“By far, the best thing about being a Snap-on franchisee is getting the best of both worlds. You’re a business owner, so you can work to your own schedule but you’ve also got the support if you need it. I really appreciate being part of something bigger and being able to provide for my wife and our two daughters. Joining the Snap-on network just made sense for me and my family.”
31-year-old Ben Baker always wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps as a self-employed business owner. For over 15 years, he watched as his dad, whilst working incredibly hard, was able to pick and choose his hours and control his own future – which now includes being semi-retired to a dream home in France. Influenced by his dad’s success and encouraged to build a business of his own, Ben opted to become a franchisee with Snap-on; and he hasn’t looked back since.
“Before joining Snap-on, I’d always been in the mechanics trade, in one way or another. Straight out of school, I did an apprenticeship in a vehicle body repair shop then spent eight years as a panel beater. I enjoyed the work but I never felt particularly challenged – even when I took on a role as Deputy Manager in a body shop. Seeing how successful my dad was always made me want to do something for myself, I just didn’t know what or how I could do it to be honest.
“Through my years in the trade, I’d always been aware of Snap-on, I knew the brand and I loved the brand. But as a customer and not as anything else. One day, I got speaking to the local Snap-on man about franchising opportunities and he couldn’t recommend Snap-on enough – so I decided to look into becoming a franchisee.”
After that initial conversation with his local franchisee, Ben contacted Snap-on and started his journey of discovery! Snap-on pride themselves on being open and transparent so learning about the franchise opportunity doesn’t just involve researching online and talking to the head office team. Just like all prospective franchisees, Ben went on three all-day van rides with existing franchisees to experience exactly what being a franchisee is really like!
Confident that he was making the right decision, the next thing on Ben’s list was to explore finance options. Snap-on are one of the only franchisors in the UK able to help our franchisees to fund the purchase of the business. They do this through their in-house bank, Snap-on Finance. This fully regulated finance house eliminates the need for the High-Street banks. And after all, who better to invest in your franchise with you than your franchisor?
“I knew the investment was well worth it – I didn’t feel like I was taking a risk at all. I was invested in the business model and I’d paid Snap-on back in less than a year. I wasn’t shocked that I managed to pay them back so quickly. You’re given all the tools to succeed. Snap-on teach you everything.”
Training starts with a trip to Snap-on’s UK head office in Kettering. New franchisees meet the staff who will support them on a daily basis and collect their very own custom-built mobile store as they are welcomed into the Snap-on family! Afterwards, new recruits jet off for a week of classroom-style training in Dallas in the US. Once back home, training continues with a full week of on-van support out in the field. New franchisees are paired with a dedicated franchise developer for the first 12 months who spends another 12 days on the road offering one-to-one support within the first five weeks.
“I got so much out of the training – to say I enjoyed it would be an understatement! It was out of this world. The training team were so passionate, it was hard not to feel excited. Snap-on are genuinely so enthusiastic about the training and the way it was delivered meant I took it all in without feeling pressured in any way. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot to learn, but it’s an enjoyable experience.”
Back in the UK and ready to hit the ground running, Ben quickly built great relationships with regular customers in his territory of Spalding and Wisbech, Lincolnshire. Despite only joining the network a little over two years ago in 2015, Ben’s hard work and passion for his business have seen him excel! Within his first year as a franchisee, his phenomenal product sales saw him finish in the top 40 in the UK and in the top 100 worldwide.
“The benefits of being a Snap-on franchisee are endless. Provided you’re prepared to work hard then you’re in a position to earn good money and, potentially, you’ve got a role for life. Eventually, I’m hoping to go into management with Snap-on. I’m keen to explore other parts of the business and step into different roles for the company. The sky’s the limit! I’ve been in management before and, although I enjoy spending time on the road, with customers, I miss the responsibility of developing a team. I see myself going far with Snap-on.”
When Ben isn’t on the road, he’s home with his family. Married to high school sweetheart, Victoria, the couple now have two young daughters. Being a dad to a four-year-old and a one-year-old keeps Ben very busy but there’s one hobby he always finds time for – watching the Formula 1!
“I’m really into my motorsport – I watch that as much as I can. Spending time with my girls is the aim of the game though. I work hard all week so that I can prioritise them as much as possible in my down time. As a franchisee, I fit my weekly routine around my family. Family always comes first and Snap-on allows me to prioritise them.”
Ben is so passionate about staying with Snap-on, that he can’t help but sing Snap-on’s praises – to anyone that will listen!