The Week's Features
Tow Expo Dallas' winning trucks are highlighted
Towman Scott Shover is being called "a guardian angel"
Redi-Letters' lighted signs easily mount on wreckers
Suspending auto repos of clients impacted by Hurricane Harvey
Or, do government controls actually work?
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August 17-19, 2017
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In his seminar, "Dispatching, GPS and Mapping Innovations," Todd Althouse of Beacon Software will take a look at how a dispatch office has changed in the last 20 years. He'll review modern tools available to dispatchers, such as GPS locations, PTO activity, computer-assisted dispatch for driver recommendations and much more to improve efficiencies. This Management Conference seminar will take place at the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19 at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland–register today!
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingSeptember 20 - September 26, 2017

City, State
Waterford, MI
(Pop. 72,166)
Auburn, AL
(Pop. 56,908)
Terre Haute, IN
(Pop. 60,785)
Loveland, CO
(Pop. 72,651)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

cellphone e0348By Don Archer

Did you know that if your employees are using their own devices while working for you, and you don't have policies in place that restrict certain behavior, you can be held liable?

As an employer of tow truck operators, you are responsible for making certain they are not engaging in unsafe acts while on the road. To meet that responsibility, you must require drivers to operate trucks safely, not to drink and drive, use drugs and to refrain from texting or using personal, or company-provided devices in a way that takes their attention off the roads.

But do you have a policy that addresses all this?

"Bring Your Own Device" policies are relatively new. They were created with the intent of keeping proprietary company information secure while allowing employees to use their own devices to access information required to do the job.

On the employee's side, being allowed to access company information from multiple locations is a plus. They're allotted more freedom and autonomy rather than being tied to a desk.

Allowing employees to use their own devices can be a challenge; but with a BYOD policy in place, the employer has the ability to monitor behavior, and to "wipe clean" any company information from an employee's personal device when a separation occurs. This is done so that an employee cannot use the information to harm the company ... such as going to the competition with the customer list.

Although some of the security issues mentioned above aren't a huge cause for concern in the towing industry, there are two reasons why towing business owners will want to have a BYOD policy in place. They are: safety, and to "cover your rear."

If you allow or require tow truck operators to communicate through the use of either company-provided or personal devices, you must have policies in place that govern their use to ensure safety at all times.

When drivers know their cellphones may be audited should they be involved in an accident, they end up acting more responsibly. Your BYOD policy works to minimize negative behavior and create a safer working environment.

Cover Your Rear
Second only to safety is that your company may be held responsible if these devices are used improperly and you have no guidelines in place. For example, in the event of an accident occurring because a driver was texting while driving.

When you implement a policy that gives YOU access to your employees' phones, there's a chance you'll scare some of them off. To avoid scaring away good employees, you must first create a policy that's easily understood. And when your policy is in place and it becomes necessary to enforce it, do so in a way that you'd want it enforced upon you if the tables were turned.

Your policy should:

1. Detail specific instances for its use.
Vague and ambiguous language will put-off good employees and be picked apart by an attorney, if you're ever taken to court.
A good example of specific language: "Management reserves the right to request employees' cell phone bills and usage reports for calls and messaging made during working hours to determine if use is excessive or if any other policy/procedure has been violated (ex: texting while driving)."
2. Discuss boundaries and refrain from going outside those boundaries.
If you're ever required to use the BYOD, have a discussion with your employee to let him know exactly what you are looking for—then stick to it. Don't delve into areas not specified in your policy. If you've told him that you're only looking at texts during a specified time and date, don't stray into personal emails.
3. Explain that the policy is in place to protect them as well.

Most tow truck drivers don't understand how having a BYOD policy can serve to protect them. But, if they're ever involved in any type of incident and are required to appear in court, the judge and opposing attorneys will ask for and expect all relevant data pertaining to the circumstances. Not having that information can be detrimental to their case.

If they've done nothing wrong, having a BYOD policy can remove any shadow of doubt and clear them of any wrongdoing.

Having a BYOD policy goes a long way in deterring negative behavior. With such a policy, you can minimize exposure for your business while maintaining safety on the roads.

Don G. Archer is also 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. Don is the Tow Business Editor for Tow Industry Week, and his bi-weekly column in Tow Industry Week is a must-read. E-mail him direct at

Hiring Smart: Making the Change

Millenials cfa70By Randall C. Resch

What changes can you make to your company's attractability to meet the needs of today's emerging generations?

In today's market of technology, higher education and specialization, towing and recovery is destined to fall short like all other hands-on trades. Accordingly, there must be some kind of creativity in hiring, or tow companies will suffer. While it may sting a little to meet the change, it's something tow owners should openly evaluate for their future.

"Forbes" magazine estimates a full 86 million millennials will fill the workplace by 2020. That number represents an estimated 40 percent of the total working population.

Work values and expectations differ for sure. As far as millennials are concerned, consider these four expectations:

1. Millennials want shared responsibility. Millennials have a sense of entitlement looking for opportunities to advance. Does your company provide employees a chance to take on responsibility and find success on a micro level before moving on to larger roles? Can you offer potential growth?

2. Support for work and life balance. Millennials describe an unwillingness to sacrifice off-work time or to make other lifestyle compromises in return for pay. They argue that they've watched their boomer parents delay happiness in return for career advancement; a concept they're not willing to accept for themselves. For them, career satisfaction must be nearly instant.

3. Let them work for an ethical organization. If run in a proper and acceptable manner, your tow company should be recognized in your community as competent, professional and ethical.

4. Millennials seek ongoing feedback. Management should provide open communications via an open-door policy offering frequent face-to-face contact between employee and employer.

Millennials also have simple expectations:

• 72 percent would like to be their own boss. If they must work for a boss, 79 percent would want their boss to serve more as a skills coach or mentor. While I like the idea of mentorship, this industry demands applicants who are self-starters and capable of producing with minimal supervision.

• 88 percent prefer a collaborative work culture, rather than a competitive one, by balancing focus and partnership. They're geared toward working on individual tasks and gathering with colleagues to brainstorm and interact in a group setting. However, for small tow companies with one dispatcher and a few tow operators, working separately and alone is the industry's nature. Rarely are there opportunities to collaborate except for special projects or employee safety meetings.

• 74 percent want flexible work schedules. The towing and recovery work environment is based on 24/7 availability; flexible schedules are difficult based on minimal staffing requirements of contracts and accounts.

• 64 percent desire to make the world a better place. While that's a noble consideration, our industry's service is oftentimes challenged for necessity, ethics and professionalism.

• 88 percent want "work-life integration," which isn't the same as work-life balance, since work and life for (them now) blend together intimately.
Don't Follow the Leader

I've watched tow owners follow the path of others with stifled pay because that's what the competition does. While that may be a solid practice to follow by testing the waters, there's nothing wrong with developing a pay and benefits packet that's better than what the competition is paying. Offering higher pay and benefits is a way to attract potential employees.

Obviously, your company's good reputatiton should precede itself, and be backed by favorable reasons to come to work. Because the workforce now sees baby boomers leaving and other generations gaining momentum, there's got to be new strategies in meeting their needs.

To learn what the emerging workforce desires may be key to creative hiring for the future. Understanding these needs are crucial for tow companies wishing to grow. If the industry doesn't change and adapt to meet the desires of these emerging generations, tow businesses are destined to flounder and die.

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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