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matco franchise failure rate

Matco Franchise Review: Matco Franchise Failure Rate


Ever dreamed of owning your own business? The potential is huge with Matco Tools, but so is the risk. High investment, high sales pressure… is it the right path for you?

In this article, we’re breaking down the numbers – Matco’s average sales, that hefty upfront cost, and what it takes to actually turn a profit.

I’m not just talking hypotheticals; I’ve analyzed the data and spoken to real Matco franchisees, both those who hit it big and those who failed.

So, here’s the basics of the Matco model: you’re on the road as a mobile distributor, selling premium quality tools directly to mechanics and automotive shops.

Matco has a respected name in the industry, but name recognition alone won’t pay your bills.

Your target customers are busy shops, technicians who rely on their tools every day, and those willing to invest in quality and convenience.

However, this isn’t a get-rich-quick scheme. Matco franchisees work hard, put in long hours, and face competition from other mobile tool sellers.

Costs, Investment, and the Failure Rate Connection

Matco Tools Franchise Costs $195K

  • High Investment: Starting a Matco Tools franchise requires an average investment of around $195,000. However, note this cost can vary.
  • Franchise Fee: The initial franchise fee is $8,000 (or $5,600 for specific 225 distributors.
  • Major Costs: The bulk of your investment goes toward the mobile store (your truck) and the initial tool inventory.
  • Ongoing Expenses: Don’t forget to budget for fuel, insurance, marketing, and other ongoing business costs.
  • Financing: The article mentions the possibility of financing your franchise, but doesn’t go into specific options.
  • Potential Earnings: While Matco Tools can be profitable, the emphasis is on the substantial investment, implying that success requires strong sales and financial management to make it worthwhile.

Matco Franchise Earning Potential

What Matco Says About Earnings

  • Averages, Not Guarantees: Matco provides income figures divided into top 1/3, middle 1/3, and bottom 1/3 of distributors. These are not guaranteed earnings, and many factors influence your income potential.
  • Gross Earnings: Matco stresses that the figures represent gross earnings, meaning before business expenses are deducted. Your actual take-home pay will be lower.
  • High Variance: There’s a significant difference in potential earnings between the top and bottom performers. This highlights a need for exceptional salesmanship to reach the higher income levels.

Factors Affecting Your Earning Potential

  • Sales Skills: The ability to build relationships and consistently close sales is paramount to maximizing income with the Matco Tools franchise model.
  • Route Density: A route with many potential customers in a concentrated area can increase your chances of generating more sales.
  • Competition: Facing heavy competition from other mobile tool distributors can limit your income potential.
  • Work Ethic: Long hours, dedication to customer service, and a willingness to go the extra mile are implied to be key factors for successful franchisees.

Caveats to Consider

  • Franchise Costs: While the page focuses on income, don’t forget the substantial initial investment and ongoing expenses associated with a Matco franchise.
  • Personal Fit: Even if the earnings potential is attractive, you’ll struggle if you lack sales ability, don’t enjoy interacting with mechanics, or dislike the demanding nature of the work.

Matco Average Sales ($491K) vs. Cost ($77K-$313K)

  • Average Sales: The article reports that Matco franchisees average $491,000 in annual gross sales.
  • Investment Range: The upfront investment to start a Matco franchise is estimated to be between $77,000 and $313,000, with most falling around $150,000.

What These Numbers Mean

  • Gross vs Net: Remember, $491K is gross sales. Expenses like truck payments, inventory, gas, etc., eat into profits. The article doesn’t provide net income estimates, which are more relevant when assessing profitability.
  • Wide Investment Range: The high-end investment figure suggests some franchisees opt for larger trucks, extensive initial inventory, or perhaps pay more in their territory. This decision impacts potential returns.
  • Sales Skill is Key: To recoup a significant investment AND make a good living, strong sales volume is crucial. Those who don’t excel at selling likely earn far less than the average.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Matco Franchise


  • Potential for High Sales: The average gross sales figure of $491K suggests that with a well-managed route and strong sales skills, significant income is possible.
  • Brand Recognition: Matco is an established brand in the automotive tool industry, lending credibility to your business.
  • Control Over Your Business: As a franchisee, you’ll have a degree of independence in managing your route and schedule.


  • High Initial Investment: The cost range of $77K – $313K creates a substantial financial barrier to entry.
  • Sales-Dependent Success: High sales figures are necessary to justify the investment and achieve strong profits. Those who struggle with salesmanship will likely see disappointing results.
  • Gross vs. Net Income: The emphasis on gross sales is misleading. Real profitability depends heavily on managing your business expenses.
  • Lack of Profitability Data: The article provides no insight into typical net income (profit), which is a major missing piece for investors assessing the franchise.

The Matco Tools franchise offers potential for high earnings but carries significant financial risk. Success depends heavily on your individual sales ability and your capacity to manage business expenses effectively.

The Ideal Matco Franchisee

  • It’s ALL About Sales: Let’s be blunt: if you don’t love selling, this isn’t for you. Matco thrives on building relationships, yes, but also on consistently closing deals and overcoming objections.
  • Personality Matters: The best Matco franchisees are outgoing, resilient, and thrive in a competitive environment. Handling rejection and staying motivated day after day is crucial.
  • Beyond Mechanics: It helps if you have a genuine interest in the automotive field, but prior mechanical experience isn’t essential. Far more important is understanding the mindset of your customers.
  • Financial Savvy: You’ll be carrying debt, likely significant debt, at least initially. Comfort managing cash flow, understanding profit margins, and meticulous budgeting are non-negotiable.

Red Flags

  • If the Idea Sounds Good..: “Simply liking the idea of owning a business isn’t enough. The Matco franchise model demands a specific skill set and personality type.”
  • Shrinking Violets: If you struggle with approaching strangers, asking for the sale, or negotiating prices, you’ll have a tough time reaching those high sales figures.
  • Debt Averse: Taking on the Matco investment means taking on risk. If the thought of owing money makes you break out in hives, reconsider this path.

Who Thrives?

  • Proven sales experience is vital since Matco heavily relies on your ability to consistently close deals and generate revenue.
  • Passion for automotive work translates to understanding customer needs, providing expert advice, and building long-term relationships.
  • Resilience is key because building a successful route takes time, and you’ll need to overcome setbacks and stay focused.
  • Self-motivation drives success in this franchise model where you set your own schedule and must hold yourself accountable.

Red Flags:

  • Jumping in solely because the idea of business ownership appeals can be risky; assess if you possess the specific skills and work ethic Matco demands.
  • Disliking interactions with customers will severely hinder your ability to build relationships and drive sales.
  • Rejection is inevitable in sales; strong Matco franchisees take it in stride and focus on securing those “yes” moments.
  • A crippling aversion to debt can make it difficult to make the necessary investments to grow and maintain your Matco franchise.

Due Diligence: Avoiding the Failure Rate with Matco Tools

Dig Deep into the FDD Document

  • Item 19: This section of the Matco Tools Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD) details financial performance.
  • Look for data beyond averages. Focus on the range of sales figures and the number of franchise closures or reacquisitions by Matco.
  • This reveals the risk of underperforming.

Analyze & Consult

  • Don’t just accept numbers at face value. Analyze the range of sales figures.
  • How many franchisees significantly underperform the average?
  • Consider hiring a franchise attorney or advisor to navigate the complex FDD and interpret this data effectively.

Seek Unfiltered Views

  • Talking to current Matco franchisees is valuable, but expand your reach.
  • Former franchisees, both successful and struggling, offer the most candid insights.
  • Network with industry professionals or online forums (use caution!) to locate them.

Focus on Your Market

  • National averages are irrelevant. Research your specific territory.
  • How many mechanics are there? How strong is the competition? Is the market saturated, or is there room for growth?
  • Success hinges heavily on your local market dynamics.

Additional Considerations

  • Financial Buffer: Even with planning, unexpected costs arise.
  • Have a strong financial cushion to handle slow periods or major repairs. Operating on a tight budget increases pressure and risk.
  • Honest Self-Assessment: Revisit the “Ideal Matco Franchisee” profile outlined earlier.
  • Do your skills, personality, and financial situation truly align with the demands of this franchise model?
  • Be brutally honest to avoid a costly investment mismatch.
  • The Bottom Line: The considerable Matco Tools franchise failure rate serves as a serious warning.
  • While there’s potential for high earnings, success depends heavily on individual salesmanship, work ethic, and financial savviness within a high-investment model.
  • It’s Not for Everyone: Matco’s brand support and premium products offer advantages, but they won’t guarantee success.
  • An honest self-assessment of your skills and risk tolerance is crucial before taking the financial plunge.
  • Take Ownership of Your Decision: Meticulous research and a deep understanding of both the potential rewards AND the risks are non-negotiable.
  • Consult with franchise experts and seek insights from former Matco franchisees to make a fully informed choice.
  • Final Thought: Owning your own business is a dream for many, but is a Matco Tools franchise the best path for YOU?
  • Weigh the costs, potential benefits, and your personal fit with this demanding model to confidently answer that question.

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