Retaining Tow Truck Operators Through the Seasons.

As snow begins to cover roads in many parts of the country and, self-reliant tow truck operators chance forgotten streets with the goal of rescuing ill-advised motorists who find themselves stranded, we must take into consideration the effect these conditions have on tow truck operators.

Consider the tow truck operator in Wisconsin. It’s midnight, near white-out conditions, and he radios back to dispatch to let them know he’s going to be out of the truck for a few minutes…because he’s stuck in a snow drift.

Of course, thanks to a well-placed snatch-block, a lot of shoveling, and some luck, he has the ability to winch himself out and get back to work quickly.

Breathing a sigh of relief, the battle-hardened and seasoned operator reluctantly throws his chains on, knowing he’ll be fighting them for the rest of the night.

As he follows the invisible windswept paths of the all-night-plow-crews…fighting their own losing battles…he’ll stop to remove and replace his chains many times.

The non-stop barrage of late-night slide-offs numbs his senses as the falling snowflakes hypnotize him. Splashing and exploding like shooting stars on the windshield, the dazzling display is a temporary reprieve from the never-ending chaos he must endure.

Each call brings new challenges and difficulties that stretch his know-how to the ragged edges.  This endless frustration inevitably gives way to fatigue, as he complains… “Oh, Come On!” As he finds himself, once again, in thigh-deep snow, trudging forward to the next helpless motorist.


Challenges Retaining Tow Truck Operators Through the Seasons

Tow truck operators who work in these relentless conditions selflessly provide a valuable service to stranded motorists. But each winter, these drivers grow weary and overloaded, which can quickly deflate their resolve to continue. This wear and tear has the tendency to lead many good men to think, “There’s got to be a better way.”   And often, they do more than just think about quitting. They go searching for greener pastures.

How do you stop good tow truck operators from opting for a permanent position in an 18-wheeler? How do you get your company to look more appealing than driving for some national, over-the-road trucking concern?

The sad news is that some things aren’t within your power.  That’s why, as towing company owners, you must be continually Recruiting, Training, and Reinforcing.

Because it’s a given that from year to year, you’re going to lose a few good drivers. You’re going to lose tow truck operators, who may be the best at what they do…but, for one reason or another, just can’t picture themselves doing another all-night shift…up to their hips in the snow.

Unfortunately, some of your best guys are going to seek their fortunes elsewhere.

Once Winter is through, a number of this seemingly interconnected cohort of hardy souls, known as tow truck operators, will decide it’s best to stay indoors when the snow flies.

Sure, they’ll remain through the spring and summer months. But when the leaves begin to turn, they’re gone.

And as they part ways with their comrades who stay, feeling that some sort of invisible bond has been broken, they’ll come up with a million reasons why.

To justify their decision to break, many will blame the boss. His rules are too strict or not strict enough. Not enough hours or not enough time off.  Others speak of spending time with family, saying, “my wife wants me home nights.”

But the harsh reality is the decision was made months before while trudging through the snow.

Now, you might be inclined to think that these men decided to part ways with towing because it’s hard work. That the snow and sleepless nights took their toll on them. But you would be wrong.

Of course, not knowing when the snow is going to stop or when you’ll be stuck for hours on an icy road is frustrating, but it’s something else entirely.

It’s not knowing if you’ll be able to do what needs to be done when something truly challenging comes along.

That’s what kills the spirit of many potentially great towers, the inability to accept that they don’t have all the answers before going into each difficult situation.

If only they had the wisdom to accept that there will be challenges, unlike anything they’ve seen before.  But because of their experience, and the knowledge they’ve gained from previous recoveries, and many other facets of their lives, they can trust themselves to come up with a solution. Will it always be the perfect solution? No, but it’ll do this time.

Then, months and years of experience will accumulate and create a solid foundation for future challenges.  And, as they build upon this foundation each winter and allow it to be their guide, they’ll stretch their abilities, find better solutions to bigger problems, and continue to grow.