Did you know that when elephants are trained, they use the same size rope for baby elephants as they do for adults?

It’s true.

When they begin training, they place a relatively small rope around the foot of a baby elephant. And the other end is attached to a stake pounded into the ground.

Now, baby elephants are way too small to break free from the rope. But adult elephants can easily pull the stake up and get free.

But they don’t.

It’s because, as the elephants grow up, there’s this constant reinforcement that the rope is much stronger than they are.

Due to their conditioning, they believe the rope can’t be broken.

So they don’t even try to fight it.

In the book What Should We Do, author Joe Crisara uses this story to explain how we are conditioned to accept certain habits and beliefs.

Like, when it comes to pricing our services.

He was selling HVAC services, but the analogy applies to towing as well.

In the book, he tells the story of a woman named Mary who wanted a new HVAC unit for her home. Mary wanted peace of mind, knowing that she wouldn’t have to worry about it for years to come.

Now, she didn’t come right out and say these things to Joe. But since he was only hearing her concerns through his “Low-Price Lens,” he lost her as a customer.

You see, Joe thought he was doing Mary a favor when he offered to install a Demo model in her home for only $1800.

But he lost the sale because what she really wanted and eventually went with was a new $9000 unit with all the bells and whistles and an extended service contract.

Many of us were tow truck operators before becoming business owners. And we were trained that in order to compete, our rates must be in line with those of other towing companies.

But, as is human nature, the desire for more business causes some tow company owners to lower their rates, thinking that volume is the key to winning.

When in reality, it’s the profitability of each call that matters.

Higher profitability allows you to pay your people better, keep your trucks newer and in top working order, and provide better customer service.

But there’s even more to it than that.

Think about this.

If you’re getting $45 a call running for Agero and you can do ten calls in a day—before expenses—you’re making $450.

Of course, your expenses might amount to half of what you brought in.

What if you could run half as many calls and bring in just as much if not more, money?

Say you run five calls per day at $130 per call. That’s $650 before expenses. Fewer calls can decrease fuel consumption and wear and tear on your truck, so your expenses will decrease right out of the gate.

First off, if you’re doubtful that people are willing to pay $130 for your services, think again. Some of these motor-club-adjacent companies are charging two and three times that amount, and people are paying it.

They’re then sending these calls out to people like you and paying $85.

You see, just like Mary from the HVAC story, towing customers want reassurance that all their problems will be solved. It’s not just about the money.

Towing customers want a quick response from an experienced and knowledgeable technician who will provide options and offer guidance on the best course of action.

Unfortunately, most of the time, we assume we already know what they want. So we don’t listen and, therefore, aren’t proactive enough to offer them options.

But if you open your mind for just a minute and consider an alternative approach, I’ll give you an example of how to use options in your business.


Larry, a tow truck operator in Dallas, was called one morning to provide a jumpstart at a residence. He answered the phone and quickly learned that the woman was in a hurry because she had to get to work on time.

She explained that her husband had jumped her battery a couple of times in the last week.

But he was now out of town.

And she couldn’t be late again.

Larry arrived quickly and assured the woman that he could help.

He popped the hood, and the first thing he noticed was corrosion on the battery.

Then he saw that the battery was more than five years old.

So Larry approached the woman and said, “Okay, here’s what I found. Your battery has a lot of corrosion, and it’s very old.”

“The normal life of a car battery is only around three years. Your battery is more than five years old.”

“I can try to jump-start the battery, but my concern is that it may be so weak that it won’t get you all the way to work.”

“Plus, the time it might take to get your car going again could cause you to be late to work.”

“My other concern is that there may be other things going on with your car. It might not just be your battery that’s the problem.”

“Here are some options for you to consider.”

[Option 1] “I can give you a ride to work and tow your car to a repair shop of your choice. If you don’t know where to take your vehicle, I can suggest a couple of reputable repair shops nearby. Then, once the shop has contacted you and the needed repairs are complete, I can bring your vehicle to your office. This will ensure that it’s fixed for good, you won’t have to bother your husband for a jump, and you won’t be late for work again.” The fee for this is $220 (Of course, the fee will be based on the distance traveled)

[Option 2] “I can give you a ride to work and tow your car to a repair shop of your choice. And you can then get a ride to the repair shop and pick up your vehicle.” The fee for this is $140

[Option 3] “I can attempt to jumpstart your battery, and hopefully, the car makes it with no problems. The other issue I foresee is that your battery may again be dead when you get off work.” The fee for this is $85

After providing the woman with these options, Larry asked, “What do you want to do?”

She chose option 2.


Now, if you’ve still got the rope around your foot, you might look at this scenario skeptically.

You might think, “All the woman wanted was a jumpstart…so jumpstart her car and move on!”


“Nobody’s going to pay that much for my services.”

As mentioned, many of us think that way because we’ve been conditioned by past experiences. We’ve come to expect specific outcomes because we never considered providing options.

Think about this, though.

What if, before Larry arrived, the woman was struggling with how she was going to get her car fixed–with her husband out of town?

And Larry’s options were like music to her ears.

Besides, a jumpstart might have only got her halfway to work, leaving her stranded on the road. Is that providing noteworthy service?

Providing options in this manner does a couple of things. First it lets the customer know that you care about them and want to provide the best solution possible.

Second, you’re not giving them a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all solution. These are customized solutions specific to their problem.

Lastly, when you’ve gone above and beyond, and the customer has received top-tier service, there’s a good chance she’ll tell her friends about you, leave you a review, and use you again next time.

Consider how you might incorporate “options” in various scenarios.

What if you were called to change a flat tire but, upon arrival, noticed that the spare was a donut and the other three tires were shot?

In this situation, ask yourself, “How can I best serve this person?”

Is getting them back on the interstate really in their best interest?

There are thousands of ways you can employ this type of service oriented thinking if you just take the rope off your foot and get to work.

Of course, to multiply your opportunities and have the ability to implement these strategies, you need a steady stream of jobs, right?

Well, that’s where we come in.

Schedule a call to discuss what we can do for your towing business.

Don Archer


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