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Introducing Steve Stonehouse – National Snap-on New Franchisee of the Year 2023

 

Within the Australia and New Zealand branch of the Snap-on family, a robust network of over 185 franchisees brings the company’s top-tier products and exemplary customer service standards to local communities.

Within this community of franchisees, Steve Stonehouse, owner of the Geelong North franchise, was recognised for his commitment to Snap-on and his successes within his first year of franchise ownership. This saw him earn the prestigious New Franchisee of the Year award, collecting the accolade at the annual Snap-on Franchisee Conference, which took place on the Sunshine Coast in January. 

 

 

The road to Snap-on 

With a long list of loyal customers and a significant foothold within the North Geelong community, one could be forgiven for mistaking Steve Stonehouse for a seasoned veteran of the automotive industry. However, Steve’s arrival at Snap-on in 2023 marked a drastic change to his otherwise linear career path. 

 

A family who “settled down quite young”, Steve took his first steps into the working world at the age of 15 as a supermarket trolley boy, before working his way “up through the ranks in various sales roles”.  Decades in the corporate world saw Steve earn status as the Area Manager of Woolworths, before really finding his feet at Rhino Racks as the General Manager of their commercial divisions.  However, growing weary of the corporate world, Steve was “on the lookout for a change of pace”, and following the sale of Rhino Racks at the peak of the Covid pandemic, an enticing new opportunity at Snap-on arose. 

 

 From the corporate world to Snap-on franchise ownership

 After accumulating a toolkit “full of sales experience, business acumen, and product management skills”, it was time for Steve to set aside his corporate life and follow his passion for the automotive industry with a familiar company.  “Cars and bikes have always been my passion, so I was exposed to the Snap-on brand and its quality for decades”.   Therefore, when the chance to acquire his local North Geelong franchise arose, putting an end to “relentless travel back and forth to offices in Melbourne”, Steve jumped at the opportunity.  “It put me in charge of my own destiny in an industry I love. That’s why the Snap-on brand was the perfect fit”. While the switch from office to tool truck may appear abrupt, Steve experienced a relatively smooth transition, owing to his “30 years of sales experience, existing knowledge of Snap-on, and the fantastic support on offer”. Following a transformative stint in Dallas, Texas, “learning the Snap-on lingo and the Snap-on way”, Steve was ready to turn his love for all things automotive into a fruitful career. And one year on, he’s never looked back. 

 

 

“Stick to the model and the processes because they work”

 

 

So, why has Steve been so successful in his first year of franchise ownership? Well, he refuses to accept full responsibility, instead attributing his success to the brand itself.  “My success is a testament to the brand. I just follow the advice to the letter. So, it’s not just my success, really”. 

 

Acutely aware of the significance of his career change, Steve made “a conscious effort to live and breathe the process and the program from day one”. In doing so, he found great enjoyment in “networking and learning from those that have already done it all before”.  This devotion to the brand has proven to be the foundation of Steve’s success, and his efforts to immerse himself “in all things Snap-on, all day, every day” have seen him earn a fantastic reputation among his local community. 

 

Consistency, respect, and positivity are hallmarks of Steve’s approach, and he believes this has helped him “establish mutual trust with the workshop owners”, turning Snap-on admirers into weekly customers, and has even earned him an invite to a wedding.  Steve has thrived on this ability to “develop relationships really quickly”, a product of his efforts to remember the names of each customer’s children, “speak to their wives and receptionists every week”, and even cater to their four-legged friends, armed with tasty treats on every visit. Steve modestly insists it is merely his way of delivering “the full Snap-on experience in every interaction because when I do, I’m not really selling anything. They’re buying it”.  

 

What’s next for Steve?

With a year of successful Snap-on franchise ownership under his belt, Steve has enjoyed a drastically different daily routine, but this has required a great deal of time and effort.  “When you learn new things in a short space of time, it’s always very exciting, but it’s time for me to take a step back and create a more sustainable work-life balance”.  Hence, the next logical step in Steve’s Snap-on journey is to employ an assistant, affording Steve more time to “work on the business, not in it all the time”, focusing more of his efforts on securing big ticket items and tending to his business’s ever-expanding administrative needs. 

 

“Don’t be scared of the outlay, it works!”

Steve’s decades-long admiration of the Snap-on brand has only strengthened since his arrival, and he’s full of glowing praise for its finely-honed franchise model.

 

 

“It’s a fantastic brand and joining is simply one of the best decisions I’ve ever made”.  With a “fantastic onboarding and training process” in place to support a smooth entry into the business, and a network of fellow franchisees to learn from, Steve wholeheartedly recommends franchise ownership to those who are ready to make their mark.  “It might seem like a risk, but really, it’s not. The customers are advocates of the brand and they buy into its culture and the experience”. 

 

But what advice does Steve have for those ready to snap up the opportunity?

“Have a go, stick to the process, and don’t be scared to invest some time and money into it. It will work!” 

 

 

 

 

Snap-on Tools is a leading innovator, manufacturer and marketer of high-end tools, diagnostics, and equipment solutions. With an extensive range of over 22,000 products, Snap-on is committed to providing technicians and workshop owners with the vital tools required for their services.

Founded in 1920, Snap-on has experienced substantial international growth, and now boasts a global network of over 4,800 franchisees. Decades of sustained success and an esteemed brand reputation have seen Snap-on achieve numerous awards, with each highlighting the exceptional quality of both its product offerings and franchise operations.

Snap-on has some great opportunities across Australia and New Zealand for ambitious, hard-working and goal-oriented individuals. If you’re interested in becoming a franchisee with Snap-on, speak to our team on 1800 810 581 or visit https://www.snapontools.com.au/franchise/ for more details.