From cars broken down or stranded on the side of the road to vehicles that are illegally parked or headed to impound, the duties of a tow truck driver are plenty, and the need for such professionals is not going anywhere!
Towing is a great business to get into, but whether you’re building a staff of drivers or you want to be in the driver’s seat yourself, there are some things that need to be done before just anyone can climb behind the wheel. Do you or your potential new hire have what it takes? Find out below by reviewing this list of requirements needed to become a tow truck driver.
Tow Truck Driver Requirements
01: Appropriate Age
You must be at least 18 years old to drive a tow truck, but because it’s often preferred you have some experience, the average age typically falls between 21 and 25.
02: Physical Fitness
The physical demands of this job require you to have a certain amount of strength. You will be lifting and operating heavy machinery and may need to shovel a car out of the snow. It’s also important that you have excellent vision and hearing to ensure you can safely drive, manage equipment, and be aware of your surroundings if you are at an accident site or in a high-traffic area.
But you don’t just need to be physically healthy. Being a tow truck driver is mentally draining as well, and can be quite stressful. You can spend the day navigating through traffic, battling weather conditions, and dealing with upset vehicle owners, so you need to be able to stay patient, calm, and mentally strong, too.
03: Valid Driver’s License
Well, this one should go without saying, right? You must have a valid, state-issued driver’s license if you want to be a tow truck driver, AND you must have a clean driving record. Points against you for things like speeding or traffic violations can affect your ability to become a tow truck driver. It’s imperative that you are not only a licensed driver but also a competent and safe one.
04: Clean Background Check
Because tow truck drivers are working with and transporting valuable possessions, a criminal background check is typically required. And since you are driving and operating heavy equipment, you may be required to take a drug test as well.
05: Proper Education and Training
Though there is not any certain degree needed, a high school diploma or GED gives you a leg up for becoming a tow truck driver. In addition, job shadowing experienced drivers or working as an apprentice can help you gain valuable skills. With these in your back pocket, combined with some on-the-job training that allows you to learn policies and safety procedures, you’ll be ready to tackle the final step: your certification.
06: Licensing and Certification
To become a tow truck driver, you must possess a commercial driver’s license, and getting one prior to applying for a job definitely gives you an edge over the competition and a major advantage in getting hired.
To obtain that certification, you’ll need to go through the Towing and Recovery Association of America, which sets national standards tow truck drivers must meet. The certification covers all aspects of towing including everything from safety and equipment to truck maintenance, incident management, and even customer service.
There are three levels of certification that you can work your way through, but completing all three levels will make you a versatile, well-rounded candidate capable of driving any type of tow truck and taking on any type of towing job out there.
The three levels of certification include:
- Level 1: Light-Duty – In this initial tier, you must meet all state driving requirements for light-duty training, possess 90 days of tow truck driving experience in the last five years, and pass a 100 question exam.
- Level 2: Medium/Heavy Duty – This mid-level certification entails having both one year of working as a medium to heavy-duty tow truck driver under your belt, and one year as a recovery operator. You’ll also need that commercial driver’s license and your completed level one certification before you can undergo this training and take this exam.
- Level 3: Heavy Recovery – The final level certifies you for heavy-duty tow truck driving and requires level two certification, your commercial driver’s license with endorsements, and two years of prior professional experience.
Do You Have All the Tow Truck Driver Requirements You Need?
No matter if you’re a potential employer or employee, knowing these tow truck driver requirements will help you to be sure you’re the right person (or you’re hiring the right person) for the job.
Know what else helps? MInuteMan Wheel Lifts! They provide an easy-to-use solution that can get drivers started with light-duty towing, and keep them going for the rest of their careers.
Because the MinuteMan Wheel Lift is simple to use, reliable, and affordable, it’s a great investment and perfect for new tow truck drivers or companies with new hires. Contact our team to learn more about this durable and versatile towing tool today. It may not be an official requirement, but it may as well be since towing equipment you can trust is definitely a must!
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