The Week's Features
A new National Transportation Safety Board report highlights the risk of lithium-ion battery fires for towing professionals and first responders.
Restoring a beat-up Dynamic 755, Wayne Hall, owner of Mountain Towing & Recovery, shares a couple of recovery stories with this versatile wrecker.
A classic tow truck restoration that even does wheelies!
Cover yourself with Mobile Vehicle Surveillance Systems that record audio and video any time the ignition is turned on.
Events
Cleveland, OH.
June 17-19, 2021
San Antonio, TX.
Aug. 5-7, 2021
Las Vegas, NV.
Sept. 15-17, 2021
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 11-14, 2021
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in Towing January 11 - January 18, 2021

Racing to the Top

0 54a64By George L. Nitti

Rockdale Towing & Recovery, located in Reistertown, Md., just off the Baltimore Beltway, has been a mainstay of the city since 1968. Bruce Leibowitz joined the company in 1995, working night shifts 7 days a week while working a day job at a Ford Dealership in their commercial service department.

Approximately 20 years later, Leibowitz, along with his brother Gary Leibowitz, an attorney by profession, partnered to buy the company, immediately transforming it when they acquired a 1992 Peterbilt with a 378 JerrDan 25-ton Wrecker.

Leibowitz said, “At the time our largest truck was a 14-ton, single axle, which we outgrew. Once we got that heavy truck, our business exploded. We were able to buy a 2nd wrecker within a year and a half.”

Leibowitz would work on cultivating his commercial contacts at Ford, converting them to clients in his new business.

He said, “I knew so many people. Because I could now tow bigger trucks, I captured the work.”

Since the company was new to the heavy-duty game, Leibowitz intended that their new design would stand out more if it were wrapped like a big rolling billboard.

Turning to the graphical design prowess of Razor Wrap’s Mark Long, the company’s branding took on a new direction, imbued in part with Long’s signature brush strokes, such as the flowing yellow and orange striped lines along the wrecker’s side.

“All of our trucks were black and we switched it to orange from gold. The black and gold colors looked like the Pittsburgh Steelers. NOT a favorite here in Baltimore. We were going for something more like the colors of the Baltimore Orioles,” Leibowitz said. He added, “Yellow brings out the orange, making it more vivid.”

The flowing black checkered flags was another signature piece added to the side of the unit.

Leibowitz said, “All of my trucks have checkered flags on the front hoods. I have been a race fan my whole life.”

But perhaps what stands out the most is the black retro font of the company name that also flows along the body’s side, integrated perfectly with the company’s sunnier colors.

“I’m a classic car guy,” he said, “and into classic memorabilia.”

The topper is the cartoon of Foghorn Leghorn on the side of the light bar.

“I grew up on Looney Tunes and Hanna Barbera,” he said. “That was my generation.”

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!


Click here to read more

Report Warns of Risks to Towers from Lithium-ion Battery Fires

A new National Transportation Safety Board report highlights the risk of lithium-ion battery fires for towing professionals and first responders.

 “Thermal runaway and multiple battery reignitions after initial fire suppression are safety risks in high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires,” the NTSB wrote in the document released Wednesday.

“… The energy remaining in a damaged high-voltage lithium-ion battery, known as stranded energy, poses a risk of electric shock and creates the potential for thermal runaway that can result in battery reignition and fire.”

The NTSB report also criticized OEM first responder guides for lacking enough information to protect first responders like firefighters and “second responders” like towing companies.

The NTSB advises the Towing and Recovery Association of America to “Inform your members about the circumstances of the fire risks described in this report and the guidance available to emergency personnel who respond to high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires in electric vehicles.”

Some recommendations include towing a damaged electric vehicle on a flatbed and arranging to tow the vehicle to an offsite location where it can be isolated. For more information on this report, go to

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/2021/01/18/ntsb-report-highlights-safety-risks-precautions-for-electric-vehicle-towing-storage


Chassis Options on Display at the American Towman Expo

Measures of Success

success c312b

Brian J Riker

Success is something we all strive for but how do we define it? In our business we could argue that success is measured by increasing market share and higher revenues or fleet size.

Obviously we are in business to make a profit and our employees are with us to provide a life for their families. These goals need not be at odds with each other. Happy employees are usually more productive and stay with the same employer for longer periods.

Perhaps more important than top wages or superior benefits is fostering a positive company culture that will keep your team coming back to work, day after day. If they love what they do, who they do it with and the mission of your company - they will give their best. Treat your team fairly and remember that they have their own life outside of their role at the company. If we as owners and managers remember to respect their home life they will return that respect by going above and beyond when it is truly needed. Without them you have no one to serve your customers.

Ask for and respond to their opinions. You may be surprised at what your team sees that you do not. Tell them the truth, even when it hurts it is still better than having them react to unfounded rumor. Perhaps most important for building great culture is integrity. Say what you mean, mean what you say and never tolerate gossip or bad-mouthing. Gossip is a cancer that destroys companies from within quickly. It demoralizes and demotivates people faster than any other single factor.

Public perception is another way I measure success. Our industry has a public image problem, no doubt about it. We are usually the last person a motorist wants to see because we are responding to an event that is out of their control and they feel helpless. How we respond to their request for service or treat them after a non-consent tow is important. If your team is not happy it will be apparent to the customer and may result in a less than a desirable outcome.

Successful tow companies also create a clear brand image. Many companies don’t have super flashy paint jobs or cool graphics, but have consistency across their fleet and clean trucks operated by skilled, well-groomed and uniformed drivers who are supported by professional staff at the office.

How are your phones answered? Does the caller know who they called and instantly get a feel of helpfulness? How you answer the phone may sound trivial but it contributes greatly to public perception. By not clearly identifying your company and the call taker by name the customer immediately, albeit subconsciously, feels like you have something to hide or are somehow trying to be dishonest. Proper phone techniques will lead to a greater call to sale conversion rate, another measure of success.

In conclusion success is measured in more ways than simply making a profit at the end of the day or having the largest fleet of new trucks in your area. Success is providing good opportunities for your team to support their families, creating a positive company culture, and presenting a professional public image with a desire to serve your customers.

By Don Lomax
Click to enlarge


Have you diversified into any new revenue streams to cope with the pandemic?
Yes
No
homediv
Managing Editor: Steve Calitri
ATTV Editor & Anchor: Emily Oz
Advertising Sales (800-732-3869):
Dennie Ortiz x213, Ellen Rosengart x203, Peggy Calabrese x202
Content Management: Henri Calitri
Site Progr., Graphics & Video: Ryan Oser
Wrecks + Recovery Editor: Jim "Buck" Sorrenti
Operations Editor: Randall C. Resch
Tow Business Editor: Brian J. Riker
Tow Illustrated Editor: George L. Nitti
January 11 - January 18, 2021

Midwest Tower Working Around the Clock

With the recent winter storms in Quad-Cities, Ill., causing many crashes and multiple cars to flip over, tow truck driver Bruce Goacher has seen little relief.

“It’s endless. You can go right on around the clock if you want,” said Goacher, owner of Goacher Towing. He has operated the tow truck business for more than 40 years.

“The phone rings probably every half hour,” he said. “We get seven or eight or 10 calls, which I can’t do all of them, but I get as many as I can and I never stop.”

Goacher says it can be tricky trying to get vehicles flipped back over.

“Some are harder than others,” he said. “Some come back over real easy. It all depends where the car is at, how far down it is, if it’s in a ditch, up on the middle of the road or wherever, but generally they gotta come back over.”

Goacher is seeing more rollover accidents than in previous winters and his advice to people is to “slow-down.”

https://www.ourquadcities.com/
On the Hook with John Borowski - 6
homediv
January 11 - January 18, 2021
Lithium-Ion Battery Fire

Report Warns of Risks to [b]Towers from Lithium-ion Battery Fires

A new National Transportation Safety Board report highlights the risk of lithium-ion battery fires for towing professionals and first responders.

“Thermal runaway and multiple battery reignitions after initial fire suppression are safety risks in high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires,” the NTSB wrote in the document released Wednesday.

“… The energy remaining in a damaged high-voltage lithium-ion battery, known as stranded energy, poses a risk of electric shock and creates the potential for thermal runaway that can result in battery reignition and fire.”

The NTSB report also criticized OEM first responder guides for lacking enough information to protect first responders like firefighters and “second responders” like towing companies.

The NTSB advises the Towing and Recovery Association of America to “Inform your members about the circumstances of the fire risks described in this report and the guidance available to emergency personnel who respond to high-voltage lithium-ion battery fires in electric vehicles.”

Some recommendations include towing a damaged electric vehicle on a flatbed and arranging to tow the vehicle to an offsite location where it can be isolated.

https://www.repairerdrivennews.com/

Tower with Alzheimer’s [b]Honored by Community

40 year veteran Va. Tower Henry Shaver, the owner of Albermarle Towing, was paid tribute in front of his house when a parade of 100 tow trucks, police cars and fire trucks honored his work in the community. Shaver’s health has been in decline due to Alzheimer’s.

Phil Patterson, one of the organizers of the parade, said Shaver has been a big part of his life.

"I've known Henry since I was 15. He's towed every car I've ever owned," said Patterson. "He's always volunteering his time to the rescue squads and fire departments. I think every fireman and every police man know who he is. He's towed school buses and trash trucks. Just about every one of them in Albemarle County at least."

W.J. Shaver, Henry's son, also honored his father’s legacy.

"He taught me everything I know in the business," he said. "I wouldn't be the man that I am without the father that I had growing up."

https://www.cbs19news.com

Catalyst for Change

January 4 marked a year ago that Dale Jones, who worked for Performance Towing in Watertown, SD, was struck and killed pulling a vehicle out of a ditch. Since then, the state has passed two pieces of legislation that are making a difference in making the roadways safer for towers.

Senate Bill 164 makes it a class 2 misdemeanor with a minimum fine of $270 for failing to move over/reduce speed to 20 miles per hour. That piece of legislation was followed by House Bill 1170, making it legal for tow truck and Department of Transportation vehicles to use blue lights in the performance of their duties.

Andy Wicks, the owner of Performance Towing, said that there were two major components of the Senate Bill. He said, “First, a person is supposed to be slowing down prior to getting to the incident scene. Secondly, it carries a much stiffer penalty.”

But according to him, the biggest change has resulted from being able to use blue flashing lights. He said, “That seems to have gotten a pretty good response from traffic. You are not always a 100% safe but that seems to have generated a little more attention from the motoring public.”

https://www.mykxlg.com

NYC Shuts Down Tow Pound

Due to a state government directive ordered by the Cuomo administration, tow operators in NYC may see less action due to a shut-down of NYC’s tow pound at Pier 76.

The pound has been considered an eyesore and the government wants to turn it over to the Hudson River Park Trust for redevelopment.

Franklyn Sepulveda, deputy director of NYPD’s traffic division, told dozen of tow operators to immediately stop towing until further notice.

Marvin Robbins, vice president of District Council 37 Local 983 claims the order puts New Yorkers at risk.

“Once people realize they won’t be towed, it’s going to be a free-for-all like the Wild West,” said Robbins. “What happens when cars block a fire hydrant or a bus lane? Emergency vehicles won’t be able to get around. That’s especially troubling, and this jeopardizes lives.”

Robbins said Sepulveda also informed the operators some areas of Manhattan would beef up “booting” as a temporary deterrent for illegal parkers.

Operators have been told they have two weeks to relocate to one of the NYPD’s three other pounds in the Bronx, Queens and Brooklyn, which Robbins said lack space for the added staff and vehicles.

NYPD spokeswoman Sgt. Jessica McRorie said vehicles will be towed to the pounds in the outer boroughs “until further notice.”

https://nypost.com/

Baltimore’s Backlog of [b]Abandoned Cars

The city of Baltimore is trying to catch up on its backlog of abandoned cars since the suspension of towing operations due to Covid-19 pandemic. Although the city claims they have removed over 400 vehicles in the last month, there are many more to go.

Frustrated citizens have voiced their concerns, complaining that they are eyesores and a blight on the city. Many of these unsightly cars are smashed up and stripped of parts and in some cases a breeding ground for trash and rodents.

"I just want them to clean it all up," said Tony Johnson, who had an abandoned car sitting in front of his home for at least 6 months. "We've got enough rats in the alleys due to the trash that's not being picked up. We don't need this."

Although towing resumed last month, the Baltimore’s Department of Transportation says it's facing a massive backlog.

"It's a pretty hefty back log and we're working through it," said DOT spokesperson German Vigil.

https://foxbaltimore.com/

Trials in Towing the Mark

Pepe’s Towing Services, which serves several locations in Southern California, is suing the city of Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino County, along with seven individuals, over unfair treatment and sudden termination of their services.

Pepe’s claims that the issue began in 2018, when they were reprimanded four times for arriving a few minutes after a 20-minute mandate. Despite a successful appeal and removal from their record, the company maintains that Rancho Cucamonga’s Chief of Police, Donny Mahoney, discriminated against them by directing a majority of tows to other tow operators. When they complained about the discriminatory action, their services were terminated by the city.

Manuel Acosta, President and Co-owner of Pepe’s Towing Services said, “The City of Rancho Cucamonga and San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department has a history of unfair and discriminatory practices against Pepe’s Towing.”

The suit also claims that San Bernardino County Sheriffs Executive Director John Fogerty showed favoritism and made backdoor deals with other tow companies based on his relationships with the owners.

Source: https://www.einnews.com/ 
homediv
American Towman Exposition Gallery
homediv tow411 homediv
homediv
Rate how they handled this recovery
Great job on a challenging recovery.
Hit all the basics on this one. Thumbs up.
Creative approach on this recovery. Good job.
I would approach this recovery differently.
Vehicle(s) could be rigged more efficiently.
More trucks were needed.
January 11 - January 18, 2021

Dynamic Recoveries

1 1c97a
by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti


On Saturday Jan. 2, 2021, Wayne Hall of Mountain Towing & Recovery received a call to recover a pickup from a ditch. Wayne informed, “We got a morning request to recover a 1980 Toyota 4x4 pickup that had hit a deer the night before and veered off of Hwy 56 onto its side into the flood control ditch.”

Wayne responded with his 2019 Ford 4x4 F-550 with a Dynamic 755, an integrated twin line unit equipped with a 5,000-pound self-loading wheel lift and two mini spool 8,000-pound winches.

When Wayne arrived he found the Toyota was in a 4 to 5 ft. deep flood canal on its driver’s side. He said, “You could barely see the truck from the highway. The police had cleared the wreck with yellow tape. Luckily nobody was hurt. I parked the Dynamic wrecker approximately 40-feet to the east at an angle, but not interfering with traffic. Working this Toyota 4x4 recovery I used both the left and right winches with snatch blocks off the tail board D rings.”

First Wayne rigged the pickup and pulled it back over onto its wheels. Once he had the Toyota back on its wheels he winched it back to the road where it was loaded on a car trailer by family members of the Toyota owner and taken home.

A few days later on the Thursday afternoon of Jan 7, 2021 Mountain received a call for another vehicle in a ditch. Wayne informed, “We got a call from a tourist from Detroit who had slid on ice into a ditch after trying to access a popular hiking area in Kanarraville, Utah.”

Wayne arrived with his 2019 Ford F550 4x4 with Dynamic 755 twin line. He pulled the wrecker up above the Chevy Malibu approximately 50-feet, using a shovel to dig underneath the front of the car and removing large jagged rocks from under the oil pan and fuel tank.

Then he rigged it. Wayne explained, “I ran one winch line down to the area that I dug out where I could get a strap around the sub frame of the Malibu and not damage anything.”

After Wayne winched it back to the road and recovered the Malibu without any damage, the tourist was able to continue on to Detroit.

Wayne stated, “My Dynamic is a very capable versatile wrecker. I bought it used and it was all messed up. Nothing worked and the bed wasn't even on the frame. I called Dynamic and told them I was taking it to the closest dealer, which for me was Casanova. George Casanova took the bed off and started over. George did a bad a_ _ job and installed a wiring protection box, super springs and a full function Lodar remote.”


Wayne and Melanie Hall are the owners of Mountain Towing & Recovery based in Cedar City, Utah. The couple started the company in 1995 and celebrated their 25th Anniversary in 2020. Mountain Towing & Recovery offers towing and recovery for all vehicle sizes, foreign or domestic, gas or diesel, auto, light truck, RV, or semi along with complete automotive and truck repair and mobile tire service. They cover light, medium, and heavy towing, 4×4 off road recovery and FAA licensed A&P aircraft recovery.

Casanova Towing Equipment is a family-owned-and-operated towing company in Compton, California. They are Dual-Tech and Dynamic distributor serving customers in Southern California, the surrounding Los Angeles area and from all over the Western United States.

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

One Cool Cat Recovery

1 dbd6c

One Cool Cat Recovery

By Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

Working in extreme rough terrain requires extreme equipment. Scott Wolff, the owner of Iron Horse Towing of Missoula, Mont., has a specialized fleet to handle his working area of Northwest Mont. and Northern Idaho.

Missoula is located along the Clark Fork River near its merging with the Bitterroot and Blackfoot Rivers in western Montana and at the intersection of five mountain ranges, thus it is often described as the ‘hub of five valleys.’ This is rough and rugged terrain indeed.

Here is a very unique piece of equipment to handle this recovery...a snowcat. Scott informed, “I've got three of these things that we do the recoveries with. Each one has its own purpose.”

The areas in which he works are not always accessible with his conventional wreckers, so he goes to one of his three cats to get the job done. Featured here is Scott’s T2009 Tucker Sno-Cat Special Edition 275 hp. 

“This so far is my all-time favorite recovery,” stated Scott. “The Missoula Snow Goers snowmobile club had their groomer slide off the trail. It was way steeper than the pictures show. It threw a track and was stuck. This was a 22-hour job and we got a foot of new snow while we worked it. This was at the Crooked Fork drainage in Northern Idaho about 22 miles in.”

The Forest Service, Montana Fish and Game, and the Missoula Snow Goers coordinated the recovery. Scott, with his 2009 Tucker Sno-Cat, along with several members of the Missoula Snow Goers snowmobile club on snowmobiles handled this recovery.

The Prinoth BR 350 snowcat was grooming the snowmobile trail and slid off the trail and down the bank. This section of the trail is very steep and off camber and has been a trouble spot over the years. 

Scott explained, “The trail in this section hadn't been built up with snow yet so it sloped downhill quite a bit and fought us the whole way. The groomer was trying to build up the trail when he slid off. The operator tried to walk it out, but in the process threw the driver's side track off. At that point they called us. By the time we got there the next day everything had frozen and we had to chip ice off the undercarriage and shovel a lot of snow out from around it.”

Scott rigged both of the Tucker winches to trees uphill through snatch blocks to the Prinoth, to hold the machine and used to work the track back on. It took several hours to get the track back on and to get the Prinoth running and able to move under its own power. He rigged both lines to the blade framework to spin the Prinoth around so it was facing uphill and used them individually to steer its progress.

“The Prinoth could help somewhat, but we had to be careful not to walk the tracks off again on the hill as I was winching it up,” informed Scott. “Once we had it back on the trail, I couldn't let it go or it would go back down the bank so I had to hold it up with one winch and winch it forward with the other to get it up to the flat spot where I had parked the Tucker. Once I got it up to where my Tucker was we held it there and I moved forward for the final pull to the flat spot. While we were in there it snowed so hard getting about a foot of fresh snow which made things even more complicated.”

When the Prinoth was on the flat spot it was able to drive out under its own power.

……………………………………………………………………..

Scott founded Iron Horse Towing in 1995 and now has 15 employees. His extensive fleet consists of 22 trucks, which includes four heavies, two medium-duty, four light-duty, three carriers, three service trucks plus, and as Scott stated, “A bunch of other stuff.”

The “other stuff” includes the three Snowcats, three tractors, two Landolls, a bus trailer, a 45-ton crane, one telehandler, two skidsteers, a light plant, an end dump trailer, two trailer dollies, four pickups, and the list goes on…

Show Yours @ TIW

Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

Night Fishin’

1 f9b08
by Jim “Buck” Sorrenti

In the wee hours of the morning on August 18/19, 2020 Battelini Transport & Towing Service was called to assist with a water recovery.

Company President Albert Battelini explained, “The incident happened at South Vineland Park on Elmer Rd in Vineland, NJ. We were called by Vineland Police Dept to assist in the removal of a submerged vehicle.  We were dispatched at 1:15 a.m.”

Al’s nephews, Anthony and Wade Battelini, responded with their NRC 40/50 50-ton rotator. When they arrived Downe Twp Fire/Rescue Dive Team, Sta 39 Divers were on scene to recover the vehicle for Vineland PD and Fire Company. They used sonar to find the vehicle in approximately 50-plus feet of water.

Sta 39 Divers attached chains to the front wheels with rim slings and Anthony and Wade did a little night fishing using the NRC 40/50 to winch the catch to shore.

The Battelini family has a long history of fishing/recoveries. One of the images posted here shows company founder Alesio with quite the catch hanging from his wrecker.

Al stated, “Jan 2021 starts our 100 year Anniversary. My grandfather Alesio Battelini started out by going to Sweeney Automobile school in Kansas City in 1918 and with the help of his father Dominico he built our original garage in 1921. Happy New Year to our family, friends and customers. Heres to the next 100 years.”

__________________________________________
Albert Battelini is the president of Battelini Transport & Towing Service in Landisville, New Jersey. The company is co-owned by Albert, his brother Anthony and their father Dominick (RIP). This has been a family built, owned and operated business since grandpa Alesio Battelini started Battelini's Garage in the heart of South Jersey on Route 40 in Landisville in 1921. There are four generations of Battelini boys that have become men in their family business and a fifth generation waiting to come of age.

The family also runs Battelini Wrecker Sales, a full-service dealer for NRC Industries and others, servicing New Jersey, Delaware and the surrounding New York City area. They install almost everything they sell in their South Jersey facility.

Sadly Battelini patriarch Dominick Battelini (see last image) passed away peacefully in his sleep on the morning of December 7, 2020. Al said, “It's with a heavy heart that we have to tell everyone of my father’s passing. He was 92 years old and lived a full life. He touched a lot of people along the way and hopefully will be remembered for the humble man he was.”

Show Yours @ TIW
Do you have a recovery to share with TIW readers? Send some pics and info to our Field Editor Jim “Buck” Sorrenti at jimchaos69@yahoo.com; your story may even be selected for print in American Towman magazine!

 
 


MIDWESTERN – Nacogdoches, TX
$500
(pop. 34,047)

SOUTHERN – Lake City, FL
$250
(pop. 12,099)

EASTERN - King George, VA
$145
(pop. 4,457)

WESTERN - Brentwood, CA
$276.25
(pop. 53,673)

Heavy-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
January 11 - January 18, 2021

Measures of Success

success c312b

Brian J Riker

Success is something we all strive for but how do we define it? In our business we could argue that success is measured by increasing market share and higher revenues or fleet size.

Obviously we are in business to make a profit and our employees are with us to provide a life for their families. These goals need not be at odds with each other. Happy employees are usually more productive and stay with the same employer for longer periods.

Perhaps more important than top wages or superior benefits is fostering a positive company culture that will keep your team coming back to work, day after day. If they love what they do, who they do it with and the mission of your company - they will give their best. Treat your team fairly and remember that they have their own life outside of their role at the company. If we as owners and managers remember to respect their home life they will return that respect by going above and beyond when it is truly needed. Without them you have no one to serve your customers.

Ask for and respond to their opinions. You may be surprised at what your team sees that you do not. Tell them the truth, even when it hurts it is still better than having them react to unfounded rumor. Perhaps most important for building great culture is integrity. Say what you mean, mean what you say and never tolerate gossip or bad-mouthing. Gossip is a cancer that destroys companies from within quickly. It demoralizes and demotivates people faster than any other single factor.

Public perception is another way I measure success. Our industry has a public image problem, no doubt about it. We are usually the last person a motorist wants to see because we are responding to an event that is out of their control and they feel helpless. How we respond to their request for service or treat them after a non-consent tow is important. If your team is not happy it will be apparent to the customer and may result in a less than a desirable outcome.

Successful tow companies also create a clear brand image. Many companies don’t have super flashy paint jobs or cool graphics, but have consistency across their fleet and clean trucks operated by skilled, well-groomed and uniformed drivers who are supported by professional staff at the office.

How are your phones answered? Does the caller know who they called and instantly get a feel of helpfulness? How you answer the phone may sound trivial but it contributes greatly to public perception. By not clearly identifying your company and the call taker by name the customer immediately, albeit subconsciously, feels like you have something to hide or are somehow trying to be dishonest. Proper phone techniques will lead to a greater call to sale conversion rate, another measure of success.

In conclusion success is measured in more ways than simply making a profit at the end of the day or having the largest fleet of new trucks in your area. Success is providing good opportunities for your team to support their families, creating a positive company culture, and presenting a professional public image with a desire to serve your customers.

Closing Lanes for Recovery Safety

closinglanes d8548
By Randall C. Resch​​

In May 2019, a suicidal jumper threatened to end his life by jumping from a bridge into lanes of California’s SR-99. A CHP spokesperson told FOX40 News: "He could have landed on top of a vehicle which could have hurt somebody else.”

It took ten-hours of negotiation by a CHP officer (who knew the subject) to talk this person into surrendering.

The Sacramento Bee posted a tweet by the CHP saying, “The California Highway Patrol recognizes this closure has caused a significant inconvenience for countless motorists, but the safety of the suicidal person, the officers at the scene, and the motoring public who travel on State Route 99 daily is our foremost concern.”

To Law Enforcement and Traffic Incident Management, I pose this question: if highway traffic is slowed or re-routed for visiting dignitaries, police activity, loose animals, suicidal jumpers, or whatever other reasons, why doesn’t protocol allow for traffic stoppage and blockage for tow operators working critical incidents and accidents?

In another scenario, an experienced carrier operator responded to an upside-down vehicle against a K-Rail where no shoulders existed. The operator advised the CHP officer of his recovery plan by asking that traffic in adjacent lanes be slowed so he could best position the carrier to perform the roll. The officer firmly replied, “No.”

Initiating Plan B, the operator uprighted and loaded the casualty onto the carrier’s deck while working precariously close to moving traffic, endangering himself and others.

California leads the industry with 52-operator fatalities because there’s limited policy in providing traffic breaks or lane closures for towing and recovery. The practice of total blocking for quick-clear provides a much needed safety advantage to lessen a repeated slaughter of tow operators everywhere. I don’t accept that a tow operator’s life, or that of any first responder is any less valuable than someone experiencing unfortunate issues, especially when skilled, highly trained and motivated tow operators can clear highway lanes quickly. Simple math calculates that nine-hours and fifty-minutes would have been saved when compared to the jumper scenario.

Controlling Costs in 2021

cost c474d
By Brian J Riker

I have no doubt that 2020 was a difficult year for many tow bosses around the world. With travel disrupted and only essential services being provided for more than half the year it was anything but business as usual. What is in store for 2021 is yet to be seen; however, the prudent business owner will be cautiously optimistic as they enter the unknown.

Not all towers had terrible years. The heavy-duty market was only off a little for last year, light duty was down significantly in most parts of the US as was road service, but towers that were diversified into other transportation segments or provided a wide range of services found room for growth in 2020. Several towers even added entirely new service offerings to their operation to leverage the surplus labor they had available rather than furloughing these employees. To those towers I extend a hearty thank you for looking out for your team.

Regardless of the year you had, one thing that is always important is controlling costs. Several towers I have spoken with have noticed a reduction in call volume and gross revenue yet they have been able to maintain the same operating margin as last year or even slightly improve their margin. The one thing they all have had in common is a focus on controlling costs. All businesses need to periodically review their expenses and reevaluate the return on investment they get from each line item in their budget.

You do have a budget, right? If not, now is the time to learn to develop a budget as a tool for business survival. A budget does not need to be complex, just realistic, based on your actual experience as a company. Budgets are quite liberating once you have a good grasp on how they work. They don’t restrict you from spending but instead give you the freedom and peace of mind to spend on a plan without regret or guilt.

When deciding which costs to cut and which to increase for 2021, the prudent tow boss will look at the data available for the past several years, not just 2020, since last year was an anomaly. Knowing your actual cost of operation, in near real time, helps you decide what work is worth accepting and keeps you from undercutting your profitability just to keep busy.

There are several areas you should not skimp on in the name of cost control. Number one is payroll since a good operator is hard to find, expensive to hire and train, and will make you much more than they cost you. Don’t cut hours just for the sake of cutting hours - do your best to keep key personnel at or near their normal earnings. If you must reduce hours or staff, I suggest making your cuts on facts instead of emotions. The most expensive employee may not be the one with the highest pay rate but instead the one with the worst safety record or the most damages. Similarly, the best employee to keep may not be the most senior but rather the most versatile member of the team. Look deep at all factors when deciding to layoff employees.

Insurance is another area that needs to be examined but not skimped on. It is always a good idea to shop your policy before renewal each year but be sure you are comparing apples to apples. Always make sure your policy provides enough coverage that you will survive a catastrophic loss. It does you no good to have a lower insurance premium if you can’t afford to cover the losses not included in the cheaper policy. Higher deductibles are a popular way of reducing premium if you have enough cash on hand to cover the higher exposure.

Examine equipment maintenance and replacement cycles closely. Just because the budget is tight it may not make sense to extend the replacement cycle on your equipment if the cost of the additional maintenance will outweigh the costs of replacing something. Consider reducing fleet size, or perhaps exchanging one type of equipment for another - especially when adding or revamping service offerings. Maybe you can do better with a few less pieces of spare or support equipment. Does it make sense to exchange some of your traditional fleet for something new like a roll off container chassis or dump truck?

You may even be able to use equipment purchases to offset tax liabilities which will have a bigger impact on your overall financial health than simply cutting out a truck payment from the budget. Consult with your tax or financial advisor to learn what makes sense for your specific situation.

Safety pays. Please don’t stop training your team. It is more important now than ever before to have safe and competent operators on the roadway, technicians in the shop and the best resources to keep them out of harm’s way whenever possible.

Lastly, now is not the time to skimp on advertising or marketing budgets. The customers are out there if you are creative enough to find them. It may be a good time to reevaluate the services you offer and cut unprofitable services or adjust rates before you cut advertising from your budget. It is the time to reevaluate how you spend your advertising dollars, that old yellow page ad just isn’t cutting it anymore, so be wise with how you spend your limited resources.
homediv
homediv
January 11 - January 18, 2021

Wheelie Wizardry

00 e0528
By George L. Nitti

There’s a long-standing creed at Chelsea Wrecker Service, based out of Chelsea, OK, which states “If it’s not old, it’s not any good!”

Owner Roger Melson, who owned Chelsea for 29 years before retiring, was making reference to his passion for collecting, restoring and retrofitting antique cars, hot rods and tow trucks.

One of his amazing restorations included a red 49’ International KB7 with two Ramsey Electric Winches.

He said, “I was nicknamed ‘the Wizard.’ I built racecars and fast cars. You name it. My daddy was chief of police and used to borrow this truck in 1959 to sell watermelons. I was five years old then. I had no idea that I would own it. I traded for it about 20 years ago and fixed it up. It could pull anything out of a lake and a house if it needed to be moved.”

The wrecker, still in working shape, operates with many of its stock components like the suspension springs, pedals, steering wheel, dashboard, original headlights, and more.

Melson, who has lived his creed, claims to have had the oldest tow trucks in Oklahoma’s history.

He said, “I wanted to go to work in an antique truck every day. And I did not want to spend a whole lot of money on new tow trucks because it’s a small town where somedays you make money and some days you don’t. I didn’t want a struggle.” He further added, “I think it helped my business. Nobody ever rode in a 30 or 40 model. It only lacked air-conditioning.”

Part of the retrofitting included shortening the frame, putting a back seat in, adding a swiveling bed and most extraordinarily, a heavy winch box that has enabled it to do wheelies.

He said, “The winch box added about 5500 hundred pounds of weight. You can put it in different positions and wheelie down the road. It’s very forgiving and goes straight.”

At that vantage point, the wrecker is clearly eye catching, even drawing the interest of kids.

He said, “I had a mouth that bolts on front with teeth. I put that on the truck for a show. The kids think that it is Tow Mater. I tell them that it is Mater’s father,” referring to another classic tow truck he owned that resembled ‘Tow Mater’ from the hit movie.

On the front, under its right standard headlight, are the words “Cheapers Greapers.”

Meslon said, “If people remember the movie, it was an old truck running people off the road.”

A tow truck that does wheelies would be even enough to run the latest greatest heavy duty clear out of sight.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Eye Candy Camouflaged Design

3 1f584

George L. Nitti

Although a camouflaged design is often meant to conceal an object or person from discovery, when displayed in the open, like a tow truck, you can bet it catches the eye.

In the case of Mr. C’s Towing, with a main location in Los Alamitos, Calif., that is good news, as their latest wrap, done in a blue, gray and white patterned camouflage, turns heads and leaves a memorable impression.

According to Mr. C’s general manager, Ricky Northcutt, a 17-year veteran of the company, Mr. C’s tow trucks are uniquely wrapped, including their 2019 Chevy 6500HD with a Vulcan lift.

Northcutt said, “The inspiration behind the wrap came from a YouTuber called Daily Driven Exotics that drives around in a Lamborghini. We copied the design. He goes to shows and does documentaries on his adventures. When his car breaks down we come to pick him up. He has an audience in the millions.”

Like the wrap on the Lamborghini, Mr. C’s newly minted Chevy was wrapped by the same company, Protective Film Solutions of Costa Mesa, Calif.

Outside of the highly immersive, eye candy camouflaged pattern, the white lettering is easy to read, clearly presenting the company name on the side of the unit, large lettering spelling out 24 hour service, several of its other locations, it’s phone number and the purpose that it serves: official police towing.

For Mr. C’s, this is the 3rd time they have switched out their recovery truck, keeping the same Vulcan wrecker originally purchased in the 90’s.

Northcutt said, “Although Ford commands about 85% of the light duty market, we are ‘Chevy Guys.’ For a while Chevy was out of the towing market but now they are back in.”

With approximately 50 units in their fleet, the bulk of Mr. C’s work includes police impounds, recoveries, and high-end towing, where they transport as far as Santa Barbara and Las Vegas.

“Orange County Calif. is the exotic car county of California,” Northcutt said. “We do about 20 cars a day transporting cars to and from car shows and old vintage porsches to people like Jay Leno.”

Northcutt further added, “To do this kind of work, you have to gain trust with the customer. In Orange County, everyone knows who we are.”

Brag @ TIW! Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!

Meet the Boss

towboss1 2bdc8
By George L. Nitti

Nowhere do we see the love of country more fervently on display than on tow trucks throughout the industry. Towers are patriotic people and showcase those sentiments on their trucks, far and wide.

When Matthew Monarchie, owner of Tow Boss Towing & Recovery of Fishkill, NY, recently acquired a 2020 Ford F550 4x4 with a 19 ft’ Century 10 Series from Elizabeth Truck Center, he once again paid homage to his love of country, decking out his new purchase with a dazzling patriotic themed wrap executed from Extreme Designs of Carmel, NY.

Matthew said, “I did a patriotic themed unit because the way this country is going, somebody has to stand up for it. People should honor the fact that we are free. We wake up every morning alive and not in a jungle. This is America, where we are fortunate to live the American Dream.”

For Matthew, his business of 12 years is the result, as he and his wife Michelle have worked tirelessly to build their dream business.

The pristine unit, which Matthew calls “on point,” first and foremost showcases the American flag, with the stars and stripes prominently enveloped over the entire truck, from front to back, serving as the core backdrop.

Michelle said, “The patriotic theme will always be part of our motif. My daughter was in the military, and my Dad was in the military.”

However, this patriotic themed truck does not stop there, as law enforcement is given honor, with a thin blue line rendered along the bottom of one of the toolboxes just under an American Flag. Michelle said, “We do a lot of towing with the state police. We have patriotism towards our law enforcement.”

On the other toolbox, a yellow line gives acknowledgement to the tow operators who are killed roadside. Matthew said, “Did you know that one tow operator is killed every six days?”

The fine detail of the truck is enhanced with an etching on the side window of a chain and hook.

Abetting the patriotic design is a leftover image used on their other trucks: A large skull with a cowboy hat, found on the sides of the unit as well as majestically reproduced on its hood.

Matthew said, “We threw that in. We wanted something to pop with the flag. And I wanted something with a design to show that we have no fear.”

The company’s fearless image goes along with its company name, “Tow Boss,”which is deftly illustrated, popping out on its sides, front visor position and on a classy medallion that sits in the center of the front grill.

“My kids and wife made up the name. I’m always bossing them around,” he said.

Brag @ TIW!
Should your truck be featured here? Send a few pics and your contact information to the editor at georgenitti@gmail.com. You might even be selected to go in print, too, in American Towman magazine!
January 11 - January 18, 2021

MZ3 – 4 CHANNEL 1080P 4 CAMERAS SYSTEM KIT LIVE

230641 kit 800 de0e8
Ideal for the towing industry, Mobile Vehicle Surveillance Systems record audio and video any time the ignition is turned on. Durable cameras can stand up to challenging outdoor conditions—as proof, the systems have been used in the snow and freezing conditions of Wisconsin since 2014. Choose from two ready-to-install systems and replace your backup camera with a total security upgrade. For a monthly charge, a handy app with dispatch alerts can keep you connected to your fleet and allow you to see which vehicles are in use and where they are traveling. Current users have been able to negotiate insurance savings, due to liability reduction.

The MZ3-4 Channel 1080 P Kit includes: 1 TB hard drive, Touchscreen monitor, Dual M-vision indoor camera with audio/IR, (2) Waterproof outdoor cameras with audio/IR, (2) 5m connector cables, (2) 11m connector cables

Optional Features: 2TB hard disk storage, SD card for mirror recording, GPS for location tracking, 3G/4G for live viewing and remote management, Wi-Fi for auto-downloading video files, inertia sensor PTO, Backup camera, 2-way radios (unlimited range)

http://menzelmvss.com/products/mz3_4_channel_720p_camera_system

Approach Plate Roller Guide

ApproachPlateRollerGuide 2 63761
Miller Industries Towing Equipment Inc. introduces the approach plate roller guide attachment for added recovery capabilities on 10, 12, & 16-Series car carriers, a recovery solution providing 180 degrees of light-duty recovery capability at the back of the carrier. By using the center of the approach plate on Series 10, 12, & 16 steel carrier beds, this new roller guide attachment allows for easy access with quick set-up and usage on the existing 2018 and newer car carrier platform.
 
This new solution attaches to the underside of the approach plate and locks into place at the center chain lock hole. A 1-inch machined round-head bolt secures the roller guide to the threaded hole in the approach plate. Providing a rigid securement to the carrier bed makes this roller guide ideal to tackle the upward pulling forces associated with rollover recoveries. A low-mounted horizontal roller enables downward pulling off the back of the bed as well.
 
The attachment is designed to be used with 3/8” and 7/16” wire rope and it is rated for 3,500 lbs. of line pull. The roller guide attachment is engineered to the highest standards of durability and is constructed of fabricated steel with Zinc plating for corrosion resistance. This car carrier attachment utilizes the newer style approach plate with a bolt hole adjacent to the center rear chain lock for proper mounting. Older steel carriers that do not have the bolt hole can be retrofitted by simply tapping a specific size hole at a precise location on the approach plate. This new attachment provides a superior recovery solution for these high-usage towing units and complements Miller Industries robust high-end car carrier platform. 

For more information about Miller Industries and their products follow them on social media, visit their website at millerind.com, or call 800-292-0330.

RT Bed

rtbed c0f5b
The RT (Reel Transport) Bed is an efficient, self-loading reel lift designed to load and transport utility wire or fiber cable without the need for a trailer. Simply lift and load innerduct reels, hand holes, frame poles and more utilizing this one-man operation. Streamline your operation and save time spent hauling reels from yard to jobsite with limited trailer mobility.

A workshop on wheels, the DewEze Reel Transport Bed helps you do more with less, facing the work day head-on. Engineered with heavy-duty steel construction and trouble-free performance, DewEze beds are backed by superior service.
homediv
homediv
January 11 - January 18, 2021
Show More
homediv
January 11 - January 18, 2021

Anticipated Turn-Around [b]in Repo Business

Although many consumers have been shielded by the federal government’s Covid relief act for delinquency of their mortgage, student loans and rent payments, the same may not be said about auto loans, which are not covered by the act. While the pace of auto repossessions has been slow since the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, that may soon change.

“It really depends on how the next several months go,” said Matthew Bavaro, a partner at The Loan Lawyers law firm in Fort Lauderdale. “It’s depending on what kind of relief package Washington is able to pass. We definitely expect to see lenders get more aggressive as the months progress,” he said.

Robert Murphy, a Fort Lauderdale consumer lawyer and a University of Florida law school faculty member, fears tighter credit and more repos may be in store over the long term.

“People are becoming really desperate,” he said. “Longer term I am really concerned — depending on stimulus, this could get a lot worse. I think there is a likelihood we are going to see higher repossessions and a tightening in credit available which has real implications for consumers,” he added.

For those who are in the repossession business, that may be good news, as the industry has taken a hit, operating at 50 to 60% capacity.

“There’s no one in today’s business environment that’s operating at 100%,” said Les McCook, executive director of the of American Recovery Association, which is based in Texas and has members in Florida.

Source: https://www.sun-sentinel.com/

Auto Repossessions on the Rise

As the economic situation in America becomes more dire due to the effects of Covid-19, auto repossessions are expected to rise. Without more stimulus - jobless benefits, financial programs and consumer protections are all set to expire, causing evictions, foreclosures and auto repossessions.

“We’ve certainly seen an uptick in defaults and delinquencies,” said John Van Alst of the National Consumer Law Center. “I think that’s going to translate into a really large increase in repossessions.”

According to the credit reporting agency TransUnion, the number of auto loan accounts that are 30 days past due moved to 3.1% in August, compared to 3.0% in July.

“I’m almost certain the number of repossessions are going to increase,” said Les McCook, executive director for the American Recovery Association.

Source: https://www.poynter.org/

Georgia Woman Charged for Obstruction

A woman faces a charge of obstruction after an incident in a parking lot of a mall area in Warner Robins, Georgia.

According to Police Chief John Wagner, it started with a car being repossessed.

He says the woman jumped into the car and refused to get out. Officers were called to the scene and tried to get her to exit the vehicle.

Then, he says, she started the car and tried to drive it away while it was connected to the wrecker.

Officers broke the car window as she was trying to drive off, and she was ultimately removed from the car.

The woman was charged for obstructing an officer.

https://www.13wmaz.com/

Repossession Leads to [b]Drug Discovery

A repossession of a rental car at an Oregon mobile home park first led to an altercation than to a drug discovery.

The suspect, Jeremy Peppinger, allegedly threatened to "get a gun" when the rental car he was driving was being taken back for his failure to return it--and pay for it.

A 911 call led to Deputies reporting to the scene. When they arrived Peppinger was removing personal items from the vehicle.  On probable cause Deputies obtained a search warrant for the vehicle, and inside found a baggie of what appeared to be a crystal-like substance, and numerous needles in the car.

Peppinger was booked for felony threats while the substance was turned over to investigators.

Source: https://newstalk870.am/
 
Translate Page
Contact Us
© 2021  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.