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Snap-on


chrisd

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Can someone explain the Snap-on phenomenon? I have often wondered about it, and can't figure it out.

 

A set of 13 Snap-on 1/4" metric sockets, two extensions, a universal and a ratchet goes for $361.35 on the Snap-on store site.

 

A set of 17 Craftsman 1/4" metric sockets, two extensions, a nut driver and a ratchet goes for $67.50.

 

I worked as a civilian machinist maintaining Navy submarines for 20 years using Craftsman tools I bought, and I can't understand how I could possibly have done a better job using tools that cost 5-6 times as much. And I can't remember returning a Craftsman tool for a replacement during that time.

 

How does Snap-on pull this off? It's remarkable, and people are obviously paying their prices.

 

Anyone?

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The truck visits shops and mechanics on a regular basis.

The dealer offers tools and boxes on credit.

The company has (or used to have) good quality tools which are backed by the local dealer.

The tools cost much more than other brands.

Status more than anything else drives the product.

Some mechanics use MAC or Craftsman.

 

I personally like their combination wrenches and how they feel in my hand.

 

MB>

 

 

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I can understand that you like their combination wrenches.

 

But imagine that Snap-on did not exist, and you wanted to compete with Craftsman in the hand tool arena.

 

How do you sell investors on the notion that although you cannot demonstrate that your tools are "better", you will sell them for 5-6 times the price of Craftsman tools?

 

Basically, how do you sell snake oil in the modern, wired, era?

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I can understand that you like their combination wrenches.

 

But imagine that Snap-on did not exist, and you wanted to compete with Craftsman in the hand tool arena.

 

How do you sell investors on the notion that although you cannot demonstrate that your tools are "better", you will sell them for 5-6 times the price of Craftsman tools?

 

Basically, how do you sell snake oil in the modern, wired, era?

 

I lifted the following from CBC radio's series on advertising Under the Influence : :

 

"When people were surveyed right after the VW diesel scandal was first revealed, they were asked what words came to mind when they thought of Volkswagen. They replied, "German, Beetle, Bug, reliable, dependable, small and affordable."

 

That was very telling, because all of those adjectives were hangovers from the Volkswagen advertising of the 1960s. That campaign was so powerful, it has survived in people's minds to this day, and can still be accessed in the heat of a scandal.

 

Those residual memories may be VWs only hope."

 

VW's success was built largely on clever advertising. While my example is not a direct apples to apples comparison with Snap On vs. Craftsman Tools that you raise here there is a comparison to be made. When you see a mechanic using a set of tools marketed directly to professionals and another mechanic using a set of tools marketed through a home catalogue I suggest that there is a credibility effect, rightly or wrongly, called into play. As you have experienced, your Craftsman tools have been every bit as dependable as Snap On tools and at considerably less cost. You didn't get caught up in the subtle way in which Snap On markets their products.

 

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Craftsman doesn't have the tools as the Tool Truck Company. Some Craftsman tools won't fit due to size that tools is made but the Tool Truck Company will. Tool Truck Company is 99% more for the professional.

 

Don

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Dennis Andress

I found Snap-On tools to be made to a tighter tolerance. Sockets and wrenches fit the fastener tighter resulting in less damage.

 

HINT: When in need of a big socket, Snap-On impact sockets cost about 1/3 of their chromed stuff.

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Dave_zoom_zoom
Can someone explain the Snap-on phenomenon? I have often wondered about it, and can't figure it out.

 

A set of 13 Snap-on 1/4" metric sockets, two extensions, a universal and a ratchet goes for $361.35 on the Snap-on store site.

 

A set of 17 Craftsman 1/4" metric sockets, two extensions, a nut driver and a ratchet goes for $67.50.

 

I worked as a civilian machinist maintaining Navy submarines for 20 years using Craftsman tools I bought, and I can't understand how I could possibly have done a better job using tools that cost 5-6 times as much. And I can't remember returning a Craftsman tool for a replacement during that time.

 

How does Snap-on pull this off? It's remarkable, and people are obviously paying their prices.

 

Anyone?

 

 

 

 

I can't speak to the snap-on phenomenon. However I can tell you without any doubt that the quality of Craftsman has absolutely gone DOWN over the years.

 

Dave

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Snap-On is good stuff. More sizes, more special tools and

an excellent selection of diagnostics.

The original patented "flank drive" that had sockets and wrenches

putting pressure on the flank of a nut or bolt not the corners.

Now days other companies have their version of that.

There are a lot of good tool companies out there and Snap-On

isn't always needed to get the job done but .....

 

The convenience of weekly dealer visits and service is the

difference . Yes it cost more but the company always has featured

product specials with 20 to 30% off of list.

The deals are not on the web site, you need to find a dealer's

truck. Many times the company runs BOGO's with silly low

pricing. Deals such as buy a set of metric 3/8 sockets deep and short get a free set of /14" drive sockets and so on.

If a tech watches the specials his total out of pocket is

much less.

In the truck and heavy equipment field Snap-On excels.

 

"When the going gets tough the tough get Snap-on".

 

How do I know???? 25 years as a top dealer in the Midwest region.

As I used to tell my customers "if you didn't buy your tools from

me we both lost money"!!!

 

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There is a related question in the current BMWON asked to and answered by Lee Parks in his column. It's not specifically asking "why is Snap-on more" or "how do they get people to pay," but it does address the cost difference among tool brands and within brands.

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Way back in the 80's my house burned to the ground with almost everything I owned in it. I had no insurance. My Snap-on dealer contacted me after the fire and replaced all of my Snap On tools free of charge. Nuf said.

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To MB's point, my sister, an Architect, asked me years ago, "what's the big deal with Snap-on?"

I walked to my tool box and handed her a Craftsman 3/4" combo wrench, which she was very familiar with from years on construction projects.

Then I handed her the same wrench in a Snap on.

She instantly got it.

They just make you feel better when you are using them.

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They just make you feel better when you are using them.

 

I don't have a lot of tools - certainly by standards here, but I guess that's relative - and none of them are fancy and certainly none are Snap-on or similar.

 

That said, I have maybe four 3/8" ratchets. There is one cheapy that's just still there because, well, I don't know why - I almost never use it. The other three all work well - I couldn't tell you which is "better" from a pure function standpoint - but there is absolutely no doubt which is my favorite. Exactly like you said, it just feels better using it, and it makes me feel better about what I'm doing.

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Dave McReynolds

I have a theory, just supported by my own experiences with things, that when a product gets a reputation as being a premium product, people are willing to pay more than the cost differential between the premium product and the non-premium product. For example, my guess would be that the price difference between Snap-On and Craftsman is greater than the manufacturing cost difference between the two. The same could be said about the difference between the price of BMW motorcycles, Airstream trailers, Rolex watches, certain brands of wine and scotch and cigars, and the non premium brands. I think people generally know this, and don't feel ripped off by paying a premium price for a premium product. They would feel ripped off if they paid a higher price for a premium product if the same premium product were being sold for a lower price down the block, but not compared with some non premium product that might do the same job. So I guess it's worth it, if you can achieve that premium status.

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I've accumulated quite a few Craftsman tools over the years and I agree with the sentiment that the quality seems to have dipped lately. OTOH, I've put a few Craftsman tools through stresses that they weren't intended to endure. Sears happily replaced them without any question. My knuckles had to heal on their own.

 

That said I've got a set of Snap On Allen wrenches that seem to fit fasteners much better than the Craftsman wrenches. Otherwise Craftsman have done the job quite well.

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I found a craftsman crescent wrench on the beach a long time ago. Covered in seawater and rust, you could just barely make out where it said "craftsman". Took it to sears, got a shiny new one. :-)

 

OTOH, I brought in a ratchet that I bought, and the lady did her best to get me to take home a not-so-similar, used, "refurbished" ratchet from the drawer under the cash register. Not surprised, considering the only things in the parking lot were tumbleweeds.... But I insisted on the correct unit, and left satisfied, if a little irritated.

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OTOH, I brought in a ratchet that I bought, and the lady did her best to get me to take home a not-so-similar, used, "refurbished" ratchet from the drawer under the cash register. Not surprised, considering the only things in the parking lot were tumbleweeds.... But I insisted on the correct unit, and left satisfied, if a little irritated.

 

I've had similar experiences with Sears Craftsman tools, whose quality has dropped drastically over the years. The clerks invariably offer replacements of lower quality. A 1/4" refurbished ratchet felt like it was lubed with sand, sockets have much thicker walls, a Philips screwdriver had a tip apparently made of dried cheese. One straight screwdriver offered as a replacement did not even have the Craftsman name.

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I guess Sears has changed. I worked at a Sears store for a while when i was in college, in the hardware dept. Our orders were that if we could see 'Craftsman' on it, replace it with a new one, no questions asked. We got a lot of really abused tools but everyone left with a new one.

 

It was a good place to work back then (70's). Too bad it's in such bad shape these days.

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I guess Sears has changed. I worked at a Sears store for a while when i was in college, in the hardware dept. Our orders were that if we could see 'Craftsman' on it, replace it with a new one, no questions asked. We got a lot of really abused tools but everyone left with a new one.

 

It was a good place to work back then (70's). Too bad it's in such bad shape these days.

 

In the last eight years, I've broken two Craftsman hand tools - 1/2" breaker bar and a 3/8 drive socket - both were replaced no questions asked, so in my experience that part still works. I can't speak to the quality from back in the day as I'm a youngin around here (be 40 later this year) and have only started building a quality tool kit in the last ten years. I will say that I have built a good bit of it with USA made Craftsman tools - they are often on sale for what the foreign Craftsman tools are, they feel good to work with, and - as above - I've only killed two things so far. :)

 

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I guess Sears has changed. I worked at a Sears store for a while when i was in college, in the hardware dept. Our orders were that if we could see 'Craftsman' on it, replace it with a new one, no questions asked. We got a lot of really abused tools but everyone left with a new one.

 

It was a good place to work back then (70's). Too bad it's in such bad shape these days.

 

Sounds like you were working at sears at the same time I was first getting the hang of breaking fixing things with Craftsman tools.

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Back when I was wrenching a lot, all of my tools were Craftsman. After a full day of using them, my hands ached. I thought that was just par for the course. Then I spent a full day at my friend's shop, using his Snap On tools. NO ACHE. I think that the smoother finish of the tools was easier on my hands. I started replacing my Craftsman tools with Snap On, and now I'm at about 85% Snap On. Almost all of the tools that I use frequently have been replaced. Just a few of the least used ones are still Craftsman.

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