28 Oct 2014
As a member of towing towing community we all have personal stories of on-road tragedies suffered by coworkers, friends and fellow tow operators. It is heartwarming to see awareness of this issue grow in creative ways like this Allstate sponsored video reminding everyone of the cost of poor driving decisions. We all have a duty to spread awareness of the importance of Move Over Laws. Move laws simply require drivers to slow down and move over a lane for any emergency vehicle with flashing lights. It seems simple enough but I think a dedication to building awareness will drive compliance. Please share this video and other Move Over info as you are able. Use website, social media, trucks and arm employees with information about the law and its benefits.
23 Oct 2014
With the Baltimore Tow Show just around the corner we are seeing the close of 2014. So many new products and services have been issued this year its been a year of innovation in equipment, dispatching and marketing. Be sure to visit us at the Baltimore Tow Show this year and have a great and safe busy season.
15 Oct 2014
It’s your lucky day. The good folks at American Towman have offered their vendors (TowProgram.com in Booth 1311!) free passes to the Baltimore Tow Show 2014. This year they are branding the Baltimore Tow Show as the Monster Tow Show with all sorts of new and fancy graphics. I like the update of the images and hopefully they will be handing out the Tow Truck Transformer that is on the cover of the October American Towman Magazine. So download your free pass to the 2014 Baltimore Tow Show by clicking the image.
The Free Boss’ Pass gives you access to the tow truck show floor (the American Towman Exposition) and many of the events including the vendor area, Bull’s Roast and Tow Truck Beauty Contest. Other tow show Baltimore highlights for the Monster Tow Show are the seminars offered by many industry leaders. We are hosting a tow show 2014 seminar on Sunday that will discuss the issues towers need to be aware of when engaging with Google. The seminar series is a paid series and costs $75 per person, and includes breakfast each morning.
05 Aug 2014
Here is a free pass to the San Antonio Tow Show. The show kicks off this week and we are able to offer you a free printable floor pass. Click on the Exhibit Hall Pass below to download and gain free entrance into the exhibit hall at Tow Expo Int’l. Exhibit hours: Fri. & Sat., August 8 & 9: 12 noon to 6 pm.
Registration is open:
Thurs., Aug. 7: 1-4 pm; Fri. & Sat., Aug 8-9: 7 am to 6 pm.
The San Antonio Tow Show occurs each year and is hosted by the folks at the American Towman Magazine. This show includes exhibits, conferences, training and special events for the attendees. They host two other shows each year including the Baltimore Tow Show in November and the Las Vegas Tow Show in June. These shows are always well put together and are a must see at least once for every tower. If you are in Texas our the South this show is worth a visit. San Antonio is a nice place to take the family so make a mini vacation of the trip and write it off at the same time. Learn more at their site http://towexpointernational.com
10 Jun 2014
An interesting article crossed my news feed this week addressing uninsured towing companies. This is an issue many legit towing companies face; competition from uninsured and under-insured companies. These companies gain an unfair advantage at the expense of public safety and consumer trust. According to this article a couple operating a “towing business” damaged a 2007 Lamborghini Gallardo while moving the vehicle and then apparently attempted to claim the damage on their personal insurance saying it was not a paid tow. The couple now face serious changes including the possibility of up to five years in state prison and a $50,000 fine. I am sure the vehicle owner would have preferred to pay a “real” towing company a few more bucks and avoid this entire mess.
05 Jun 2014
I ran across the below video last week and was somewhat shocked by their findings. This report was a result of a recent FL accident killing tow truck driver John Duggan and Chelsea Richard, 9-year veteran of the Florida Highway Patrol. This is a horrible incident and one that towers and law enforcement face every day. What seems more egregious is the clear selective enforcement of the Move Over law. In the video the news crew finds 78% of people move over for a police vehicle and less than 3% move over for a tow truck. But when searching moving violation records just one ticket was issued for failure to move over for a tow truck compared to 670 tickets for failure to move over for a police vehicle. I don’t think there is a considered effort on the part of law enforcement to not support towers I just think there may be a lack of awareness. What if every tower had a Move Over patch on their uniform? What if every tower reminded officers of the need for their support in the line of duty? Maybe there is something we can do to further increase awareness of our own safety.
Today I received a call from Florida tower who purchased the Black Book of Towing a few years ago and gave me a call with a question. He has applied the principles of the book and has grown his company adding trucks and employees. He was interested in knowing where is fleet was at any given time to ensure optimal dispatch and response. I recommended he check out the tow truck tracking software providers to see if something fits in his budget. With increasing competition decreasing costs even the smallest tow companies can often find a working and affordable solution to tracking their tow trucks.
Most of these systems offer real time tracking including speed, stops and even PTO engagements. You can set up geographic areas and get alerts when your truck leaves that space and all sorts of reports. Here are a few I have seen at the tow shows:
19 Feb 2014
Left in the wake of the recent and frequent storms to hit much of the Midwest and Eastern US this winter are clear roads and complaints of towing fees. It always amazes me to see how much people are willing to complain about a cost of a service that is almost immediate and provides the level of service and safety rarely seen from other services. It makes me wonder: “What do people expect a tow to cost?”
The never ending waltz between towers, those towed and property owners is the source for great friction in just about every urban and suburban community. Private property towing plays an essential part in ensuring property owners and managers can effectively manage their space and provide sufficient access to parking for tenants, visitors and patrons. It is equally important towers recognize that predatory towing exists. And those towers employing deceiving tactics are hurting the towing industry as a whole and their personal business prospects. But what can we call do to address and resolve the situation? Provo Utah’s mayor wrote an article recently making his recommendations. And though no solution is ever perfect right out of the box I think it is a good idea for this conversation to advance in the hope it can achieve a solution.
In addition to the good mayor’s comments I would suggest a few more ideas to address the issues. A considered and complete solution to this challenge could be a nationwide model. Since property owners are the decision maker in this process, providing access to them about quality providers in the area could help. This includes transparency of complaints filed against towers more visible and opening up truck inspection records. An informed decision is always a better decision.
Penalties for repeated abuses of local towing ordinances must be severe and enforced. Too often, local government’s solution is more regulations and paperwork which just creates more work for good towers and the bad guys ignore it as they do other requirements. The vast majority of towing companies are filled with hard working, family orientated people. They create local jobs, consume a great deal of local fuel (pumping a lot of road taxes into the local economy) and are committed to providing excellent service to their customers. But its always those few outliers that seem to garner all of the headlines and set the reputation tone for the entire industry. Reputable towers almost always welcome a more open relationship with local law enforcement. Spot checking paperwork, proactive enforcement and meaningful investigations into alleged wrongdoing can send the message that this is a issue on the department’s radar.
The penalty for repeating abusers can’t be just to give back the fee. The penalty has to hurt to be effective. Larger fines might be a solution. Another possible solution is for all area towers to maintain a municipal towing license. Then, as violations rack up tower licenses could be suspended for a set period. I know this all takes a fair amount of administration to manage and enforce but the mayor said this is the issue he spends the most time on. And he is not the first mayor or police chief I have heard this from. Committing to this solution can send a message that will be heard by all towers.
In our country, more often than not, regulation for any industry is bad for business. But unless the towing community helps to solve some of these challenges by forwarding reasonable and equitable solutions, that is exactly what we may see down the road. And its entirely possible that ill-considered, fast to act regulations will only put more paperwork and overhead costs on the shoulders of the reputable towers and be ignored by the bad apples. But its always better to have a seat at the table when these discussions are happening.