ALL POSTSMATCO TOOLSMobile Tool Franchises

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Defenders Speak Out

Matco Tools franchise – distributor program is under fire.  Failed & failing Matco Tools mobile distributors claim that they are victims of a callous and unethical investment scheme that sets them up for failure.  Yet Matco Tools also has its defenders.  The comment section below is for Matco Tools and its supporters to share their opposing views, and show their support for the Matco Tools franchise opportunity.

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

Central among the criticisms of the Matco Tool franchise is a high failure rate and allegations that Matco intentionally “churns” up to half of its distributor population in order to replace them with the fresh investments of new distributors (See MATCO TOOLS Franchise Report Alleges Distributor Churning).

Complaints also include a frighteningly high SBA default rate for Matco Tools franchise loans (see Failure Rates of the 10 Most Popular Franchises) and allegations that Matco colluded with TD Bank to fraudulently get distributor loans they knew were doomed to fail (see FRANCHISE LAWSUIT Alleges Matco Tools Scam, TD Bank Fraud ).

Matco Tools Defenders Vehemently Deny Allegations

Both on and a Matco franchisee Facebook page, Matco defenders have shared a different view than the angry detractors.

Veteran Matco distributor Kevin writes:  “Matco is not a perfect company. None are. You must use your own common sense in any business dealing. I have been a distributor for 22 years, and have experienced none of the above problems. I am self employed, and I buy what I want from Matco, nothing more. They do not run my business, nor force me to buy anything.”

Another distributor Scott writes:  “Matco is not the evil empire that so many are making it out to be, but they are definitely out of touch with what we go through… the complaints you and others are voicing are nothing new. If you do a little research you will find the exact same thing happening in Mac and Snap On throughout the years and it’s almost word for word. This business is damn tough…”

None of the supporters thus far have provided unqualified praise for Matco Tools, but many say Matco is the best choice in a tough business segment.

Jay writes:  “I have been with another tool company before that would make all these complaints seem very trivial and chose to switch to Matco over 11 plus years ago all as a distributor. I am not saying they are perfect but they are the best choice out of the 4 major tool companies…”

Some object to the characterization of “terminated distributors” (a term used in Matco’s Franchise Disclosure Document) as being synonymous with “failed distributors.” Some point out that Matco Tools franchisees leave the system for a variety of reasons

Jason writes: “What I saw as a district manager was guys would become matco distributors because they thought it was easy, and matco would set up a route for them and they thought it was instant success. It wasn’t I saw high performing distributors succeed and fail. I had distributors get divorced and fail, I had 2 distrbutors in 1 year die, I had distributors become district managers, all of these are examples of terminated distributors, so the 36% fail rate is inaccurate.”


Also, feel free to read & comment on these related posts:

MATCO TOOLS Franchise Complaints  June 8, 2011

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

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


177 thoughts on “MATCO TOOLS Franchise Defenders Speak Out

  • Todd A. Peterson


    My head count when I got separation letter was less than 250 and a lot of them were shops that Bud Cook did not want to Service anymore.

  • jim Lager

    I have seen a lot of Snap-on, matco, mac and Cornwell dealers fail and succeed. I can only speak for Snap-on however. If you do your homework when you get in. Get the right training and support and get a good route you can make monney. Understand though if worked properly You just bought a 6 day a week JOB working 12 hours a day. At the end of the year if all went well you made 60 – 70 grand. To me thats a job. If all doesn’t go well. Route short. bad training, on-hold etc. well who knows. I think Snap-on and other tool companies can and should do more. I have 5 franchises and bought 2.3 million from Snap-on in 2011. Now i am trying to sell off franchises and there is no value what so ever in my business. Snap-on does everything they can to inhibit the sale diminish the value. I have had some success making Snap-on look at their faults in the past. I hope that my dealer association will push them to do better for dealers.
    By the way I don’t know many 13 year veterans in Snap-on running great numbers. Snap-on loves fresh meat.

  • Todd A. Peterson

    Jim I know a Snap-On guy with over 29 years. His name is DON HAMILTON and he is a great Tool Dealer. He and I look at our business in much the same way and did business the same way.

    Rumors were that Don was trying to sell his franchise back in 2008 when 3 other distributors were leaving the Snap-On system. But done prevailed and when things started to get better and competition was failing DON had some very nice years when others weren’t even around to compete. Don is still going and is still one of the most reputable tool distributors I have ever met!

    Stories like Don is why I am still thinking about selling tools but man I don’t know if I can take another leap of faith like that again.

  • Jim lager, funny how you mention owning routes that aren’t worth anything. I talked to a very smart snap on dealer. He said ” you can’t expect more then $30 to $50k blue sky for a route.” his reason was your prospects to take over this kind of job is higher low class or middle class ( if that still exsist) candidates. These kind of prospects have some money tuct away and have been convinced owning there own business will make them rich. Let’s face it if we sold our routes for a real number like $250k, who would buy it? Anyone that has that kind of money in the bank certainly don’t wanna be a sales person chasing dollars and a company hammering you every week to buy more tools. Or like you said put yourself into a 12 hour a day job 6 days a week to make 60k a year. I know a friend that sold a boars head route. He sold it for $300k. I asked him how he got that kind of money. He said ” he has a route just like us tool guys have. The overhead is low, you generally restock once a week and all you do is see what your customers are low in and restock them. So he said it’s not really a sales job. He just services his stops and drops them an invoice before he leaves.” My point is it’s easier to sell something that only requires service, less overhead and not being a sales person. Our routes don’t garauntee anything to a new prospect because this is a relationship business for one and in order to be at that $10k a week you have to be a good seller. Most people don’t like sales jobs.

  • Pingback: MATCO TOOLS: Lady Matco Speaks Out (Video) : Unhappy Franchisee

  • jim Lager

    Per lawsuits. 40+ is just what is listed in the FDD. Go backover 25 years and there are probably over a thousannd lawsuits against snap-on.

    Selling your business?? I am at least a little pissed off at Snap-on because i am trying to sell one of my franchises to one of my dealers. Believe me there is NO BLUE SKY in your business/job. Let me tell you why. snap-on has something called a schedule 1. This lists everything you as a selling dealer has to sale, Inventory, accounts recievable, truck, used tool, discontinued tools, computer, and other things you might sell a dealer. The schedule is bullshit because Snap-on credit will only finance 2 things on that schedule. Inventory and accounts recievables. The kicker is the maximum accounts recievable or R/A they finance is $55,000.00. So if we do a good job and put a bunch of money on the street, turn it well, Snap-on rewards us by saying they wont finance it when we go to sell it. by the way you can’t go to a bank for financing because if you do, Snap-on tools, not Snap-on credit puts an all encompassing 1st lien against your business. NO BANK WILL TOUCH THIS AND TAKE A 2ND POSITION. Snap-on does this to keep routes cheap and bring in young nieve guys with little education to run volume. Snap-on protects themselves. Everything Snap-on does is contrary to us gaining wealth. their training and even volume discount is designed for us to sell high volume at low profit margins.
    Understand all my routes do between $10,000 and $14,000 a week. I am very succesful and always have been. snap-on only looks out for us when we force them to. I was a field manager in the 90’s. I will tell you you will never hear a discussion in Snap-on asking themselves what Snap-on did wrong when a dealer is failing. Here is how the discussion always goes. “What can we do to get rid of this guy and put another one in his place.”

    [jim: I’ve copied this comment over to the new post specifically for Snap-on Franchise Complaints: Thanks. ADMIN]

  • jim Lager

    I would like to hear from the Veteran dealers, Snap-on, Matco, Mac anyone. These Franchisors are bullies. If we don’t stand up to them they will walk all over us. If you want to retire someday or maybe your route has shrunk over the years and you can’t get any help then you need to stand up and confront them. Snap-on doesn’t like me much because I have grown to a size that I can stand up to them. they don’t like it but I have had success getting Snap-on to change the rules for me where they don’t for other dealers.
    Does everyone understand when you buy a route from Snap-on they apply your business credit to your personal credit. No bank does this. Snap-on does it so you can’t go buy anything. they want to tie you up and keep all of your money going to them and no one else. Your debt to income ratio destrys your ability to get even the smallest loans. Snap-on will own you for years. Oh yeah, Snap-on has pre payment penalties on their loans. Who does that today. No one but Snap-on. Again Snap-on has you tied up until they want to cast you aside. When they cast a young or veteran dealer aside it will not be pretty for that dealer. If you havent noticed I don’t intend to give my succesful business away. My goal is to force Snap-on to participate in building real value in our franchises that we as dealers can prosper and some day sell. Snap-on will have to listen to us if we all stand up to them.

    [jim: I’ve copied this comment over to the new post specifically for Snap-on Franchise Complaints: Thanks. ADMIN]

  • matco2

    I wish you luck Jim.

    Is your site up? Will you have it open for none snap on visitors?

  • jim Lager

    Thank you for your support. I will have it open to all dealers. Yes it is a Snap-on dealer association for now but I want to share my knowledge and help all dealers that are being taken advantage of. Its really too bad because a tool route can be a great opportunity for a young ambitious dealer to learn and grow. Few new dealers understand everything these big companies do to manipulate us. I hope to have site up later today. Please for now if you have a face book page go to the above link and like the site. There is no content yet but there will be. Understand we don’t have to get out of a route to prosper. There are succesful dealers that need help increasing profitability. This is not just about bashing these companies, but we do need to point out their misdeeds to get them to pay attention to us.

    If the above link doesn’t work mark Jim lager as a freind on facebook and I will push the link to you. I should be the first jim lager on face book. The picture will be a family picture at a high school graduation.

  • matco2

    This will be very interesting to follow.

    There was something called a.association for Matco but was for destruction of all and the gain of few with out looking for answers. Any help that was offered was over looked and went to sarcastic poems and utube videos by the originator.

  • MATCO#1

    Hmmm Interesting Jim, I like the angle you are going towards, have a sight that people can help people, unlike the other sight here, just a bitch fest.

    Look forward to seeing how it evolves, thanks for the invite.

  • Todd A. Peterson


    If you are unhappy with Matco I can take your complaint and submit it to the board for review.

  • Matco#1
    My relationship with Snap-on started in 1992. I have had many good experiences with snap-on. A tool franchise in general can be a great way for a young person to learn how to run a business succesfully. Unfortunatly these tool companies get greedy and become bullies at times. I believe these companies are very well suited at protecting their assets to the detriment of dealers. I hope the association webstite I am creating will not only open the eyes of all dealers but force companies like Snap-on, Matco, Mac and so on to be better and provide long term value to the franchisees. If I can get both dealers and managers of these corportations to share their ideas on this site it could grow and help the industry. I am wiling to share my experience good and bad, I hope others will as well. Beware there will be some bashing of these companies. I have concerns and I know others do as well. Hopefully the outcome will be positive.

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

  • Denny Cattell

    I have been with Matco for 30 years as a distributor and a DSM and back again. I’ve seen many people come and go and in almost all cases it relates directly back to the person behind the wheel. It is a personality and service based business. If you come up short on either you will most likely fail, or if you work less than 5 days, same thing.
    As others have said it is a damn tough business but to be self employed you have to have personality, honesty, perseverance and be willing to work harder for yourself than you have ever worked for a employer.
    I have been able to sustain a very comfortable lifestyle working as a Matco distributor. I have attained many goals by working hard and if there is something I want I just work a little harder.
    In my 30 years I have faced many challenges, lost two wives to cancer, had 7 separate surgeries and lost a lot of time but Matco stood behind me through it all.
    Matco is not perfect and I’ve had my gripes in the past but everyone is not cut out to be in business for themselves, it’s just a fact of life.
    As someone once told me:
    When you are pointing the finger of blame at someone you have three more pointing back at the possible cause to the problem.

  • Todd A. Peterson

    Point away Denny! If you are going to Expo come see me at some point! I will show you what Matco did for me and let you decide if I am a Failure! I kicked ASS at selling tools and even when Matco let me get reduced from 328 unviable customers which I started with to 154 customers when I was given my SEPARATION LETTER I was still paying my bills and making a LITTLE money.

    If you read my early posts then you remember I told you I had been begging for some support for a 1 1/2 and I was PROMISED a RESURVEY. So, when I called TIM NOVAK (RM) after talking to ERNIE LAUBER who told me to call TIM first and give TIM an opportunity to FIX it. What does TIM do? Send Anthony Kramer out to do a BOGUS SURVEY claiming I had WHAT? 328 customers to service but I was only servicing 67%.

    This is how Matco SUPPORTS DISTRIBUTORS!!!

  • I have been with Matco for 5 yrs and have noticed certain methods that are impacting my business negatively.I am also one of the distributors that does not have a typical route- if there is such a thing.The majority of my customers are illegals or they have poor or no credit so I must carry their TP on truck. The previous 3 or 4 dbr in this route failed.My previous experience was in sales to automotive dealers etc.I chose this route on my own,spent my life savings on this business and came in debt free, no one tricked me or lied to me to get me to invest in a Matco franchise.I do not believe Matco tries to take out dbrs, but I believe that in their zest to make profits BAD decisions are being made and I hope that this forum will surely have some positive effects on management.Corporations all must answer to shareholders,however we must not lose sight of what has made Matco a major player in the tool market —DISTRIBUTORS we are their most valuable asset!

  • Todd A. Peterson

    Wow! Good comment Robert. Would like to talk to you by email if I could might be able to give you a little info about Matco. Look me up on Facebook! I am the only Todd Peterson wearing a softball uniform red and white. Look forward to talking to you.

  • Pingback: MATCO TOOLS: Franchisee Alleges Franchise Fraud (Video) : Unhappy Franchisee

  • Pingback: Mobile Tool Franchise Guide : Unhappy Franchisee

  • Danny Gossett

    I have been a Matco Distributor for 14 years. I also have a FB site with 700 distributors on it. We focus on helping the newer guys get better in the business. some make it and some fail, but the most common denominator in the ones that fail is that they are not “people” oriented. In the tool business, customers have to like you to get a good relationship going and a new customer is earned. I have seen all the accusations that Matco sets you up to fail. that is just a big lie. The tool business is not an easy job, but after a few years, the rewards come. If you think you can be handed a list of calls and become successful over night, you are wrong. You have to build the business one customer at a time. Some people just can not admit to themselves that they failed, so they play the blame game and sue. Sad.

  • David Pavick

    Getting ready to sign with Matco. next week. Lost my job this past April after 20 years and thought this would be a great opportunity for myself. Anyone have any suggestions on how to come out and make this very successful from day one. Route is excellent, I surveyed myself and 7 out of 10 wanted Matco and could not wait, only competition a snap-on guy getting ready to retire.

  • David,

    The best thing you could do is turn around and run! If you must get into a mobile tool company though I strongly urge you to wait until the Snap-on guy retires and buy his route. Snap-on would be your best chance at success! Mac & Matco both have a horrible turn over rate with most ending in BK. Most will never make it to there pay off before they fail and if they do they got there living on $50k + in credit card debt. Read the thousands of comments on here. They are the stories of real people taking the time to warn you so you don’t end up in the same hell!

  • DiscoveryPointFraud

    David, Be cautious about these rogue franchises. If the route is good, it will be split in two in no time and you will lose all. You can get in at will but cannot get out without bankruptcy. The franchiser has no interest in your well being and wants you to die. That is because then they can put another new franchisee with new franchise fee, which is much more than what you will pay in royalties.

    If you insist on getting hurt and pay for it too, open a childcare franchise like Discovery Point or Legacy Academy. You will be tortured with overwork without pay and will lose all your 20 year savings pretty quickly. They guarantee it.

  • Pingback: Matco Franchise Failure Rate- Success and Challenges

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *