Snap-on Tools Franchise Puts the Success in Business Succession Planning

For Snap-on Tools franchisees, business succession planning encourages growth and helps enable business resiliency. Most new franchise owners are not thinking about the dissolution of their business from the start. In fact, that’s probably the last thing on the mind of an excited new franchisee. So for Snap-on franchisees, succession planning is considered a way to enable their career success, advancement, and longevity. In this article, we’ll discuss how succession planning is an integral part of the Snap-on Tools franchise opportunity.

An overall franchise system is strong when the franchise businesses are strong, and such is the case for Snap-on. Business succession planning can help to grow and strengthen the franchise business. “An important aspect to consider when buying into a franchise is developing a clear plan on how the ownership of your business will change hands once you retire,” said Tom Kasbohm, director of franchising for Snap-on Tools. “It may seem like a long way off, especially when you’re first starting out, but having a succession plan in place can help you manage each life stage of your business and eventually position a qualified buyer to take over so you can transition more seamlessly into retirement.”

The company encourages franchise owners to build their businesses sustainably. As the business grows, franchisees are encouraged to hire franchise assistants as employees. Adding staff allows a franchise owner to oversee business operations and nurture and strengthen client relationships. As franchise assistants gain knowledge, they can advance to become managers, freeing the franchise owner to enjoy greater work-life balance or to purchase another Snap-on Tools business and continue the growth trajectory. The business model works. In the Snap-on Tools system, 13 percent of franchise owners operate 26 percent of the franchised mobile stores.

From Snap-on Tools Employee to Franchise Owner

Snap-on Tools franchisee Fred Villarreal has owned his franchise in Pharr, Texas for 14 years. When Fred was in high school, he worked at his father’s automotive shop. That’s where he met their Snap-on Tools provider, who had been serving his father’s tool needs for many years. Villarreal was impressed by the Snap-on Tools business model and the flexibility it afforded. When he was offered the opportunity to become a Snap-on Tools franchise assistant, he jumped at the chance.

After working as an employee for seven years, Villarreal was determined to purchase his own franchise. Although he found the prospect of owning his own business slightly intimidating, he moved forward, knowing from experience that it was the right fit for him.

Snap-on Tools franchisee Fred Villarreal“Personally, I’m not one for going into a boring 8-5 office job. I’m someone that likes to be moving around outside. It’s fun being a franchisee. I have fun every day,” Villarreal said. “If I’m in a bad mood for some reason, as soon as I meet with my customers, I have a smile on my face. I’ve built relationships with my customers and look forward to seeing them every day.”

“A typical day for me starts with looking at my inventory, my schedule, and the company’s current promotions. I let my customers know about the sales and promotions and help them with whatever they need. I wrap up my day with a little office work and prepare for the next day. I replenish the inventory in my truck, so I’m always ready to serve my customers.”

Villarreal said, “If someone is interested in becoming a Snap-on Tools franchise owner, I tell them to do it! It’s the best thing I’ve done in my life. I have no regrets. And, when it comes time for me to retire, many years down the road, I’ll be proud to sell my franchise to someone who has worked for me. Someone who is looking for a rewarding career opportunity.”

Multi-Unit Franchisees Find Success in Business Succession Planning

George and Samantha Hamilton are multi-unit franchise owners from St. Charles, Illinois. In 2022, George received a Franchise Business Review (FBR) Rock Star Award under the Veteran-Owned category. FBR chose him from among 200+ nominees for his outstanding achievements as a Snap-on Tools franchise owner.

“When I retired from the military, I went straight into franchise ownership. After my first year in business, I realized I needed to hire an assistant,” George said. “This enabled me to develop closer relationships with the shop owners while my assistant worked directly with the technicians. Establishing stronger relationships with business owners has helped me better understand my customers’ needs and grow my business.”

Snap-on Tools George Hamilton Franchisee“When I was looking to expand,” George explained, “There were two opportunities available. So, I suggested that my wife, Samantha, purchase one, and I purchased the other.”

“One of the things I learned from George is to hire an assistant,” Samantha said. “My franchise assistant happens to be George’s twin brother. This helped me to achieve more work-life balance and grow my business.”

“Today, we each own two businesses and have our own employees, plus we share a warehouse manager who helps us keep track of inventory,” Samantha said. “Now I have my sights on a third location, and George does too.”

“One of the greatest rewards in this business,” Samantha said, “Is to develop and grow your own work family, to see them enjoy the rewards and find work-life balance. It’s very reassuring to know that our employees will make excellent candidates for franchise ownership when we’re ready to retire and sell our businesses to them. With this succession plan in place, our hard work will be our legacy, and it will go on to benefit our employees as new Snap-on Tools franchise business owners.”

Learn more about George Hamilton’s experience as a military veteran and Snap-on Tools franchisee in his Franchisee Profile here.

Dean Akin is a mechanic turned multi-unit franchise owner in College Station, Texas. He purchased his first Snap-on Tools franchise business in 1994, built a new facility for his truck and equipment, and hired staff to support its growth. He worked his business as an owner-operator for four years. “I believed I made a better mechanic than a day-to-day business manager,” Akin said, “I eventually returned to my previous career as a mechanic. Fifteen years after buying my first, another Snap-on Tools location became available, and I bought my second one.”

Snap-on Tools Dean Akin FranchiseeToday, Akin has 12 employees and is operating seven Snap-on Tools franchise businesses. “My role involves coordinating business operations, coaching my employees, and ensuring my clients are happy,” he said. “I buy Snap-on Tools franchises with the intent of helping others succeed as business owners. I’ve sold seven franchises to former employees who worked their way into business ownership. The franchisees who purchased businesses from me are all doing well and some are getting into multi-franchising themselves. It’s extremely rewarding.”

Strengthening the Snap-on Tools System—One Franchisee at a Time

The Snap-on Tools franchise opportunity empowers franchisees to grow their own businesses—strengthening the franchise system as a whole. The company incentivizes franchisees to bring in strong candidates through its internal referral program. When a referred candidate purchases a franchise, the referrer earns a reward. It’s a win-win for all involved.

Paul Megrath, a multi-franchise owner in Fairfield, Iowa, has successfully leveraged this program by bringing in two franchise candidates who own their own Snap-on Tools franchise businesses today. Paul purchased his first Snap-on Tools franchise in 2004. Today, he has 15 employees who serve all seven of his franchises.

Snap-on Tools Paul Megrath franchisee“I’m continually looking for great franchise candidates,” said Megrath. “When our franchise system is strong, all our franchises are more valuable and our customers are better served. My first business saw immediate growth when I hired my first franchise assistant. Today, that’s the only way I roll. It’s really important to have one person taking care of the tote bag and another taking care of client relationships and big-ticket issues.”

Kasbohm explained, “More than 800 franchisees have chosen to make a difference in their businesses by hiring a franchisee assistant. Very often, as the business grows, a franchise assistant may become a store manager and eventually a franchise owner. This helps to strengthen the business, and the employee can stand in if the owner needs to address other day-to-day operations. Oftentimes, when owners are ready to exit the business into retirement, the very individuals who were trained as employees are highly motivated and capable of purchasing the business in the route they helped to develop.”

To learn more about Snap-on Tools business succession planning and franchise opportunities, click here