The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
Digital Edition
Click Here
Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 17-19, 2017
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Don't Miss It!
In his seminar, "Dispatching, GPS and Mapping Innovations," Todd Althouse of Beacon Software will take a look at how a dispatch office has changed in the last 20 years. He'll review modern tools available to dispatchers, such as GPS locations, PTO activity, computer-assisted dispatch for driver recommendations and much more to improve efficiencies. This Management Conference seminar will take place at the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland–register today!
Translate Language  
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 13 - September 19, 2017

City, State
Waterford, MI
(Pop. 72,166)
Auburn, AL
(Pop. 56,908)
Terre Haute, IN
(Pop. 60,785)
Loveland, CO
(Pop. 72,651)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

What Are You Worth?

Whatsyourworth 56e99By DON ARCHER

A local reporter recently published an article warning motorists to be on the lookout for towing companies who gouge during snow emergencies. She suggested, "If you get stuck, call around for a couple of estimates before committing," and, "Be sure to get a verbal commitment on price before agreeing to allow a tower to do the work."

I responded by emailing her to ask that she consider revising her statements, reasoning that it's very difficult to determine the cost of performing a recovery over the phone as the variables are so many.

I went on to say that when you infuse motorists with the belief that towers are not out there to help, but rather acting in a predatory manner against them, you are creating a problem, not solving one. I suggested that if she really wanted to help motorists and towers alike, she could talk about the differences between a regular tow on a nice day and a winch out of a ditch on a snowy day.

I suggested that instead of enabling their ignorance she could help to span the gap of understanding by explaining that contrary to popular belief, the tires of a tow truck actually do come into contact with the surface of the road and that towers face the same treacherous conditions as other motorists. The difference is we do it over and over, all day long.

The best way to thwart complaints of gouging is to be armed with the truth. Know what you're costs are and charge accordingly.

The problem is many towers don't know all their costs and therefore fail to allow them to be factored into the price of the service. We're too busy chasing dollars and putting out fires that when it comes time to ask for what we're worth---we shoot too low.

Or it could be that we know our costs and know what we should be charging, but when we to turn to the customer to ask for payment, we melt into a puddle. We fear charging what we're really worth because we know there's always a competitor who will do it for less.

I think the second example is most prevalent, but whatever the reason for the problem, knowing your costs can prove beneficial to both the full-price tower and the do-it-for-less competitor.

Gate Runners and Crashers

auto 13981By Randall C. Resch

According to police reports, a mid-afternoon incident happened when a female walked into an open tow yard, got into a car and started to drive away. A lot employee tried to stop her, but was struck as she sped past him. Soon after, fellow employees located him nearby disoriented and dazed.

Police and EMS responded and the employee was taken to the hospital. Police quickly obtained a warrant charging the female with failing to stop after a crash resulting in injury.

This problem's been around forever. Vehicle owners or their caretakers don't like having their vehicle's impounded. When their car is towed by the police or during private-property impound, their right to free movement is taken away. For some people, once their vehicle gets towed away, they start thinking about how can they get their vehicle back without paying.

As a tow company employee, you know that when a car leaves the yard unauthorized, heads are gonna roll. In addition, agencies generally become upset that the tow yard's security was less than acceptable when the car was initially impounded for law enforcement actions.

Companies should have solid, written employee guidelines for scenarios like these to prevent them being injured or killed.

Here is my written policy: "By contract, we are a secured facility. Employees will NOT allow unauthorized persons to enter the Company's facility at any time. When approved customers enter any Company storage facility to conduct vehicle releases or obtain personal property, an employee will escort them to the yard and then back out.

"When Tow Operators return to a Company storage yard to drop-off impounded or towed vehicles, the main gate WILL immediately be closed and locked behind them to prevent potential robbery, un-authrorized removal of impounded vehicles, or physical harm to the Operator. Do not stand in-front of an escaping vehicle or attempt to stop them."

It's also good practice to not leave keys in the ignitions of stored vehicles. However, when a vehicle's owner or caretaker is bent on liberating their vehicles, they may have spare keys with them. For those individuals who lurk in the darkness and then decide to crash through a tow yard's gate or cut the fence with bolt cutters, there's really not too much you can do to stop it.

As mentioned above, companies should have solid policy and procedure that if someone wants to emancipate their car from the tow yard ... let 'em go. By letting them go, vehicle owners will eventually have to defend their ignorant actions down the line. Why get killed over someone trying to drive their car out from the tow yard?

Facilities that have questionable care, custody and control issues may face subsequent disciplinary action that may include removal from a contract. Security begins before things happen. Take a look at your employee guidelines and be sure everyone knows what to do to limit these kinds of unfortunate incidents.

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
Translate Page
Contact Us

WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
© 2017  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.