Slide in Wheel Lift Vs. Wrecker: Which Generates Greater Profits?

When you’re looking at tow truck options for your repossession company, profitability is key. You want to invest in the products and equipment that can deliver you the greatest profits, but it’s not always easy to see which options are best for your company. If you’re in the market for a new tow truck, but aren’t sure which choice —  a slide in wheel lift or a wrecker — will be most profitable, here’s a complete breakdown you can use to help make your decision: 

Upfront Cost of Slide-In Wheel Lifts vs. Wreckers

The first thing to look at is the upfront cost. In general, you can expect a wrecker to cost more upfront. It’s a bigger, heavier-duty truck, with specialized parts. A rollback flatbed tow truck, for example, has a number of high-tech components that allow it to safely tilt, slide out, and then pull the vehicle onto the flatbed. In general, you can expect to spend at least $90-100k for a new flat-bed tow truck. 

A slide-in wheel lift is a bit more affordable upfront. In most cases, you’ll purchase the truck and the wheel lift separately, which means you can shop around for the most affordable truck model. The wheel lift itself is a small fraction of the wrecker cost. While you’ll have to add on a bit more for the cost of labor and installation if you’re not installing a wheel lift yourself, it’s still going to be considerably less to purchase a slide-in wheel lift and truck than it would be to purchase a full-on wrecker. 

The upfront cost of your tow truck will affect your long-term profitability. A more expensive wrecker means you’ll need to do more repo jobs just to break even. 


The lifespan of your tow truck also affects its profitability. Once the vehicle has essentially paid for itself in repo jobs, the rest of its life is profit, less any regular maintenance and fuel. The longer your tow truck lasts, the more you’re making, with less overhead. It’s important to choose a tow truck option that will provide the most bang for your buck when it comes to lifespan, too. 

Both wreckers and slide-in wheel lifts are highly durable. Either option is designed for hard work. That said, a slide-in wheel lift isn’t dependant on mileage the way a wrecker is. A wrecker is one comprehensive piece of equipment — when the truck reaches the end of its life, your only option is to buy a new one. With a slide-in wheel lift, the towing equipment can often outlast the truck it’s installed on. When that happens, you can simply remove the slide-in wheel lift and install it on a new truck of the same size. 

This means you’re spending a whole lot less on equipment and putting a whole lot more of your repo earnings directly into your pocket. 

Maintenance Cost

Another cost of your tow truck that will affect your profitability is the cost of maintenance. No matter what tow truck you choose, both a slide-in wheel lift tow truck and a wrecker will eventually need some upkeep. It’s worth thinking about how much you can expect to spend on maintenance over the lifetime of the tow truck. 

Slide-in wheel lifts often feature smaller, more affordable interchangeable parts that are easy to replace with minimal labor. A light-duty towing truck is also reasonable to maintain, with parts that are easy to find and readily available at most garages. 

Depending on the wrecker you choose, maintenance costs will vary. Some wreckers are fairly easy to service and find parts for, while others with complex mechanics can cost more to service. It’s just a matter of finding the model that’s right for your repo company. 

Towing Capabilities

And finally, the wrecker or tow truck you choose should certainly be able to stand up to the towing jobs you need to get done. 

In general, a wrecker is going to be able to handle some of the heaviest-duty jobs. If you need to tow other heavy-duty trucks, buses, and more, a true wrecker might be the best option for you. 

That said, most repo companies spend the majority of their time (and make the greatest returns) on smaller, light-duty towing jobs. In general, there are more light-duty repo jobs out there, which means the cost of a flatbed wrecker might not really be necessary for your company. 

Choosing a slide in wheel lift or a wrecker will largely depend on the type of towing you need to do. For heavy-duty applications, a wrecker is worth the cost, whereas for light-duty towing that needs to be done quickly and discreetly, a slide-in wheel lift is often the better, more affordable choice. 

Which is More Profitable, a Slide In Wheel Lift, or a Wrecker?

When it comes to profitability, a slide-in wheel lift is generally the winner for repo companies. Though a wrecker is a very convenient towing option, and necessary for other towing applications, it’s not the most profitable option for repo companies. 

A slide-in wheel lift features a lower upfront cost, lower maintenance costs, a longer lifespan, all while providing the towing capabilities you need. That lower cost and longer lifespan mean you

spend less time paying off your tow truck, which puts a greater percentage of the profits from each of your repo towing jobs right back into your business. 

If you’re looking for a new tow truck or slide-in wheel lift for your repo company, the team at Minute Man is here to help. Our Minute Man XD Slide In Wheel Lift is one of the top wheel lift products on the market, offering exceptional towing capabilities and extreme durability at an affordable upfront cost. If you’d like to learn more, give our team a call at 877-593-6959 or contact us online.  

Legal Disclaimer: The material and information contained on this website is for general information purposes only. You should not rely upon the material or information on the website as a basis for making business, legal or other decisions.

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