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Chicago’s Lake Shore Drive turned into a car graveyard the day after a massive blizzard brought 20+ inches of snow and 60+ mph winds.

Motorists were stranded when the storm hit in the early evening of February 1. After hours with no assistance motorists abandoned their cars for safety leaving behind between 600-900 cars depending upon which report you believe.

The end result was a whole lot of work for the city’s tow contractor E&R Towing. E&R towed the cars to nearby lots at Soldier Field and local museums. All reports are that motorists will not incur towing fees leaving me to believe the city will be picking up the tab.

Wouldn’t it be nice to mail out that invoice?

Hot off the Presses

After some brief but prosperous discussions with Bill Candler, editor of the fine towing publication Towing & Recovery Footnotes we are ready to announce that Dennis Wencel will be a regular business column contributor to Towing & Recovery Footnotes monthly publication.

Bill and I met at the Baltimore show and after an enjoyable but brief conversation at the show it was clear to both of us we had more to discuss. So after the dust of the show settled we were able to get back in touch with each other to figure out how our two organizations could work together. Bill was impressed with the concept of the Black Book of Towing & DVD Set and the other services offered by TowProgram. He particularly like the fact that there is someone with a towing background providing business and advertising assistance to the industry.

I have always been impressed with the content that Towing & Recovery Footnotes produces month after month. The newspaper format allows for timely and actionable industry information to reach towers quickly so they have a chance to use the information on the pages immediately.
The team at Towing & Recovery Footnotes has always put the needs of the tower first and I have valued their contribution to the industry for years. In fact, throughout my years owning a towing company the latest issue of Towing & Recovery Footnotes was always on the main counter only to be replaced by a newer issue.
I could not be happier with our new relationship and look forward to years of helping them provide quality information to towers.

Verizon and other land line phone companies are appealing to state regulators to approve their request to cease production of white pages residential directories. Sighting a severe decline in use, fewer than 10% of directories are ever used according to a Verizon spokesman; the company would stop production immediately. Interestingly enough however they are committed to continue producing the yellow pages. And according to the Yellow Pages Association more than 50% of Americans use the yellow page printed directory each month. So which is it? Do we use these books at a rate of 50% or 10%? A Chicago Tribune article on the topic stated phone companies argued that consumers now check out the internet rather than flipping through the guide to find a residential phone number. But you would think this behavior shift would also transfer to looking up local companies too, no? Of course it does.

First we need to understand white page directories fall on the expense side of Verizon’s business while the yp’s are on the fatty revenue side. Then the picture becomes clearer. If you also consider it is unlikely phone company employees are going to lie to state and federal regulators then it stands to reason the usage number that is probably more correct is the 10%.

So if offline directory usage is at 10% and you are, say a towing company serving a 30 mile radius how many of those customers are finding you? It is time to get serious about your local advertising plan for your tow company. You cannot afford to give your competition a 90% head start and then expect to compete.

I often hear cash calls are down but I really think cash calls are about the same and the tow companies that get the calls are not the same ones getting these calls 10 years ago.

Its time, their dead, lets move forward. Get a plan for your tow company to advertise online. Online marketing is much more versatile and impactful than its aging offline grandfather and should cost less than what you are paying in yellow page ads now.

Chicago Tribune Article Article

It is fair to say many tow companies just do not have the resources to promote themselves with non traditional message channels. Be it through press releases, interview inquiries or even social media channels like Facebook or LinkedIn. It often requires skills not inherent to our industry or a substantial time commitment from an employee to figure it all out.

I found a great example of a tow company sending our a press release about their 30th anniversary of business with a message wrapped around employee loyalty. It is a fantastic way to promote an important company milestone without looking self-promoting. North Shore Towing in Chicago’s Northern suburbs issued a press release through (a completely free service which allows you to submit info that they will them disseminate via their proprietary network of news and search contacts) messaging the fact that their very first hire is still with the company. The release goes on to highlight a few employees and their overall family atmosphere and commitment to providing quality services.

A TowProgram tip of the cap to the folks at North Shore Towing. Any time we can get a positive message into the public discussion about members of of the towing community towing as a whole benefits. Selecting a towing provider should not be fear based. Consumers should have access to information helping them choose a provider who is professional, reliable and an active within the community.

Its repeats like a broken record – The Yellow Pages Are Dead. And through I have made this statement several times speaking to tow professionals it nevertheless remains true. Its just a slow, painful and for some in the tow industry, an expensive death.

I was speaking to an old friend not too long ago who works for an online local business directory and asked him why the yellow pages are still printed and he said it because small businesses are still buying ads. Usage has all but dried up according to the recent 15miles Fourth Annual comScore Local Search Usage Study. This ongoing study tracks many usage measurements but the most important to the tow industry is the fact that fully 70% of households solely use the internet for local business searches. And, interestingly enough, 45% say they do not have a specific company in mind when the start the search. Talk about an opportunity to build your business!

There were may more statistics to come out of the survey that talked about the increase in mobile web access (searching for companies on your smartphone) which really plays an important role when someone is broken down on the side of the road. Where the once would call home and have someone look up the local tow company now they just search their location and tow and call the first company to come up. Or, they call 411 and the operator performs the same search. Either way, its important for tow companies to have a meaningful presence online.

One final interesting tidbit was that 81% believe it’s important for local businesses to respond to questions and complaints on social sites. So they are saying if you get a poor review on a site they want to hear your side of the story too. So don’t shy away from responding to comments but maybe you should wait until after lunch when the shop is calm and all is well.

The Black Book of Towing & DVD Set is now available to help towing and recovery companies increase their profits.

Here is the official Press Release that was sent out to the industry publications on Friday.
Black Book of Towing & DVD Set author, Dennis Wencel, said, “When I first got into towing, few were willing to answer the questions I had about how to make my business more profitable. So after I sold my company, I decided to pour all the valuable secrets I learned over the years into a book and DVD set to help more independent tow companies thrive. After all, one of the greatest aspects of our industry is that it is filled with small, independent and family-owned businesses, and I want to help keep it that way.

Built by towers for towers, the set details the path to increased profits by walking towing and recovery company owners and managers through simple, easy and effective steps to tackle the biggest business-side challenges facing tow companies today. -Kick-starting their online advertising plan so internet searchers know they exist
-Easily computing costs and revenue per call so they know how much they make on each call
-Adding automation methods to help the business run more efficiently
-Better managing employee relations through creative compensation techniques
-Preparing the business for the most profitable sale

“Our industry has all sorts of training resources for the recovery skills side of towing,” Wencel said, “It’s time we had access to proven ideas and tactics for the business side too, because both sides have to work to be successful in today’s competitive environment.”
Wencel will be a speaker at the 2010 Professional Towing & Recovery Operators of Illinois Tow Show in Lisle, IL August 15 and 16. To learn more about the Black Book of Towing & DVD Set, call Tow Program at 888-834-1123 or visit Images and details are available at

About The Black Book of Towing & DVD Set The Black Book of Towing & DVD Set was created by Dennis Wencel shortly after he sold his towing and recovery business. Focused on helping independent towing and recovery companies thrive, The Black Book of Towing and DVD Set purchase also includes a 30-day money back guarantee and lifetime access to the Online Toolbox, a database of forms, sample contracts and other useful documents for the busy towing and recovery company.

About Tow Program Tow Program is the company Dennis Wencel started to promote and distribute The Black Book of Towing & DVD Set. The company also provides Online Advertising Plans and on-site consulting services to the Towing and Recovery Industry. For more information, visit

About Dennis Wencel Dennis Wencel created The Black Book of Towing & DVD Set after selling his own towing and recovery company in 2010. Prior to his time in towing, Wencel worked for a decade in advertising and marketing. He lives with his wife, Jan, in Naperville, Il.

We had a great time in Reno and met all sorts of good folks. The classes were well attended and we have some very good discussion on online advertising for a tow company.
Thanks to all who attended and to the staff from CTTA for putting on a great show.

The seminars: Online Advertising For Your Tow Company and Building an Online Presence for Your Tow Company were such a success we ended up running out of books so we have extended the show special on the web site.
You can find the deal on the hidden page here.

See you all next year.

AZ Governor vetoes tow truck bill: says it need to be “More thoroughly thought out
Ed Ableser, D-Tempe, that would have made it illegal for tow truck companies to remove a vehicle on private property without permission from the property

Towing service owner charged with agreeing to pick up trash in lot for right to tow
Gainesville Sun
By Karen Voyles The owner of a Gainesville towing service has been charged with violating the state law regulating the services that a tow operator can

Aiken Standard

Suspect faces 50 charges of perjury, practicing law without license
Aiken Standard
Officials said the statute is designed to help towing services recoup the loss they incur by towing and housing a vehicle. Law enforcement officers who find

TowProgram to Present at The Western States Tow Show
Sponsored by the California Tow Truck Association.

Dennis Wencel from TowProgram will be presenting two seminars at the Western States Tow Show. The seminars will focus on how small tow companies can make the most of their online presence.

Internet Exposure for Your Tow Company Thursday June 3rd at 12pm

Understand the first steps to starting your online business profile. Learn the tricks to building a powerful online presence for your company on a shoestring budget. And find out why you need to move all of your advertising spending to the Internet.

Internet Advertising for Towers Saturday June 5th at 9am

This introduction to Keyword Search Advertising will teach you the basics to get the biggest bang out of your Internet advertising buck. Learn how to create impactful ads, apply the right keywords and use geo-mapping to only serve ads in your area. You can have your company advertising online within 24 hours.

Off the heals of great success at the Houston Tow Show, we are looking forward to a great time in Reno! See you in June!

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Who Is Dennis Wencel

TowProgram Dennis WencelMarketing expert and former tower Dennis Wencel provides complete web solutions for tow company owners who want to generate more cash calls and drive greater profits.

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