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Dollying High-End Cars

Dollytowing eaef6By Randall C. Resch

A Georgia tow company responded to tow a high-end Mercedes-Benz that struck a deer. The tow company suggested to the motor club they be approved to use a wheel-lift and dollies, but the motor club dispatcher immediately refused.

High-end vehicle owners are wired a little more tightly than your average car owner—guarded—to protect their investment from the potential incidental damages of a careless or inexperienced tow operator.

To high-end vehicle owners, it's a scary proposition because they're ultimately stuck in between what their dealer says, what they read in the owner's manual and what the motor club dispatcher says. Their "high-end mind" becomes a whirling dervish of confusion by the time your company's dispatcher starts talking wheel lift and dollies.

Once the dealer, mechanic or motor club tells them to demand a car carrier, you can bet they're locked into the "carrier-only" mode. Why wouldn't they be apprehensive?

So, it's your company's job to help ease their pain.

Only the Best
I can say with credible certainty that today's modern vehicles are more sophisticated, tighter, lower, advanced and extremely complicated. When flatbed carriers first hit the towing and transport scene, it was thought that carriers were the answer in solving all those nightmarish "wrecker" issues.

Nope, not so fast!

Only those tow and carrier operators who demonstrate high-end capabilities should be dispatched to high-end requests ... even if that means holding the call and dispatching it to the next available experienced tower. It makes perfect sense to let the vehicle's owner know up front there might be a delay as you're waiting for the right operator to properly handle their situation. However, effectively explain that a wheel-lift and dollies can be equally effective.

Sell Your Services
The entire process of towing and transporting high-end vehicles starts in the dispatch office. Dispatchers should be trained in the nuances of towing and loading high-end vehicles to know the type of tow truck or carrier that should be sent to the call. Just because the motor club says their member is broke down in a Porsche Panamericana doesn't mean a carrier is the best truck for the job. The tow company should decide what truck will tow or transport the vehicle without experiencing any problems.

Remember: the manufacturer is the builder of the vehicle, the owner is the owner; but we towers are supposed to be the expert in towing and transport. The owner's manual gives generic guidelines that may not be correct for all tows and all situations. Convincing a vehicle's owner about the right process of tow or transport is based on your company's effectiveness in explaining what techniques are best for towing their high-end vehicle.

Your ability to clarify the mechanical process of loading a vehicle onto a tow truck or carrier should be detailed and realistic. Carefully and enthusiastically tell the vehicle's owner about the benefits of using a wheel-lift and dollies vs. having to drag their vehicle onto an awaiting carrier (oil drips, stripped transmission gears, etc.)

Sell your company's services; but be sure that your company's varsity players are up to the task of providing damage-free towing.

The hesitation of carriers vs. dollies stems from manufacturers stating that carriers are the recommended or preferred way of transport. Here's a suggestion in helping you sell dollies: Keep a small, color photo book of high-end cars in your tow trucks for showing owners what dollies look like when they're set up. Include a plethora of pictures of the entire dolly process in order of application.

Whip out your trusty photo book to show those vehicle owners—who may have no mechanical sense—hoping that if they see a picture of wheel-lifts and dollies in action, they'll agree to the service.

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, is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame, and, a recipient of the 2017 Dave Jones Leadership Award.
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