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How do mechanics justify the prices of truck tool boxes?


DR99

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It just blows my mind how much they pay for them!! You can seriously buy a nice used care, or a crappy new car at the prices they charge. I get that some of them get pretty fancy, but they have to be serious money makers for the companies when you figure in the costs to make them. I get that they use them to make money with them, but I think that its now a game of who has the better box now to be honest.

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A few kids at my tech school have spent $2500 plus on tool boxes. They bought the 54 or so inch snap on boxes. They are usually $5000 or so but we get a big discount for being students. Enen though they are still stupid high. I think that most everything off of a tool truck is way to expensive. You can often find their specialty tools for %25 of the price online under a different name. The trucks often deal in credit like DR99 said. They would have to or otherwise no one would be able to afford anything.

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When I bought my snap on I was just starting out at the shop and ally co workers haveem so I jumped on one and it wasn't even the big one I got a medium size roller one and paid like $750 for mine man i even thought and was told that was a smokin deal Man was I a dumbass at the time .....

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Not to promote people going into debt but It wouldn't be a bad idea to find and raise as much money as you can when you get the student discount if your going into a trade that needs those kind of tools.

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Truck tools are love/hate for me. They have nice stuff, but it's mostly over-priced. Those trucks don't run on hopes and dreams, they run on mark-up. One of the mist popular articles I ever wrote was on this very subject:

http://professional-power-tool-guide.com/2014/08/who-makes-what-tools/

Most truck brands offer hardline stuff like wrenches, sockets, ratchets, drivers, etc., that are top notch quality, pretty exclusive to their brand, and generally worth their price. Beyond that stuff, you pretty much get a rebranded product with their name on it that you can get from someone else for half the money.

Matco is probably the worst offender. With the exception of their tool boxes, I don't think there is a single tool on the Matco truck you can't get somewhere else or in the Armstrong version for less.

Snap-On makes more of their own shit, but they also have the most mark-up by far. They enjoy an antiquated reputation for being way better than everyone else, when in fact they just charge more for the same level of quality in most cases.

Cornwell has some good stuff, but like Matco they have very few products exclusive to their line.

Mac is my favorite of the truck brands. They were pretty shitty for a long time, but they've really revamped their line over the last couple of years. I believe they have the nicest ratcheting combo wrenches, cordless mechanics tools, air impacts, and screwdrivers, that you can buy. Mac's real downfall is that you can get a nearly identical version of all their nicest shit in a Proto version for 30%-40% less.

All the trucks are like that though. You can get damn near anything Matco has in an Armstrong version, and many Snap-On products in either a Blue Point or Williams version, and always for way less $$.

You have to kinda watch Williams though. Most industrial brands have a predominantly imported alternative such as Proto/Blackhawk or Armstrong/Gearwrench, but Williams uses their name on both domestic and imported versions, so if it seems really cheap, it's probably imported.

As for the boxes, the answer is easy, you can buy them easily on credit. You can buy a damn nice Proto, Extreme, Viper, etc for $2500-$3000, or you can buy the same quality box off the truck for $5000-$7000 in $75 or $100 payments. It's the same concept that keeps Rent To Own places in business. They sell their shit at extreme prices by making them obtainable to people who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

A buddy of mine has been a mechanic at a Ford dealer for 7-8 years. He makes a living, but he isn't getting rich. He was crazy in debt to the Snap-On guy, but after I introduced him to the industrial brands, he never bought from him again.

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I think peer pressure from the guys in the shop plays a huge portion of their business. If people knew what really was going on with re branding of tools and other things it would be an eye opener for a lot of them. If a guy can get nearly the same quality tools signifigantly less money it means they can buy more tools that helps with the job, or instead of relying on the truck for replacement tools you have your own backups.

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I agree DR, I think a lot of it, especially when it comes to roll cabs, come down to the proverbial "dick measuring contest".

They make great quality boxes, no doubt about it, but I don't understand how a dealer sells a guy making $16 an hour an $8000+ tool box with a straight face.

I guess that's why I'm not in sales. I made $30 on an Armstrong socket set awhile back and I still feel bad about that

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A friend bought a house owned by a Snap on Truck owner. You can tell as he had the garage built with a spot where he could park his truck. He retired and bought a bigger spread somewhere else. Those guys are not hurting at all when it comes to making money. It just seems like with the internet things should have changed things up but it hasn't. If a company could be the Amazon of mechanics tools it would really change things up.

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The Matco truck stops by our office about once a week. I was out talking to our mechanics so I thought I would hop on and snoop around. I checked out the price of a box I really liked and I about passed out. I guess people pay it though since several of our guys have the giant Matco rolling chests. Just seems a little outrageous. I'm pretty sure if I worked as a mechanic here I would have to keep my tools in a cardboard box since that is how poorly they are paid.

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This is funny to read. My Mom's boyfriend is a Matco Truck Owner. I'm not a mechanic, but I love tools so I spend a ton of time checking out the tools. I couldn't believe how much the tools were going for. Seemed overpriced in my book. But then again, he usually sells about 1 or 2 giant rolling tool boxes a month. In fact, he said that the boxes are an impulse buy for most mechanics.

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This is funny to read. My Mom's boyfriend is a Matco Truck Owner. I'm not a mechanic, but I love tools so I spend a ton of time checking out the tools. I couldn't believe how much the tools were going for. Seemed overpriced in my book. But then again, he usually sells about 1 or 2 giant rolling tool boxes a month. In fact, he said that the boxes are an impulse buy for most mechanics.

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Does he come pick your mom up for dates in a limousine or a Learjet! [emoji16]

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Danaher Hand Tool Division, Matco's parent company, at one time owned a bunch of brands including Matco, Armstrong, and Allen, in addition to being the OEM for many brands including Craftsman and Kobalt mechanics tools.

The Craftsman line was made by Moore Drop Forge back in the day. In the late 60's MDF was bought by Easco, and Easco was in turn bought by Danaher in the middle 80's, so Danaher was suddenly a huge OEM supplier. The continued producing Craftsman until they China'd up a couple years back.

They produced Kobalt from 2002 when the J.H. Williams contract expired, up through 2011 when they went to the current Rotar made (some of it anyway) line largely imported by J&S Products.

For several years the Kobalt, Craftsman, and Allen lines were identical for the most part. The key indicator is the darker "smokey" looking chrome.

When Danaher and Cooper created the joint venture Apex Tool Group in 2009 or 10, Matco was the only hand tool brand Danaher retained as sole property and as I understand it, the only products Matco actually continued to manufacture were the tool boxes.

Matco sells some nice tools, but there is very little exclusively on their trucks. The 88 tooth ratchets are now available through Armstrong I believe and their pinless swivel impact patent has expired too I believe.

I dunno what this has to do with anything, but it seemed like a fine opportunity to share it

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Conductor this is the type of stuff I enjoy. People that have all of this information and that are willing to share it. I personally think it's interesting. Share away!

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Danaher Hand Tool Division, Matco's parent company, at one time owned a bunch of brands including Matco, Armstrong, and Allen, in addition to being the OEM for many brands including Craftsman and Kobalt mechanics tools.

The Craftsman line was made by Moore Drop Forge back in the day. In the late 60's MDF was bought by Easco, and Easco was in turn bought by Danaher in the middle 80's, so Danaher was suddenly a huge OEM supplier. The continued producing Craftsman until they China'd up a couple years back.

They produced Kobalt from 2002 when the J.H. Williams contract expired, up through 2011 when they went to the current Rotar made (some of it anyway) line largely imported by J&S Products.

For several years the Kobalt, Craftsman, and Allen lines were identical for the most part. The key indicator is the darker "smokey" looking chrome.

When Danaher and Cooper created the joint venture Apex Tool Group in 2009 or 10, Matco was the only hand tool brand Danaher retained as sole property and as I understand it, the only products Matco actually continued to manufacture were the tool boxes.

Matco sells some nice tools, but there is very little exclusively on their trucks. The 88 tooth ratchets are now available through Armstrong I believe and their pinless swivel impact patent has expired too I believe.

I dunno what this has to do with anything, but it seemed like a fine opportunity to share it

 

Thanks Conductor, are you a History teacher of tools by any chance? lol. Love to hear about all the History and back stories that you don't hear in the mainstream

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While they're way overpriced IMHO you are paying partly for service, almost like a service contract in some ways, for instant replacement of broken job critical tools. That being said it would still be cheaper to but two, three or more complete sets from lesser brands and have spares galore on hand but then you'd also have to store and categorize all those spares.

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You're absolutely right Jerry, but I believe the truck sales model has one foot in the grave.

You can warranty tools via mail with 2-3 day turnaround, and it isn't like the truck visits most shops daily.

From what I've gathered the success of a truck depends entirely upon the route and there are just some areas that can't be serviced at a profit

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The trucks are great for some but not for me. I have been on them an just don't care for them. I can buy used or other alternative but good brands.

I have bought my boxes used locally. I also have my grandpas craftsman from the early 90s. I would like to get one big box but for some reason I keep adding small boxes one at a time.

I worked with a dude who spent almost 30k on a snappy box, half of witch was empty. It looked great an all but just not worth it to me. He always gave me crap for not having the newest stuff. Some of my daily user tools are my grandpas from 25 years ago. There not shiny but ime not paying every week for them.

all I care about is getting the job done right. It doesn't matter how well your ratchet looked during the process but that whatever product we sent out that day lasts for years to come. Are my welds 100%, did I get the measurements right, etc.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Truck tools make me look at my decision making process closely. I couldn't name a Cornwell tool that I'd really like to own. The new Mac ratchets seem like they might be pretty decent, and the review that WoodstockVA did on the imported sockets with the teeth look cool, but not much else interests me. The only thing Matco has the I want are the pinless impact swivel sockets. But Snap On, boy oh boy. I would love to own a couple of KRL boxes and KRSC carts. Love to own the full compliment of Dual 80 ratchets, at least the ones without the comfort grips. I'd love to complete my collection of mid-length sockets (1/4" 12 point SAE, 6 point of everything, 1/2" chrome SAE, 1/2" impact metric). I'd love a ratcheting screwdriver or six.

But now that I have a kid, I imagine my Snappy buying days are over. It's not like I make money with my tools....

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