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?
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Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 17-19, 2017
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
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May 9-11, 2018
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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!
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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.

Getting Your Business Under Control

RatesTrade c7d08By Don Archer

After being involved in an accident, motorists respond in many different ways. Some scream, some pray, and some hold it in until later. It's hard to be an optimist when you're spinning out of control and blinded by the explosion of an inflated airbag that just won't die. Then, after comes and you're still alive and finally alone, and the tears roll—not for fear or sadness, but because you had no control over your world.

Running your own business can feel much the same way. Some days you're running cash call after cash call, doubling the dollars needed to break even for the day. Others have you figuratively scrambling through your desk drawer, revolver in hand, looking for that single bullet that will finally put an end to the madness.

The illusive search for control drives you crazy as you attempt to find meaning in it all. It's all out of whack. You either have too many drivers and not enough calls or way too many calls and not enough drivers.

When the job of projecting costs and revenue is like tossing darts blindfolded, you start to think that the problem lies in not enough business. But marketing your services to get more business is just asking for trouble.

You're held back by the fear that if you actually attempt to get more customers, the phone will begin to ring right about the time you're swamped.

When you've got multiple drivers out of town, you've called the last on-call driver in and you're seriously thinking about asking your son-in-law to hop in a truck, someone responding to your newest marketing material will call. Who needs it?

So like most towing companies, instead of chancing the trouble of new business, you only spend money on truck signage, business cards and Yellow Page ads, because that's what everybody else does. But in so doing, you end up back in the same predicament as before—becoming frustrated when you're bleeding cash and elated when you can't possibly keep up. So what's the answer?

It's obvious really. You must market your services through numerous media to gain a steady stream of customers who you couldn't possibly get to during your busiest times. I know it sounds horrible, but what else are you to do? The alternative is to stay the course and still have customers you can't get to. And that course is going to drive you crazier and crazier as the years go by.

Once you've gotten past that hurdle and realize that you're not too busy to market your company, life becomes easier. You'll still have slow days that are relentless, but they'll be better handled because your busy days will more than make up the difference.

(Ed. Note: This article originally appeared in the June 12, 2013 edition of Tow Industry Week)

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at

When Lightning Strikes

e fb94dBy Randall C. Resch

Have you ever heard the safety phrase, "When thunder roars, go indoors?" It's a catchy ditty, but unfortunately we towmen respond to calls 24/7 regardless of weather or time of day.

Electrical shock ain't no laughing matter. Lightning—one of Mother Nature's extreme weather conditions—is capable of great bodily injury and death; strikes occur everywhere and oftentimes without notice.

Much of our work demands that we work outdoors during heavy rain and hailstorms, so there's a good chance that we'll have to face a lightning bolt that's moving faster than the speed of sound.

The Great Killer

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, lightning strike fatalities are the second greatest storm killer in the United States (flooding being No. 1). In extreme weather, it's recommended that you listen to local weather stations to know what is headed your way; especially where tornadoes are prevalent.

Weather changes quickly, and the best prevention is to be prepared. When storms start to roll in, stop the activity and take cover until the thunder, downpour, or hail stops.

There's not much known about the exact moment when or if lightning will strike; however, there are a few safety considerations to consider. Your life may depend on how you react to severe storms and lightning activity.

NOAA recommends that if you hear loud and close thunder, retreat to a safe, enclosed and heavily constructed location such as a house, school, store or offices. If a structure isn't close, the second safest location would be to climb into your tow truck or wrecker, keeping the windows up and doors closed.

If a lightning strike is probable, stay in the safe location for 30 minutes or more after hearing the last clap of thunder. Lightning tends to linger, so keep in mind that another strike may be forthcoming.

Avoid locations and activities that invite the most risk, such as elevated places and tall isolated objects. Don't retreat under trees to try and keep dry, stay low, and refrain from working water recoveries or standing in pooling water. Do not carry metal objects, even with gloved hands, including holding winch cables.

Although nearly impossible for the kind of work we do, try to keep dry; a full-sized rain suit will not protect you in a lightning strike.

When calls for service take you into the great outdoors, be smart when the presence of lightning is dangerously close and find that safe zone to ride out the storm. If you've got any doubt that lightning still lingers, stay safe inside and wait it out.

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.
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