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Starting up a tow business


Illwill

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Hello my name is william, I am a tow truck operator from California of 12 years experience. I am currently living in Arizona and I am looking into starting up a tow business. I am very green, I am trying to organize what to do first. I have created a name for myself. I am trying to get information on what legal documents I need to file and how to acquire permits. I am also in the process of truck shopping. Any suggestions will help me out on my journey owning a legit professional tow company ready to serve the public. Thank you for your time 

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First I would ask yourself why you want to be in business for yourself. Being your own boss is great and there are immense rewards, but there is a heck of a lot of responsibility. The buck and final decisions start and end with you.

Write your answers down on paper. 

Ask yourself who will be your target niche. Law enforcement rotation towing is robust, but you are going to have to be available 24/7/365/366 on leap year. Which is this year. Motorclubs provide a lot of work, but their rates do not even cover ones cost many times. 

I strongly suggest taking the RBU class as well as wreckmaster certification classes. RBU will open your eyes to the business end, while wreckmaster will teach you the skillset you will need to be successful in the trenches. 

START SMALL. Yes, I am yelling. When you go to the bank next time look at all the glass, marble, stainless steel, and opulence. That is your money being put into play. 

Banks are not your friend. They are not a great or even mediocre partner either. They are like a tick on a dog. No disrespect to ticks. 

Start small and keep your money in your wallet.  

That commercial that states, "What's in your wallet?" It is a parasite sucking the marrow from your soul.

 

Edited by goodmichael
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Thank you so much goodmichael. That was a very inspirational reply. I understand fully what you are telling me and I agree 100%. I will take whatever classes I can take that will better my knowledge with owning a business. I think about why I want to tow for myself everyday of course I want the money And the freedom of being my own boss, but what I love is the reward sitting on the deck or on the wheel lift. the fact that I have been a public servant my whole life fits my character. In my younger days I studied to become a fire fighter l. At the age of 22 I drove my first tow truck working for a company that did law enforcement calls. I would sit at an AM-PM all night long encountering all sorts of people as you know when the moon comes out the world changes. Anyways the company went under due to new California tow laws. I had my first daughter and moved to Arizona and thought I would be happy with a normal job Monday thru Friday same hours every day weekends off.. well I know it sounds stupid to some people but I like being on call I don’t not mind working 24/7. Yes i will miss out on special occasions that my daughters will have but in the long run I will be doing what I love to do. My daughters are now old enough to know me and they know I am fit for towing. I have spit out a lot right now, I just want you to know I will be taking classes to better my career, My knowledge in owning a tow company. Thank you again for your reply I take it to heart.

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The path to success is to not do it to make a job for yourself. But, to eventually make a job for others. You'll find that unless your just hauling scrap it isn't going to be easy, it's not 9 to 5 and the hours are longer then working for someone else. Most new towing companies do not make it past 3 years. Leaving hose who venture to leave the towing industry entirely. Don't fall victim, create a business plan. For those who Fail to Plan - Plan to Fail... Words to Live By!

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While it is and will be a struggle, you have to plan and find your niche. You have to do something that will set you apart from the common bear. Other drivers used to laugh at me when I filled up an ice chest with water, gatorade, and sodas to have them available for the customer who was sitting on the side of the road in the deep South Texas heat. The got real quiet when I told them I generally received 600.00 to 900.00 in tips per month. 

Add value to everything you do. Go the extra mile for your client. Believe it or not, there are still people who will pay for quality service.   

Always be on the hunt for talent and positive attitudes. Even if a person is not old enough to hire, make the contact. And follow up with the person. Time spins around pretty quick. Before you know it insurance will be ready tk approve them. 

Enjoy life. Towing is a job. It is a means to provide for your family and sustain your homefront. Your family is your number one priority. Do not ever forget this. You never get those Christmas mornings or Thanksgiving diners back.  I hear people state that towing is a lifestyle. Being a great parent and eating right is a lifestyle. Towing is a job. It sustains your lifestyle. 

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That’s an awesome post, Very very true. Last night I snagged my wife’s laptop so I can check out wreckmaster classes. I have all the proper requirements that they ask for in prefer to take the classes on line. My wife had already started to check out classes dealing with business operations. Today I will be meeting up with a gentleman who helps guys like myself get started with businesses. I’m looking forward to hearing and learning what he has to tell me. All in all I will be starting this company up hopefully sooner rather than later. The area I live in is growing drastically there is so much potential in running a tow company here. I will have to take it one step at a time for obvious reasons but once I have my feet wet in the towing industry I plan on leaving my 9-5er and start running Nonstop. Thank you goodmichael for your post I really appreciate the knowledge you give me and I will be working on everything you and the other fellas out there have to tell me. I take it seriously. 

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Go to your local library and check out a book titled "Entree Leadership" by Dave Ramsey. It is a must read. Be cautious in the business seminar arena. There are a large number of snake oil salespeople. The RBU seminar is a real eye opener. I did not know one could complete WreckMaster classes on line. WreckMaster as you have discovered is a widely accepted training curriculum. I always thought you had to attend an active class. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hey William ... thanks for the message today and I congratulate you on building your business NOT in California. I want you to think back at how Nancy and Cary ran their business and what simple processes they used to be successful for their years in service. Now that you've read many great ideas from the contributors above, may I suggest that, before you invest in expensive training courses, find out from DPS and other government agencies what they require for tow operator training. Not all on-line courses are approved by law enforcement as they may not include a hands-on module. Since you've been in towing since the late 1990's, you already know much of the towing and recovery industry as a tow operator, so I'd recommend tailoring your education to business courses,; how to build a spread sheet, cost analysis, human resources, etc, or any  other business related topics you may be interested in to build a solid business foundation. And, if you're situated somewhere near Phoenix, go see Troy Barnett at Barnett's Towing and see if he'll give you some pointers? Tell him I sent referred you OK?  Best regards.      R.

Randall C. Resch

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Thank you so much for your advice Randy. I will contact Troy at Barnett’s Towing and see what pointers I can get from him. I would like to build some sort of relationship with other owners that are not in fear of my competition as I am no competition.. yet. I have been looking into what classes to physically go to for hands on training. Tow master web training was something I stumbled across, like you said I need to have certifications of training in order to press forward with law enforcement contracts. Troy will be a great piece of knowledge for me to better understand Arizona’s laws. It is really great I came across your post. It was just last weekend Patrick (who also worked for Nancar)and I were talking about your classes. As I pulled out a tow man magazine with your picture of a stolen recovery pulled off the cliffs of Torrey pines. Thank you again for your advice it means a lot to me. I have a lot of work to focus on.. have a good day and be safe 

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Hello Illwill, I just wanted to touch on what The other gentlemen have already stated. There is a MOUNTAIN of wisdom and good advice just from the 3 men that have already replied to you. I cant speak for the state of Arizona, But here in NY It can be super tough to start up and run a business. My partner and I have been in business for going on 11 years now so, in my opinion we got lucky and we made it. It was a big help that we bought an existing business although it was in real rough shape all around when we took over. The best advice I can give you is to take it slow and THINK!!! Always weigh all your options when making business decisions¬†and remember to WATCH YOUR NUMBERS ALWAYS!!!!¬†¬†If your not making money doing something then dont do it. remind yourself daily that you are in business to make a profit. even a little profit is still profit. The first few years are gonna be hard, VERY HARD. Financially, physically and mentally. Mistakes will be made, arguments will ensue But what you learn from them will pay dividends in the years to come. Although it is inevitable¬† that your family life will suffer some and some anniversaries,¬†birthdays, school plays, soccer tournaments and such will be missed, you MUST always¬†remember to ALWAYS put your family FIRST. I wish you the very best of luck Sir and remember KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. Never stop listening and learning. Please keep us posted on your progress. I feel I can speak for everyone on these forums that If there is anything we can do to help dont hesitate to ask.ūüėɬ†¬†¬†

PROFESSIONAL TOWING & RECOVERY IS NOT JUST A JOB.. IT IS A LIFESTYLE

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Thank you Grumps the tow man, you made a powerful statement I really appreciate everything tow force has offered me. I can’t thank all of you enough for everything you have said to me like I have said before I take it to heart I every post has something to learn from I wish there was something I could give back to all of you. Thank you again for sharing your wisdom with me nothing you guys have said will go to waste. Take care Grumps and be safe 

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