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“It’s the hardest you will ever work in your life, but it is also the most rewarding,” says Richard Palmer pointing out both sides of self-employment as a Cornwell franchise owner. “Every goal I’ve set up to this point I’ve made. So now, I’m setting higher goals.”
Richard has been in the automotive business nearly his entire career. He has worked in an automotive body shop both as a bodyman and as a service writer. His last job was working in Paintless Dent Removal (PDR).
When he decided to go into the tool business, he did his homework.
“I talked to dealers all over,” says Richard. “It was the only company (where) no one had ever worked for Cornwell and gone to another company. It was always they worked for another company and came to Cornwell. That was kind of a big thing to me ...their people weren’t jumping ship.”
Although he’s his own boss, he emphasizes he never feels alone with all the support he gets.
“It starts on the street with direct support from your district manager who is never more than a phone call away, But he’ll also come and ride with you. If you need something he’ll meet you,” Richard says. “If you’re having a problem with something he’s right there to help you get through it. ”
“The next level of support is on the telephone from the customer service agents who are there to support us,” says Richard. “And then it keeps going with our accounting department and other areas.”
“You know, the best part is the freedom,” says Richard.“ Cornwell gives you enough equipment, knowledge and support that if you’re willing to work hard you’ll definitely succeed.”
“I see a very profitable future,” Richard says.
“It was just something that kind of fell into place,” says Richard Benitez of his decision to buy a Cornwell Franchise. “I looked into a lot of different franchises. I personally wanted to get away from employees and being open all night -- or open late night.”
While looking into oil change franchises, he noticed a lot of tool trucks.
“I was a service writer. So, I knew how the tool trucks worked,” says Richard. He contacted several tool & equipment franchises and set up a meeting with one.
While traveling that weekend, his wife noticed a Cornwell truck in a parking lot of a restaurant and pointed it out to Richard. He looked up Cornwell online and set up a meeting.
“I met with MATCO on Monday, everything went well, I liked their program,” says Richard. “But then when I met with Cornwell on Tuesday ... I could see the differences in the two companies and it didn’t make any sense to me as to why I would want to go with MATCO.”
“I like that they (Cornwell) give you a little more freedom,” says Richard. “I like that once you’ve been approved for a franchise that you have it for life.”
Richard set the ambitious goal of being in the top one hundred Cornwell franchises within his first year. At just over half way into that year, Richard has beat his goal and is among the top 20 Cornwell franchisees.
After 20 years as an automotive technician, Mario Mendez decided he wanted to own his own business. He felt it would give him opportunities he didn’t have turning a wrench.
With his background as a mechanic, he felt a tool franchise would be a perfect fit. He began researching online and then realized the answer to his question was right in his toolbox.
“I bought a lot of tools from Cornwell back then,” says Mario. “Most of my tools were Cornwell. I liked them because they were inexpensive and were good tools -- and it had the same warranty as the other guys.”
He decided that if he believed in Cornwell enough to buy their products, he believed in Cornwell enough to sell their tools.
Mario was also happy with the cost of entry. It was within his budget and seemed like he would be profitable much faster than with the other choices.
After talking to his wife, he decided to sign-up with Cornwell Quality Tools as a franchisee. Today his wife is involved in the business, too. She goes with him to meetings and the Rallys.
Six years later, Mario is glad he decided to make the leap into business ownership.
“I feel special when I talk to my district manager and other people at Cornwell,” says Mario. “I would tell others there are a lot of advantages of being with Cornwell. You can be your own boss … and you make a lot of friends.”
About twenty years ago, Chris Hasley was driving a Snap-on tool truck. That was three careers ago. In the time in-between, Chris has sold insurance and owned a business before returning to the job he loves: selling tools. Today, Chris is a Cornwell Quality Tools franchisee.
Chris says he enjoys the business more than any of the other businesses he’s been in.
“Even with the economy crashing like it has, Cornwell is still being upbeat,” Chris continues. “And that’s the good thing for us. We’re in a pretty good position.”
“Cornwell’s got a great support system,” says Chris. “They want to help you make it. They’ve got programs in place that if a guy uses them … even a guy that’s not that great of a salesman can make money.”
“Now that I’m with them for four years I see that by far Cornwell takes better care of you,” Chris emphasizes. “It’s a lot to do with the ownership. It’s a lot of do with the style of company it is. And that’s the reason that I picked Cornwell over basically all three of the others.”
“I didn’t just jump into this blindly,” says Chris. “I actually went out and talked to customers and I got on the Internet. It all came down to the fact that Cornwell does have a very good product at a reasonable price.”
“I’m considered their customer,” Chris points out of his relationship with Cornwell. “And that way we can take care of our customers, if we’re taken care of.”
“Snap-on treats you as a number,” Chris says. “Snap-on is in the business of selling dealerships. What they do is they get a guy in, they go through him. When they’re done, they hire another one. That’s just the business with them.”
When asked if owning a Cornwell franchise has been profitable, he replies, “Yes, this is my fourth year. And actually this year I’ll pay my business off and then I’ll make more money.”
Just over seven months into his decision to become a Cornwell franchisee, Coy Mutchie says he has no regrets about pulling up stakes and actually moving to a new area to build his tool & equipment business.
“There really wasn’t an opportunity to advance in the small town I was from,” says Coy, a former automotive technician. “We’re already doing better now than we were at the shop.”
“It was in our budget as far as start-up costs,” Coy says of what swayed he and his wife to join the Cornwell team. “That and the way they stand behind their dealers -- they really do care about all their dealers.”
He also feels his background turning wrenches has been a big asset to him in connecting with customers and building relationships.
“The ability to know what tools mechanics are looking for and the ability to talk to the guys -- and even the ability to sometimes help them out with a problem they’re working on all make a big difference. It’s nice to be a mechanic … that understands what they’re going through and knows when to back off when they’re busy,” Coy says.
“I talked to my Snap-on Dealer and my Matco Dealer,” Coy says of the period before he made his decision. “They had some good things to say … but they had a lot of bad things to say, as well. They told me all the things they had to go through. The rearranging of territories really irritated my MATCO guy. That and several other things swayed me away.”
“I think Cornwell has set up their routes really well in terms of numbers,” Coy says. “That’s another reason I chose Cornwell ... as oppose to the other guys, we definitely get our fair share, if not more. We have the ability to broadcast to more people.”
Coy says he really likes the business. “I enjoy dealing with people. I like talking to people.”
Jeff Rogers was a Mac Tools franchisee for five years, before he made the leap to Cornwell Tools about a year ago.
"They were making changes I didn’t really care for,” Jeff says of his former brand. After talking to Cornwell, he decided he was ready for a change. “Cornwell offered a lot better deal, a lot better opportunity.”
“I approached several of my customers before making the move,” says Jeff. Very few opposed his decision to change flags. “I had maybe two or three on my route that kind of were against it, and they’re buying their tools from me now.”
“It was a really easy transition, I didn’t have any problems,” Jeff says. “Once guys got out to my truck to see what [Cornwell tools] I had, they were jumping up and down and were happy with the prices on things.”
“With Cornwell, we put prices on stuff,” says Jeff. “I really think it’s sold a lot more tools for me.”
Often a tech is hesitant to for ask a price on a tool, sometimes he assumes it costs more than it actually does. But with a price tag on it, there is no doubt what it costs and it’s usually less than they expect, Jeff explains.
Jeff decided to move from working in construction to being “tool & equipment guy” with some special insight into the tool business. His father-in-law was a tool dealer for about 22 years.
“He didn’t really get me into it. He was out about 5 years before I got in,” Jeff explains. “But I saw that he raised two daughters and made a living doing this for so many years. I decided to do it ... I guess you could say he was a mentor to me when I first got in”
“Today, I’m running the same area that he ran,” says Jeff.
Cornwell Tool franchisee Tyson White left his job as an automotive technician to run his own tool & equipment route back in Spring 2005.
“I made the jump because either I wanted to open my own shop or go into business for myself in some way,” says Tyson. “My dad was his own boss for 35 years. He owned a gas station in a little podunk town in Utah and he enjoyed it.”
“I figured it’s not as big of a jump to buy my own tool truck as it would be to open my own shop. The overhead wasn’t as much, so that’s why I went the tool route.”
About two years later, he suffered a stroke that knocked him out of work for several weeks.
“If it wouldn’t have been for Cornwell, I probably wouldn’t be in business today,” says Tyson. “There were a couple people in customer service and district managers that actually cared about me. They helped me in any way they possibly could -- without paying my bill out of their pocket. And it worked out really, really well for me.”
Tyson has been impressed with all the Cornwell team members that support his business. He feels no other tool & equipment franchise would have stood by him like Cornwell has.
“It just feels like a family business,” he says. “You go to a show and they recognize you. They know you. They come over and shoot the breeze with you. You’re not just another dealer with a dealer code. You’re not just a number to them.”
“The love I have for them is amazing,” Tyson says. “They’re always there for me.”
Cornwell Tools is pleased to announce a new website dedicated to learning about our franchise opportunities. Future posts will feature many of our dealers. Learn how they found Cornwell and what it is like to be a Cornwell Tool Dealer.