I remember the first time I towed a car. It was a 1992 Pontiac Grand Am, white body with a gray interior. In the west side of Detroit. I had been working all day at my uncle’s collision shop in Grosse Pointe Isle. His regular tow truck driver had got into an accident while on his way to a service call. He was looking for the client’s street and a pickup truck blew through a red light and rear-ended the tow truck. It was horrible but the driver, Mike, was ok, not a scratch on him. My uncle just insisted he take the day off to rest, with pay mind you. Yea he was just good like that. Anyway, my uncle ask me if I could run and do the job. Never one to disappoint I agreed. As my business mentor says do what gives you joy.
I tell you what, it was that first tow that taught me many a great lessons. The first lesson being, make sure your cell phone is charged and that you have a portable charger with you. I was about twenty minutes away from the shop, I needed to contact the customer because I was having a hard time finding his street. As soon I connected with the customer it died on me. There I was driving around looking for a pay phone, a store, anywhere that I could either make a phone call or buy a cell phone charger for the truck. Eventually I found a phone store that had a charger that would fit my phone, I called the customer, found where his car was located, and towed. But I was an hour late. The customer was not happy, until I gave a discount on the tow charges. I mean we were not yet the best towing company in Oakland County yet.
That leads me to my lesson of the day treat the customer with respect and kindness. It will go a long way. After I explained why I was late and gave him that discount, that customer has been a customer of my uncles ever since that day. Always keep in mind that rather you are a tow truck driver, mechanic, or baker your business depends on your customers. Try and make them happy and your business will thrive.
As I said before that Grand Am was my first tow truck customer. I mean I have been out in the tow truck before but it was always with someone, assisting. However, on that day, I did not have any assistant; I was solo. I learned that you must know and understand the truck you will be using. Normally when go out and assist us would use a wheel lift truck? You know, one where you have to slide the yoke underneath the tires, then use the boom to lift the tires off of the ground. On that day I had to use the flatbed truck because Mike had that accident with the other truck. Always be familiar with the equipment. During that call I was fumbling, making so many mistakes because I was unfamiliar with the truck. Had I taken out the time to look over it and test the controls, I would have been more efficient in the execution.
As it were I learn a great deal on that first tow. Be prepared, be courteous to the customer, and know the equipment. With a small investment from my uncle I was able to start my own tow truck company. And now I have a fleet of trucks, nineteen employees, and three locations. Maybe be you’ve seen us? Troy’s Towing Service at troytowing.org