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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

City, State
Bronx, NY
(Pop. 1,438,159)
Charlotte, NC
(Pop. 809,958)
Baltimore, MD
(Pop. 622,104)
San Jose, CA
(Pop. 1,015,785)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

Twelve Life-Saving Obligations

workingthewhiteline aed04By Randall C. Resch

Towers are seemingly at war with distracted motorists; those who have no clue or inclination as to the dangers we face on a day-to-day basis. Yet we have an obligation to return home safely to our families, our companies and the communities we serve.

The towing and recovery industry demands that tow operators be knowledgeable and aware of hazards that are inherent to the job. Towers are responsible to know what standards of care exist, recognizing them and to do what it takes to apply them.

The following 12 training categories are life-saving "focus areas" every tow operator should attain. Training topics should include:

1. Traffic Incident Management Fundamentals and Terminology: TIM training offers free hands-on and web-based training on how to safely and properly execute roadside response specific to high-speed freeways.

2. Response and Approach: Employing vehicle code requirements for safe vehicle operations, lane placement, speed of travel, use of emergency lighting, legal use of shoulders, etc.

3. Vehicle Positioning: How tow trucks are parked or positioned is critical when towers are working outside of their vehicles.

4. Arrival Assessment: In an immediate sense, the tower is assessing the who, what, when, where, how and why considerations of any incident as it regards, "move it or work it."

5. On-Scene Safety: What considerations or best practices would make a tower's on-scene existence the safest for them, including paths of escape?

6. Command Responsibilities: Understanding the "big picture" of what's going on when working critical incidents and who is in-charge. Towers have on-scene responsibilities to identify an Incident Commander and react immediately and competently to the tasks at hand.

7. Traffic Management: The known study of dangers, lessons learned and cause and effect of traffic incidents; the study of clearing obstructions and restoring traffic to its original free-flowing state.

8. Special Circumstances: These are considerations by towers working outside the box. While some recovery techniques and methods may seem unorthodox to the norm, towers work with incident managers in order to get the job done.

9. Quick Clearance: The total goal of getting traffic moving again lessens the possibility of secondary impacts.

10. White-Line Safety: Especially for tow operators, it's a learned ability to consciously work away from traffic using tow truck controls and equipment items far from the white-line side.

11. Survival Tactics: A tow operator's learned ability to employ survival and on-scene operational tactics that allows them to work out of known danger areas.

12. Application of Techniques and Methods: The total and overall abilities to employ appropriate equipment, tow truck and recovery skill in meeting the quick-clearance objectives.

Working white-line danger zones is every tower's conscious decision. All the training in the world is negated by the reality that it's you who chooses to stand or work in harm's way. While there are times towers must move quickly through pinch zones or the white-line danger side, consciously and routinely standing there—especially at the traffic-side controls—is a recipe for disaster.

These categories are suggested as a basis of training for both on-highway responders and those serving the motoring public no matter where they travel.

I ask that you'll take a few minutes to self-evaluate and see if you have your mind right when it comes to understanding the dangers of the roadside. Never forget that this profession has the highest mortality rate that reaches far beyond other occupations.

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.

Retaining Customers

building customer loyalty 22cf7By Don G. Archer

Retaining customers isn't rocket science, but it does take a little work. First things first, you must provide great service and value ... no brainer. Secondly, you must stay in touch.

Towing customers only need you when they need you. The quickest way to lose a customer is when you no longer are top-of-mind. A couple of ways to avoid this is through the use of email and social media.

Many companies today are going paperless, which means providing customers with paid receipts via email. With a database of email addresses, you could send out friendly reminders, alerting them to heat advisories, snow emergencies and helpful hints on checking tire pressure. The emails shouldn't be intrusive; just friendly once-a-month reminders to let them know you're still around to help whenever they may need.

As far as social media goes, you could use a Facebook "Like" campaign or provide a perk like 10 percent off their next tow to get people to like your page. This can help bring more people to your page and keep you top-of-mind, as long as you are actively engaged (meaning regular posts).

A warning: If you stumble and stop posting for an extended length of time, say a week, Facebook's updated algorithm may cause your posts, once you start up again, to not show up in the feed of many who've liked your page. Sorry, FB wants more of your advertising dollars, so stay engaged.

Online reviews are amazing in how they can increase the lifetime value of your customers. They work on a multi-faceted level.

The first being that the more and better reviews you receive the more Google and the other search engines love you and want to present you when a search is performed. This means it's much easier for an existing customer to find you again.

The second is the fact that potential customers use reviews when making decisions. If you have 160 five-star reviews on Google, it can greatly increase your number of calls.

The third benefit towing companies derive from soliciting reviews has to do with the fact that people want to remain congruent with what they've said. It's built into our DNA.

Irrespective of the logic involved, when people say or write something they want to remain consistent. If a customer leaves your company a glowing review, the chances of that customer using your services in the future increase immensely.

To many tow company owners, marketing may seem like a waste of money. It can be if you're doing it wrong. However, when you incorporate a way to accurately measure results then concentrate on turning what were previously one-off customers into die-hard advocates who keep coming back, you have the ability to grow your business tremendously.

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. Email him direct at
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