The Week's Features
Cross-disciplinary training attended by N.Y. first responders
Negotiating power, phone lines and more, dump is recovered
Remote-controlled lift has rated lifting capacity of 14,000 lbs.
MotoLease managing partner/COO selected for honor by CARS
Dodge/Jerr-Dan unit dedicated to fallen towman
Digital Edition
Click Here
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 16-18, 2018
Don't Miss It!
Custom-painting a wrecker is a many-layered process; and this seminar will cover the differences in custom-painting versus wrapping, the costs involved and the different values of both processes. It’s led by Cecil Burrowes of Cecil Customs, whose tow truck artwork has garnered many wrecker pageant awards nationwide. Don’t miss his “Custom Painting vs. Wrap” seminar next Sunday during the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
Translate Language  
American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 22 - November 28, 2017

City, State
Pelham, NH
(Pop. 10,914)
Pell City, AL
(Pop. 12,695)
Plymouth, IN
(Pop. 10,033)
Centralia, WA
(Pop. 16,336)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

Mastering Loss Mitigation

TowBusinessOperations e80edBy Don Archer

There are three components to every towing business that if controlled with omnipotence would give their owners the ability to write their own tickets. They are customer acquisition, customer service and mitigating loss.

While they're all worthy of mastering, loss mitigation holds the biggest promise. Not only do you stand to gain when you keep your deductible and avoid rising premiums, but a reduced incidence of damages allows you to maintain valued relationships with your customers.

Loss mitigation is the process of stemming the tide of on-the-job damage claims so that the money that reaches your bottom line stays there. The best way to start is by training those on the front lines, tow truck operators. Besides teaching them the correct way to perform their duties, here are other things you can do to achieve your goal.

Let's first take a look at the varying types of on-the-job damages.

No Fault

No-fault damage either can't be prevented or the cost of prevention far outweighs the cost of the damage done. It could be the result of a customer's vehicle experiencing a mechanical malfunction, the result of an accident, or simply due to circumstances outside the operator's control. Examples include breaking a stud while changing a tire or loosening a bumper cover while extracting a vehicle from a ditch. It's difficult to determine exactly what caused the stud to weaken, but to assume that the operator had any other option while attempting to loosen it is unreasonable. As for the bumper cover ... it was a result of the accident.

Honest Mistake

An "honest mistake" is just that, a mistake. When a tow truck operator causes damage to a customer's vehicle and accepts responsibility, he's made an honest mistake. Although some will argue negligence, an example of an honest mistake could be scratching the paint with an L-arm or scraping a bumper with the wheel lift.


Neglect can be many things. When an operator fails to properly secure his load or attempts to lift too much with too little because he believes the term "working load limit" is merely a suggestion, that's neglect. Other examples can include towing an all-wheel-drive vehicle with a wrecker and not using dollies, or simply securing a car to a carrier using the trailing arms.

Although some gray areas exist and one type of damage can easily be mistaken for another, each occurrence must be dealt with objectively.

One way to avoid damages is to train your operators properly, teach them how to use the tools of the trade and continue training throughout their employment. Another way is to teach them preliminary verbal skills they can use in the field. This can go a long way toward decreasing claims. When your operators understand the difference between a no-fault damage and one that's caused due to their negligence, they'll be better able to verbalize it when it happens.

And—make no mistake—words make the difference. When appropriate, replacing "I broke it" with "It broke" can diffuse a sticky situation in an instant. Avoiding the use of words like "whoops" and "darn it" during a recovery reveals a solid professional rather than a bumbling goof.

Don't misunderstand; I'm not suggesting that you give your operators an out or provide them with excuses to decrease their responsibility while doing their job. I'm merely suggesting that you give them the skills to nip a damage claim in the bud. Of course insurance companies will cry "care, custody and control," but if you can prevent just a few incidents from reaching that level you'll be one step closer to mastering loss mitigation.

Don Archer lives and works in Jefferson City, Mo., where he and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker, a 12-truck operation that's been in business since the 1950s. Email him at

I Believe in ‘Second-Chances’

Tanker Truck Rollover.JPG xx8dGjb t1200 copy a6dd7By Randall C. Resch

A commercial-type truck accident on your record is somewhat of a death knell for CDL applicants looking to find work at towing and recovery companies. There's an old saying: "When you roll over, most good companies play dead." I believe this to be a true statement for affected drivers trying to land work as a tow truck, big rig or trailer-type operator.

Recently, a tow company owner called me about an applicant who previously worked as an over-the-road trucker for a large carrier. The applicant successfully attained his CDL and had 17 months of long-haul experience. He passed his DOT physical and pre-hire drug screen and was said to be a model employee ... until the accident happened.

Two years ago in Oklahoma, his truck experienced a front-tire blowout while traveling 50 mph in moderate to heavy wind. As a result of the tire coming apart and the wind gusts, the truck jerked violently to the right and overturned onto prairie land. No other vehicles were involved and no one was injured. The driver was not cited and the highway patrol accident investigation was completed.

Because the driver lost control of his rig and overturned, he was fired from the trucking company he worked for citing gross negligence.

I don't know who decided his accident was gross negligence, but based on his accident and firing: Would you consider hiring this individual for your towing company as a tow truck operator? Although the investigating officer made notes stating the crash was due to mechanical failure, how would your insurance company view hiring him based on this single crash?

Risk and Liability

Most state insurance carriers look upon these types of accidents and incidents as a risky venture for insurance liability. Most insurance companies view risk assessment as those drivers who have a preventable accident or moving citations.

So, when a driver applies to your company whose MVR shows a single motor vehicle accident, does one single accident disqualify the driver from employment with your company?

What ultimately comes to mind is whether the driver can first be insured, and then if he or she is not prone to accidents or considered an outward risk.

In regards to the above applicant, I don't believe his single accident should justify his disqualification. It's not like this driver has a criminal background. Based on what I was told about this applicant, I would consider hiring him.

Do Your Diligence

When tow owners gamble in hiring applicants with questionable driving or background histories, they roll the dice should a future catastrophic incident occur. Why? Because the details of someone's past always will be revealed in a wrongful death injury or suit.

I believe in second chances and feel the applicant's background doesn't disqualify his potential hiring. If their MVR shows minimal activity, their hiring could be the match you've been looking for. With detailed training and supervision, he could be a great asset to your company.

The question struck me as a great topic for consideration if ever a former commercial driver were to apply for work at your company. There seems to be plenty of drivers who can't hire on as commercial haulers for various reasons other than driving or background disqualifiers. I believe in second chances. What do you think?

Randall Resch is American Towman's and Tow Industry Week's Operations Editor, a former California police officer, tow business owner and retired civilian off-road instructor for Navy Special Warfare. Randall is an approved instructor for towers serving the California Highway Patrol's rotation contract. His course is approved by the California law enforcement community. He has written over 500 industry-related articles for print and on-line, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
Translate Page
Contact Us

WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
© 2017  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.