“I have visions for my future and Snap-on is going to help me achieve that”

By Sarah Stowe | 29 Oct 2015 View comments

When investing in two franchises is better than buying just one: one franchisee's tale of multi-unit franchising.

The benefits of buying a franchise are often hotly examined and there are many factors that need to be carefully considered before investing into a franchise. When entrepreneurs are considering going into business for themselves, it can seem like the only question is “should I buy a franchise or not?”

Before investing into a franchise, entrepreneurs should take the time to think of the bigger picture, such as do they want to expand and own more than one franchise in the future? If so then they need to carefully consider if the franchise model supports their goals.

Rodney Brown is one such franchisee. He purchased his first Snap-on Tools franchise in Chipping Norton, NSW, in 2013, just before he turned 30, bringing to life his dream of being a business owner before his significant birthday. Rodney then purchased his second Snap-on franchise in Peakhurst just over a year later, in December 2014.

“I had always had the idea in my head,” explains Brown. “It was my goal. I always wanted to own my own business from my early twenties or so, and I had given myself a deadline.”

Brown stuck to his deadline, just sneaking in his first franchise purchase less than three weeks before the big birthday. He purchased his second one in quick succession, making the decision in less than six months.

Brown has always been passionate about the brand, previously working as a vehicle accessory fitter before he made the leap to a Snap-on franchisee. He was eager to move into owning his own business because he felt that he didn’t want to “wake up and say to myself, I should have done this a lifetime ago.

“I didn’t want to be employed by someone else all my life,” he says. 

Taking out his first franchise, Brown might have been passionate about the brand and its wide range of tools, but he was quick to recognise the areas in which he needed more support than others.

“I knew the people, I knew my customers. I knew that Snap-on was a market leader and I knew how to sell the product. But there were other areas I had to learn about,” says Brown. “And quickly.”

When he purchased his first franchise, the business swung into gear to help and support him.

“Any question I had, the team at head office were there to help me. They were only a phone call away and I quickly learned that there wasn’t one silly question they weren’t prepared to answer. The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask,” he explains.

Multi-unit franchisees

From the outset he made it very clear that he wished to own more than one franchise.

“When I was interviewed by the franchise team, one of the questions they asked me was “What are your long term goals?’” he says. “I’ve never forgotten that. My answer to them was the same as if they asked me today. I’m here to plan to retire. I’m here for the long haul. I have visions for my future and Snap-on is going to help me achieve that.”

Brown’s first year was a very strong one in sales and that helped fast track his decision to expand.

“The second business does require more planning,” he admits. “I knew it would be more but I was prepared for it. It might be more work, but it’s not double the effort. I’ve simply mirrored my activities for the second truck off the first one.”

Expanding into the second truck, Brown also had to consider the need to hire staff and start to manage people. His workload would change substantially, and stretch him into new areas.

“Going into the second truck I had had a year of stellar sales,” he says. “I was confident about the expansions, but it did mean I would have to put on people who might not be as emotionally invested in the business as I was.”

The Snap-on Tools policy for franchisees thinking of expanding into second franchise operations is to firstly employ an assistant to work directly with the franchisee in their original territory.

“I hired a new guy for the new territory and I’m currently looking for an assistant to help me,” says Brown “I am incredibly fortunate that I have a great employee in the new territory, but if he is sick one day, then his truck is off the road or my truck is off the road as I drive his round. An assistant will eventually make all the difference.”

Once the assistant is on the road with him, he can float between both trucks – helping his staff by maintaining important customer relationships and building great deals for customers.

“Now my job is much more about downloading my knowledge to my employee, and when we expand further, internal communications within my team becomes much more important. I might know about the products and deals intimately, but they won’t. This will be a new challenge that I didn’t have to deal with when I operated my franchise on my own,” he says.

“The expansion into two trucks means you need to manage your energies, and learn where to put the most pressure,” he explains.

With support from head office, Brown is learning how to manage his larger business.

“Snap-on Tools provides our teams with complete training and support. They are sent to the States and treated as if they are fully-fledged franchisees in their own right. But I still needed to support him on his first few weeks.

“I want my employee to really care about his run and to appreciate it as if he was the franchisee of the region he manages,” he says. “I see this as being an investment in my future because if he does love it, I’ve then created a commodity he can purchase. If he wants to be a franchisee, he can buy that one off me!

“I was prepared to work hard from the first day I started my franchise. With two trucks on the road I need to be doubly focused on all aspects of my operation,” he explains. “But it’s my future, and I’m being successful.

“I’m planning for my retirement. For me, it’s all about the bigger picture,” he says.