Can a guy make money with a tow truck?

Discussion in 'The Garage' started by tominboise, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    Just asking.....Could a guy make money if he had a tow truck? Saw one on CL for $14k. Wondered if a guy picked it up as a retirement gig - how would it take to make $14k....
    #1
  2. digger2

    digger2 A Cad & A Bounder

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    You need contracts. Parking enforcement type and be on the rotation
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  3. insomnia

    insomnia Been here awhile

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    I know 2 blokes who own two trucks one is in with a big company that specialised in roadside rescue hes a tech and tries to get you going first if possible and services his area and is busy I think trucks not outside his house more than it is the other tow's for the police picking up crashed or seized vehicles and that but that's a side line to his usual business . if your not in with like the fuzz or highway rescue service getting paid for independent work might be a problem ? as they say don't give up the day job . but it is possible to make some money I suppose but when you factor in cost of truck insurance diesel it might be years before you turn a buck ? go into it with your eyes open if you do out in all weathers at all hours I wpuldnt fancy it dealing with drunk assholes who might not pay you . a lot of people suck I wouldn't like to be in the service industry myself .
    #3
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  4. Solarbronco

    Solarbronco Long timer Supporter

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    You don't need 14K to get started, you need 20K to get started.

    Trust me, I'm a sales guy at heart. The extra 4k? Go have a bunch of signs made up. On the signs, first line says ------- parking only. Next line has your company name, last line has your phone number.

    Now, go around to businesses all over town, especially those with limited parking. Offer them the signs for free, have them sign a easy to create contract making you their sole towing vendor. Then, on your business cards, get a bunch of those same sized magnetic strips that are sticky on one side, stick hundreds of business cards on the magnets and slap one on the metal filing cabinet of the owners desk. He will create customers for you, trust me.

    On the blank first line of the sign, replace ------- with stencil lettering, that businesses name, same color as the lettering on the sign.

    Visit 20 businesses per day, you will sign up 5 per day. After a year, you will have tows all day every day of the week.

    These customers are also giving you free advertising for everyone that parks in their lots. Contracts will come.

    Save half your profits for more trucks, repairs, advertising.

    Now stop thinking about it and go do all the above.


    saul-goodman.jpg
    #4
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  5. GreaseMonkey

    GreaseMonkey Preshrunk & Cottony

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    I owned a 24 hour towing service for about 3 years. It's a great job for a young guy and depending on the situation not too bad for a retired guy either but there are so many different categories to the business you need to figure out if one of them would work in your area. You also need to realize that you pretty much need to be available 24 hours, so it is hard to plan trips farther away than say, 45 miles but the first couple of years make that about 15 miles.

    Anyway, if you are seriously interested send me a PM with your phone number and we can figure out a time to talk.
    #5
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  6. USMC_Engineer

    USMC_Engineer E-A-G-L-E-S

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    Won’t you also need a decently sized secured lot to store all the cars you tow? You would be responsible for the cars while they are in your control.

    Gotta account for that.
    #6
  7. Creekgeek

    Creekgeek Master Finger Painter

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    Flatbed or grapple will impact which segment you can effectively work. Snatch parking enforcement does not favor a bed as it takes long to load
    #7
  8. cagiva549

    cagiva549 whats a cagiva

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    And a million bucks of insurance just to be able to drive it . Stealing cars is a dangours business .
    #8
  9. TheProphet

    TheProphet Retired; Living the Dream

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    I think you need connections with the local law enforcement folks.
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  10. Lafitte

    Lafitte on the lake

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    It is a hard business to make a go in. Local politics , the competition , the local and state law enforcement , all are not going to welcome you. All have long standing pre-existing relationships.
    Working hi way wrecks can be lucrative. You may need a secured storage lot to keep your tows. 24 hour , late nights, bad weather , all figure in.
    I owned a boom wrecker and made a go of it for over a year. Had teamed up with a local body shop owner ( crook) for use of his storage yard.
    Managed to make payments on truck and my bills. Managed to sell truck and quit while I was ahead.
    #10
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  11. KeithinSC

    KeithinSC Long timer

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    #11
  12. superscott

    superscott Been here awhile

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    I worked for a towing service for 10 years & then had my own for a other 10 years. at the end I had 6 trucks, highway patrol, police, aaa & a boat load of accounts. 1st thing's first - you aren't going to make any money with a $15000 truck, its going to be a wore out dog. #2 you aren't going to make any money with only 1 truck, # 3 tow truck break on a weekly basis- whos going to fix them. #4 see # 2, now you have an other problem now that you have more than one truck, you need to hire drivers, boy o boy are you in for a treat. #5- see #2,3 &4 its a vicious circle, I enjoyed it but if I had stayed in it, I would of ended up in jail for killing a dumb ass driver for fucking up my shit or someone else's stuff
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  13. soyanarchisto

    soyanarchisto Long timer Supporter

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    There's a guy here locally that does nothing but motorcycle towing. Told me he makes a pretty good living from it--he towed my bike to the dealer for a repair estimate after I was creamed on it and brought it back to my house afterwards.
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  14. JohnE65c

    JohnE65c Been here awhile Supporter

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    It's dangerous work loading up a breakdown off the side of a busy highway. At 60 m.p.h. distracted drivers can't tell whether they're following a moving vehicle or about to hit a stopped one on the shoulder.
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  15. broncobowsher

    broncobowsher Long timer

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    It's also dangerous work loading up parking violation and repos. People get really mad when you take stuff that they think they own. Had a co-worker who did some of that work. Showed me a few circular scars he got on the job.

    Storage yard, someone to work the yard while you are in the truck, someone to run the office while you are in the truck and someone works the yard.

    You might be able to make a little money (not enough to pay for the truck) picking up scrap cars from people who just want them gone and selling them to wrecking yards.
    #15
  16. SnoDrtRider

    SnoDrtRider I've been lost here before...

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    I'm sure it has been covered but...
    A buddy of mine has had a roll back since the 70s (I think his truck is a 1978) he is on tow for the city (police call for accident or non insured / non registered / dwi/ etc.) The insurance is crazy and also the requirements. Anything that is towed and is leaking fluids must be held on a paved area so contaminants cannot get into the ground.
    You are on rotation with (depending on size of your city) 10 -20 or more other operators who are competing for the money.
    The only reason my buddy sticks with it is because he has been doing it so long and hates to give it up.
    #16
  17. USMC_Engineer

    USMC_Engineer E-A-G-L-E-S

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    Here in philly they actually had a tv show called tow wars, EDIT: wreck chasers I believe.

    They compete for calls, scan police Radio and drive like raging lunatics trying to beat each other to wrecks.

    There has even been shoot outs between rival tow companies here in the city! Kinda crazy.
    #17
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  18. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    Well, thanks for all the input. Another CL dream crushed.....As I expected.
    #18
  19. RVDan

    RVDan Long timer

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    There's hundreds of independent tow truck operators here sticking their flyers up on every single telephone pole, bulletin board, under your windshield wiper, in your mailbox, and every other place you can leave a flyer. They're often thought of as the third scourge of society, the first being the shopping cart people who steal everything they can carry, the next being the toothless scrap dealer with the uninsured pickup banging on your door at all hours offering to take all your scrap metal and batteries for free, and the third being the tow truck owner offering you twenty five bucks for every vehicle in your yard. They're not making any money on their dream job of transporting vehicles or rescuing people in distress so they e been degraded to hauling scrap cars and often not in the most ethical fashion.

    If you have the space and money to have a tow truck insured and stored and are happy with the occasional tow across town you might break even with the right marketing. If you want to make a living forget it.
    #19
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  20. tominboise

    tominboise Long timer

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    My thought was to have a tow truck around as a handy thing to have....
    #20
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