From the October 2002 issue of Startups

When Alan Camp decided to go into business for himself, he figured it would be best to stick with what he knew. A former general manager for a small chain of tire stores, Camp looked into selling automotive tools. "I had actually looked at the tool business several times in the past and decided on Matco after reviewing all the major tool companies, " he says.

In 1997, Camp joined Matco, selling tools to mechanics and automotive shops in the Roswell and Alpharetta regions of Georgia. Each day, the 36-year-old franchisee visits about 30 different customers, selling and delivering them new tools or servicing ones they already own. Camp considers these visits to his customers among the highlights of owning a franchise. "I enjoy getting out and talking with people," he says.

The flexibility is also a big plus for Camp, who is the single parent of an 11-year-old son. "It was very important for me to be close to my son," the homebased franchisee says. "That was a major consideration."

In addition to allowing the father and son more time together, the Matco franchise also feeds into one of their favorite hobbies: cars. "My son and I enjoy going to car shows and we have street rod and other projects ongoing," says Camp. "We're always tinkering with something."