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How Did It Start?


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This Topic was Originally Created on Tow411 by TOWAHOLIC in January of 2007:

 

Don't know if this is the right spot but here goes.

What's your story, how did you get started?


how big of a operation do you work for, what changes have you made to be were you are today?

the only other thing that keeps me up at night besides here is the history channel.

I hear big red has a good story, how about big wheels, curt sharp, danielswt, o-hare, just to name a few no particular order.

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Towstany said:

They caught me at a weak point in my life. lol

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TOWAHOLIC said:

That's not fair Jon you know you love it and you'll be back besides I'm looking forward to my 6/7 in osseo

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dudewhersmy50ton said:

it was the second job i got out of high school and it stuck. i tried twice to get out but came back

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mballor said:

My dad started with just a body shop that was ran in the garage that was attached to the house. Then he bought a wrecker so that he could move cars around. After a couple of years the garage was a little small and he built a 3 bay body shop, then he got on rotation, and got the aaa contract. When i was little we had a diamond rio and a couple heavy single axle internationals, i wish i had a photo scanner because i'm not even sure what back was on them. That is how i learned to drive a stick, i would hop in one of the big trucks when i was 16 then play around in the lot. I did pull out a beer truck, consumer truck that was hauling poles, couple school buses, before i had my cdl. We had probably 7 trucks 8 years ago, then we downsized to 4 and updated the fleet. We have 9 trucks now, and we are the largest or second largest in the county. We moved down the road from our original location because of the house being right next to the shop, and now my parent live down the road, and i got a house by the beach. I still plan to do some expanding, but my dad is a little scared of it, so i might do it later on. I also like the idea about having some other types of businesses not related to towing.

 

John Fenshaw said:

i started when i was about 14 or so. i started working for russel baum in upstate ny. i was a truck washer and a yard man, and a go get this person. when i turned 16 he let me drive a little in the big trucks but i got to drive the 1 tons. when i turned 18 i got my cdl and went full time into the heavies. when i was 21 i moved to fl started with stepps towing a great company, then moved on to webbs another great company, and worked at 5 a towing a really great company and here i am in iraq doing recovery work.

i feel i was very lucky to get to work for russel baum i learned hook ups recovery all before i was 18 but i still learn everyday. i would get to haul salvaged trucks around the yard before i could even shift gears lol i have a good name for recovery in lakeland i work well with fhp pcso lpd and the fire dept. i am looking forward to continuing on when i get home. maybe buying my own heavy.

 

Jerrys Garage "Now Retired: said:

I am INSANE. That's all just plain NUTS.

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TOM JR said:

When I was little my uncle had a body shop and a couple old tow trucks. I would go over there with my parents and see him. It was the best place in the world to a little kid. When I was in HS I got a part time job at a body shop/towing place. I learned alot and rode with the tow truck driver and would drive the trucks to the scene if they needed additional trucks. I became the worlds best wet sander, truck washer and fueler upper! A few years later I got a job a JJs. I liked working for him so after a year I decided to buy 2 old beaters and start towing on my own. Now Im wondering how it will end.

 

Nullstowing "Jared Null" said:

I was born into the business and my father was born into the business. My grandfather started the business in 1958 to compliment his Esso gas station.

 

Toyo03 said:

My brother ran off with his girlfriend so I took over. Ask how we all got to be here!!!If da watah wasn't rough.
Void when gone fishing!
Ahui hou gotta go, Shane

 

Towtrk1 said:

After graduating High School, I moved to Hollywood for a year to f#@k off. Came back in '93 and took a job for a local tow company just to get back to work. Spent my first 5 months in the industry babysitting the Gold Star Bridge on I-95 that was being rebuilt (Contract was for 2 standby wreckers 24-7).

After that I joined the then AAA garage in Groton and got bitten by the bug. I was mentored by 2 Wreckmasters there and wound up supervising that co's towing operations for several years before moving on into the Heavy Duty market.

About 1.5 years ago, I attempted to leave the industry, having had enough of the rat race. Only to find myself back into it last April. Now all I do is Medium and Heavy Duty, which is fine by me. I do miss the big wrecks, as we are not on rotation, but have always continued to further my development in the industry.

Do wish to own my own company around here, but the competition around here is stought and the market is heavily saturated, which doesn't attract yet another company opening up. Besides, finding a finanical backer for this industry is almost impossible, and I don't have a cash crop laying around to buy one out.

So I plug along, doing the best I can. Use my knowledge to my advantage and try to teach those who are willing to listen.


At this point, my reputation as a quality operator is my goal and hope to, someday, become an industry leader. Just need to keep learning...

 

Yawakze said:

I was executive chef at a big city hotel and one day I said no more of the stress and hassels. Called an ad in the newspaper and he met me with a gmc 6500 with a vulcan 811 and said this is your truck you start now. Then he showed me everything, properly, and after a week he handed me my first paycheck. Boom I was sold.

He turned out to be a blessing and a curse in that he ripped me off for a lot, however I learned alot.

Now I work for a family owned company, they like me I like them and I don't have to worry about being ripped-off.

Now I'm proud to say when people ask " What do you do?" I say I drive a tow truck.

 

danielswt said:

well, i was born into the biz. been working full time since i was 3 yrs old. dad started the company 13 yrs ago after getting tired of working for his father in law at a body shop.

we have steadily grew every year and now have 2 locations 50 miles apart from each other.

i have so much more to look foward to in life, and i dont think i would change the way anything has happened at all.

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wreckerman05 said:

my dad started in 1959-used cars,then salvage cars-started with a 1953 ford with hand crank winch-as business progressed in 1967 he bought one of the first 3 car rollbacks in our area-i wished i had some of the equipment that we had thru the 70,s + 80,s--i bought the business as a salvage yard and towing service in 1975-sold the salvage yard in 2000,now just do towing only--no kids who want in the business,so i,ll go as long as i can(kids are smart these days,who wants to work 24/7)-- still like what i do--so i,ll keep on towing---

 

slim santa said:

We bought our first tow truck from one of my first employees. Our primary business is auto repair, second is our welding and fab shop, third is towing, recovery, road service work and heavy hauling. Last but not least, is locksmithing and crane work. In a small town like this you need to do about everything.

Dakota Service & Repair, Brookings, SD

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twinbulls said:

I was a contractor (houses) for many years Very good at it....From NY to south FLA...past 15yrs

then I got fed up with the BS..Building depts...permits...inspectors,finding good people who wanted to work....At one time I needed 20 a day to get my jobs done... I was over it poke me with a fork I was DONE.... BURNT out !!!
I made a GREAT living and had some money saved and took a few months off to find myself...
I tried many things but nothing seemd to be it....Then I thought about when I worked for a bodyshop up in NY years ago(teenager) I used a Ortiz wrecker sling truck...

Well I saw a tow company for sale and checked them out....Worked with them for 14 mo but the deal didnt work out so I bought my own Flatbed and started Safari Towing..
its been almost 3 years on my own and I just bought my second truck.. So things are going mostly as I planed>>>>>

And I love this job !!!!

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Steve said:

Well it started for me when i was 17 working for an auto repair shop out of whitman ma I had been working there for about 2 years doing anything and everything there, from repair work to body work, and of course being the shop b!tch running parts and everything and then I was given the chance to get into the truck. They ran 3 trucks F-450 wrecker, f-350 rollback, and international 4300 w/ 21' JD rollback. Started being taught doing the basic tows picking up disabled vehicles and bringing them back to the shop for repair. Then got to step it up to do police towing and recoveries. Got to learn quite a bit from the two other drivers there, differnt hook ups, different winching techniques and so on. It was a good place to start and get me going in the business. Unfortunately due to different issues I left there this past summer and have been out of work since and been having a difficult time trying to find a new job. Only 19 years old now going to school to be a diesel mechanic i have some probably crazy dreams but eventually wanna open my own business running a decent size fleet specalizing in heavy duty and a truck repair shop. Bascially open up my fathers old business that he closed the doors on about 20 years ago. He had about 8 trucks constantly working and a busy truck and auto repair shop.

 

In Memory of Brotherandsons who said:

Left a job at a machine shop making $210.00 a week when I was appointed to the Fire Dept making a whopping $9274.00/yr salary ( it was 1974) ...got married, couldn't afford anything, so I needed part time work.....3x5 file card on the bulletin board in the FireHouse locker room said "MAKE 30% !!!..all you need is a chauffers license" ......3 of us went and applied on the same day, one of the trucks in the yard was a 66 Brockway , with a 750 on the back, Duplex tranny..old man asked if any of us could drive it , and I sure could.........and that was all she wrote..... 18 year fireguy career was shortened by a 5 story fall ... got divorced.....came to FL to heal, met wife, got healthy, got back in a wrecker for a local co, couldn't deal with it THEIR way.opened my own......sold out in 06...........got SUCKED back in last September .lol.....I love it still....as much as I did in NJ during the winter pulling Drivelines in the SLUSH!.....only its warmer here

 

bigtow00 said:

I am a glutton for punishment.
My father and my uncle started in the body shop and expanded to wreckers when I was 5. My uncle stayed in the body business and dad took the wrecker business. Those shiny trucks got me. Started answering phones around 12. Working in the shop around 14. We had a fleet of Chevy c30's. We kept parts in the shop for them motors built on the floor, transmissions and any other mechanical parts ready to go. At 14 I could do a 350 engine swap in 2 hours. We pulled the engine out and put in the one off the floor. If the engine was salvageable we rebuilt it but we always had at least one. Training drivers before I could drive the truck. They would drive and I would train them to load and operate. Started driving them at 16 after school and during the summer. I operated a 78 Chevy c30 with a 440 Holmes and a 83 Chevy c30 with a 17 foot Jerrdan rollback. Got my CDL at 18 and I was hooked on the big trucks. My first heavy was a 1978 Chevy Bison that you can see a couple of responses up on Jerry's Garage Banner. I miss that old truck. My father tried to keep me out after i graduated high school but it was too late. He offered to pay for any college I wanted to attend. I was running the business because he was the county Magistrate Judge. I finally talked him into selling to me when I was 23. I bought 2 locations and my sister bought 1 location. I currently operate 8 units and she operates 7 units. We have split the business into 2 seperate businesses. Currently at my location we answer 25-30 calls a day. I have gotten out of it a couple of times when dad owned it because of differences in opinions but I have always come back. Once you get this in your blood you're screwed. I was volunteer fireman for 7 years. I am certified in first responder, auto extrication specialist, rope rescue, water rescue and hazardous materials. I am also a 4/5 WreckMaster and a certified locksmith.

 

DMcCullough said:

How did I start? Boy that is a long story. I was kind of an odd kid loved working on cars...got my first car at 12 when I sold my "trick bike". Through high school I worked at an equipment rental company. Washed trucks and equipment. Did small details. Learned a lot. I got to load trailer and learned how to chain down by the DOT book. Senior year equipment company hired a new employee I didn't care for. (later turned out to be chemically imbalanced) Went to work for Lunda Construction Company. They put me in the welding/crane repair shop. I learned rigging welding. I was attended college to be a shop teacher. Dropped out my junior year after getting diagnosed with cancer. Came home worked for the local John Deere dealer. Meanwhile I looked for something fun to do. Heard about a wrecker/tire service for sale. Went and looked at it. The owner hired me. I should have bought it before working for him. Worked for him for about five years. Couldn't get the deal done. Went to work for a truck shop. They thought I was looking to move on so they laid me off and bad mouthed me. Rented a small shop with a friend who worked on forklifts (owned the rental company I worked for in high school). Wrenched like crazy. Bought my first wrecker a rust bucket with a wheellift. Paid cash. Kept putting out good work. built a business. Bought a better wrecker in pieces actually traded stuff for it I had. Put it togther. Made an awesome buy on a flatbed later that year. This year I bought a 4x4 wrecker in pieces and put it together. Not bad for four years with no money when I opened. I have one employee and am getting ready to have two more and add a second location, by march first. My equipment may not be new. It works well and is paid for. I have come a long way from when I started. I have no loans. I owe on a lift and some tire equipment. You don't need a loan to start. You just need lots of blood and sweat. Know your costs. I am a sell out I have sold out to my customers.....they paid a premium for my good service and we are growing everyday. Be honest work hard educate your customers. and know your stuff

 

unknown member said:

That's quite a question... And look at the info you're getting from it!

I've done a ton of things in my job history - I tend to get bored with things in a hurry, so I changed jobs a lot. I've been a volunteer firefighter since I was 12, and that just kind of seems to fit in with the towing industry for some reason. In one of my in-between-a-job spells, I found an ad for a towing position in Boulder, CO (where I used to live), so I went down to see what it was all about. Well, I guess the time was right, 'cause I was hired the next day, as soon as their insurance company approved me. I worked for that company on and off for a few years, but moving out of the area kind of put the final end to that chapter. I enjoyed towing, and I was good at it, but I really hated working in the snow (still do...), and Boulder's full of that. I just chocked it up to more experiences for my past and moved on - while I liked it, I certainly didn't really plan on doing it again.

After living here a few years, as I started to get to know more people, I also started to hear a lot of complaints about the local towing services - lack of availability, rates, non-professionality, attitude problems, and so on. It made me think back to when I used to drive a tow truck, the fact that I knew I could do better, and I started thinking about maybe this was the right time and place to start out on my own. Then, a year and a bit ago, a close friend got totally ripped off for a simple towing job, and I said enough was enough - my brother and I drove up to Denver and came back with a 1998 International 4700 with a 21' Century bed on it, and the rest (as they say) is history. It tougher'n crap running your own business, the paperwork sucks, it's tough to make ends meet, but I'm still doing it, and I just got a second truck (1976 Ford F-800, Holmes 525 wrecker, No-Mar wheel lift), so I guess I'm stuck for now. As others have said, my equipment's not new, but it's paid for, and I maintain it myself, so I know it'll do the job. I don't need new equipment to do my job right and keep my customers happy, but I'm hoping that things will go well enough that we'll be able to get some newer trucks sooner or later.

At least now, it's on my terms, and if the weather's too bad, I just don't go out. It feels good to be running the show instead of just being told what to do - it 10 times more work, but it's still better. Assuming things stay working like they have been, I hope to be adding a 4x4 and a heavy to the fleet within a couple of years, after I feel that I've had taken enough training courses to run the heavy right. I don't believe in just jumping in without knowing what you're doing - there's a good chance you'll screw something up before you learn enough not too, and I've worked too hard to build this company to allow that to happen.

Finally, it's been probably one of the best things for me and my business to have found Tow411 - it proves to me that I'm not the only one crazy enough to do this, and it helps a lot to have others in the same field to talk to. I've probably learned more things in 2 or 3 months of Tow411 then I did in years of towing - Thanks to all of you!

 

acuranut said:

ow, what a cool post. i'll try and keep this short. been around "car" type jobs since i was 15. pumpin gas, general service, car sales, etc... moved to cary north carolina in september 98 from hometown of parma hts (cleveland) ohio. after starving while selling cars here for a year, decided to quit that before i was homeless. kind of knew a guy from church who owns an auto shop/towing service. he says, come on over and drive a tow truck till you find something else or whatever. well, here it is almost 9 years later. it is a relatively small business, we have 9 trucks. i am now the towing manager, full time dispatcher, and part time driver. i did leave here for about a month and then figured out how good i had it. i bought my first home 5 years ago. nothing is guaranteed of course, but i don't see myself leaving here anytime soon. thanks for all these great stories.

Greg

 

colotow said:

i took a round about route, i was 36 when i got into commercial towing by a side door.


i grew up working on a farm in Vermont, joined the military at 17. after a year in the national guard, i went active duty, went to germany. i hung out with the motor pool guys, i would drive whenever they ran short of drivers, got to go out in the old 5 ton (M816) wrecker sometimes, ended up being sent on my own (and i was a unit supply clerk!!) ran a hemmt (8x8 oshkosh) wrecker in ft hood and desert storm. left active duty, back in the guard, went to a diesel college (4.0 gpa, 2 1/2 yrs, thank you!) and was working for rsc rental as a field mechanic. we used a local towing/hauling company for the big, rolled, and stuck equipment. i had assisted them on a few recovery's, and got to know the drivers on the landolls and wreckers. they found out i had run military wreckers, and already had a class a with endorsements, they talked me into applying part time. i was going thru a divorce at the time, so i started on light duty, got a chance to ride along and assist in the heavy's, and was offered a chance to be trained on them, i'd take a 1/2 day of vacation, and they'd stick me in with whoever was in town. i started running simple calls, worked my way up to doing winchouts, some wrecks, and after my divorce was final i went to work there full time. looking back all i was doing was hiding from everything else, i was running 7 days a week, crazy hours, and being pushed to do even more. i didn't like the policy's under a new owner, so i quit there, went to a different company in denver. still got pushed too hard, and was getting burnt out there as well, then a co worker got hit, (and later died) while loading a rollback (Bill Bruner, feb 2005). i was already talking to kbr, that was when i decided why not? and hired on to do heavy recovery in iraq. i've been here almost 3 years now, i work outside the wire, and it suits me ok. right now, still undecided how much longer i'll be here, alot depends on the contracts. trying to set up an r&r for march right now, might finally get into the wreckmaster weeklong this spring if it all works out.


i'm planning/hoping to be operating heavy wreckers for many years to come, just have to see how it goes.
didn't get shelled yesterday, only ones today were outgoing, need to see what happens tomorrow!!

 

myerstowing said:

My father started the company in 1986 after working for a local wrecker company that was going down the drain. I was born into the industry in 1992. In 1996 my father became a little burned out and became an Area Field Manager for U-Haul for a year or two starting our accompaning Uhaul dealerships. In 1998 after my father returned, he was irritated with interference from his parents and opened a new location. The year 2004 we were offered an auto repair shop and I began answering phones and doing paperwork in the office. We were awarded a Freeway Service Patrol Contract in 2009 and we began operations with our third location in the Bay Area under my direction. We opened a fourth location in 2010 all spread out by a 100 mile radius. Now, with 18 trucks, and 30+ employees I serve as Operations Manager to oversee the locations and expand our business.

 

DragNTow "Mike Penn" said:

The mental institution where I had been living was so overcrowded that they held a contest to let the least crazy inmate out and I won. After that I went out and married two women so I could have some ex-wives like all my friends. Then I got drunk and said yes to my current wife when she proposed. Went to work for a tow company and one day the owner said "you should buy this from me" (tow company) so I did. Been workin my crazy ass off ever since (14 years).
Happy Haulin.......................DragNTow

 

lantz70 said:

started out in law enforcement. after 10 years i was tired, burnt out.as a supervisor i was stuck in the office shuffling papers alot. my k9 was ready to be retired soon. I had always been fascinated with wreckers and loved watching them work at wreck scenes.thought i might do that when I retire. then politics got involved and i got out of law enforcement.there was a dire need for another wrecker service in our area..so i cashed out my retirement,paid off all my bills,and in 1999 bought a ford f350 wrecker with a twin line century wrecker.Been a long hard road at times,especially with the economy as it is now.I do enjoy most of it though.sometimes i wish i could go back to the time of just me and my old 85 ford.351 gas.life was simple then.

 

woody39 said:

at 16 was cleaning in a garage in upstate NY and was taken on wrecks when I was there and they taught me to tow w/ a Holmes 440. at 18 I was looking for full time employment and answered an add to tow and my first weekend towing I trippled what I used to make. I was hooked. shuffled around to several tow companies over the years and finally ended up at Quality/Michael Bigg 8 years ago as a heavy operator......today it has been almost a year out of towing and I tell you that I do miss it and do tow from time to time ( did a bus last week ) but injuries over the years have finally caught up to me and the daily grind of towing 10 trucks a day has taken its toll. so for now I'm not in a wrecker.

 

maggala said:

a friend of mine drove tow trucks many years ago in anther town I went up of holidays and rode around with him for a week chasing smashes loved it but didn't know any one in my town or have my truck licence used to listen for the chasers most nights. fast forward 20 years a business I had importing cars finished up. I was in my early 40's looking for a new career while waiting I finally got the truck licence I mean to many years ago. a friend said come with me for a few weeks and I'll show you towing i go thanks I love cars he taught me the right way his dad was a veteran tow truck driver my friend had been doing it for 10 years. he taught me well I drove his dads truck for a few months learnt the ropes. then his dad came back I bought my own truck got an offer to do car carrying did that 18 months with my truck not much money but got my articulated licence . then carted steel for a a short while and learn't the load restraint. The money and the work wasn't what I wanted. so i changed worked for a equipment haulage co moving mainly large access gear. and road stuff. in low boy and then moved to a 3 axle rollback worked hard made good money got itchy feet for my own truck joined my current company in a small rollback cause with the gfc machinery movements died off. learn all about towing cars small machines and doing aaa equivilent work and police work also council road clearances repos you name it we do it. Around 14 months ago bought my own truck and work leased to my former company. the work is good the pay is great and on time no chasing money and home at a reasonable hour. we are the biggest company in my city and working on the whole country. I have itchy feet to run my own show but will stay where I am for a while. its so much easier than going on your own. I have the companies respect and can talk to one of the owners when ever I like. the only isssue is cause the company has grown so big 150 plus trucks politics some times gets in the way so I keep away from the office once a month is plenty for me. in my job every day is an adventure we have such a huge variety of work I never get bored.
cheers
meggala

 

Brian 991219 "Brian Riker" said:

I am a third generation tower, I grew up in my father's truck garage cleaning the trucks, changing oil, helping dad hookup and deliver trucks.  I was about 8 years old when I started moving cars and small trucks around the lot and by 12 I was riding along with other drivers doing their hookup and such.  Dad sold his garage soon thereafter and I was out of towing until I was 16 when I started moving cars or the local scrap yard, then at 18 I started working part time for a AAA garage.  After this I went to work for a salvage auction, where I met Woody39, became the operations manager before moving on to another auction then bought my own trucks.  I sold my towing business in 04 to the salvage yard I started working at and became a part time driver for them, followed some other transportation related interests until I came back as a safety and compliance consultant.  I plan on returning really soon to operating heavy duty if all goes well.

I learned how to hook up when we were still using scrap tires around the winch cable to protect the bumper.  My first truck was a Ortiz body on a Ford chassis, our heavy duty was a homemade truck on a Diamond Reo chassis.  I then moved up to a F350 with a 17 foot WeldBilt carrier before getting into Chevron 4 car and Landoll 5 and 7 car carriers.  Before I began my consulting business I had operated a NRC 45 ton slider, several old 750's among other trucks and equipment trailers. 

 

timstruckservice said:

Good Post! a lot of different answers and all are unique.  

 

As for me ... Went to Church with my Mom one night, Came home and there was a One Ton Wrecker Recovering a Truck out of the Field behind our Apartment. There was a Single Axle B-Model Mack in the Parking Lot that was used to Winch out the One Ton and the Casualty back to Solid Ground. I was Hooked after looking at the Mack ! 

 

The Owner of the Company was Hooked after Checking my Mom out .... They began to date &  3 months later we Moved in with him, ( They were Married for 5 yrs.)  I began to work for him - then at the age of 14 and Learned how to Drive the Wreckers and Rollback across the Parking lot of his Gas Station. I did my First Tow at 15 and First T/T Roll Over at 17. I went to a Diesel Technical School for a Year while working for him and in Total I worked for him Part Time & Full Time for 7-1/2 yrs. 

 

Then I moved on to a Mechanic's Shop for 4-1/2 Yrs. to Polish my Skills inside the Shop on Working on the Big Rigs. I moved to Nashville to go to work for the Freightliner Dealer for 5 Yrs. just to see if I could hang with the Best of the Best ! 

 

After Working my way up from a Night Shift Mechanic to a Day Shift Foreman .... I got Burnt out with all of the B.S. they handed out , So I started my Own Business of Truck Repair and Mobile Road Service with One Service Truck & $ 250.00 in the Bank.

 

I Expanded our Business to Include Tire Service and Opened up a Shop, but after the Local Wrecker Service Burnt me on a Few Tows & Knowing this from learning this Business over the Years. I Bought My First Big Wrecker in 1999 and Have Kept Growing from there. Now we have 8 Trucks Total and Misc. Equipment from a Recovery Trailer , Bobcat to Dry Box Semi Trailers.

 

Now my Son who just Turned 19 is Following My Footstep's and just finished Diesel Technical School and is Now working with me Full Time. I'm Looking forward to the Future and watching him Take the Business to Newer Heights !

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unknown member said:

My husband grew up in Vancouver B.C. and drove wrecker for a couple tow companies as soon as he got his license at 16. Many years later we met (he was working on a crane at a scrap yard), got married and moved to Kindersley Sask. to raise our kids. He got a job driving tow truck for a local body shop and one day he came home and asked if I would like to be a hooker? After he came to and picked himself up off the floor he explained what he actually meant. We bought our own truck, bought out the towing part of the body shop and went into business for ourselves with him teaching me along the way. That was over 15 years ago. We added a GMC 6500 flat deck to the company and went to several Tow Shows, the last one we were at (about 10 years ago) we were able to take an unlock course that was taught by Mr. Sulley himself, it was the last course he was going to be giving and we learned a lot (well I did anyways as I hadn't done many unlocks before that), I now beat my own husband time wise for unlocks and am teaching him a few things, we also became Certified Locksmiths. We still have the two trucks and a service vehicle but are looking for a heavy as well as adding another truck or two to the fleet. We still run the business ourselves with my dad helping out once in a while. We were able to take the Wreckmaster's course this past Spring and I learned a lot of great things and plan on taking the 4\5 course as soon as we can and then the 6\7. My hubby has been working up North for the past year so we can get the money together to build up our fleet which leaves me in charge of the 3 kids and running business and trucks including the up-keep and repairs by myself, it's been difficult but will all be worth it in the end...or at least I am praying it will be!

Holly M.

 

BigWheelRecovery said:

Wow ours is a long story my dad went to big wheel to buy a truck so he could be a truck driver.When he got there the owner said to my dad why in the world would you want to go on the road i see you in the news paper every week you are sales man of the year at the chevy dealership.My dad told him he wanted to do something different we were small then i was 8 and my brother was 10 my sister was 9 so to make a long story short the owners of big wheel was having trouble so we ended up buying big wheels it was a trucking company back then.We then bought a 53 ford wrecker with a 525 Holmes and here we go we are in the towing business.3 years later we built a 70 r model with a w45 we were the big boys now then we just kept building different trucks to get were we are today its been a LONG road. Thanks Eric

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annettemcd said:

My husband had a number of different jobs over the years, some in which he was self-employed. In the early '90s, he was working in a repair shop, but it never really got off the ground. It became apparent that in a small town of less than 600, it was hard to keep a repair shop going. Newer vehicles needed to go into the nearby urban center to go to dealerships, specialty shops, or closer to the source of parts. Even simple repairs required waiting a day for parts delivery or driving 120 miles round-trip for the needed part(s) and hoping that you got the right one(s), the first time. Older vehicles required more work and/or parts than people were willing to pay. So it looked like towing many of the vehicles to the urban center made more sense than trying to fix them. My husband was doing some towing for the shop, so when the shop closed, it made sense to expand into towing full-time.

My husband built our first truck which had a AutoLift, a hydraulic unit, on it. We soon bought a second-hand truck from the only regular tower in the area. Finally bought a new rollback in '02 and then another one in '06. We have watched other towers come and go over the years, but we have hung on. Repair shops have also come and gone.

AAA has worked well for us. We have tried to work with other motor clubs, but are down to just two others now. We tow for the Alaska State Troopers. Most of past twenty years, as ynow, we have been the only tower for a stretch of over 250 miles. We service an area of about 150 miles along the highway between the two major cities in Alaska.

The population of our entire service area is less than 4000, so many of our jobs are travelers. Being so rural, we are low volume, but almost all of our tows are long distance. We make enough to get by, but there are sometimes days with no work. We like being self-employed, but having been on call 24/7 for 20 years has been tiring. We do not have any real competition, but that also means that there is no one else to share the workload when it gets busy or when we want time off.

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unknown member said:

I started my career in the bodyshop industry over 20 years ago at a Dodge dealership. They had an old Dodge 4X4 Retriever with a Holmes wrecker on it. It got used very little and was only used mostly to plow snow. I used it once the whole 3 years I worked there. Fast foward to 2008. My dad was sick and I had been working for a big bodyshop as a lead paint technician. I was living in a town about 20 miles from where I grew up and I wanted to get back to my home town so I could be closer to my dad and help with the farm while he was in the hospital. An opening came up at the bodyshop that belonged to the Dodge dealer where I used to work. I stopped in and talked to them and they said they wanted me to come back to work, but they were no longer part of the dealership and were an independent bodyshop that had kept the GMC rollback that the dealership had since they never had anyone that wanted to run it. The deal with me coming back was, I was to be the after hours guy running the wrecker, since they were going to promote 24/7 towing and get on a few motorclubs as well as the county rotation also. The truck was in dire shape when I took it over. It only had 100,000 miles on it, but it was neglected. A new winch cable, all the lights working, shined up the bed, painted the whole thing and some new equipment so I could do recoveries and we were set to go. Its been 3 years, but now I get plenty of owner requests and sheriff dept calls as well as a few motorclub calls thrown in. Its not our primary business, but it has been doing quite well.

Mike

 

@TOWAHOLIC @Towstany @Mballor  @nullstowing @wreckerman05 @slimsanta @Bigtow00 

 

 @Colotow @myerstowing @Mike Penn @Lantz70 @Woody39 @brian991219 @timstruckservice

 

@Big Wheel Recovery @Eric Fouquette @annettemcd

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