Professional Distributor - 10

COVER STORY
thing that changed since Pennsylvania.
His customer base was transformed.
"My old route was saturated with
heavy equipment, big trucks, and natural gas, so I was used to stocking large
tools; not a whole lot for cars, and virtually nothing for high end vehicles,"
Gruber says. "Moving [from Williamsport to Virginia Beach], my customer
base shifted completely." Gruber now
sells to technicians who work on
everything from farm equipment to
Maseratis, and he even supports tactical vehicles.
"It's a nice change of pace talking to
a customer that is trying to diagnose a
Case tractor, then later on that day talking to a customer that is working on a
MRAP for the Military, and after that
see a Lamborghini on someone's lift."
One of Gruber's stops - Virginia

Tips from the pros:
Shop the deals
Independent dealer Reid Thomas is all about finding
deals and passing the savings along to customers.
"I like to look for promos where I can buy a large
quantity [of product] and use it as eye candy or sell
it at a discount ... something to promote sales.
Offer a deal nobody else is offering. Sometimes
you can't be scared to gamble."
Thomas adds that a little confidence goes
a long way, too.
"If you're afraid to believe in yourself and believe
you can do something, this probably isn't the right
business [for you] (for example, spending thousands
on scan tools). You have to trust in your ability to
get out and do the job. That can definitely be a little
scary in the beginning."
Greet tomorrow with a smile
A new route on the beach gave Mac Tools
distributor Mike Gruber a unique chance to try
new things with new customers.
"I was able to look back at all the mistakes I had
made before and change certain things with
my new route."
For example, he traded in his work shirts for a polo
for a more business-like look. While tweaks can
boost business, Gruber adds attitude is everything.
"Never give up ... no one wants to buy tools off the
guy that comes in with a sour attitude and is hating
on life. If you don't go to work happy, how are you
going to put a smile on anyone else's
face that day?"

Beach City Garage - has a hanger, fire
department garage, heavy duty garage,
and a light duty garage. He says the
number of vehicles they maintain is
"over the top." With his heavy duty
background, Gruber still stocks larger
items (he says the U.S. Navy Seal Team
shop might request six DeWalt 60V
geared circular saws), so he really is
prepared for anything.
Two years into the move, life is
good. Gruber has no reservations about
his new life on the beach.
"I had a lot of cards stacked against
me when I moved here; they never
had a Mac Tools distributor that stuck
around long, so customers weren't very
welcoming," Gruber says. "Now ... so
many customers have warmed up to me
and tell me I'd better not move again.
"Although it was difficult and took
a lot of planning, it was absolutely
worth it. I love living at the beach ...
and it's fun to harass other distributors
with pictures of the sun rising over the
ocean. It was also really nice being able
to reinvent myself."

TAPPING INTO
TECHNICIAN EXPERTISE
Reid Thomas
Independent
Houston, Texas

Independent tool dealer Reid Thomas
has a story that is familiar to many. This
10 Professional Distributor I August 2019 I VehicleServicePros.com

Houston Tool Dealer Reid Thomas recently
went from turning wrenches to selling them in
his business, RM Tools LLC.

independent dealer in Houston went
from turning wrenches to selling them.
"Being a technician has a lifespan
to it," says the owner of RM Tools LLC.
"It's really good at destroying your body.
From the time I started ... I wanted to
be out by the time I was 45. When the
opportunity came up to buy a buddy's
truck, my wife said, 'Why don't you try
it?' The tool business intrigued me for
a number of years. The guy I ended up
getting the client list from, I talked with
him quite a bit before [jumping in] and
he said he'd make me a [great] deal."
Two years ago, Thomas took the
leap. He now operates in a piece of a
very large geographical pie.
"If you quarter Houston into a pie,
I've got the southwest corner ... very
close to where I was working [as a
technician]," Thomas says of his route.
In fact, he now services the shop he
used to work at, in addition to a number
of dealerships, large independent car
retailers, heavy equipment shops, and
small hole-in-the-wall body shops.
Thomas enjoys the smaller businesses on his route and makes quite
a few sales at these stops. The newto-the-streets tool dealer also sells a
number of scan tools, saying, "That's
one of my favorite items to sell. It's one


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Professional Distributor

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Professional Distributor

Editor's Note: A risky (and rewarding) business
Business risks that paid off
Show Me Your Truck
Most Wanted
2019 PTEN Innovation Award Winners
Sneak Peek
Product Training
Go Sell Something: You can teach an old dog new tricks ... especially if that dog is you and you want to earn more money.
In Focus Products
Diagnostic Discourse: Programming: Where did it start, and what options are available to today's technicians?
Driving Sales
Tales from the Road: Tool dealer John Loobey's love of martial arts led him to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Professional Distributor - 1
Professional Distributor - 2
Professional Distributor - 3
Professional Distributor - Editor's Note: A risky (and rewarding) business
Professional Distributor - 5
Professional Distributor - Business risks that paid off
Professional Distributor - 7
Professional Distributor - 8
Professional Distributor - 9
Professional Distributor - 10
Professional Distributor - 11
Professional Distributor - 12
Professional Distributor - 13
Professional Distributor - Show Me Your Truck
Professional Distributor - 15
Professional Distributor - Most Wanted
Professional Distributor - 17
Professional Distributor - 2019 PTEN Innovation Award Winners
Professional Distributor - 19
Professional Distributor - 20
Professional Distributor - 21
Professional Distributor - 22
Professional Distributor - 23
Professional Distributor - 24
Professional Distributor - 25
Professional Distributor - 26
Professional Distributor - 27
Professional Distributor - Sneak Peek
Professional Distributor - 29
Professional Distributor - 30
Professional Distributor - 31
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Professional Distributor - 33
Professional Distributor - 34
Professional Distributor - 35
Professional Distributor - 36
Professional Distributor - 37
Professional Distributor - Product Training
Professional Distributor - 39
Professional Distributor - 40
Professional Distributor - 41
Professional Distributor - Go Sell Something: You can teach an old dog new tricks ... especially if that dog is you and you want to earn more money.
Professional Distributor - 43
Professional Distributor - In Focus Products
Professional Distributor - 45
Professional Distributor - 46
Professional Distributor - 47
Professional Distributor - Diagnostic Discourse: Programming: Where did it start, and what options are available to today's technicians?
Professional Distributor - 49
Professional Distributor - 50
Professional Distributor - 51
Professional Distributor - Driving Sales
Professional Distributor - 53
Professional Distributor - Tales from the Road: Tool dealer John Loobey's love of martial arts led him to compete on American Ninja Warrior.
Professional Distributor - 55
Professional Distributor - 56
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