It’s no secret that towing isn’t exactly the easiest industry to get into. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to launch a successful tow truck business and keep it growing and thriving – there’s a lot that goes into running a successful towing business. We caught up with two towing veterans to ask for their advice on running a towing business – Bob Lantis of First Call Towing (based in Alabama) and Charles Hopper of Hoppers Tow and Recovery, LLC (based in Mississippi.) Check out what they had to say about running a towing business.
Tips from towing veterans
Lantis was a mechanic, but decided to go into towing and start his own business. “Everybody needs a tow…cars break down every day. And there’s accidents and you help out people.” He’s been in business for four years, and right now his goal for his business is to expand and add more trucks. Now he has five trucks and hopes to add more soon.
Hopper has been towing off and on for close to forty years, with towing being an extra source of income. Two years ago, he decided to go into business for himself. He’s on rotation for the state with the Mississippi State Highway Patrol and he’s also on rotation for his county, towing anything from abandoned vehicles to drug seized vehicles to assisting with wrecks.
Advice for newcomers and the mental strains of the job.
For those interested in getting into towing or starting a tow truck business, Lantis pointed out that there are a lot of tow truck businesses out there and that it can be a competitive industry. Towing takes dedication and perseverance, especially when you’re trying to expand and grow the business by adding trucks.
“If it’s something you love doing, you’ve got to stick with it and, you might say, wait out the storm,” Lantis said.
Towing also takes a certain amount of mental and emotional preparation. Hopper said that “[Towing is] a good business to get into because…it’s challenging and rewarding.” However, he cautioned those interested in towing to really consider the mental strains of the job, explaining that he’s been to wrecks where he’s had to assist the first responders on the scene to pull cars apart and retrieve bodies. “Study the mental issues before you get into this business. If you think you can handle the mental issues and strains, you’re good,” he said.
Don’t grow your business too quickly.
And of course, towing isn’t without its challenges. Things aren’t always smooth sailing.
Lantis cited growing a towing business as a challenging aspect of having a towing business. “The biggest challenge is growing and…expanding the business… Sometimes you have speed bumps along the way.” But again, Lantis encouraged towing businesses to stick with it. He also cautioned against growing too quickly, saying that, “You can get big too quick and it can hurt you in the long run. Be patient and it’ll fall into place.”
And, Lantis chuckled, trucks breaking down can present another obstacle.
Another challenge of the towing world can be the recoveries themselves. Hopper explained that vehicle rollovers and multi-car accidents can be some of the most challenging jobs, remembering one job where a car was wrapped entirely around a tree and another where a vehicle had hit a concrete culvert. As a tow truck business, you have to be prepared for tough jobs and, in a way, you have to expect the unexpected.
How to promote a towing business.
Naturally, you need customers in order to make your towing business thrive, which means that promoting the business is a crucial key to the puzzle. “I have my own shirts printed up, business cards printed up, things of that nature,” Hopper explained. These things can help you with establishing a brand for your business, which is all part of marketing your company.
Lantis noted the importance of getting on the Internet where people will see you and find your business. He also stressed how essential it is for your trucks and your drivers to be clean and presentable to make a good impression on the customer the moment the driver steps out of the truck.
“Make sure your truck’s clean and you’ve got good people working for you because word of mouth is a lot,” Lantis said. “That’s a lot of my business, word of mouth.”
Lantis has his drivers wash their trucks once a week and he’s gotten them uniforms. “My guys get out [of the truck] and they look clean and professional.”
Hiring tow truck drivers.
On the topic of hiring tow truck drivers, Lantis said, “[Drivers] have to have a good personality, [and] they have to be good people.” He also stressed the importance of good hygiene and cleanliness. Your drivers are the ones who interact with your customers, so making a good first impression is key.
Setting yourself apart.
As we mentioned before, there are a lot of tow truck businesses out there. It’s important to set yourself apart to differentiate yourself from the competition. Hopper believes that his experience sets him apart in the industry, though he noted that there are plenty of other businesses with lots of experience.
However, Hopper added, “My biggest thing is…I don’t care what the vehicle is, or what the reason is for picking it up. I try to treat people’s stuff with respect.”
Treating other people the way you want to be treated can go a long way.
Towing isn’t necessarily the easiest line of work to be in, but it can also be incredibly rewarding, something that was clear from speaking with both Hopper and Lantis. Whether you’re starting a tow truck business, growing a towing business, or trying to level your business up, we hope that the advice from these two towing veterans helps you reach your goals and succeed in the towing world.
Funnily enough, Lantis also said that getting tow truck insurance at a decent rate could be a real challenge, especially for newer business. That’s where we can help. Our agents can help you get great coverage at a great rate. We’ll help you find the insurance solution that’s right for you. Get started with your quotes by filling out our online form or giving us a call today.