The Week's Features
Show floor crowds were robust all weekend.
City suspended three companies with alleged ties to Gasper Fiore
Colors and shapes work together in an explosive backdrop
Provides additional storage for certain medium-duty wreckers
DeFalco’s recovers leaking overturned gasoline tanker
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Events
AT ShowPlace
Las Vegas, NV.
May 9-11, 2018
Tow Expo Dallas
Dallas, TX.
August 16-18, 2018
AT Exposition
Baltimore, MD.
Nov. 16-18, 2018
Don't Miss It!
Customer service has become a lost art. How often does your business even get a thank you nowadays? In his Management Conference seminar, “Putting the ‘Service’ Back in Customer Service,” Don K. Hudson of Troy Auto Care will share his ideas. His tow company has won several awards, including the prestigious “Service Providers of Excellence Award" from AAA for five years in a row. His session will take place at Tow Expo-Dallas, August 16-18, at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center in Dallas, Texas. towexpodfw.com

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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingMay 23 - May 29, 2018

City, State
RATES
Monrovia, CA
$180
(Pop. 36,590)
Nacogdoches, TX
$150
(Pop. 32,996)
Owings Mills, MD
$75
(Pop. 30,622)
Dover, NH
$90
(Pop. 30,665)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.
homediv

Anyone In-Charge Here?

messyoffice02 48364By Randall C. Resch

I held a two-day tow operator safety course for a northern California towing company. Present was a law enforcement tow boss who was participating as a student in the class. The safety course consists of two eight-hour day classes that allow me to see the behind-the-scenes operations that occur just outside of the classroom's location.

As this was a weekend class, the owner was having a well-deserved Saturday away to be with his family, leaving the business to run in a general manner.

From my vantage point (and to my dismay), what I observed was not good. Several on-the-clock tow truck drivers were hanging out in the company's office watching TV or sending text messages, while others were seated in their tow trucks for long periods of time with no noticeable activity.

However:

• Tow trucks were filthy; exteriors alone had fingerprints and tobacco spit stains streaking the sides.
• Side-boxes and truck interiors were dirty, smelly, stained.
• Winch cable was bird-nested on several winches.
• Oil and debris was visible on a carrier's deck.
• The yard needed sweeping and trash picked up.
• The driver's room was dirty and unkempt.
• No one thought to clean the restroom and dump its trash can.

It was obvious that, with an absence of management, nothing was getting done and nothing was going to get done. I can imagine what the police tow boss taking the class was thinking; personally, I was embarrassed.

In the towing and recovery environment, there's always something to do. Unfortunately, unless there's direction to delegate or assign tasks, nothing's going to get done. When that concern doesn't come from the company's owner or management, things tend to fall into disrepair and gain an unkempt, unacceptable appearance. It doesn't take long for a facility to take on the appearance of a stereotypical junkyard ... a business impression that shouldn't be allowed to happen.

A company's reputation and visual appearance can make or break its image. When employees are on the clock, there's a reasonable expectation that they are busy taking care of equipment, facility and other menial tasks.

Supervision is oftentimes necessary on the part of absent ownership. Towers and tow company staff should be held accountable in day-to-day responsibilities, that don't include sitting on one's butt, until everything's caught up.

Some might see me as a nosey busybody, and that the company's operations are none of my business. Sorry, I don't see it that way.

Soon after, I had a quiet discussion with the company's owner recommending he appoint or hire a supervisor to care for on-going tasks in his absence, especially when employees are on the clock earning wages.

In this case, the company's boss took my message to heed for the better ... especially after he showed up unexpected the following week.

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 online, and is a member of the International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame.
hd-rates

Summertime Blues

Heat85 0eac0By Randall C. Resch

It's gonna be hot in the weeks to come; summer brings its own set of problems. Following are some quick safety reminders for tow owners to pass onto drivers.

Safety and survival is every tower's duty. Complacency and shortcuts open the window to being injured or killed. Be smart about what you do on every call, even the easy ones. It's really a shame that towers have to be on high alert, but that's simply a sign of the times.

Regardless of scenario, move quickly, stay focused and watch your backside. Be wary of vehicle owners and their friends who approach and start to circle behind you. It's simply good advice for tow operators to not stay in one place for too long.

Hydrate and seek out cool zones frequently, and be especially aware of people with short tempers. It's a proven fact that as temperatures rise, bad attitudes and tempers flare. Avoid areas prone to violence unless business requires you to be there.

For towers working private-property impounds, laws are specific about releasing vehicles when you're hooked-up but not off property. Remain calm and use non-violent techniques when releasing a vehicle to hopefully avoid any violent confrontation.

Be especially on alert in beach and residential areas where drinking is a regular practice. Like the old SWAT sergeant used to say, "Get in fast and get out faster;" those words ring true to the work you do.

It's the manner that towers oftentimes respond to a vehicle owner's aggression that dictates whether or not an impound turns violent. Don't be the provoker and certainly don't taunt or be flippant back to the vehicle's owner or other party. Keep your eyes on those individuals who aren't the vehicle's owner.

By staying calm and not letting the scenario escalate, you should be able to complete the process unharmed. The same is true for vehicle releases back at your tow yard. Don't hesitate to call 911 if the situation becomes violent.

For repo agents doing your thing, have a solid plan in place before reclaiming someone's car.

Danger Lurks

Drivers arriving back at the tow yard late at night with an impound or PPI should close and lock the front gate first. Do this to hopefully avoid someone walking into the yard to try and liberate their vehicle, or worse do you harm. Be smart about your surroundings and always have an escape route wherever you are.

When you exit your tow truck and not actively loading a vehicle for transport, take the keys with you to avoid someone stealing your tow truck. If you stop to make a phone call or use GPS, park in a well-lighted area and don't stay long.

Night time robberies are on the rise and tow operators, like taxi drivers, are prime targets for those thinking that towers carry cash. Criminals looking for cash will stick a gun in your face and liberate you of your phone, watch, computer and even your wedding ring. These are items bad guys will kill for.

There are lots of bars and night clubs on inner-city streets. Many DUI vs. tow operator attacks occur between midnight and 3 a.m. Never turn your back to approaching traffic and work away from the traffic side. Don't let your guard down for a second.

In many suburban and rural areas rattlesnakes are everywhere, all the way to the ocean's edge. Snakes tend to lie in shaded areas, so keep a watchful eye as you walk.

If your company is on the highway patrol's rotation list, DUI drivers are everywhere at all hours. Once again, never turn your back to approaching traffic and work away from the traffic side when working the highways.

The industry is full if incidents where tow operators have been attacked for simply doing their jobs. Regardless, be in control of where and what you're doing at all times.

Here's wishing you all a busy, productive and safe summer.

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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