The Week's Features
Show floor crowds were robust all weekend.
City suspended three companies with alleged ties to Gasper Fiore
Colors and shapes work together in an explosive backdrop
Provides additional storage for certain medium-duty wreckers
DeFalco’s recovers leaking overturned gasoline tanker
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Events
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 16-18, 2018
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 16-18, 2018
Don't Miss It!
Customer service has become a lost art. How often does your business even get a thank you nowadays? In his Management Conference seminar, “Putting the ‘Service’ Back in Customer Service,” Don K. Hudson of Troy Auto Care will share his ideas. His tow company has won several awards, including the prestigious “Service Providers of Excellence Award" from AAA for five years in a row. His session will take place at Tow Expo-Dallas, August 16-18, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. towexpodfw.com

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMay 23 - May 29, 2018

City, State
RATES
Monrovia, CA
$180
(Pop. 36,590)
Nacogdoches, TX
$150
(Pop. 32,996)
Owings Mills, MD
$75
(Pop. 30,622)
Dover, NH
$90
(Pop. 30,665)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
homediv

The Football Shuffle

Wall clock f49bbBy DON ARCHER

"It's not that kind of business," I said, as I handed him the information.

Jessie wasn't happy that the call came in 20 minutes before he was scheduled to be off, but there was no one left to take it. It had been a particularly busy afternoon and we needed all hands on deck.

He'd gotten accustomed to getting off work at 5:30 every evening for a while. And even though it had been explained to him, before and after he was hired, that this wasn't that kind of a business, he came to expect to be off by that time.

"We're an emergency service," I stress to all new-hires. "My crystal ball won't let me in on when the accidents are going to happen."

The next day I took Jessie into my office and told him a story.

I started training for cross-country during the summer after my sophomore year in high school. One day while we distance runners were running a two-mile warmup, I noticed that we continually passed the football players as they were warming up. For every one lap they'd do, we'd run three.

It was while we were passing a seemingly struggling defensive lineman that I first heard it said. As he slowly dragged his 200-lbs. mass around the track, putting forth very little effort, we rounded the turn and got just out of earshot—that's when one of my compatriots mumbled, "the football shuffle".

"The football shuffle" was a phrase "real" runners used to describe the minimalist jog that football/track athletes engage in while warming up or warming down. "It's like he's conserving energy or something," we'd laugh.

While some may consider the phrase "football shuffle" an egocentric adolescent remark that really has no place, for us it was a way to affirm our commitment to our cause and our team.

All people in all walks of life use work- and sport-specific jargon to separate the proficient from the novice. In the automotive repair industry there's the "Shade-Tree Mechanic." We in the towing industry just say "One-Truck Chuck".

Why?

Besides being a quick way to distinguish ourselves from those less invested in our vocation, it shows the value we place on the discipline it takes to do what we do day-in and day-out.

We value discipline for the same reasons we did back in the old days: we want to be sure that the guys we depend on will be there when needed. In the towing business it means if you don't know your stuff and do your work, one of your co-workers will have to.

But more than anything, we value discipline because it means that you truly care about the outcome. Working with a self-disciplined partner, co-worker or employee is much more desirable than filling in the gaps that clock-watchers leave open.

As Jessie sat there, silently throughout the entire story, I wasn't sure I'd made my point.

I finished with this: I hired you to do a job. It's YOUR job, which means if you need time off from your regular schedule YOU'LL have to find someone to fill YOUR schedule. And when there's work that needs to be done outside your schedule and you regularly refuse to help out, I can only conclude that you don't care about the outcome.

If left unchecked, over time your decision to not care about the outcome could become detrimental to the business affecting everyone else. And if this is the case, you're presence will become less and less necessary—and I'll be forced to search for someone who does care.

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 don@broadwaywrecker.com
hd-rates

Summertime Blues

Heat85 0eac0By Randall C. Resch

It's gonna be hot in the weeks to come; summer brings its own set of problems. Following are some quick safety reminders for tow owners to pass onto drivers.

Safety and survival is every tower's duty. Complacency and shortcuts open the window to being injured or killed. Be smart about what you do on every call, even the easy ones. It's really a shame that towers have to be on high alert, but that's simply a sign of the times.

Regardless of scenario, move quickly, stay focused and watch your backside. Be wary of vehicle owners and their friends who approach and start to circle behind you. It's simply good advice for tow operators to not stay in one place for too long.

Hydrate and seek out cool zones frequently, and be especially aware of people with short tempers. It's a proven fact that as temperatures rise, bad attitudes and tempers flare. Avoid areas prone to violence unless business requires you to be there.

For towers working private-property impounds, laws are specific about releasing vehicles when you're hooked-up but not off property. Remain calm and use non-violent techniques when releasing a vehicle to hopefully avoid any violent confrontation.

Be especially on alert in beach and residential areas where drinking is a regular practice. Like the old SWAT sergeant used to say, "Get in fast and get out faster;" those words ring true to the work you do.

It's the manner that towers oftentimes respond to a vehicle owner's aggression that dictates whether or not an impound turns violent. Don't be the provoker and certainly don't taunt or be flippant back to the vehicle's owner or other party. Keep your eyes on those individuals who aren't the vehicle's owner.

By staying calm and not letting the scenario escalate, you should be able to complete the process unharmed. The same is true for vehicle releases back at your tow yard. Don't hesitate to call 911 if the situation becomes violent.

For repo agents doing your thing, have a solid plan in place before reclaiming someone's car.

Danger Lurks

Drivers arriving back at the tow yard late at night with an impound or PPI should close and lock the front gate first. Do this to hopefully avoid someone walking into the yard to try and liberate their vehicle, or worse do you harm. Be smart about your surroundings and always have an escape route wherever you are.

When you exit your tow truck and not actively loading a vehicle for transport, take the keys with you to avoid someone stealing your tow truck. If you stop to make a phone call or use GPS, park in a well-lighted area and don't stay long.

Night time robberies are on the rise and tow operators, like taxi drivers, are prime targets for those thinking that towers carry cash. Criminals looking for cash will stick a gun in your face and liberate you of your phone, watch, computer and even your wedding ring. These are items bad guys will kill for.

There are lots of bars and night clubs on inner-city streets. Many DUI vs. tow operator attacks occur between midnight and 3 a.m. Never turn your back to approaching traffic and work away from the traffic side. Don't let your guard down for a second.

In many suburban and rural areas rattlesnakes are everywhere, all the way to the ocean's edge. Snakes tend to lie in shaded areas, so keep a watchful eye as you walk.

If your company is on the highway patrol's rotation list, DUI drivers are everywhere at all hours. Once again, never turn your back to approaching traffic and work away from the traffic side when working the highways.

The industry is full if incidents where tow operators have been attacked for simply doing their jobs. Regardless, be in control of where and what you're doing at all times.

Here's wishing you all a busy, productive and safe summer.

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.
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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.
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