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Three-time cancer survivor is doing what he loves
App, web-based service provides lien-holder contact information
Digital Recognition Network CEO lays out company's vision
Unit designed to bring greater awareness to Move Over law
Buddy's gets farmer's tractor with corn silage in open field
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 23 - August 29, 2017

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You Are the Culmination of Your Decisions

growthchart2 e21ffBy Don G. Archer

John Tatum was driving to what he hoped would be the last call of the day, a simple tire change. It was 5 p.m. in the middle of July, and the hot Arizona sun was taking its toll. The heat was bad, but what John disliked most about driving a tow truck was the way people treated him.

As he watched and waited for someone to notice him after almost eight months on the job, nothing had materialized. He'd done his part, he thought—but it wouldn't come today.

After 20 minutes of trying to get a lug nut off the wheel of a beat-up, last-century Toyota, John finally felt it start to budge. The excitement mounted as he anticipated getting out of the sweltering sun and back into the air-conditioned comfort of his truck.

He put all of his weight on the four-way.

He was about to win in his man vs. metal struggle for dominance ... when his hand slipped off the tire tool, and he hit the ground face-first.

Upset, he quickly lifted himself up and reached for the four-way. In disgust, he flung the iron cross discus-style into an adjacent field.

As his rage smoldered, he was reminded of an incident that happened weeks earlier. He had scratched the paint on a car while attempting to unlock it. Of course, he contended it wasn't his fault.

The locks on both doors were broken, making the task almost impossible. What made it even worse was the car owner's boyfriend attempting to coach him through the process. After a few minutes of ill-equipped direction, John became frustrated and mistakenly scratched the paint.

Walking to fetch the four-way, he thought to himself, "Why do I always get the bad calls?"

Then he remembered what his boss Terry had said while admonishing him for scratching the paint on that car: "It's not what happens to you, it's how you respond to what happens to you that matters," and one that really stung, "You are the culmination of all of your decisions up to this point."

John kicked the dirt and howled, "That's easy for you to say; you're the boss, you're already successful. I'm the one out here in the trenches getting my behind handed to me every day."

Two months later, he was let go. Eighteen months after that, John and his young family would travel more than 1,000 miles to end up at my door, looking for a job.
He seemed like a nice-enough guy, had experience and was willing to work as many hours as I could give him. As always, I did my due diligence.

A call to his old boss in Arizona revealed issues with anger and incidents of damages. What really struck me was after all the stuff Terry had told me ... he was sad to see him go. He said that he really liked John and tried to help him succeed and grow, but it was hard because he refused to take responsibility for his actions.

I did not hire John, but the discussion led me to thinking about my own reactions to my day-to-day struggles. How I continued to falter—even though I was the boss and somewhat successful.

When a customer would challenge a bill and it got up to me, it was hit-or-miss how I handled it. Some days I would take the time to explain the purpose of each line on the invoice and why it was required. However, on other days I might take offense, believing the customer was challenging whether or not the services billed were actually provided.

I was a (sometimes) benevolent boss with employees. Often I would listen and propose solutions to their concerns. Other times I might question their motives, believing their concerns were less constructive and more about work-avoidance or office politics.

This thinking slowly caused me to believe they were the problem. Because I believed outside forces kept getting in my way like John, I couldn't get closer to what I wanted: harmony in my business.

I needed to change, but that's easier said than done. One day you're Zen-like and you think you have a handle on it; then some new challenge presents itself and you lose it. Then you beat yourself up for losing it. It can become a wicked downward spiral if you don't get a handle on it.

The best approach, it seems, is to treat every moment as if you consciously chose to be there ... because the reality is, you did. We are the culmination of all the decisions we've made up until this point.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at

Finding and Attracting the Best

Youre Hired be41dBy Don Archer

Growing your business requires you to wear many hats. Sometimes you've got to be customer service, accounts receivable, accounts payable, human resources, marketing director, shop manager, guidance counselor and even babysitter.

Due to the nature of this feast-or-famine industry, you must also run a tight ship. Every man and woman onboard plays a vital role in keeping your business afloat. So when you lose one of them or your business begins to expand, you need to fill the position fast.

How you find, attract, and select employees will set the tone for all future interactions. Before you just throw up a job posting, there are a few things to consider.

What are you looking for in an employee?

Of course you want someone who's always on time, takes pride in their work, is motivated, a good communicator and a team player. This should be part of your job posting, but consider using language that communicates the value you place on your employees.

Make It Inviting

"Come join our team of highly motivated tow truck operators."

Your job here is to attract the cream of the crop. While detailing what a successful applicant looks like, the language you use must be inviting and inspiring.

Job Title

You then must consider the title the employee will assume once hired.

Are you looking for a "Driver," or a "Tow Truck Operator?"

Anyone who's driven a car is a driver, which means you'll attract everyone. But not everyone has what it takes to become a Tow Truck Operator. To attract the best applicants, consider spicing the title up a bit. Don't go crazy though; VP of Tow Truck Operations might be a little over-the-top.


How will the successful applicant be compensated for his time?

Whether it's hourly or hourly plus commission, you must take into consideration ALL of the costs.

Think about the time and effort that goes into creating a job posting, attracting the right applicants, the interviewing process and then selecting the best of the best.

Then there's time invested to bring the successful applicant up-to-speed: training them on company procedures, safety training, tow truck operations and customer service. Time is money; regardless of your new hire's level of compensation, you will still incur these costs.

Next, consider the quality of applicants you would attract if the pay was more than the going rate. Do you think you might have a larger pool of qualified applicants to choose from? A well-compensated employee stays with the company longer, is happier and much more productive.

Look at Yourself

Now that you've identified what you're looking for in an applicant, determined the proper job title, and the level of compensation, and crafted an offering that attracts the best of the best, you're ready to post it to the internet. Right?

Wrong. There are a few more things to consider before taking that step.

It's a two-way street. You're willing to trade your money for their time, but only if they're the right fit. And they're willing to trade their time for your money, but only if your company is right for them as well. You both are taking a risk.

When bringing someone new onboard, you calculate risk by thoroughly screening applicants. They calculate risk by doing a little research online. That means they're looking at your website, reviews and Facebook page.

They're looking for success stories and images of a happy, fun working environment. What they don't want to see is some staunch, uptight and dark workplace where everybody hides so the boss won't yell at them.

So before you post your job online, take a look at the way your business is represented there first. Look at it from the perspective of a potential applicant. Accurate or not, what they see is what they believe they're going to get.

The time and effort you put into finding, attracting, and selecting employees will be directly reflected in the results you achieve.

American Towman Field Editor-Midwest Don G. Archer is also a multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at
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