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How's Business? (from 2008)


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11 Dec 2008 11:03

Well actually, I know the answer.  It basically sucks.  We have been keeping busy on our commercial side.  The car side is slow.  And the shop is slow.  Have any of you cut back staffing, in an effort to stay in the black?  I can't cut back much.  I already run the place on a shoestring.  I lost my Budget Truck Rental agency because they have scaled back the agents, in an effort to help the remaining agents busy.  I have appealed that because when I started with them last January, the phone number that they gave us had never been advertised before.  So all I got on that number was bill collectors looking for the guy who had that phone number previously.  It wasn't until the end of July, when the new phone books came out, that I got any customers calling on that number.  The rentals that I did do originated from the Internet.  So four months since the beginning of August is not a fair trial, in my opinion.  Businesses all around me are laying people off.  Do we all think that we are invincible?  Last Monday, I was slammed with road service work big-time.  Yet, Tuesday was dead.  How do you staff for that?  I aim for the middle of the road, and hope for the best.  So what are the rest of you doing?

Casetowing said:
just trying to hang in there looking even harder for other lines on jobs but not cutting our throat just to look busy hoping white gold shows up soon and frequently that should get us to spring when construction season picks up which then we will definetly be hoping for a better economy
eric gee - towing manager
BlackAutoLoad said:
Just trying to diversify as much as possible.
Slow here too.
Waiting for the "White Gold" as it is supposed to be here tonight.
Crazedkook said:
Don, I feel your pain, I was busy for a while and now past 3 months straight, I am more than dead and I am back to the 1 1/2 man band ( me and a part timer). I have even sold 2 wreckers and a service truck, so we now have 2 service and a wrecker not much you can do about it these days. As far as planning for those busy days that come in spurts that really sucks because as luck would have it, those days no one is around to help, so you end up running with your head cut off and praying the following days stay the same and then nothing but 3 to 6 service calls and maybe a tow or 2.

All I can say is it better pick up soon!!
annettemcd said:
For us, it has always been that way for all of our years in business because of its nature, being extremely rural. One job can take 2-10 hours with most taking 3-6, so one job can make or break a day. It seems like there is no way to predict it or plan for it. It also seems like we will not have a job all day and suddenly get two within one hour of each other, sometimes within five minutes. For example, we were pretty slow most of last week, then over the weekend we had three jobs, two at the same time, for a total of 5+7+6 = 18 hours. The only thing that we can do is always be ready to drop everything and go on a job and hope that it is never more than two at the same time without some wiggle room as far as scheduling or delays. It keeps us on our toes and gives A.P. the excuse to nap a great deal because he never knows when he might be driving all night. There is no easy way to cope with it.
Andys08towing said:
I'm no different slow one day busy the next I just do all the calls myself so I do not have any drivers but I can't imagine having a employee I would have no work for him/her
annettemcd said:
Our part-time mechanic/back-up driver works flexible hours and keeps our truck at his house so that he can be on call as a back-up, even if he isn't working. We do not have enough work to keep any driver busy 40 hours/week, but luckily our mechanic/driver is multi-talented, a jack-of-all-trades, but doesn't want to work 9-5, full-time. It works for us, but it is no your standard shirt work.
Thtdon said:
Just to show you how government thinks, in MA, we operate our tow trucks and flatbeds on what we call a repair plate. An RP is a movable plate. And when the plate is affixed on to the truck, the insurance that it represents covers from the front bumper of the truck, to the rear bumper of the car on the wheel-lift. There is no need to put a drag plate on the towed vehicle, when it is being towed within the state. Whereas, if the truck was commercially registered, you would have to put a drag plate on the towed vehicle, in order to cover it for insurance. We haul a lot of light duty construction equipment. The reason that we do that now is because the car towing business sucks, especially with all of the gypsy towers out there. The Boston Police Department has it's own commercial truck team. Back in August, one of our trucks got stopped for hauling a scissor lift on a flatbed, being operated on a repair plate. We got a $500 ticket for improper use of the repair plate. The cop alleges that that the plate is only supposed to be used for towing cars. The law states "motor vehicles". So a scissor lift, which has four wheels and a motor, and you can climb up on it and drive it around, is a gray area of the law. A scissor lift isn't a vehicle that you can register and drive on the street. But it isn't a pallet of red bricks, either. We consulted the State Police truck team. I was told that they do not bother flatbeds hauling light duty equipment like scissor lifts, fork lifts, etc., being operated on a RP. But they can. They also said that it is a gray area. Another Boston cop told us that we have to decide what we want to do. Either to haul cars or equipment. He said that we can't do both. Who the hell is he to decide that? Anyway, I appealed the ticket. Meanwhile, I had to commercially register three trucks. We are in Boston every day. So the chances of crossing the path of that Boston cop is pretty good. I don't want any more tickets. We beat the ticket in court. But we are stuck with the registered trucks. For every truck that I registered, I turned in a repair plate. So I have only two repair plates left, for the two wreckers. However, I can no longer tow a second car on the wheel-lift of the carrier because I would have to put a repair plate on that car, in order to insure it. And having the extra plates would double my insurance cost. I have cargo insurance. So with the registered trucks, I can haul anything that will fit on the bed. I just can't tow the second car. If the second car is registered, I can tow it, and no one will bother me. But there is no insurance coverage on it, unless the drag plate is present.

So you can always count on the government to kick you when you are down. You think that you can make a little extra money by hauling something other than a car. And the government is standing there to take that extra money away from you.

Crazedkook said:
Wow I used to haul lifts all over Boston on a daily basis with a truck on repair plates and never heard of that, and that company tows for the BPD truck team. I will bet ya this is a surprise for most of the companies in MA who have repair plates and move either equipment or other types stuff on repair plates. A close freind of mine uses his ramp with repair plate to haul hay for his horses twice a month I guess it is a good thing he does not do it near Boston--lol

I also would guess the Boston truck team has to find a way to justify thier existance and harras those who do follow the rules.
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  • 7 months later...

You guys wanted a business man for president. here we have it.  I learn something years ago, never trust another business man to run your business, because he will look for his business and not my.

he will profit for him self and not with me.  Politician screw us over but a business man will crush anyone's business to make profit for himself.  So here we are. Transportation in general is down 45% money is not moving like it used to.

Insurance companies fee are up 40% for commercial vehicles. and it will get worse. So cutting back cost is the way to go as of now. we are cutting allot. if the unit don't move it most be sold. I just hope we survive whats coming, Day by day is getting worse here in Our State. 

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