Snap-on - The Advantage of a Strong Business model and Brand During a Global Crisis

Snap-on has been providing professional tools within the automotive industry for the last 100 years and has become an iconic brand. To understand why, we recently interviewed Snap-on’s Vice President of International Sales and Franchising - Barrie Young, who provided insight into the strength of Snap-on’s business model and what makes this a fantastic franchise opportunity.

Barrie’s experience has helped shape the presence of Snap-on globally. Barrie’s journey within Snap-on has stretched across 3 continents starting as a franchisee in June, 1980 in Birmingham, UK. Over the years Barrie was provided numerous opportunities within the organisation, holding positions from Field Manager to Branch Manager, then later being promoted to UK Sales Director. In 1999 Barrie relocated to Australia to become the Managing Director of Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Then in 2007 became the President of Worldwide Sales and Franchising in Wisconsin, USA.

Celebrating his 40th year within Snap-on, Barrie has relocated back to Australia as the VP of International Sales & Franchising and is now reflecting on what has made Snap-on a stable franchise business that can withstand an economic and pandemic crisis.

“The bedrock of Snap-on’s stability is our business model, the one thing that really makes a difference compared to other retailers is that Snap-on is a mobile business” said Barrie Young. “We are taking our products and visiting customers every week at their place of work. We get to see our customers with what we believe are the best products in our industry”.

“Over the last 100 years as a business we have been through several crises including the great depression in the 30’s, WW2, various conflicts around the world, the GFC in 2008 and now the COVID-19 pandemic. But as a mobile business we still get to visit our customers, whereas if you happen to be a retail shopfront you are dependent on customers choosing to come to you”.

“In the case of COVID-19, businesses have been restricted with only those deemed as essential remaining open. But Governments understand that keeping automotive and transportation systems running is essential. For this, mechanics and technicians need to keep working and therefore they need the right tools to do the job”.

“Whether it is a global virus or an economic crisis, they come and go, they don’t last forever. But during these events the one thing that is always on our minds is that we must help protect our franchisees and their businesses. If you lose your franchisees, then you won’t have a business when the crisis is over. We also help our customers by ensuring they are looked after with promotional offers and deals”.

At the back of all this is the strength and heritage of the Snap-on brand “You can find people that have never used our tools and never will, but still know who Snap-on is. That is due to 100 years of Snap-on franchisees visiting customers and telling our story” said Young.

“For our customers the value of our brand and products is not difficult to describe, I had one mechanic explain it to me this way – I’ll never take the most expensive holidays in the world, because I can’t afford them, I’m never going to live in the most expensive part of town and I’ll probably never drive the most expensive car. But the one thing I can own that is the best in the world are my tools, and I use my them every day. When people ask why I spend thousands of dollars on my tools, it’s because I spend 10 hours a day working out of my toolbox.”

For customers it’s not just about having the best tools in the world, it’s also about the relationships and having the best experience as well.

“Ecommerce has not impacted our business because customers still want the personal experience of our franchisees turning up. That’s because they develop personal relationships with their customers, they know all their customers by name, their wives, their kids, their dogs. They develop a close relationship and often our franchisees are being invited to customers’ birthday parties, weddings and BBQ’s”.

“Here’s the way we think about it. If you are a Snap-on franchisee and you visit customers every week, and he’s going to be on your truck for 10 minutes. We want that 10 minutes to be the best 10 minutes of that mechanic’s week. So as long as you do that every week, with every customer then they will stick with us.”

"As a franchisee there’s no guarantee of success and it’s not an easy business. Our franchisees work incredibly hard, and if they don’t work incredibly hard they are less likely to be successful. But there are many franchisees that have changed their lives for the better due to the time they have spent in Snap-on”.

Snap-on is one of the world’s leading franchise systems and entrepreneur Magazine has ranked Snap-on in the top 25 ranked global Franchisors.

For more information about the Snap-on franchise opportunity visit: snaponfranchise.com.au.

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