Tow truck business

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by davidsis, Aug 31, 2009.

  1. davidsis

    davidsis Guest

    Since my wife just got laid off, I have been thinking about starting a tow truck business. Go get all of the cash for clunkers, that were actually not cash, but money twords a new car that they have to make payments on that they might not be able to afford. Any ideas on where to start or how to make a business plan?

  2. sparky

    sparky Active Member

    My idea is for you to strap a decent-sized diesel on your MB to get plenty of torque!! ;)

    And the best way to learn how to write a biz plan is by example, just like everything else. Go to the library and take a peek at some books on how to write biz plans. Even better is to go to BooksAMillion, Borders, B&N or whatever...
  3. davidsis

    davidsis Guest


    Hey, thanks for the response. Library, that is usually the first place I start. Ya I bet I could get plenty of help there.
  4. Dilly Bar Rob

    Dilly Bar Rob Member

    Hello davidsis.

    I actually work for a small towing company / autowrecker. I don't drive a towtruck (not my cup of tea), I'm the guy who parts cars out & gets them ready to be crushed, plus I do anything from repairs on our equipment to engine swaps on customers vehicles.

    I'm afraid I cant give advice on how to get started, but here is a story at least: My boss/friend started doing this maybe 10 years ago. He had some money saved up so he went and bought a small used towtruck (F450). He worked as a mechanic in a local shop and just did some towing on the side. There was already a long established towing company in town that was taking care of "police" tows, roadside assistance tows and such so he didn't have much of a chance of making any "real" money. Then about 3 years ago my friend got lucky - the owner of the towing company was getting ready to retire and move away so he sold the company with 1 big kenworth and 1 f450 truck to my friend. After that we were the only towing company in town for about a year which really helped us to get going.

    Today we have the kenworth, 2 f450's and a international B4x00 flatbed. We work a stretch of highway ~350km long and our town of about 5000 people. We are the only company here that does tows/impounds for the police and insurance companys.

    Some advice:
    Don't buy a new truck, you will bury yourself in debt for years to come. Buy a used truck, it just need's to get the job done. Buy a parts truck or two for it...

    Work the truck and yourself HARD. Hord all the work you can. Tow anything you can for anyone. Tow first, worry about money second - you have somebodys car, people WILL pay if they want it back. If they don't you just scored a car.

    Tows for the police / insurance companys IS where the money is. See if you could get a contract. That would guarantee you work. If you cant get one life will be hard.

    Towing scrap cars / salvage IS NOT where the money is, at least not for a beginning company. Steel has gone down a lot in price over the last few years, you have to have A LOT of cars to make any money (at least over 100). We charge most people for towing junkers to help make a profit. Also you need a big property to store that many cars. It better be zoned as industrial or people will complain (they will complain anyway). Preparing the cars for the crusher/parting them out is also a lot of work - get some kid (me..) to do it and pay him minimum wage :evilgrin:

    The bad:
    If you end up towing for police be prepared to have people yell at you and threaten you quite often.
    People will want to sue you for damage you supposedly did to there vehicle while towing it.
    You will never again sleep.
    You will find drugs/weapons/money (found all three :ack2:) in a vehicle sooner or later.
    You will see somebody dead in a wreck sooner or later :icon_cry:

    I don't want to deter you or anything. It is a tough job in a tough business. Do your research and prepare yourself before/if you decide to take the plunge. If you have any questions go ahead and ask - if I don't know the answer I can ask my boss.

    Best of luck!
  5. spad4me

    spad4me Member

    Highly dated information .

    Decades ago in high school I worked at a service station as a mechanic.Yes a mechanic.
    During the slow times of the year. The boss decided to help business along by becoming a AAA( Triple A) emergency repair and service all center.

    Triple a will pay for small service calls
    A jump , out of , gas, lockout ETC.
    You would be surprised at how much you can make offjust the calls.
    I was paid commission.
    Plus the service work.
    It grew huge because we werent screwing anyone just repairing broken cars helping stranded motorists.

    If you can get in .
    There are probably many . many Business people who ask AAA for their business.

    All you need is Booster cables, a good jack, gas can , slim jim asst tools.
    I would often make the equivalent of a weeks wage as a mechanic in a single night of simple service calls.

    To run a wrecker you will need licenses from your state EXPENSIVE.
    In 1970 , At 18 I was making over $600.00 a week doing this until I burned out and got into Electrical work.
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2009
  6. biketec

    biketec Member

    Only thing I can say is if you do get in to it don't be that guy!!!!!!!!!
    There's a local company here tow zone and they go around getting contracts with places ie. businesses, apartments, condos and at any random time (12:30 PM) he rolls through looking for permits and WILL tow your car 175.00 but on the bright side we both got ours second time this guy has done this second time he got knocked out cops come he gets the car and my money!!! first time was my GFs dad who knocked him out second was me you would think he would learn but at 175.00 for 10 minutes is pretty good money must be why he does it. Also if you were thinking I should have known better I did not. Apparently there's a sign out front but I was never aware of it because I don't live there, and no one told me (GF!!!) oops forgot to tell you:shout: grrrrrr .... moral of the story 175.00, 3 days, classes, and fines, Would I do it again yes! the guy IS a criminal! but on the brighter side you can be of very good service to others if done properly. Don't go to the dark side its no fun! I had a friend who did it in Reno said it was amazing you would be surprised how grateful some people are :whistling:
  7. SimpleSimon

    SimpleSimon Active Member

    A few years back a tow truck operator in Houston latched onto a guys ride in his driveway one night, and dragged it out. He was most of a block away when the "owner" opened fire with his rifle, killing the tow truck driver - who had a legitimate tow order on a loan default repossession.

    Owner was charged with murder - and acquitted by a jury.

    Moral of that story is - stay away from repos.
  8. Dilly Bar Rob

    Dilly Bar Rob Member

    WOW! Now that's harsh! :no:

    My buddy/boss also has to do the odd repo tow once in a while. Fortunately so far he has only got yelled at a bunch of times and almost into a fight on one occasion. Maybe I should advise him to wear a bulletproof vest the next time he does one!

    Yeah this can be a dangerous & nerve-wracknig business at times.

    My buddy is 32 (I think) and already you can see a few gray hairs on him :rolleyes7:
  9. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    on kneeslider there is a honda bike that transforms into a tow truck in about 2mins, and upon dropping the car it goes back to bike form again. there is a vid of it working.
  10. sparky

    sparky Active Member

  11. stude13

    stude13 Active Member

    i think the kneeslider rig is in sweden. the guy can get around jams on the bike long before a tow rig can pick his way through. in fact the builder was told he could never get it to work. he was way wrong. he won a bet when they were both sent out at the time and the bike delivered the car to the yard.