What Makes Your Towing Company Different?

What is it that your business does that sets you apart from your competition? Do your customers actually know your business by name, or are all the towing companies in your city of the same milquetoast quality.

Speaking of toast, I was out to eat with my family the other day and had a rough go with the service. Here’s what happened.

Maggie, our server at Steak-N-Shake, was obviously distracted or maybe overwhelmed.  She started off by forgetting to give us silverware, asked twice if I’d like white or wheat toast, then almost walked away without getting my daughter’s order.

Steak-N-Shake is our normal Saturday morning breakfast hangout, but it was particularly busy today due to some high school sporting event in town.

Once she took our order, Maggie composed herself and hurried off to do whatever servers do.  About twenty minutes later, our food arrived– Mine was without toast.

I had plenty to eat, so I let it go, expecting another server to bring the toast out.  When that didn’t happen, I asked a passing server, ours was busy, to bring out the missing toast.  She said she would.

It didn’t happen.

I thought, “it’s no big deal” I’ll just do without toast today.

Finally– as we were finishing up, Maggie popped by with the check, and before I could stop her, my wife mentioned the mistake.

I tried to tell Maggie not to worry about it, but she’d already scooted away, apologizing.  She seemed determined to make it right.

Five minutes went by, and Maggie was nowhere to be found– Still no toast. So there we sat- finished and waiting, obligingly, for something I no longer wanted.

We decided to forget about the toast and paid the tab. We left a generous tip and went home.

Now you might think I should have handled it differently.  I could have told the cashier about the problem or confronted the manager about the shoddy service.  And a few of you probably think the least I could have done was withheld the tip…Right?

You’re right. I could have done any of those things, but what good would it have done?  It’s not my place to correct or train their servers.  Besides, I’m going to be back next weekend, and I don’t want things to be weird between Maggie and me.

You see, to me, it’s not the service that keeps me coming back.  It’s not the food or the prices that have me showing up every weekend.  They could mess all that stuff up, and I’d still be there because I value something else.  I like to go to Steak-N-Shake because of the company.  No. Not the Steak-N-Shake Corporation or the franchisee. I’m talking about the folks sitting there with me in the restaurant, my family.

Why Steak-N-Shake?

Well, Steak-N-Shake offers what all the other eating establishments do not, the ability to get in quick, relax, and be waited on for breakfast.

Pretty simple equation, don’t you think?

This company has made all the other fast food and trendy/healthy places to eat irrelevant, at least to me.  They’ve successfully positioned themselves, in my mind, as something different and better.

Decide What Makes Your Towing Company Different

I suggest that you ask yourself this question, “How can I apply what Steak-N-Shake does and set my business apart?” How can you make your towing business different than all the other towers in your area?

I know. I hear you pushing back on this suggestion. “It’s towing, Don, not a sit-down restaurant.”

Ok, here’s the problem as I see it. Tow company owners believe that their services have become commoditized.  That motorists believe they’re all the same. And since everyone sees all towing companies as the same, there’s nothing a tow company owner can do to change that perception.

Economy Towing offers towing services, A-1 Towing offers towing and recovery, and Fastlane Towing offers quick-response towing services.  But it’s all towing in the minds of the motorists.

Of course, the motor clubs aren’t doing us any favors either.  They’ve trained motorists to think of towing as something they’re entitled to. And convinced them that, without motor clubs protecting them, rogue towing companies will take advantage of them in their time of need.

Now, we could spend the rest of our lives complaining about what ails us and pointing fingers, but what hurts tow company owners the most is the acceptance of something that just isn’t so.

We believe our services have become commoditized, like buying a gallon of gas, so instead of trying to set our towing company apart–we race to the bottom. We lower our prices until we’re barely scraping by.

So, what’s the answer?

Wouldn’t it be nice if you could walk into work every day and be assured that the customers you’ve taken care of year in and year out will be forever loyal?  There’s no fear that the walls are gonna come crumbling down because some newbie aims to erode years of hard work with dirt-cheap rates.

That’s the dream, but to have that, we’ve got to differentiate ourselves from our competitors.  We need to be perceived as something better, in some way, than those who claim to do the same things that we do– but at a lower price.

For me, at Stake-N-Shake, it wasn’t about the food. It wasn’t about the service– What I valued was the time I got to spend with my family.

So, the answer for you­– Is to find what you can do to make your competitors irrelevant in the minds of your customers. Whether it’s a bottle of cold water on a hot day, holding an umbrella when it’s raining, or simply warm, assuring conversation that lets your customer feel their car is in good hands. Do something that sets you apart.

These are just examples. It’s your business, so you figure it out.  The one thing you don’t want to do is come across as bland and tasteless. Rather than being compared to milquetoast, be different, be fun, be adventurous and stand out.