By Beth Skove, AAP
We recently surveyed our readers of TechShop, Brake & Front End, ImportCar and Underhood Service to find out how they’re spending their working hours, what tools they’ve purchased recently, and what do they plan to purchase in the near future. Of the hundreds of responses we received, I randomly picked 50 surveys. Here are some fast stats and comments from these 50 shop owners.
Average value of their personal tools: $58,553
Translated to the entire readership of TechShop, the average value of shop owners’ personal tools is $6.4 billion. This does not include the average value of their technicians’ personal tools, which could easily be three to four times that number.
Average monthly purchase of personal tools: $272
Again, if we extrapolate that to our 110,000 readers, they are purchasing almost $30 million in personal tools every month.
Most information on new tools comes from: Trade Magazines
Trade Magazines was listed as the number one source for information on new tools. We suspected as much, because magazines have the space to dedicate to detailed information, and people still read and keep magazines for future reference. In a distant second place, Mobile Distributors and Sales Reps tied. Surprisingly, “website” was the least chosen source for information.
On average you purchase 70-80% of your tools from Mobile Distributors. Most respondents in the sample I picked reported no change in the amount of their purchases this year. Though some said their purchases were up, and others said their purchases were down, as a whole, the group reports flat purchases.
Types of new tools and equipment you expect to buy for your shop this year and into 2009: No surprise here, the top three items were hybrid specialty tools, diagnostic tools and OBD II scan tools. Many of you also have plans to buy specialty sockets/wrenches, computer software, specialty hand tools, test equipment, TPMS tools and a flash reprogrammer. You can expect TechShop to continue to report on these tools and others as changes in the marketplace dictate changes to existing tools and the development of new tools.
In addition to Brand, the number one factor that influences your purchasing decision is Quality. Tied for second-place is competitive pricing and warranty. Though “Made in the USA” was the clear-cut fourth-place influencer, it is no longer a primary reason to buy a professional tool. I think these results indicate that you would prefer to buy something made here at home, but the realities of quality imported tools, complete with competitive pricing and warranty, lead you to pick the quality tool at an economic price, regardless of its country of origin.
We asked our survey respondents to share any additional comments regarding tools and equipment. Here’s a sample:
When buying equipment, it’s important to also receive the proper training.
It’s hard to estimate how much I spend on tool purchases. I’m sure my wife would hang me if a total was available!
The cost is making a two-man shop almost impossible to run.
It would be nice to see a tool truck once in a while. If you can get a tool company to stop at your shop! Nowadays, if you don’t buy every week, it’s see you later Charlie!
They’re (tools) too expensive to throw money at junk. Your magazine is a great help as I have purchased a few items after seeing them in your magazine.
Mobile distributor is too lazy to come to my town!!
Inventory your tools, drawer by drawer. Take photos of tools, with current list price of each tool. See if your employer will add your tools to their property insurance. Bought a Snap-on box in 1978 for $500, now worth $1,500.
Tool breakage happens and equipment needs to be replaced right away. Mobile tool vendors come into play here instead of mail order programs.
Times change, so do tools.
I like that last comment times change, so do tools. I hope you feel that TechShop is keeping up with the changes in our industry. We strive to bring you information on the most current tools being used today, so that you can work on the problems we face in the repair shop today not four or five years down the road.
Though these numbers and statistics represent just 50 of the hundreds of surveys we received, they are fairly representative results of the overall survey. We will have much more in-depth analysis and completely documented results posted on the TechShop website. We will also have them on our blog, so be sure to check in and comment!
Times change, so does TechShop.