Please Note: The Scores Provided Are Based On A Scale Of 1 to 6. With (6) Being The Highest And (1) The Lowest.
The first motor club dates back to 1902 when there were only about 23,000 cars in operation in the United States. Barely in its infancy, the automobile was more novelty than utility. Their owners, mostly men, gathered together in what started as social clubs. A place where they could go and brag about their cutting-edge internal combustion machines. These first cars were less dependent than any horse, and many proud owners feared being stranded. Thus the motor club was invented. What once was a place to talk and drink with your buddies was now something entirely different. Not just a social group anymore, these gatherings turned into a support system to help stranded motorists
Over the years these clubs have transformed into more sophisticated businesses. As they’ve morphed from “Good Samaritan” to more corporate in nature, they’ve worked hard to maintain an image that symbolizes safety and security on the roads. But while purporting themselves to be a safeguard against rogue, price-gouging towers, they continue to partner with them. Those same towers the clubs claim to be a guard against on their face are the ones they’re calling to provide services. Long ago, when the clubs were coming up, the scales were more or less balanced. Clubs needed towers and compensated them well. Now with the increase in the numbers of towers on the roads (tow-preneurs), the clubs have changed the way they do business. This parasitic relationship continues to pit the clubs and towers as adversaries.
With little regard for the needs of those who do the work, motor clubs feeling the pinch of competition amongst themselves, pit competing towing companies against one another—driving rates to the basement.
But rather than go off on another tangent describing my disdain for all that’s wrong with the clubs, we’re going to take a look at a handful of those I consider to be the best and compare.
What I’ve done is taken all the information from my towing business…(Yes I use my numbers, sales were more than $1.1 million for 2014) And compile the results into a table that compares the clubs against one another. The rating system I’m using is 1 through 6. 1 is the worst rating a club can get, and 6 is the best. The totals row allows you to compare.
When comparing rates, I’m taking the dollars received and dividing it by the number of services provided to get an average rate. Rather than breaking it down by towing and other services, I’ve taken all the money my company received in 2014, from each of these particular motor clubs, and divided it by the number of services provided during that same period.
Rate Increase Consequence
The rate increase consequence is by no means scientific. It measures the effects I’ve encountered when attempting to get more money from each club. The results range from no consequences at all, receiving a measure of warning from the field rep, and being placed on a DNC list (Do Not Call). Of course, some clubs will go to the extent of ignoring your new rates for months. They’ll continue to pay your old prices, but I address that in the Payment Accuracy column.
To have the club’s calls digitally dispatched is an added benefit but it may not be a big deal for all towers. My rating here is on how well they do the job of digitally dispatching when it is available. Some who’ve received the lower numbers may use just a phone call followed up by an email.
This rating is about how well the club’s live dispatcher does when providing information about a call. For instance, I gave All-State a two because of their automated system. Everyone who’s had to endure one of these calls while another line is ringing will understand why. Also many times the live dispatcher will not be the same person who spoke to the stranded motorist, and there will be specific details that are left out. A big one is: what’s wrong with the vehicle.
This one has to do with a club’s ability to provide information accurately. The clubs cover only a certain amount of money for each call and getting more money out of them if the data is not correct, can be quite tricky. For instance, a club’s dispatcher may say that a motorist is 4 miles away from a particular intersection, but when all is said and done, they’re 8 miles further. If this problem is not dealt with while the call is in progress, you’ll have a hard time getting your money later on.
Payment convenience has to do with how easy it is to get paid by the clubs. How and how often do they pay? Do they direct deposit the money into your account, send a check weekly or monthly? And do they provide an accurate accounting of which invoices were paid? I include the purchase order number to each invoice so when I receive payment I can look up what purchase orders are being paid. Some clubs include my invoice number on the paystub, I like this. It makes it easy to determine which invoices were paid in full or which ones I need to challenge.
Payment accuracy refers to a clubs history of accurately paying invoices in full. Many times what I submit isn’t paid in full the first time and I’ll need to twist a few arms in order to get all I’m due. The number I use here is a composite of all those instances with each club.
Whenever there are inaccuracies in payments, you need to have the ability to remedy the situation. Unfortunately, high-quality support is lacking for many of the clubs. To get your money, you’re required to prove your case. But the time they have available for you to do so is limited. For instance, All State’s billing support by telephone is only open Monday through Friday 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm and you can discuss just five purchase orders at a time. Otherwise, you can email them.
I don’t know about you, but I love having the ability to speak to a representative of the company. It gives us both the opportunity to hash out problems and find solutions. And when there are issues that arise, such as damages, having a guy or gal in your corner who’ll listen is priceless. The motor clubs with the lower scores are those whom I’ve never met or spoken with over the phone. To AAA’s benefit, theirs is the only one I’ve met in person.
Loyalty & Service Rewards
When rating loyalty I’m looking at a club’s willingness to use a company exclusively. And if no exclusive agreement is offered do they offer a Primary Service Provider status? I know it’s hard to get an exclusive agreement from many of the clubs and handling the glut of calls due to bad weather can be especially tricky if you’re a small company, but being exclusive is still something you should look ask about. Having an exclusive agreement or being the Primary Provider is suitable for all involved. It motivates the tower to do more, and the club can have peace of mind knowing that they’ve got someone in their corner, and the motorist receives higher quality service quicker than expected. Service rewards are monetary and come from providing quick quality service and are usually only afforded to those with Primary Service Provider Status.
Well that’s how it all shakes out for me for 2014. It looks like AAA is still the best motor club. Of course different clubs may rate substantially different from region to region so take a look at who you work for and let me know who you like best, and of course who you don’t like.
Hi I am the owner of quality towing of middlesboro KY and I am won’t to start doing some road side towing jump starts tire change door unlocks just what ever we can do to serve or customers better I hope to here from some so we can get started
This list is extremely helpful, as I’m trying to build the business bigger. We have quite a bit of motor home towing under our belts but want to expand and grow that aspect of the business. This is going to be a great tool to compile a list of who we do and don’t want to do business with. Thank you!
Hello, I started a great little towing and recovery business, looking to enhance it and grow it . Seems like the Motor Clubs I signed on with are great at first and then the calls drop off to almost nothing as the other companies in the area lowered their rates, ( mine are just below what the going rate is and should be for the are) so now all I get are the calls they dont want , the low paying calls or calls out of the call area . I love your information but have more questions .Could you please contact me?
Thank you !!!!
Thanks for the comment. I just sent you an email from firstname.lastname@example.org.
Talk to you soon.
My name is Robert Wilson. I would like to get started towing for Motorclub. I have my own tow truck. How can I get started?
Robert, If you’re determined to work for motor clubs, I suggest that you go to the “Resources” tab of our website and educate yourself on the pitfalls to avoid when working with motor clubs. Thanks, and good luck
Hi everyone. I wanna say congrats to all of you who have built your own businesses. I’ve built my own business out of hard work and dedication to the Industry. I started out great in July 2017. I even have a company sending me their unwanted work, but everything has slowed. Just like someone else has mentioned here, these motor clubs were calling me often. Now I don’t hear from them anymore.
There’s an application called TowBook out and others too that bring everyone into a hub easier for these motorclubs to decide who to call. NO CONTRACTS NEEDED. I’m just a vendor now. Someone to call if they can’t get no one else. Towbook is so they can choose the cheapest priced company to call, forcing all companies to compete by lowering their prices. I’m dirt cheap now. And they want cheaper..
Yeah Okay. To break all of these companies down, see. It’s a problem in America. High wigged heads are using selfish methods to destroy America for profit. Seems there’s big money in crashing America. I may have to close my doors.. I’m not going any cheaper. If I have to do it for nothing, then I think my insurance cost and just about everything I need in cost for business should be cut down to 5% for owner to pay when no work comes in. OTHERWISE it seems criminal to me.
Good luck everyone. I hope your companies make it. My biggest problem now is advertisement. THAT is the key to business. And I can’t make enough revenue in one week to get any kinda ads out. SKY HIGH to advertise. It’s a criminal I tell ya. CRASH out country by killing all business. We’re not alone. There are others, like trucking getting hit now.
Towing providor tow pick up
Looking for help I started a roadside business and right now just doing RSA without towing. I will be doing towing later but looking for teaming up with tow companines to take some of the little work off their hands until growth
Wayne, Good to hear that you have started doing roadside assistance, if you need help growing your business, please contact our office. 314-328-9869
Hey Don a started a roadside assistance company (RSA without towing) and I am approaching my 1year anniversary of being in business. It has been a suspenseful year. I started my business believing that as long as I offer the best service for the lowest rate that my company would prosper. Unfortunately; It feels like I have entered a monopolized industry were the motor clubs don’t reward excellence . Don, how can I grow my business or change the way the industry rewards reliable service providers?
Thanks for the comment. A Towing Business cannot prosper by providing the best services at the lowest rates, attempting to do so will only ensure that the business will wither and die. In order to provide the best service, a business must prosper greatly. And, the business owner must get something in the exchange that is of value, a feeling of pride, or service to the community, and money to support their family and live a full, happy life. The best advice I can give you is, stop trying to undercut the other guy, and start providing value and charge accordingly.
You are right, motor clubs don’t reward excellence, they reward cheap.
Here’s a quick story for you: I am no longer in the towing business, but I have a Google Business listing for The Tow Academy. Our category is “Marketing” Specifically “Tow Company Marketing.” And, since I no longer own tow trucks, I am not insured to tow cars and trucks, But every now and again I receive phone calls from “HONK,” asking that I tow a vehicle. Do you think they care about excellence? I could be a guy with an F150 and a chain, and they wouldn’t know.
For the most part, motor clubs only care about getting the cheapest service they can find. So, the best way to grow your business, while affecting change in how the industry rewards reliable towers, is to know your costs, raise your rates so that you can profit greatly, forget about the competition, and focus on customer acquisition, not on how to change the way the motor clubs behave.
The quality of your business has a great deal to do with the quality of your relationships, the more depth you have here the stronger your business will be.
Can you email me ? I have quite a few questions this article is extremely helpful thanks in advanced.
Excellent articles I myself have been in business for 40 +years never did care what the competition was charging only to do right by the customers And you’re right when you mentioned Honk they are bottom feeders don’t care if you’re licensed only Cheap
Hi Don, I want to start a towing business part time and I was wondering if it’s worth staring part time
I’m located in Southern California, and it seems to me that everyone has the same problem with HONK Motor club. We started towing for them, and at first, there were a lot of calls. But, now it’s just stuff that nobody wants to do. Like they’ll send you a $22 dollar fuel delivery which comes with a mandatory 3 gallons of fuel which I have to pay for. At $4 dollars a gallon, I’m only getting $10 for the call. It has me going nuts and pissed. We are just gonna pull the plug on HONK. HONK has been one of the whore auto clubs, worst ever. Do not make the mistake and work for this auto club.
They are trying to run your trucks like Uber. And, then all their customers will file claims on your company, claiming anything and everything.
Hello, I’ve been in business for twenty years, the motor clubs have gotten worse in wanting to pay the going rate where it is not even starting your truck and doing the call. The motor clubs now, with all the technology even double dispatch calls, it’s terrible how they treat towing companies.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.
I completely agree with your sentiment, although I haven’t heard of motor clubs double dispatching. I do understand that some of the “Apps” will send a service request inquiry to multiple operators at the same time. But I have not heard an account of them “awarding” the call to more than one towing company. If this has happened to anyone else, please let us know how or if it was remedied with the motor club. Thanks
Oh it happens all the time with Agero/Swoop. They are just like everyone else all they do is reward a company called HELP because they use subcontractors that rarely show up. So you get dispatched out. Then if they do finally show up after the customer has been waiting for hours and your the company that gets picked as back up you get the shaft and only get a goa.
I’m new I wanna do roadside assistance for ppl
Don I am currently a foreman with a rather successful company I helped get started some years ago and am looking to start my own business after seeing what I am capable of on the business side of things. Which of your books should I read and in which order would they make the most sense?? my plan is to be up and running within the next 2-3 years and would like to attain a wealth of knowledge between now and then.
Thanks In Advance
I’m not good with computers and need help with obtaining business roadside clubs\motor clubs can someone call to help me get set up?
We’ll be happy to reach out and provide some assistance. Contact me at email@example.com
Hello, This is Brando from Brando Towing. Thanks for the content. You are always very helpful with your information.
Thanks for the comment. My only wish is that we could help more people. For the most part, motor clubs are not a good way to get ahead in this business.
You might then ask, what is?
Well, I’m glad you asked.
The truth is, I’m constantly inundated with inquiries from people who have a website, sure…great. A website…WOO HOO!!!
But most of these people have no idea of what an optimized website would look like and how much their bad website is actually hurting their business.
Of course, it’s understandable that they’re in this position because most of these people are constantly bombarded with solicitations promising first-page results. They receive calls from people in fly-by-night call centers who care nothing about their business. These scammers are working on commission and, once they’ve run your credit card you’ll never hear from them again.
These constant annoyances cause many tow company owners to be highly skeptical of ANYONE who can actually help.
Or worse yet, you have people who think they’ve got it all figured out themselves. They think they’re “killing it” online and that getting one more backlink is going to put them over the top. When the reality is they’ve had a website for a year and still have ZERO traffic and ZERO organically generated cash calls.
It’s sad, really…knowing that you have the tools and expertise to help these people, but the barriers to understanding are so great. It’s kinda like being in one of those old Twilight Zone shows. Maybe that’s before your time. But it’s the episode where a person is trapped in another dimension and can see their loved one suffering, but they just can get through to them. Yeah, it’s kinda like that.
Anyway, good luck with your business and thanks again for the comment.