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MAC TOOLS Distributor Problems – Your Input Invited

MAC TOOLS Distributors: What problems are you dealing with in your mobile tool business?

Are you dealing with:

– Not enough qualified customers?

– Being put on hold?

– Price competition?

-Collection problems?

– Cash flow problems?

– Constant pressure to buy more tools?

– Trouble getting support and advice from your BM other than “put more tools on the street”?

Please share your current problems below.

Anonymous comments are fine.

Buddy the Business Manager will address your problems with tips, ideas and advice.

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Through this site and our online newsletter, Buddy will tackle tough tool dealer challenges and situations, and provide you with hype-free, no-nonsense, unbiased advice and resources.

Tell Buddy your problems by leaving a comment!

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Tags: MAC Tools, MAC Tools franchise, MAC Tools distributors, MAC Tools complaints, Stanley Black & Decker, Tool truck franchise, tool truck dealer, tool truck complaints, mobile tool dealer association

19 thoughts on “MAC TOOLS Distributor Problems – Your Input Invited

  • We’re sinking fast.
    We have asked for help a number of times and always get the same answer “you need to get more money on the street”. This is our money that’s going on the street!

    The route survey we were given hasn’t been updated in many years. Many of the stops were shops out of business, empty lots or a totally different business in the building. The support from Mac just wasn’t there as promised. We weren’t out to get rich just to put a little money away for college for our kids, but now we are in worst financial condition than before.

  • Donnie Mac Ellis

    Most of the problems I have experienced over the last 41 years of route truck sales have been brought on by myself. As self employed business owners we control our own destiny. Tell the truth, do what you say, give good service, collect your money as agreed, pay your bills and live within your income. Be a good citizen.
    As far as Mac Tools is concerned they need to make the following changes in their network to continue to hold and grow their market share.
    Provide us with a more usable tool box and equipment finance program.
    Return the quality of our hard line tools to the days when they were made in Ohio.
    Provide more in field support for distributors, especially for younger new starts.
    Avoid the price above quality sales promotions, low quality sales prostitutes our brand and business.
    Make an all out effort to bring more of our production back to the USA, I sell tools to American technicians, not foreign ones, we owe this to our children and ourselves to support our fellow citizens.
    Respectfully to all my fellow distributors!

  • Unfortunately times have changed and the MAC disclosure agreements/contracts have changed. It is very hard for new start distributors/franchisee’s to make it in this industry under these contracts. I agree that MAC has changed their product line and most items are made oversea’s.
    Try selling tools to techs in North America from these foreign countries when our economy is suffering terribly. How do you suggest that I sell these tools? How do I explain to my customers that they are good quality tools when the labels indicate that the products are made oversea’s? How is one to make it in today’s market with the “new disclosure agreements”? How come when I reach out to MAC with problems that arise, I either receive no support or are differed to another person with in the company? How am I suppose to compete when a customer brings a tool on to my truck from a independent distributor; that has the same specs and looks identical for half the price?
    I give good service to my customers, I do pay my bills and live with in my means. I help everyone out and live by the moto do unto others as you would expect them to do unto you. I feel most days I am misleading my customers and being untruthful about the products and am getting very fed up! I hope MAC makes some changes soon.

  • Donnie Mac Ellis, I think you know you are the exception not the rule. How many new starts do you see fail in the first / second / third years? Do you think these people were all just stupid? Were they all unmotivated? Do you think they planned on losing their life savings? You got in well before Stanley came in and started diluting the MAC brand with import tools, before ebay, and before the investment was close to if not in the six figure range to get on-board. Seriously, when the DM’s are selling the new recruits on a a recycled failed route … and they all are for the most part … do you think they are as honest as you are in lines 5 through 14 of your comment? Your a legacy in your region! I congratulate you on your success! But consider being new, naive, in debt up to your ears, and starting fresh in a territory where the local dealer techs past the time by betting on how long the latest MAC guy will last!

  • Dont buy a mobile tool franchise

    Well said memacfooled. Times were different 41 years ago. Times were different 5 years ago. When customers see dealers coming and going the brand becomes the 2nd or 3rd choice. You have to be first choice in order to make a living. Mac Tools teaches you in Tool School a 5 week turn on payments. First 4 weeks pay for the merchandise and the last payment is your profit. In a perfect world that is true. The problem by time you receive that item and merchandise it in your truck a week has gone by. Then a customers grabs that item and says ” Can I make my payment next week? I wasn’t expecting to buy anything this week.” Most dealers aren’t gonna say no. So then next week goes by and you receive your first payment on that tool that was invoiced to you 2 weeks ago and is now 2 weeks away being due. So following the 5 week rule doesn’t work. Plus tools are expensive. You can probablly sell an item for $100 and expect $20 a week. How many tools sell for $100 or less? Not many.. You sell an item for $400 that is $80 a week in payments following the 5 week rule. Who can afford that? Most dealers will probablly settle on $30-$40 a week which doesnt even cover your cost in 4 weeks when the item is invoiced to you. So where does the extra $$$ come from to pay for these tools??? The dealers pocket. That is where dealers lose everything and charge up there credit cards. So what happens is the very same system you were taught in Tool School is really a scheme on putting your hard earned money in Mac’s pocket and you being the dealer assuming all the risk with your money out in the street which will now become a money collecting pit that has no end and never enough to pay bills. And once you are out of business good luck collecting your money because it never happens. So this system Mac has in place is to fail in the very start. They know you have money to burn when they recruited you and will tell you everything under the sun that it takes time to grow a business and put more money out in the street because it keeps that machine alive sucking you dry. The failure numbers speaks for itself.

  • I would like to invite everyone to visit my blog at: you can read about mine and many other MAC victims stories. Lets keep the dialog going folks. After your visit to my blog come back and leave a comment here at Unhappy Franchisee.

  • Russell Richey

    Iwas mac tool distributor for 7 years, at first i made good money when they change too, Green Sky i could not get any body qualified for tool box over last 4years about 1/2 million dollars so i gave it up. If any thinking about going in to the tool bussiness he need have is head ck, shop’s are closing up

  • Dont buy a mobile tool franchise

    HSBC was the better days. I was top 100 in Mac Card sales for the 2 years HSBC was around and did pretty good. When Green sky took over that was the end of my big ticket sales and business. You can’t survive without a good finance program in the tool business. The product is too expensive and the margins are too low if you were gonna float someone on payments.

  • R Clark Taylor

    Was a distributor for 17 years. No one in my recruitment class lasted more than 3 years. The entire management team from the president down to the district managers are a bunch of low life cocksuckers. They have no interest in the mobile tool business just fucking ordinary people out of their life savings.

  • R Clark Taylor – Wow! Your my new hero! C’mon people lets here what you have to say. Whether you have commented before or never commented, please follow Mr. Taylors lead. Personally I’m mad as hell at Mac and I’m not going to take it anymore! Mr. Taylor please visit my blog by clicking on my name above “memacfooled” and post your comments any time you would like! This is reality folks ….

  • Matthew

    Let me start by saying that I am NOT a distributor ! But I am a 51 year old person trying to make a living just as all of you.

    I half to have tools in my job or I don’t have one!! I did live in Wis. I would hope you all know what tools are made there. They left a very bad taste in my mouth when I was 18 So I paid my bill off & never used them again to this day.

    I moved to Al. in 1985 Still doing the same job as I have all my life. Now let me get to the point !!! I know not all Mac distributor’s are the same. Your not going to like what I am going to say but do think you all should understand my point !!! I have been getting my tools from Cornwell for many years and have been very happy with my Distributor. Comes same day every week and could just about set my watch by the time he comes on that day and happy with my tools.

    I did find one tool that I wasn’t happy with from Cornwell. So I looked to Mac to see what they have to offer. For three weeks I thought about getting this tool (By the way not a cheap one, about $650.00 on sale ) I had not made my mind up at that point to get it or not because I knew I was being lied to bout some of things of it but my Biz. got broke into and I needed this tool and fast . So I called the Mac distributor that I had been talking to and told him Ill take the tool and that I needed it now and would come to him to get it and I did !!

    I have had the tool for five weeks now and as of this point very happy with it. Now comes the bad part !! It come time for the first payment after the down payment and NO show on the day he is suppose to be there. In fact he don’t come till the next week. Then he isn’t in his work truck!! He is in his personal truck taking payments and making hand rec. I didn’t say anything the first time because maybe his truck is broke down? Then comes the next week and comes on the day he has set to come but again in his personal truck and not on time !! and again making hand rec. I asked him !! Why are you not in you work truck ? Reply because if I can not use it this month I can save X amount of cash. ( GAS ) Again I let it go !

    The next week his is in his truck but a day late ! Now this is the forth week and no show !! I have been in Biz. for a very long time and am I cheaper then every and that is how I have stayed in Biz ? NO !!! Doing my job good and word of MOUTH !!! One bad Dis. can and will make the rest of you have a hard time. Ask me what will I do when I need to replace this tool or get something more ? Get it from Mac. because I like the tool or get one that I don’t think is as good ?

    I know most of you do your job but all it takes is one person to bad MOUTH you then what ? From a customer that cares.

  • michael

    mac tools is not your own business ,they own you. you work over 80 hours a week to lose a 1000 dollars. it is nothing more than a pyramid scheme. the new distributers pay in money all the money and lose money. the people in ohio that put things in boxes ,get a pay check. their managers(crud salesmen) make money off commission and other abuses of the distributes. then at the top Stanley makes a ton of money with no risk.

  • Mark Hawkins

    I was a Mac Tool distributor for over 15 years. I was fortunate to have success and made a nice business for my self and family. I first started as an employee. Their inventory , truck, fuel , insurance. I had a great benefit package, health insurance, base salary, and was paid on a performance basis and made about 70K / year by working my ass off.

    Then Mac Tools decided that was too good a deal for some guy “Driving a delivery truck” That program ended and I went for the “independent Distributor” program. I had established myself and rolled well into “Being my own Boss” and that worked fine for many years. I made good money and built a healthy business..

    Then the latest “District Manager” Frank Gonzales. decided that he was the leader and we should follow his ordered. Ex-army guy thinking he will dictate what the troops in the field will do. The answer to all problems was, 1 Buy more inventory. 2. get more money on the street. and really the MOST IMPORTANT …Pay Mac Tools First. The guy is no leader. Manager? Manager of what? He is just a sales rep parroting the corporate line. Sell more product to the distributor/franchisee. Regardless if that business is healthy or not.

    Their “Reward program is based on how much a distributor buys from Mac Tools. It has no reference as to how healthy or stable that business is. AS long as Mac tools gets paid, that is the only thing that matters. I have seen guys struggle , invest their entire 401 K retirement to get started, struggle to pay their bills. living on the edge of disaster if a really bad week happens. Have paid nothing back to their 401K and Mac Thinks they are the Golden child… Gold or Platinum Distributor worthy of praise , badges of honor and Awards at the annual Tool Fair. How twisted is that? Mac Tools likes to paint a picture that they are like some Grandfatherly figure. Counseling and advising you to guide you down the road to success…What a lot of B.S. … Its more like this. Mac tools is a Pimp. You are a whore on the street and if you do not turn enough tricks to give them the required cash at the end of the day they will beat the crap out of you.

    I had it pretty good till the arrival of the latest District Manager, Frank Gonzales. I was confronted and told I was not buying enough of their product and I must stop buying from anyone else. I explained I had no problem buying product from Mac as long as the pricing is fair and left me in a position to make money. The tool business has changed over the years, People have many options beyond the tool truck and they know what product should cost. Mac Tools selling me product for a few points below retail leaves no room for me to make a profit.

    If the warehouse distribution centers can offer me a fair price and they make money why can’t Mac tools match or at least be close to that price? The answer is simple , Greed, Arrogance, intimidation and a sense of entitlement..

    So late this summer after telling my D.M. I was diagnosed with Cancer and not to expect great numbers for the last quarter of the year, I get a letter from Mac Tools saying I must give up customers because my “Footprint” was too big. And although some of those customers and I had a 15 year relationship I should give then to a New Distributor. Needless to say I said No Way. Let the new guy build his business like I did. I would help where I could but no way was I giving up old established customers. Then they said I was not buying enough so I needed to make a large purchase to come into compliance with my contract regardless of weather I needed product and could sell it or not. and also I was not allowed to speak of outside Options in purchasing. The world is flat and nothing exists beyond the boundary of Mac tools. How dare I speak like a true independent business man. Its like them saying you are my bitch and you will do what I say Mr. independent distributor.

    Then they terminated our relationship. Oddly there was no one coming in to replace me and so they left all my customers with no service or warranty option after my 15 plus years servicing West Palm Beach. So they would rather have nothing and pull out of the entire community if I do not submit to their will.

    Think twice before getting in bed with these blood suckers. Its a tough business and there is money to be made if you work hard, are smart with your money and have some good luck along the way. But do not think Mac Tools is on your side. Its like dealing with a dangerous in a shop. You are both part of an act and have a job to do. Do not turn your back and definitely do not trust them.

  • Todd A. Peterson

    Mark Hawkins poses some great reasons for not becoming a tool franchisee for MAC. Again, I would like to point out if you look deep into these tool franchisors all the big players are based out of Ohio with “arbitration clauses” in that state. They are Mac, Cornwell and Matco. The only big franchisor not in Ohio is Snap-On who holds the market customer share and is based out of Wisconsin. Ask yourself why are all these tool franchisors are based out of Ohio?

    There in lies the true problem. An Institution of corruption from the Franchisor, to Judges, to Attorney’s and to politicians are bought off to perform against the American people through a coalition called the International Franchise Association.

    This is the real reason to not buy a franchise from the Tool Franchisor’s. No matter how much success you have or how much money you make them purchasing their product you are their employee. They can end your franchise whenever they want and however they want even if it violates laws and their actions are called felony’s by your state’s law because you will not be able to break through an “arbitration clause”. Arbitration clauses are designed to HIDE the truth. When you “arbitrate” the fraud is hidden because an agreement is reached and they hide the reason you would not want to buy their franchise. An ex judge (maybe) will decide instead of a jury comprised of “We the People”.

    We have slowly turned into a country controlled by man instead of “The People”. When a crime is committed our court system “The American People” should decide who is right or wrong not some “arbitrator” who is bought off by the franchisors.

    Politicians are not supposed to be able to be bought of by the IFA who gives large sums of money in the form of Campaign contributions to thwart the people from getting justice. Until we turn the fate of criminal’s back over to the American People injustices will continue and the American people will be enslaved.

    Hard to believe that our only Civil War was to end slavery so ALL men can be free but yet we walk through life today allowing others to be enslaved who need work to provide for their family. The franchise opportunity exists because franchisors are avoiding employment. They tout franchises as a way to be “your own boss” and “manage your own business” and to “be as successful as you want to be” but when they violate laws committing felony’s against franchisees and hide behind the “arbitration clause”. Is this the American way? NO!

    Our forefathers designed a system of checks and balances and one of those checks and balances is judgement by a jury. When we skirt our system we get what we have now an “arbitration system” controlled by franchisors and bought off by a franchisor organization.

    If everyone would stop buying into their fraud, since our government will not stand up against this tyranny, the franchisors would fail and America would be free of this burden on the American people.Yes! I said burden because what American’s don’t realize is this fraud is perpetrated by tax payers in the form of loans given to franchisee’s.

    Most tool franchisor’s don’t fund their own “successful franchisee programs”. In my case it was done through a bank in Atlanta, Ga. This same bank received large sums of tax payer money to give to small businesses in the form of “New Market Tax Credits”. If I failed Matco stood to loose nothing. They were paid the day I borrowed money from Suntrust Bank to start my business. This is where Matco’s support of my business stopped.

    You see these tool franchisors are all set up the same way with the same protections. They are bullet proof not because the majority of Americans approve of the franchisors abuses of the American people but because they hide the truth through “arbitration clauses” and tax payer sponsored programs which promote tool franchisor fraud.

  • Gerard Foley

    I’m in the process of on boarding with Mac now.. But a friend turned me onto this newsfeed… Now I’m scared shitless! I haven’t actually signed any contract yet, or obtained my WA state biz license… I’m really confused now… I’ve spoken to two adjacent territory reps. They say they’re doing great! And the older gentleman who recently retired from my ( potential) territory. He had only good things to say about Mac…. But reading these accounts just made me question all that!!!!



    I was a Mac distributor for 8 yrs and consistently was among the top in my district and almost every year was in the top 10% for Mac Card and tool box sales. Signing up with Mac was the worst financial decision I ever made. After paying for all of your expenses and restocking your truck you have basically just bought yourself a low paying job. Even with buying the “franchise” instead of the distributorship it is still a joke. Now they can also go after your money on the street when you fail because it is looped in with your franchise. The bad thing is for the newer guys is they think they are doing well because they see all of this money flying through their hands and then all of the sudden they realize they have depleted their inventory, they are maxed out of the trade account, the credit card that was paying them back 1-2% or getting them free air fair or cruise is now maxed out and they are in the death spiral. So what do they do? They get a higher credit limit or extra extended billing at tool fair, maybe a loan to invest in their business only to find themselves in the same spot in the future just further in the hole. Look at the 2 inch thick contract they want you to sign. In the past when I read it it is half full of lawsuits with Mac. I know a lot of Mac distributors/franchisees and I will tell you that only one is on the path to a healthy retirement. He has no kids and his wife works. Looking at the four different trucks the only one I would go with is Snap-on and even they are not perfect but they have a much higher success rate. Knowing what I know about Mac and Matco I would run and run fast!!! They have a horrible failure rate that they don’t truly disclose. I personally know far more who failed than succeeded. Good luck in your decision making. – Remember!!! the manager that is trying to sell you a route is being compensated for doing so. The franchisee that recruited you will get $5-10k compensation when you start. For quick legal advise call the law offices of Marks and Klein and ask for Gerald Marks. He is one of the main lawyers who represents the guys that have been screwed by the mobile tool companies.

  • Blaine Jones

    Do you guys feel that owning/operating a tool truck these days is a dying art. Being it so easy to shop online now it seems that its to easy to get amazon or whoever to deliver tools and warranty on tools at the local tool stores is also just as good. Was just recently thinking about switching careers and thought i would like this but am to nervous its a dying job.

  • Scot Gray

    First off if your considering a Mac tools franchise, run don’t walk away. This has been the absolute financial ruin of my life! I purchased my route and moved to another state to start. I moved and only lived there for 18 hours before they sent me to tool school in Ohio , where I began to have second thoughts. I should have listened to my gut! In 16 months I depleted my life savings and was in debt over my head.My district manager left for snap on in my area taking all of his knowledge of my customers and business, not cool . District managers and the first rung up the pyramid scam . My refional manager was a tool as well. I got zero help or advise from any of them other than to put more tools on the street aka my money . I never drew a paycheck not once. Mac got paid though. If your really hellbent on being a tool salesman get a truck and be independent. I can’t stress enough how much I hate Mac Tools! I’d love to do an interview for this site

  • Madmacman

    They are taking us out after 3 years for not buying enough tools. 2020 has been hard to sell and harder to collect. We were never in danger of going under. All bills are paid and on time. Trade acct is current and Wells Fargo is always paid on time. We just play smart and keep debt low especially when times are slow. Not good enough for Mac tools. I started with money. Paid cash for my truck. Now they want the tools, the money on the street and my truck to cover the Wells Fargo loan that ive never missed a payment on. Ive owned my other business successfully for more than 20 years. We just play smart amd thats not good enough for them. When qe started this people on the route bet how long we would last. Well we didn’t have a problem until make made it one. I just dont want my credit ruined over that damn Wells loan.. im at a loss. God awful people at this company

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