Franchisees at Snap-on Tools come from a range of backgrounds, some entirely outside of the industry and others with decades of experience in the automotive industry. Gavin Brindle falls under this second group.
Winner of the 2021 New Franchisee of the Year award at the Snap-on Tools Franchise Conference, Gavin hails from West Auckland, New Zealand. Gavin’s relaxed and warm responses keep us glued as we catch up with him to discuss his journey to become a Snap-on franchisee. Following nearly two decades as a mechanic, his experience is paying off.
“I guess you could say I’ve been around a wee while,” Gavin says with a wry smile. “I didn’t become a Snap-on franchisee until August of 2020 – yep, in the middle of a pandemic – after about 18 years of being both a car and truck mechanic.”
MAKING THE SWITCH FROM WORKSHOP TO FRANCHISE OWNER
For many Snap-on franchisees, the journey to running their own business doesn’t just happen overnight.
“I think it was probably all the way back in 2009 that I first looked at Snap-on,” says Gavin. “I’d only been a mechanic for seven years. I didn’t feel like I had the capital to back me into such a move, so I continued learning and saving as a mechanic. However, the idea of joining up with Snap-on kept niggling at me. Years later, as the foreman of a workshop, I identified a gap in the market as Snap-on reps were struggling to get to me. I just thought, ‘Hey, there’s a real opportunity here.’”
BECOMING A FRANCHISEE AT THE HEART OF THE PANDEMIC
And what a time to join. Gavin had only two weeks on the road (“I didn’t even get to meet all my customers!”) before New Zealand went into a countrywide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A year earlier I did a ride-along with a current Snap-on franchisee down in PEOPLEHastings and loved it. I talked with a few people who gave me some advice to just wait and see for a bit. I’m thankful I did. I was able to keep things ticking over in those first six months of the pandemic before I joined with Snap-on.
A NATIONWIDE NETWORK TO DRAW ON IN NEW ZEALAND
Typically up early each day, the demands of his job keep Gavin busy, but he points to the support he has around him both at work and at home as key to the success of his franchise. Snap-on support staff are always available. Over Snap-on’s decades of success, they’ve streamlined processes, so new franchisees can hit the ground running.
“I’m still figuring out the lay of the land,” says Gavin, “and while I don’t need as much day-to-day support, I know I have it. If there’s something I’m struggling with, a quick email or call usually sorts it out. Having a network of franchisees also helps. There are several of us in Auckland and we’ve got a little chat group for sharing tools, so we’ve got a bigger inventory we can all pull from.
As the winner of the 2021 New Franchisee of the Year and with nearly two decades as a mechanic under his belt, we have to ask Gavin if he has any tips for those considering a Snap-on franchise, to which he responds “Of course!”, while chuckling.
“Look, I might be a bit fresh to be handing out tips. But I do have one and you’ve probably heard it all before: ‘Follow the program!’ Snap-on has built something that works, so just stick to that, work hard and you’ll see results.”
Snap-on is a leading manufacturer of premium tools and equipment solutions. The unique franchise model it offers transports its range of products from workshop to workshop via dedicated franchisees like Gavin. With on-the-go support and a passionate franchisee network, they welcome those from a diverse array of backgrounds to get in touch.