august2021 - 51
Always looking ahead
This Mac Tools dealer manages his multi-route operation by
planning at least three months ahead.
By Kayla Oschmann, Associate Editor
hen the stock market crash
of 2008 occurred, Steve
O'Leary found himself laid
off as a journeyman electrician and
in need of a job to support his family.
His father-in-law was a Mac Tools
distributor which got O'Leary thinking
he could give selling tools a try.
Now, 10 years later, O'Leary runs a
multi-truck operation within Hudson
Valley, New York.
" I actually like going to work, " he
says. " I like what I do. I can sit and BS
with my friends and they give me money.
How can you not like it? "
With three other tool distributors
on his team, O'Leary manages
four connecting routes. The routes are
well mixed, ranging from landscapers,
construction shops, and mom and pop
shops to " anyone who wants tools. "
He will even make house calls, noting
that once he sold a guy a four-post
lift and a toolbox at his home.
O'Leary learned early on that the key
to being a successful business owner is
to always look ahead.
When he first started out, he did
better than expected. Although that
sounds ideal, he burned through the
little cash reserve he had too fast which
became a challenge in and of itself.
" It was a good lesson, " he notes.
" Now, I've learned to always look as
many steps ahead as I can... Especially
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as a business owner, you have to look
three, six, nine months ahead and try
to envision where you are going to be
financially and where your business
will be. "
That lesson early on, along with
his planning-ahead management style,
helped him overcome a six-month, outof-nowhere
downturn in 2016, which
he still finds perplexing. Nevertheless,
it proved to him the importance of planning
And when COVID-19 hit in 2020,
O'Leary knew, once again, he was able
to handle it.
In fact, this tool dealer's success
hasn't gone unnoticed. Over the years,
O'Leary has racked up five Eagle Awards
for being a top distributor in the region
with Mac Tools. One as a single truck
distributor and four as a multi-truck
In addition to planning ahead,
O'Leary has also learned that trusting
your instincts when it comes to customers
and providing quality service
" With online competitors, service is
so much more of a premium than ever
before, " he says. " [In years past,] customers
bought from a tool dealer because
they showed up and the customers
Steve O'Leary manages four connecting
routes and is looking to add a fifth
sometime in the future.
didn't really have a choice. In today's
market, they absolutely have a choice.
It's not about the price; it's completely
about the service. "
As for local mobile competitors, he
says laughing, " I let them worry about
what I'm doing. "
O'Leary doesn't plan to settle down
soon. His goal is to expand to five trucks
and then he'll see about cutting down
his road time to " take a breather. "
Tactic to get customers
on the truck:
Stock BB guns or something less
tool related at times because it
" keeps customers guessing
what I have on my truck. "
Go-to road snack:
Whatever is nearby around noon.
Professional Distributor I August 2021 I VehicleServicePros.com 51
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of august2021
Editor's Note: Keep Holding On
2021 PTEN Innovation Awards Winners
Cover Story: Big Wheels Keep on Turning
Diagnostic Tech: OEM and Aftermarket Scan Tools - Increasing Your Situational Awareness
Show Me Your Truck: Designed for Efficiency
Go Sell Something: No Two Customers Are Alike
Driving Sales: Products that will help your bottom line
Tales From the Road: Always Looking Ahead
august2021 - 1
august2021 - 2
august2021 - 3
august2021 - Editor's Note: Keep Holding On
august2021 - 5
august2021 - Sneak Peek
august2021 - 7
august2021 - 8
august2021 - 9
august2021 - 10
august2021 - 11
august2021 - Most Wanted
august2021 - 13
august2021 - In Focus
august2021 - 15
august2021 - 16
august2021 - 17
august2021 - 2021 PTEN Innovation Awards Winners
august2021 - 19
august2021 - 20
august2021 - 21
august2021 - 22
august2021 - 23
august2021 - 24
august2021 - 25
august2021 - 26
august2021 - 27
august2021 - 28
august2021 - 29
august2021 - 30
august2021 - 31
august2021 - 32
august2021 - 33
august2021 - 34
august2021 - Cover Story: Big Wheels Keep on Turning
august2021 - 36
august2021 - 37
august2021 - 38
august2021 - 39
august2021 - Diagnostic Tech: OEM and Aftermarket Scan Tools - Increasing Your Situational Awareness
august2021 - 41
august2021 - 42
august2021 - 43
august2021 - Show Me Your Truck: Designed for Efficiency
august2021 - 45
august2021 - Go Sell Something: No Two Customers Are Alike
august2021 - 47
august2021 - Driving Sales: Products that will help your bottom line
august2021 - 49
august2021 - 50
august2021 - Tales From the Road: Always Looking Ahead
august2021 - 52