 328 customers. A totally fraudulent survey. There were shops on the survey that had not been open for over 9 months, there were shops I never heard of, there were shops that he asked me to call on but never added them to my route list. There were shops with inflated numbers.

    Again, I RAISE HELL. I try to talk with Tom Willis and Ernie Lauber but I am not getting any returned phone calls with messages I leave.

    Then, on July 28, 2010 I get a call from Anthony. He has good news and wants to meet me the next day. We set up a meeting at McDonalds because when he lied to my wife and I over those two shops on Moberly Lane my wife told him to never set foot on our property again.

    At the meeting he hands me a route list to sign which says I will have 405 customers to call on. I am overjoyed! I felt someone at Matco had heard of the fraud and made it right. I ask Anthony “Why did it have to come to this for them to take care of me.” He told me “I have more freedom than I did in the past and I deserved this opportunity.

    So I go right to work. I take a purchase average of 620 per week off the false survey performed on July 26, 2010 and turn it into a 1,472 per week purchase average by the end of the year. I was above the 13 wk National Purchase average at the end of the year.

    Yes, I did take three weeks off at the end of the year. One Thanksgiving week and Two Christmas into New Years. I have two kids who were 10 and 11 who were at home as well. The weather would not be kind in the new year having over two weeks of snow days in which I would have to take care of my kids because my wife has worked full time every since Tim cut my route in 06.

    On February 11, 2011 I would receive a conference call from Tim Novak with Anthony Kramer in attendance where Tim informed me that I was no longer a Matco Distributor. When I asked why he told me I had gone back to doing what I did before. I asked specifically and he told me I was not at 80% of the National Average. I told him what about the four feet of snow in my driveway. He told me its too late. I asked if I could start another route somewhere else where their wasn’t a distributor. He told me “I don’t care what you do you won’t be doing it with Matco.” I asked him what about moving to Kansas and selling tools for Matco their? He said “I don’t care what you do you won’t be doing it with Matco.” I asked him if I could at least service my customers till Matco found a replacement. Again he said “I don’t care what you do you won’t be doing it with Matco.”

    What really blew me away was sometime in late November 2010, after my cure period Anthony shows up out of the blue on my truck. I ask him “Oh No! What did I do now?” Anthony proceeds to tell that I am “doing great”. I ask him what about the letter and he tells me “forget the letter ever existed” “your doing great” “just keep doing what you been doing.” I ask him specifically about the one year clause in the letter and he tells me if anything is going to happen he will contact me first. Just like he always did he lied again. Noone ever called and asked if I had a Death in the family. Noone asked if I was sick. Noone called to tell me what a terrible distributor I am.

    Matco didn’t do a damn thing to help me and lied to me every chance they got.

    Did I mention again that Anthony Kramer and Tim Novak hired Robert Demers a long time Snap-On distributor who won a Harley Davidson and a BMW Mini-Cooper for his sales excellence with Snap-On to come on board with Matco as a District Manager in San Antonio Texas less than 6 months after he filed bankruptcy in Arkansas.

    Did I mention Bob told me personally that he hated being a Manager for Snap-On for the year he did it and he told me he would never do that agin.

    Did I mention that Bob was made a Distributor a few months after I received my Separation letter from Matco?

    Guess where Bob assumed his route where two failed distributors had ran a franchise?

    Yes. Bob is back in his home town in Michael Johnson’s old route.

    Now! You smart intellegent people can probably find something to smart off about I am sure. But anyone who has a brain can figure out this is one SCREWED UP FRANCHISE

  • Pingback: MATCO TOOLS Franchise Information Video [UPDATED] : Unhappy Franchisee

  • Go to Mac and shove it up there ass they atleast have product to sell and usa made product same with cornwell

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