The Week's Features
But New York State towmen vow to continue fight
The severity of the damage made this a difficult recovery
Company name starts the creative process for graphics company
New Justice Gorsuch renders first opinion in ruling
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingJune 21 - June 27, 2017

City, State
Sheridan, IN
(Pop. 2,665)
Eastsound, WA
(Pop. 4,500)
Blackwood, NJ
(Pop. 4,545)
Byron, GA
(Pop. 2,887)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

What It Looks Like When It's Working

evildriver 5f6d5By Don Archer

Nathan Walker was having a bad day. His truck quit running so he called roadside assistance for a tow. After waiting on hold for a while, he decided to get a cab home, grab his other truck, and just pay me a visit.

I welcomed him into my office and we called his roadside assistance company together. In a short time we received the tow call via computer. Nathan thanked me, handed me the keys and left.

Assigning the call was the next step. Terry, the driver I sent the call to, was alerted.

But not all things are that easy. Terry was already in his truck, eating his lunch.

We try to stagger lunches when possible, so no undue pressure is put on the drivers to eat and run. However, we impress upon them that when a call comes in and they're needed, it's time to go.

He'd received the call and had angrily thrown his lunch back in his lunch-bucket and was heading out.

I ran to stop him, handed him the keys, and tried to explain that there was no rush. There was no one waiting with the truck, and he could finish eating if he wanted to.
That's when I learned Terry was having a bad day too.

He didn't want to hear it. He was upset that I'd given him the call and wasn't able to relax and eat. In an attempt to get back at me for what he considered to be a huge infraction, he was going starve himself and run the call right then.

I stood there for a moment wondering what just happened. I shook my head and then my blood began to boil. I got angry.

I went back into my office, into the privacy of the bathroom, shut the door and complained. It went a little something like this: "I do everything I can for these guys, and this is the thanks I get? He never responds to the tablet that fast any other time," and so on.

Terry was trying to make me feel guilty.

If you've never been put in this position before you might be led to believe that the guilt-trip worked.

But the reality is I felt no guilt at all. I pay my drivers good money to be available when the calls come in.

So why did I become angry?

I believe that I became angry for the same reason that Terry did: because of a loss of control.

It's no revelation that we all seek to maintain a certain degree of control over our world. However, when we try to do this in an environment that is completely out of control, that's where things get tricky. The towing business is where chaos is the name of the game. Our entire livelihood depends upon waiting for—and then cleaning up after—the unexpected. It's unreasonable and crazy to expect to have any control at all.

I believe for my business to be successful nothing can go wrong. It must be a seamless operation and customers must be happy. For that to happen I need good running trucks and happy drivers.

However, trucks break down, people call in sick, customers are unreasonable ... and drivers get angry. Even though I know these things happen and will continue to happen, I still feel like a failure when they do. While my business remains profitable, I still find myself focusing on the things that went wrong, not what went right.

But what if this is what it looks like when it's working? What if control is just an illusion?

We can sometimes be lulled into a false sense of control. Skilled tow truck operators, bad weather, and crazy drivers seem to give us some assurances that we'll make a profit; but when a hydraulic line bursts in the midst of it all, we freak out.

But doesn't it always get fixed? Doesn't the work always get done ... somehow?

The next day I walked into my office to find a note on my desk that read: "Call Nathan Walker." My shoulders dropped and I began to get angry with Terry all over again.

Reluctantly, I picked up the phone and placed the call. I was ready to hear the worst, that Terry had been rude, or damaged something. When Mr. Walker spoke, all I heard were glowing remarks. Terry had been the model employee.

I thanked him, hung up the phone ... and breathed a sigh of relief.

Maybe this is what it looks like when it's working.

Don G. Archer and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker in Jefferson City, MO. Don is also multi-published author, educator and speaker helping others to build and start successful towing businesses around the country at Want to learn more email him direct at

Reacting to Incorrect Data

adwords 8defbBy Don G. Archer

Our flight from Las Vegas to Denver took longer than it was supposed to; this put my wife and I in a pinch for time. We'd just landed and learned that our next flight was already boarding.

We walked as fast as we could down the concourse, dodging oncoming traffic and passing other slower moving folks. Out of nowhere comes this pregnant lady pushing a stroller. She just wheeled around us like her plane was on the runway waiting. With not a word spoken between us, my wife and I instantly stepped up the pace.

Something primal caused us to react to this obvious affront to our abilities. Catching our flight now took a backseat to keeping up with "Super Mom."

When choosing a course of action, the human brain has been conditioned over millions of years to rely on wide and varied sources of information. External and internal data is presented to us; but rather than looking at the facts, we often let our ego take over and react out of fear. Fear of getting old, fear of loss—or fear of letting "Super Mom" beat you.

With towmen, this fear can manifest itself in many ways. Fear of not being able to meet customer demand might cause us to retain help that should be let go. Fear of damages may cause us to not allow eager, competent young operators to expand their horizons and do more recoveries. Fear of being burned in regards to marketing may cause us to recoil at any mention of AdWords, or social media marketing.

With the demise of Yellow Pages advertising, AdWords is now one of the most cost-effective ways to get your phone ringing. Many towers shy away from it because they think it doesn't work. We've been let down and lied to so many times that many of us have started to believe that the whole thing is a scam. If you're gun-shy because of this, you might be allowing the fear of being "taken again" to keep you from benefitting in this arena.

As with any marketing medium there are challenges with AdWords. I hear them all the time. It's not worth it because of: out-of-the-area calls, "Do you have my car?" calls, and complaints of "My competitors keep clicking on my ads."

If you're having these challenges, they can be very frustrating; but with proper campaign optimization and ad placement you can still see a return on your investment.

Rather than spending your time frittering about who's clicking on your ads, you should use one of Google AdWords' reports to determine if your campaign is actually working. What you really want to know is if the $2,000 you spent in March actually brought in $5,000 in revenue.

AdWords' Call Details Report provides the date and time of the call, the time it was initiated and terminated, the duration of the call and the area code of the caller. Google doesn't give us everything we wish it would, but if you use this report in conjunction with an elementary call-tracking system, you can know if you're making money.

Regardless of the system or software you use to record calls, you can easily use it and the Call Details Report to perform an audit on your AdWords campaign:

1. For every completed call, record the time it was received (a completed call is one where money is exchanged for services rendered.)

2. Record the phone number of the caller.

3. Record the dollar amount paid for services received.

4. Then daily, weekly or monthly, check your completed calls against the information provided in the AdWords Call Details report.

5. Match the area codes and call times on the Call Details report against what you've recorded previously

6. Use this information to determine the exact amount of revenue received from your campaign during that period

7. Then compare your revenue to your ad expenditure for the same time period. This will definitively let you know if it's working or not.

Now you're in the driver's seat.

If your campaign isn't working and you're spending more than you're getting back, now's not the time to throw the baby out with the bath water. There may be changes that can be made to turn this thing around.

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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