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About ETOW

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    TowForce Recruit

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  1. RIP Operator Martinez. Prayers for strength for the the family, friends, coworkers and company. It would probably be deemed an invasion of privacy, but it would be interesting if big tech could release data showing whether or not drivers were on the phone prior to these incidents, and if so, what they were doing on their phone. There seems to be a correlation between the numbers of roadside workers getting struck and peoples’ addiction to their smartphones. Imagine if this data was accessible by LEO and the driver was found to be browsing Instagram or watching YouTube prior to the incident. It sounds crazy, but I’ve seen it. I’m not sure how to implement it in a way that would separate drivers from passengers, but I think all apps should be blocked when driving a vehicle. The only exception would be map/GPS apps. Phone and text would also be available, but only when connected via Bluetooth to the car or a headset so as to allow hands free, and more importantly EYEBALL free operation. That way you could talk/text via voice, and there would be no reason to be staring down at your phone. Siri and Google Assistant allow us to do this, and I feel it’s time we use them to save lives. Not just roadside workers, but every fatality that was due to distracted driving. It’s obvious the honor system isn’t working. Big tech created the problem of distracted driving, I feel it’s time they fix it. Now, I am not saying this particular driver was on the phone prior to striking Martinez, but there does seem to be some correlation between roadside workers getting struck and people’s complete inability to go more than 5 minutes without checking their phone.
  2. I would say your assessment of me seems pretty accurate. Haha I prefer to learn as many lessons as I can from someone else’s mistakes when possible. I’ve found it to be cheaper and less painful that way. 😂 Like you, I’m aiming to do the exact opposite of Cletus. I’m also aware how hard starting from scratch is going to be. It’s a massive uphill battle. I have pages of notes where I’ve run through costs and rate calculations. I’m actually working on a formula that involves mileage, time, and fuel prices to determine rates. Basically you plug in shop to shop miles, shop to shop time, and local fuel prices to get a rate. It still needs some fine tuning though. The reason behind this is I can drive 65 miles in an hour on the interstate, but in the city or twisty mountain roads, I can only drive maybe 25 miles in an hour. I feel this method would ensure profitability in both scenarios and hopefully put an end to the old “charge by the mile or charge by the hour debate”, because it’s a blend of both. Still needs some tweaking, and you need to add loading/unloading time in your calculations, but I’m getting there. My goal for now is to be a one man show that provides the best service on the area. The struggle, and one I’m sure everyone faces, is going to be relaying to potential customers why I’m better than Cletus and worth the extra $$. They don’t even know what a J-hook is, let alone why it’s not the best option for their $40k car.
  3. One of the trucks I was looking at was a ‘19 F-550 with 50k miles. 19.5’ Century, so it’s good to get some feedback on the Powerstrokes. The others were Freightliners with Cummins, look to be clean trucks, but have 200k miles on them. One of the things I look at is the bed sides and rails. If they’re beat up, that’s a sign the operator was just dragging chains over them as opposed to actually picking the chains up and placing them in the toolbox. Which likely means it was driven by someone who didn’t care about it. Obviously the top of the bed will get scratched due to the nature of the business, but I don’t think bed sides, tail light housings, headboards and toolbox doors should be taking much of a beating. lol At least that’s not how I operate anyway(thanks to my old boss).
  4. Thanks for the advice Grumps. What you’re doing sounds a lot like what I’m aiming for. I don’t want to be the cheapest company, I want to truly exceed customer’s expectations. I want to compete on service, not price. I would much rather run 2 calls for $75 than 4 calls for $40, because I understand that even though the gross revenue is less, the net revenue is greater. My previous boss was a stickler for maintenance and cleanliness and he instilled that in me. When I first started, day 2 of my employment I got my ass chewed because the wire rope wasn’t a perfect spool. I had a car that was at an angle and it caused the wire rope to spool heavily to one side. After that lashing, I would arrive on an accident scene and see guys from other companies yanking and fighting their wire rope because it was a kinked, frayed bird nest and then I understood why my boss got on to me, and I made sure to keep my winches perfectly spooled from then on. I’ve seen how poorly maintained equipment is not only inefficient and unsafe, but it also makes you look incompetent when on scene. There’s enough to worry about on the side of the road, no need to add more problems by not maintaining your equipment. I can only hope to get customers who refuse to use anyone else. That’s truly a testament to how well you run your business and the great job you do. How has your Ram treated you?
  5. Thanks for the advice Randall. You’re right about the SUVs. I don’t see Suburbans or the extended Expeditions fitting on a 19.5’ bed either, but maybe I’m wrong. Like I said, I have no experience running a 550/5500 as a carrier, only as a wrecker, so I’m not sure how capable they are as a carrier. We always ran 21-22ft 26k carriers, but several companies are running the 550/5500 chassis. As for police rotation work, that will come later. Like you said, I’ll need a twin line wrecker and a fenced storage lot/shop at a minimum before that can happen. Ideally a 3rd backup truck as well, but not required. These newer trucks are virtually impossible to fix yourself, and good luck finding an simple older truck that’s not completely beat to death. Any suggestions on years and models to stay away from? I know Maxxforce is a no go. I’ve always had good luck with Cummins, but am not familiar with the new Powerstrokes. Seems some years are ok while other had some issues. Thanks again for the advice, as well as all you do for the industry.
  6. Thanks for the reply Ed! You make some excellent points, and a lot are the same ones I’ve been kicking around in my head. 1) Your exactly right about breakdowns putting me out of business. My thinking is I can be out of service and have the repair cost covered, or I can be out of service and have a costly out of pocket repair on top of that. And I much prefer an air brake truck for the reason you mentioned. I also know dealers can be funny about what’s covered and what’s not, basically making warranties not worth the paper their written on. Ideally I would like a clean, 26k air ride/brake truck with around 100k, but they’re still a bit out of my price range yet. 2) Target audience varies. There’s a more metro area on one side where I could get more cars, and on the other side it’s more rural and most people are in 3/4 or 1 ton trucks. So a 550 with a 19.5’ bed could fit a crew cab 3/4 ton? What does a F-550 with a steel bed weigh? 13-14k? Trying to be mindful of the GVWR and GAWRs, and I’m thinking legally I couldn’t get more than a 1/2 ton truck on the deck. I see so many of the “if it fits it ships” crowd around here. 3) Not looking for club work, although I might sign up for a few clubs within a small, local service area at MY rates. If they call great, if not great. I don’t plan on running myself and my trucks in the ground while losing money the whole time. If it’s outside my service area, it’ll be credit card upfront, again at my rates. I’ve been around and have an idea of how the motor club game works. Haha The only reason I’m considering any club work is to try and become a familiar face for the people at local dealer service departments and repair shops and hopefully establish a relationship with them. You also make a good point about revenue coming from an unknown source, and one I hadn’t considered. Once again, thanks for the reply Ed! BTW, I’m a Miller fan, but your F-650 is one sweet truck! It has served you very well over the years, a real workhorse. Hopefully your replacement serves you just as well.
  7. Hey everyone! New member here, but used to visit the old 411 site. Started towing in late ‘05 and became WreckMaster and TRAA certified. I’ve been out of towing a few years now and miss it every day. The past few years I’ve attended a few tow shows and WreckMaster courses and have a current Level 4/5 certification. Anyway, I’m looking to start my own company in the coming months in an effort to do things right and really put an emphasis on customer service. Anyway, I’m looking at some carriers and found a few within my budget and would like some input. First option is a newer, lower mileage 550/5500 with 19.5’ bed. Other options are slightly older 26k GVWR air-ride/brake trucks with 21-21.5’ beds, BUT they have 200k miles. Are the 550/5500 series trucks worth purchasing as a carrier? I’ve always driven 26k GVWR trucks with 21’+ beds, so the 550/5500s with 19.5’ beds and 19,500 GVWR seem really limited. I’d prefer a 26k chassis, but the higher mileage has me nervous. Since I’m starting out I really like the idea of having something with lower mileage with a warranty, but I don’t want to be kicking myself for having too small of a truck. What’s everyone’s opinions? Thanks!
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