How well you do in the towing business depends entirely on your ability to deal with adversity.

The second definition in Webster’s Dictionary says that adversity is a “calamitous event” and every day as a tow truck employee, owner or employer, is filled to the rim with calamity.  From changing a tire in traffic that won’t get over, recovering a rolled over tractor-trailer to dealing with irate customers and unscrupulous motor clubs, the towing business is rarely boring.

  • You may be working for someone else as an employee, selling your time, which they sell at a higher rate to the end-user.
  • You may have your own one truck business and sell directly to the end-user cutting out the employer.
  • Or you may be the employer and purchase time from employees selling their labor to the end-user.

Whatever position you’re in you’ll deal with adversity and fear on a daily basis.

To be a tow truck operator (employee) you must be aware of everything happening around you and anticipate the worst.  I know it sounds horrible but if you don’t expect the driver of the 24 foot F-650 box, truck that’s speeding your way at 80 miles per hour, to be texting while you’re attempting to loosen a lug nut in interstate traffic- you’re going to be road kill. This type of awareness and understanding of what could happen at any given moment can cause you to become somewhat paranoid and pessimistic but don’t let that bother you you’ve got more things to worry about.

Especially if you decide to go into business for yourself (one truck business).  As a one truck owner-operator you’ll reminisce about the good old days as a tow truck driver, with fondness; because your responsibilities as an owner will have increased 10 fold.  Not only will you need to worry about wayward texters, you’ll now be saddled with the bills.  Ahh the joys of entrepreneurship.  Every month you’ll need to bring in enough cash to cover the fuel, the repairs, the insurance, and advertising; not to mention something left over to live on and put away for that new truck. And if the phones don’t ring that month your gut might tighten, your brain might placing in the forefront all of the mistakes you made, and fear will creep in causing you great anxiety.

But if you are able to stave fear off, and are able to put enough away for a new truck you might have the right stuff to be able to hire some help (employer).  Then you’ll be in the position to gain more business.  A one-guy-one-truck operation can only do one call at a time and most customers want it now.  But be careful when you get in that position. When you hire help it becomes a whole new ball of worms.  Not only will you need to be concerned about yourself and the bills but you’ll also have employees to think about.

You’ll drive yourself crazy wondering if your employees are doing right by your customers: Are they treating them right? Are they handling their car properly?  Are they trashing your tow truck?  Will they do damage to the customer’s car?  Will they damage my truck?  Are they courteous drivers as they flash your name in public?

You’ll be equally as fearful of their safety. Will a texting trucker hit on of your drivers? Will a driver drop a car on his leg, arm, head?  All valid concerns…

And what about your rates? You’ve got to charge more than you did when it was just you. Did you take into consideration the taxes and insurance that must be withheld and remitted regularly for these employees?  Do your rates cover all additional expenses and allow you to continue to save for that new truck?  They should or you’ll be a flash in the pan.

Sounds daunting, doesn’t it?

Yes it can be overwhelming but what isn’t the first time out?  The first time you drove a car, the first time you kissed a girl, the first time you shot a gun- all had learning curves, some more than others. The point is fear of the unknown didn’t stop you.  You were undoubtedly apprehensive and cautious, which are natural protective measures designed to prevent us humans from screwing up. But you were able to overcome all these things…this too will pass.

Think about the old guys you know and respect who own towing companies.  Can you picture them at 20 years old?  Probably geeky awkward kids with no direction trying to get a handle on anything and towing just stuck. Do you think they were scared when they started out on their own? Of course they were; fear is natural, if you aren’t experiencing fear you aren’t stretching yourself enough.