How well you do in the towing business depends entirely on your ability to deal with adversity. For example, handling unreasonable motor club customers is always a challenge. It takes the ability to think on your feet and adjust your approach when expectations are high and the motorist isn’t the one paying the bill.

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, but you’ll also 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 will remind you of all the mistakes you made, and, inevitably, fear will creep in, causing you great anxiety.

But if you are able to stave fear off and put enough money away for a new truck, you might have the right stuff to be able to hire some help (employer).  Then you’ll be in a 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 consider.

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 concerned for their safety. Will a texting trucker hit one of your drivers? Will a tow truck operator drop a car on his leg, arm, or head?  All valid concerns…

And what about your towing 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 new endeavor doesn’t include a 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…So 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?  They were 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, and if you aren’t experiencing fear, you aren’t stretching yourself enough.