SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Dealer Warns: Buyer Beware!

Considering the Snap-on Tools dealer franchise opportunity?  A veteran Snap-on dealer shares his advice with Unhappy Franchisee.

On our post SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Complaints, commenter I’m no fool contributed the following advice:

“I wanted to add a little inside information about Snap On Tools. I am currently a dealer that will be leaving soon. This is more of a Buyer Beware tips.

“Snap On Tools is not a business opportunity. Recruiters will tell you that but it isn’t. Here is why…..

Snap-On Tools“Snap on only will give you 200 potential customers that you can sell tools too. That means you can’t sell to anyone outside those list of people. Even if someone walks in your truck cash in hand to buy something. Snap On can also take away any customers at the discretion that is over 200. If you don’t believe me read the Snap on FDD Document. So how is it a business opportunity if you can’t grow? There is an answer to that question.

“Snap On does allow you to get 2nd route if your looking to grow. It is at there discretion if they will allow it but it can be an option. Here is the problem with that…

  1. Snap On has to approve your employee that will drive your truck on 2nd route.
  2. You have to meet the criteria which isn’t as easy then when you first got started.
  3. You will either have to buy a route from a dealer leaving which doesn’t guarantee you a route because Snap On has the first right of refusal. Or you will have to wait till a route opens which then don’t guarantee you anything because a new prospect coming in will get first choice. Reason for that is because Snap On makes more money on a new start up then adding a 2nd truck for an existing dealer.
  4. If you figured out how to make money outside of the Snap On way then they definitely don’t want you to grow. Snap On only wants people that will struggle most of there career because it gives the company more power over you. If they allow you to grew so you can make the kind of money any REAL independent person expects to make then that would give you too much power.

“So buyer beware. When you join Snap On you are just a glorified employee. You can even read why SBA won’t guarantee Snap On Franchise loans. If you are thinking the Snap On Tool business invest your money in a business that can earn you more then $35k a year. That is all you will make driving a Snap On truck if you make it. Don’t forget Snap On has a over 40% failure rate.”

Read More: Mobile Tool Franchise Guide

SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Complaints

SNAP-ON FRANCHISE Pros & Cons of Being a Snap-on Dealer

Forbes’ Praise of the Snap-On Franchise Draws Fire, Disbelief




12 thoughts on “SNAP-ON TOOLS Franchise Dealer Warns: Buyer Beware!

  • July 6, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Well said I’m no fool. Snap on tools has great product but lousy business model.

  • June 5, 2013 at 11:48 am

    I have been there. You are not really a Dealer, but a customer. Once you understand that relationship, every thing makes sense. Bring a 100k or what ever todays number is do 5k a week or what ever the current number is and by the end of the first year you have purchased 169k at wholesale. You are a good customer.

  • April 23, 2014 at 6:36 pm

    is there a way to know if a Snap-On truck driver is the franchisee or just
    a 2nd route employee ?

  • March 25, 2015 at 8:39 pm

    I’m not sure where your (I’m no fool) route was for SnapOn & I’m not a SnapOn franchisee, I’m a technician that happens to own predominantly SnapOn tools. What I do is that IF you could only ever make 35K a year, then my personal SnapOn dealer is fucked because he has a full time ASSISTANT that is making enough money to support his family of 4 & drive a 2013 Mustang GT. I doubt that would be possible if the assistant was only making 35K a year. & If the assistant can make that kind of money, the franchise owner is definitely making more. It’s all in route location & your ability to communicate with your customers. I am a loyal customer to my SnapOn dealer because he has shown that he will look out for me & help me however possible. If you’re smart about your route choice & you’re great with your customers, you can make way more than 35K a year.

  • June 20, 2015 at 9:36 pm

    I worked on cars for 10 yrs. 70% of the tools I own are Snap On. My tool box is the 2nd biggest box snap on makes. My snap on dealer lives on 2 acres , has a tennis court in his backyard, owns a brand new Chevy 2500 hd, a brand new Dodge Viper , a brand new Porsche turbo and a 2012 BMW (the expensive one). He also has an original 1955 Porsche pre 911 that looks like it came off the showroom floor. He works 4 days a week. He has the most inventory on his truck I’ve ever seen. He’s got 5 tool boxes full at his house in his shop. I personally paid this guy 150 a week for 3 yrs (I have about 75k in tools). A lot of it has to do with your inventory and your route. Anytime I set foot on his truck I knew I was gonna buy something. Aside from Mac tools they are the best u can get. You get what u pay for in this world. Craftsman is fine for a guy on the weekends changing his oil. But if u do this for a living, u have to buy quality tools. A tech that worked with me years ago went into to Sears to get a ratchet replaced that broke for the 3rd time. They turned him down cause he had his work uniform on and they told him craftsman tools were not for “professional use”. He started buying snap on and Mac after that. If u decide to become a dealer, u will only get what u make out of it. If u apply yourself, anything can be achieved. Just my 2 cents.

  • July 30, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I know a guy how got all that stuff and has a route with Snap-On. He was also born into a rich family and got a huge inheritance to finance the business. Last I knew it does not take much to have a couple kids and a 2013 Mustang. The guy may work 4 days a week but I guarantee 2 days he is doing paperwork, computer work, stocking his truck etc. If you were born into the business like your father was a regional manager and you were gifted a great route you can do well. Snap-On are the best tools out there for serious mechanics, the others are all crap and Snap-On is the best franchise for Mobile Tools. But they do screw people who do not know what they are doing. You can spend upwards to $200,000.00 and end up with a horrible route if you do not know the right people. It is also a dying business model.

  • September 12, 2015 at 12:24 pm


  • March 12, 2016 at 1:22 pm

    I’m not a dealer but married to one and if a dealer is only making 35k a year he is doing something wrong I have 2 family members that are dealers and make way more then that. Also both have more then 200 customers My husband sees more then 200 a week thats just the ones he sees he has probably around 300 customers. Its not an easy job no 9 to 5 thats for sure but if you put the work in you can do very well as my husband has for over 20 years now. May depend on where you live , Where we live no one can live on 35k a year

  • October 14, 2016 at 12:12 pm

    As the wife, stay-at-home mother of two, and business partner of a Snap-on franchise owner who has been in business for 26 years with a second van route/employee for 16 of those years, the original poster is completely clueless! My husband has been directly responsible for motivating at least 10 others, including a nephew and a cousin, to get into the business who have also been highly successful.

    If the 40 percent failure rate is even accurate at all, it is because of small-minded people like the writer of the post who attempt this business expecting to put in 40 hours per week for a pay check and totally ignoring the concept of business equity. Snap-on routes contain a MINIMUM of 200 customers on a list of calls. Customers are added when shops add new employees, new businesses open, and yes, even when the guy off the street or farm makes a purchase or seeks warranty on tools.

    So Dale, find your local dealer and you will be added to his list of calls. For continued service, make a purchase once in awhile and make it worth the dealer’s time while his truck is idle, burning up his fuel, and he is unable to sell tools while repairing your ratchet. Please re-read the poster’s 4 points about adding a second route. How does this differ if I owned a McDonald’s or Dairy Queen franchise? It doesn’t.

    As for the 4th point, I’m pretty sure if I owned a McDonald’s and wanted to purchase a Dairy Queen, McDonald’s would see that as a conflict of my time and interest! However, unlike a brick and mortar franchise, the beauty of the Snap-on mobile franchise business model is we aren’t sitting here hopeful a customer will come in today to buy something, we take the business to them and the customer benefits by saving time not having to chase down tools. Because of the Snap-on franchise opportunity and my husband busting his butt to care for the needs of our many loyal customers, I don’t have to go to a job today, I am writing this from my beautifully furnished and long ago paid-for home with a shop on an acreage, with 7 paid-for vehicles and 5 different recreational vehicles, looking forward to seeing my youngest child’s game tonight and my oldest child at college this weekend because we have never missed anything our kids were involved in (both have college provided by college savings accounts funded by our Snap-on business), enjoying the pictures on the walls of our many family vacations to around 15 countries and more than twice as many states, and looking forward to an early retirement as long people like the above poster quit voting in politicians who want to level the playing field and think that people who work 80-100 hours a week and buy smart, sell smart, and save smart don’t deserve more than those who work 40 hours for a paycheck.

    Talk about someone having power over you and wanting you to struggle!

  • April 20, 2017 at 2:14 am

    After reading what’s posted here and from knowing this company from the inside, I can assure you all what you think is grand isn’t. I relate the franchisee in these tool businesses as one day hero the next day zero. The managers will tell you that “it’s you, not the customer.” Great blow off.

    This type business is not a 9-5 job EVER. If you think it will be or operate it that way, you’ll be left holding the empty bag. It can be a 24-7 operation actually. The truck in the route wouldn’t be seen 24 hours of the day BUT, all the necessary tasks that are part of it constitute the other time consuming.

    The old saying when Snap On was created in 1920 was, 1 man doing the job of 5. Well, I can assure you that in the new day and age it’s more like 1 man doing the job of 20. If you have multiple routes you can be sure to add a huge increase to that number.

    The struggle for the corporation to stay ahead of the “other tool truck companies” is another addition to the added stress this puts on the franchisee(s). In a perfect world as SOT believes, is the mechanic should sign his whole paycheck over to the franchisee on payday.

    Great theology but, actuality is far from that. The business model leaves a lot to be desired. Knowing a SBL can’t be obtained to start one is a dead give away from the jump. “RING, RING” did this catch your attention?

    If not, here’s another way to look at it if you decide to be “dumb and come get some”

    First off, you need a truck they have made or a used one at LDV Inc in Wisconsin. The basic bread truck 24′ decked out in a BASIC configuration in a new condition would be easily around 125k. The inventory on the truck (tools etc) would be in the neighborhood of 125k or more. Figure in the taxes, insurance, tags, DOT #, maintenance, county licenses you operate in, accountant (if used), fuel, your pay ( maybe an assistant’s pay) startup fees and fee to use the Snap On brand logo can put you well over 1/4 of a million in debt and most likely more. Is your brain spinning yet?

    Yes, Snap On Tools owns their own credit dept now. They can loan you the amount to get rolling and expect you to pay them just like your customer. Add in the truck payment, tool purchase payments, built in maintenance charge for the truck and INTEREST every week and it’s staggering if you’re running a half assed show out there. Payments can vary and aren’t low incase you were wondering.

    Snap On gives you a % break if you can pay your tool bill owed all in full and receive that credit on your tool bill statement. You better be on your game and be cranking in 15k EVERY week on paid sales (money taken in) and 18.5k or more in delivered sales EVERY week to even show any increase in your business. Remember, EVERY WEEK this must happen! They set break evens at a lower number but, who wants to work your ass off for break even?

    If your truck breaks down at any given moment and you’re without it for even a day, is a punch in the gut. You have to use an alternate means to go out and pre sell or just collect those days. Very stressful to say the least. Now you better be really on your game because it’s catch up time! More stress.

    The brand sells itself without any effort but, it all depends on how the franchisee runs it to be effective. You better be able to hustle really good because you’ll be selling new and used (trade in) items constantly for profits and most likely hustling other tool brands and even loan sharking with interest to stay afloat.

    The management teams Snap On has directing the franchisees leaves a lot to be desired. The franchisees look at them as “high power car salesman” types making bonuses off the food chain (franchisees) with numerous “sized package amounts” that they and you know are most likely are not going to sell. They’re motto is, “we’re a numbers based business, it’s all about the numbers.”

    So this leaves the franchisee holding the bag again because even if the items are sold to the franchisee with a 4 week hold being billed to your statement they’ll shove other “packs” as they call them at you equalling several thousands of dollars and promise to help you move it or take it back an redistribute it among some other the other franchisees in your FPT. All hype actually.

    Remember you have all the other items you bought on different programs they whip up all year long and pre sell to you almost a year out. Sometimes the product can’t be returned for credit and guess who’s left holding the bag again? Also, the franchisee has to pay the shipping charges to send it back and has to wait sometimes up to 4 weeks or more to obtain credit because the returns have to be verified before the credit is applied. They don’t trust you.

    Broken or warrantied tools are done the same way. Only hand tools have a lifetime warranty. This doesn’t cover negligence from the end user. Screwdrivers used as pry bars are an example of negligence.

    Now, let’s see who gets the shaft in the 3 ring circus here. 1st ring = Snap On Tools. The 2nd ring is the franchisee. The 3rd ring is end user (customer). Unless the tool etc is paid for straight out at the time of purchase this is how it goes down.
    (Remember, those tools on the truck are costing you so get rid of them quickly, you have weekly tool bill due by Thursday evening.)

    1. Snap On sells the franchisee the tools at a 30% less that list. Sometimes more discount but, the customer will never know so whatever “discounts” the franchisee gives the customer is how much he’s NOT making or R.O.I.
    2. The franchisee (taking in the fact this customer has a zero balance owed) will be asked “how much is it?” So his reply is “how much can you put down today” Then the back n forth hashing it out begins like a drug dealer fronting out dope. Long story short is the franchisee will work out a weekly payment with the customer subtracting what he can put down divided by a certain amount of weeks (10 or less is great) agreed at the close of the sale.
    ***THIS IS A RA (revolving account or termed a “truck account” with zero interest applied to the customer).

    3. The customer says I can afford $20.00 each week and the franchisee says he has 10 weeks to pay it off because his total balance was $200.00. Simple math even for the knucklehead mechanic. If a 10 week turnaround is what the franchisee stays at then just divide the total amount minus any payment and you’ll get his weekly payment amount.
    ****IF THE CUSTOMER PAYS AS AGREED! You sure hope like hell they do.

    So, lets combine all three of the said above and see who really the “win , place and show” is here.
    1. Win = Snap On Tools.
    2. Place = The customer.
    3. Show = “MAYBE” the franchisee.

    Remember, Snap On sold the tools to the franchisee on a said turn around and with interest added to the bill and wants paid every week the same as the franchisee. The franchisee didn’t charge interest on a RA account to the customer on the “front he worked out”
    **Franchisee screwed again.

    The customer got the tools fronted to him like a drug dealer on an agreement he would pay a certain amount every week until paid off OR the franchisee sells him more each week “increasing” his weekly payment to where it about breaks the mechanic in most cases. The customer isn’t charged any interest if it’s not through Snap On Credit. (we’ll discuss that entity next).

    The franchisee has a weekly tool bill that is a bill compiled from ALL the customers in the route that owe ( not to mention the tool bill he has from buying the tools from the start) and 95% or more is sold as a front waiting to be paid each week. So, if all goes as planned for the franchisee (which seldom does) he will see, sell and collect the agreed or maybe more of an amount from the customer to pay this tool bill Snap On’s waiting to be paid on every Thursday evening.
    Seems simple right? Not hardly.
    The model isn’t made for the franchisee only Snap On and the customer.

    There will always be some deadbeats who will give you less, not pay you, skip out, vanish forever, not work all week and can’t pay you, had something arise in his life that prevents you from getting paid, had to pay his rent, power bill etc. and looked at his check knowing who he could get over on and what ones he couldn’t and 9-10 times the tool truck franchise is the one out of his money.
    What a great way to be able to pay your own bills in life off the backs of fronting tools like a drug dealer.

    There are way more scenarios that can be listed here but, this should give you an idea on who really wins and who’s screwed from the business model of a tool truck operation from Snap On Tools or any other tool hustling operation. THE FRANCHISEE IS SCREWED before he even hits the street.

    Of course if the franchisee is a sub par type in sales you’re doomed from the jump because not just anyone can do this type of operation. Seriously. Even some of the best were knocked to their knees at one point of time if not taken completely out all together. Snap On wins again and so does the freeloader customer from the drug deal that went bad all because the franchisee fronted the merchandise with zero interest and a signed receipt showing the customer agreed to that IF the franchisee even has does that part of his job everyday! good luck playing repo man chasing after your property after a 12 hour day running the truck. Chasing that dollar.

    Now, SOC.
    Snap On Credit SOC contracts are a different story and is figured on the creditworthiness of the buyer in front of them. If their payment history across the bureaus stinks, then his buy power here may not even be possible to write a short term contract w/ interest at a high rate because they’re a high risk.

    Snap On Credit annual percentage rate is generally pretty steep. Again, the customers “open to buy” or loan total amount granted from Snap On Credit is based on credit worthiness. This type of sale has nothing to do with the previous scenario previously discussed. This is what’s termed a SOC or Snap On Credit account. The earlier was termed a RA (revolving account).

    The credit account can be made in 6 months up to 5 years in duration with a fixed % rate per state and customers worthiness on some contracts. Payments are made each week or the month’s due amount by the last working Friday of each month. Interest is compiled each month per the contract.

    The franchisee will make a certain dollar amount immediately once the contract is written. If the customer defaults on the contract the franchisee will be given a chargeback up to 30% of the remaining balance owed. This ensures the franchisee baby sits the customer every week to pay his credit account and help the customer maintain his credit worthiness. All credit customers MUST be paid up by the EOM or if the franchisee has too many open accounts unpaid for the month called delinquencies it affects the franchisee’s selling power as well on contracts he can write.
    (There is another scenario involved that screws the franchisee if a deadbeat mechanic moves into his route area as well but, I won’t discuss this now).

    Nowhere in any contract or sale a franchisee does are the words included: “If a truck doesn’t show up or he goes out of business you don’t have to pay or it’s yours to keep” Customers try this trick regardless if told or not.
    The customer is liable under laws like buying a car or home with this contract. MAKE SURE THE CUSTOMER KNOWS THIS!
    The customer will still play the dumb role from what they’ve heard from other deadbeats that got away with with other franchisees.

    This was just a really small sample of what the daily perils of operating this type of business. In all actuality, the franchisee doesn’t “own” the route or customers, Snap On Tools does. They provide you with a 50-50 list of calls MAYBE 200 and swear they’re all mega stops and you’ll be a million dollar franchisee if you do what “WE” tell you. It’s nothing like a bread or cookie / vending route. If you decide it’s time to go on a “good note” and depending on how many years and in the black you are you may have some “blue sky” value sitting there to collect from.
    Good luck on that. All the management team in place are hustlers that have attended Snap On’s brainwashing school on negativity. All con artists.

    So the morale of the story is, if you want to work your ass off 7 days a week and be a babysitter for mechanics and shop owners that look no farther. You found your nitch. You can’t complain about what you allowed in this high stakes gamble and this isn’t a tip of the iceberg either.

    Confide with any business lawyer FIRST and have him review that novel sized FDD outline of what you’re getting into. The response from any good lawyer would be. “You’re doomed from the start” so, why would you put up this amount of debt to have such a high failure rate and no SBL available to start one?

    Replies read here also had what all kinds of material things these franchisees had etc. If you base your outcome to what your read from that you’re the next sucker to sign your life away. There were no hard facts to prove any of it came from being a franchisee of Snap On Tools.
    Maybe the franchisee had to repo whatever he could to cut the losses to break even or not at all.
    It’s not some private “millionaire club” operation for the franchisee, just Snap On Tools Inc.

    Word to the wise:
    Don’t bother attempting this business model from “ANY” tool truck company unless you’re just a glutton for punishment and willing to go in debt for the rest of your life or even worse.

    You were advised!

  • April 21, 2017 at 12:06 am

    To revise a item in the above lesson from Tommy Toolman, concerning Snap On Credit end of month payment is “the customer needs to pay whatever balance that is due w / interest on the last working day of the month.

    So, that means the end of the month could land on any work day which is Monday – Friday by 6;00 pm central time USA.

    This can be tricky for the customer if not told about this because they generally always get paid weekly or bi weekly on Fridays. If the end of the month is Wednesday and the customer hasn’t paid his balance for the month by Wednesday’s close out (6pm) Central time his credit account goes in an “open status” and will have a late fee tacked onto next month’s bill AND the franchisee has a delinquency under his name at Snap On Credit. Expect a phone call from Snap On Credit (SOC).

    ** The franchisee could also use his own money to pay the amounts due and beat the books if need be. This would put more pressure to collect back on the franchisee the next week when the customer’s seen and if done this way some franchisee’s charge the customer a fee to do this and can make extra money as well. This will prevent the franchisee’s name from looking like mud at SOC and keep the “knucklehead managers” from ringing the franchisees phone as well because this affected the whole FPT’s numbers. (No bonus for knucklehead, but an ass chewing instead from above)

    Take in consideration if this franchisee only has lets say 40 credit accounts in his route and has a shit load go open and drives his over all percentage of unpaid customers past an 8% average, this dings the franchisee’s selling power using Snap On Credit for the whole next month. Not good.

    ALSO, if the franchisee happens to obtain a new customer from another franchisee’s route and has a RA and SOC account this franchisee “HAS TO” take on the SOC account rather they want it or not. Ifd this customer is a high risk or behind etc and continues this process of neglect. it will be charged to the franchisee that now sees him regardless if he sold him anything or not.

    Snap On Credit has multiple levels of contract selling power for the customer if they have a high account total (in numbers) and if they maintain a “0” delinquency for a span of 3 months or more.
    This is another tricky part of the 50+ jobs you have to juggle everyday as a franchisee “IF” you run the model as outlined by Snap On.

    If you get back home early or feel like you could go 12 more hours you surely haven’t worked your day effectively using the Snap On Tools model. Working half days in this “nightmare” is 12 hours!

    There’s one thing for sure with this operation, you’ll either have to take sedatives, drink alcohol, do drugs, pray harder, commit suicide, give up or all the above.

    Bank on it!

    Sorry to derail your thread Tommy, I just had to add in some of the “Painful Truth”

  • April 22, 2017 at 12:21 am

    Correction on this statement made in the above post:
    “Snap On Credit has multiple levels of contract selling power for the customer”

    It should read:
    “Snap On Credit has multiple levels of contract power for the franchisee” to use for the customer if the customer even qualifies. The Franchisee must meet the 3 month consecutive – 0% non delinquency and credit accounts on the books to qualify for the highest tier of credit account selling power for the customer.

    Not having a good standing with SOC will also hamper the sales profits for the franchisee.

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