The Week's Features
Cross-disciplinary training attended by N.Y. first responders
Negotiating power, phone lines and more, dump is recovered
Remote-controlled lift has rated lifting capacity of 14,000 lbs.
MotoLease managing partner/COO selected for honor by CARS
Dodge/Jerr-Dan unit dedicated to fallen towman
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Custom-painting a wrecker is a many-layered process; and this seminar will cover the differences in custom-painting versus wrapping, the costs involved and the different values of both processes. It’s led by Cecil Burrowes of Cecil Customs, whose tow truck artwork has garnered many wrecker pageant awards nationwide. Don’t miss his “Custom Painting vs. Wrap” seminar next Sunday during the American Towman Exposition, November 17-19, at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 22 - November 28, 2017

City, State
Pelham, NH
(Pop. 10,914)
Pell City, AL
(Pop. 12,695)
Plymouth, IN
(Pop. 10,033)
Centralia, WA
(Pop. 16,336)
Light-Duty nonconsensual tow rates as provided by Police Towers of America.

Running Down a Dream?

RunningShoe 815e0By DON ARCHER

I once was a runner. I loved to run and became so involved in the sport I decided to make it my vocation. Problem was I wasn't good enough to make it big. Whether on the roads or the track, I just couldn't keep up with the best of the best. These guys could put together more than a dozen 5-minute miles and still keep hammering.

I still wanted in. So to continue to participate in the sport that I loved, I put my other skills to work and created a regional running magazine. I could string a few words into a recognizable sentence and figured my love for the sport would carry me the rest of the way. What I didn't know, I could learn—and I learned quite a bit.

One thing I learned rather quickly was that publishing a magazine in the year 2000 was expensive (the Internet wasn't a viable option yet). After personally subsidizing the first three issues, I quickly pursued subscribers in order to cover the costs. But there weren't enough "paying" subscribers to foot the bill.

Next, I went to my local running shop and solicited advertising in the hopes that they'd cover a huge portion of my monthly expense. I walked away with, "Come and see me when you've got more issues under your belt."

Still undeterred, I went to another shop and another, and contacted running event coordinators. I went to the local running clubs in towns across the state. I hit up every retail establishment that might stand to gain from a display ad and all the while I was working on giving readers what they wanted.

What readers wanted out of a regional running magazine was local race results, upcoming events, and real-world ways to get better at their sport. I traveled the state and worked hard to build a publication that people would eagerly anticipate every month.

The ads began to trickle in and the subscriber base grew and then I received a call from an advertising clearing house. My hard work must have paid off because they said they could help me get ads—big ads.

A clearing house helps national advertisers get ads into regional magazines. By buying in bulk, at a discount, they get in at the grass roots level all across the nation. In a short time I had Nike, Reebok, or Asics on the back cover every month. It was great.

Those ads, combined with the ads I'd sold, paid the printing and postage bill every month. But I wasn't receiving any compensation for my efforts (other than the satisfaction that my magazine was a success). Every month I'd put hundreds of miles on my car and spend hours traveling to get photos and results from far-off events. I'd then come home, sit at my computer and configure the information into something desirable for the reader. All this while I was supposed to be taking care of my full-time business, the business that actually provided me with an income.

At the time, I didn't realize that I was allowing my arrogance to control my actions. I continued to publish the magazine knowing full well that it was costing me time and energy every month. I continued to do it because, to everyone around, it looked like my idea had been a success. But it wasn't.

I had allowed vanity and pride to guide my decision making. I didn't have a successful business; I had an expensive hobby.

Sometimes in the towing business we become involved in relationships and make buying decisions merely because of the supposed prestige and value they lend to our businesses. Rather than insisting on a win-win scenario, we give more than we should just to be seen as a success. Giving is necessary for a time, but sooner or later you're going to have to make a profit.

You can rationalize your desire for shiny trucks—bigger, heavier, newer—because it's all about image right? But they all come with strings attached and if those relationships aren't paying the freight, something's gotta go.

I had to let my magazine go, but I gained so much more in return. Besides a profitable business in the towing industry, I learned that the biggest obstacle we all face in business and in life is our selfish desire to be seen as more than we actually are.

Don Archer lives and works in Jefferson City, Mo., where he and his wife, Brenda, own and operate Broadway Wrecker, a 12-truck operation that's been in business since the 1950s. Email him at

I Believe in ‘Second-Chances’

Tanker Truck Rollover.JPG xx8dGjb t1200 copy a6dd7By Randall C. Resch

A commercial-type truck accident on your record is somewhat of a death knell for CDL applicants looking to find work at towing and recovery companies. There's an old saying: "When you roll over, most good companies play dead." I believe this to be a true statement for affected drivers trying to land work as a tow truck, big rig or trailer-type operator.

Recently, a tow company owner called me about an applicant who previously worked as an over-the-road trucker for a large carrier. The applicant successfully attained his CDL and had 17 months of long-haul experience. He passed his DOT physical and pre-hire drug screen and was said to be a model employee ... until the accident happened.

Two years ago in Oklahoma, his truck experienced a front-tire blowout while traveling 50 mph in moderate to heavy wind. As a result of the tire coming apart and the wind gusts, the truck jerked violently to the right and overturned onto prairie land. No other vehicles were involved and no one was injured. The driver was not cited and the highway patrol accident investigation was completed.

Because the driver lost control of his rig and overturned, he was fired from the trucking company he worked for citing gross negligence.

I don't know who decided his accident was gross negligence, but based on his accident and firing: Would you consider hiring this individual for your towing company as a tow truck operator? Although the investigating officer made notes stating the crash was due to mechanical failure, how would your insurance company view hiring him based on this single crash?

Risk and Liability

Most state insurance carriers look upon these types of accidents and incidents as a risky venture for insurance liability. Most insurance companies view risk assessment as those drivers who have a preventable accident or moving citations.

So, when a driver applies to your company whose MVR shows a single motor vehicle accident, does one single accident disqualify the driver from employment with your company?

What ultimately comes to mind is whether the driver can first be insured, and then if he or she is not prone to accidents or considered an outward risk.

In regards to the above applicant, I don't believe his single accident should justify his disqualification. It's not like this driver has a criminal background. Based on what I was told about this applicant, I would consider hiring him.

Do Your Diligence

When tow owners gamble in hiring applicants with questionable driving or background histories, they roll the dice should a future catastrophic incident occur. Why? Because the details of someone's past always will be revealed in a wrongful death injury or suit.

I believe in second chances and feel the applicant's background doesn't disqualify his potential hiring. If their MVR shows minimal activity, their hiring could be the match you've been looking for. With detailed training and supervision, he could be a great asset to your company.

The question struck me as a great topic for consideration if ever a former commercial driver were to apply for work at your company. There seems to be plenty of drivers who can't hire on as commercial haulers for various reasons other than driving or background disqualifiers. I believe in second chances. What do you think?

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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