The Week's Features
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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Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 17-19, 2017
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 17-19, 2017
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Don't Miss It!
Join Mike Stevens of AAA Texas for foundational training on lockout basics with a focus on damage prevention. Topics include: basic lockout guidelines, discussion of locking mechanisms, safety around airbags and more. It will take place as part of the Towing & Recovery Conference taking place at Tow Expo Dallas, August 17-19, 2017 at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, Texas.

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingAugust 16 - August 22, 2017

City, State
RATES
North:
Bronx, NY
$125
(Pop. 1,438,159)
South:
Charlotte, NC
$85
(Pop. 809,958)
East:
Baltimore, MD
$85
(Pop. 622,104)
West:
San Jose, CA
$200
(Pop. 1,015,785)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
homediv

Don't Leave Money on the Table: Pivot!

MoneyOnTable2.188112618 2a807By Don G. Archer

Why do some businesses thrive and others fail? The answer most often is because they fail to pivot. They fail to make changes when necessary.

There are basically four predominant ways in which a stranded motorist finds a tow truck: law enforcement, motor clubs, referrals and online. If you're not fully exploiting each of these you're not pivoting, and you may be leaving money on the table.

Law Enforcement

Whether by a patrol car coming upon a stranded motorist due to an accident or by calling 911 direct, motorists rely on law enforcement as a trusted resource for help. Each law enforcement agency relies on the services of towing companies to respond, so being known by each agency is a huge benefit to your business.

At every level—city, county, state—there may be opportunities to participate in law enforcement rotation lists. At a minimum, owners should provide each agency with their contact information to ensure that they will know who to call when needed.

Motor Clubs

Participation in motor clubs may have its advantages—despite traditionally low rates—including the ability to leverage these calls to build your business. Three ways to leverage motor club calls are:
1. Through exceptional customer service you may be able to turn a motor club customer into a cash customer. A motorist may become disenchanted with their motor club for a variety of reasons. This leads to the opportunity for you to knock their socks off with service. Providing them with a card while doing so and they may call you direct next time.

2. Reciprocation. Many times motor club customers are traveling in unfamiliar areas. When a breakdown occurs, they're apprehensive about who to trust and what to do. If you can be their guiding light by providing choices on where to take their car for repair, they'll appreciate it and remember. When you call ahead to ensure that a local repair shop can get them in, you're further building the relationship. Your kind gesture might be all it takes to get that repair shop to call you the next time one of their customers needs a tow.

3. Ask for Feedback. Reviews are now highly sought-after online currency. The more and better reviews you have the better. Why not take advantage of these low-paying motor club calls by asking for reviews?

Referrals

Referrals can come from anywhere. Similar to reviews, they're like gold to your business.

Understand, the chief reason someone wants to refer someone to your business is to make themselves look good. The fact that they like you and believe you're going to do a good job is only a part of the reason.

When a customer at a convenience store locks their keys in the car and the cashier pulls out your business card, the cashier gets to be the hero. The cashier wins because you've provided them the opportunity to come up with a quick solution, solving their customer's problem.

Once a referral has been made and you've provided service, thank the source. Thanking them reinforces the fact that they had the wherewithal to remember and make that call. Do it in a caring, thoughtful way and in a manner that isn't patronizing to their efforts. This will reinforce their decision to call you, and help place your business at the top of the list the next time.

Online Search
In 2010, just 62 million Americans carried a cellphone. In 2016, that number has climbed to 207 million and is expected to reach 237 million by 2019. When in need of a tow, most motorists now turn to the Internet for solutions. With searches like "towing company near me," "tow truck" or "cheap towing services," they consult the web instead of the Yellow Pages.

For your company to be found, you need to have a properly search engine-optimized website, a verified Google My Business page, a Facebook business page and a means for collecting Reviews. When this is all integrated into your site, you stand a much better chance of being found—and the one who gets the call.

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 TheTowAcademy.com. Don and his wife, Brenda, formerly owned and operated Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, Mo. E-mail him direct at don@thetowacademy.com
hd-rates

Saying Goodbye to Fred

CHP.MotorEscort c9afd
By Randall C. Resch

(The California Highway Patrol escorts Fred Griffith's 4-axle heavy-duty as the 110-tow truck procession heads over Mission Trails Summit.)

On Feb. 23, 2017, heavy-duty tow operator Fred Griffith was killed working the shoulders of Highway 52 in San Diego, Calif. Who would ever have imagined his life would be cut short based on the safety message he preached so strongly?

Having completed attaching all safety gear and extension lights, Fred was stowing his wireless controls in the rear box of his wrecker when an alleged DUI motorist drove onto the shoulder and fatally struck him. The motorist attempted to flee, but was apprehended by an off-duty officer a short distance from the crash site.

Fred gave his life helping others, and he put himself in harm's way in the way tow operators do.

Remembering Fred

As heavy-duty supervisor for RoadOne San Diego, Fred was known throughout Southern California as a talented tow operator who had solid recovery skills for even the most difficult recoveries.

On March 11, a crowd of well-wishers, towers, law enforcement and more than 110 tow trucks and vehicles, gathered at RoadOne's corporate offices as a means to honor Fred. With perfect weather, participants arrived to see two flags hanging gloriously between three heavy-duty wreckers: one flag providing backdrop for the stage and another stretched across the roadway for participants to drive under as they headed toward Highway 52.

We were held to an exact timeline in meeting the rollout plan. Guests were greeted with refreshments while signing a guest book that included personal messages to Fred. The CHP held a safety briefing to ensure towers drove the route safely and with a measure of dignity.

Promptly at 10:45, I made opening statements on behalf of RoadOne San Diego, introducing our speakers to include eldest son, Mike Griffith (representing the Griffith family), CHP Officer Jake Sanchez, Richard Cochran, who represented the Congressional Medal of Honor Survivor's Fund and retired Lt. Joe Torrillo of the New York City Fire Department on-behalf of 911 survivors, first responders and America's Patriot Flag. Also present were David and Joe, Mike's younger brothers.

The Circle of Life

It's strange how we seem attached somehow by blood, misfortune or circumstance. For five years, the massive Patriot Flag has been on tour across America. Because San Diego has strong ties to the military community, it was befitting that the flag's last stop would be the Santee Fire Department before returning to New York.

Because of the towing services Fred provided relating to flags, people, places and events, the Patriot Flag toured throughout Southern California. If the flag truck experienced mechanical problems, RoadOne Towing was called to tow them. At one point, the fire department was transporting the flag and needed assistance. Fred Griffith, known as "05-Sam," a police designator for supervisor, arrived in his massive quad-axle 9055 to tow the disabled fire truck.

As a long-time resident of Santee, Fred cemented a relationship between himself, Santee's firefighters and the flag. Hearing of Fred's death, the fire department immediately stepped forward along with Torrillo, offering to present the Patriot Flag along the procession's route.

As the rolling procession made way to eastbound Highway 52, the eight-mile, police-escorted convoy of tow vehicles made its way past the crash site. There, a single wreath of white flowers surrounded a picture of Fred with his sons. Participants were surprised by the enormous 30'x56', 70-lbs. flag as they crested the Mission Trails Summit.

While every tow truck procession has its own special character, the Patriot Flag gave to us a deepened sense of American pride and spirit. Perhaps it was the firefighters saluting our procession and Fred's heavy wrecker that gave me shivers. I simply know that, whenever I see an American Flag, I'll forever remember Fred and the selfless acts that cost him his life.

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, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
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