towing business

How to Run a Successful Towing Business in 4 Steps

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been doing it for years, you might be looking for some tips on how to run a successful towing business. Here are a few tips to make your business the most safe, efficient, and profitable it can be. 

#1 Focus on a Niche

There are a lot of different types of towing, but you shouldn’t try to do them all. Different types of towing include

  • Repossessions
  • Impounding
  • Roadside assistance
  • Parking enforcement
  • Vehicle scrapping
  • Accident removal
  • Classic vehicle transport
  • Heavy equipment transport
  • Municipal fleet towing

But these different types of towing require very different equipment. 

  •  If you’re doing accident removal, you’ll need a wrecker and a flatbed truck, as you’ll be moving vehicles that aren’t operational or in good condition. 
  • If you’re moving a classic car, you’re going to want an enclosed trailer to protect the vehicle. 
  • For repossession or impounding work, you’ll likely want a solution that is maneuverable and easy and quick to use, like a pickup truck with a wheel lift. In repo and impounding situations, you may have to maneuver into tight spaces on city streets where you wouldn’t be able to back in a trailer.

Focusing on a specific type of towing will allow you to carry only the equipment that’s necessary for your specific work, saving you money and storage space. Additionally, choosing a niche allows you, if you’re just starting out, to build your skills and reputation, without having extensive outlay in various types of equipment.

#2 Minimize Startup Costs

You can also minimize costs by right-sizing your equipment. For most towing businesses, like repossession operations, a wrecker isn’t the best or most cost-effective choice. Wreckers are necessary for heavy-duty towing or accident removal, but for towing standard vehicles that are operational, a wheel lift is a much more economical solution.  

Wheel lifts reduce your upfront costs, as a wheel lift system plus a pickup truck with the necessary towing capacity will be less expensive than a wrecker. Using a wheel lift will also reduce your costs down the road: when the truck is no longer serviceable, the wheel lift can be removed and placed on a new truck. This is unlike a wrecker, the towing components of which are fully integrated into the vehicle.

For towing businesses that are still in the startup phase, investing in a wheel lift can be easier to justify cost-wise than a pricey tow truck—the outlay is significantly lower, and if your business isn’t successful or you ever need to downsize, the wheel lift can be removed from your vehicle and sold, with more ease (and potentially, resale value) than a big wrecker.

#3 Reduce Operating Costs

If your operation is in a more mature state and you’re more able to shoulder upfront costs that will have long-term savings, going electric is a way to reduce operating costs. Maintenance on internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles is costly: fuel, oil, tires, brake pads, rotors, calipers—the list is endless. 

Electric vehicles enjoy significantly lower maintenance costs and electricity is cheaper than diesel or gasoline per mile driven. The advantages are particularly pronounced in city driving, starting, stopping, and idling, as this burns up the brakes in ICE vehicles. 

Electricity is cheaper than gas or diesel, and it’s projected to stay that way. Since fuel is a huge expense for a towing company, going electric can greatly cut operating costs. Additionally electric vehicle engines have more power and instantaneous torque than internal combustion engines, making them more maneuverable and decreasing stopping time, which makes them safer. This can potentially reduce accidents or damage to your vehicles or towed vehicles, and maybe even decrease your insurance costs.

As electric vehicles become the norm and ICE vehicle production declines, it’s also wiser to future-proof your business against this change by proactively transitioning to electric. As of yet, electric wreckers are not commercially available, but electric trucks can be easily outfitted with a wheel lift system, and are ideal for towing applications. 

#4 Invest in Scalable Solutions

If you’re a one-woman or one-man business or just starting out, you probably don’t have the budget or parking space for a personal vehicle and a work vehicle—your work truck is your personal truck. And you probably don’t want to go out to dinner on the weekends or pick up your kids from school in a full-on wrecker. That means a low-profile towing solution like a wheel lift allows you to get the best value for your vehicle purchase. 

That kind of system also allows you to scale your business as the need arises. Need another tow truck? Put another wheel lift on a truck. Have less work and want to free up cash? Take the lift off and liquidate. Need to upgrade your towing capacity? Keep your wheel lift and place it on your new vehicle. Ready to go electric? You can put a wheel lift on there, too.

Have big goals for your towing business? Consider purchasing a Minute Man XD Wheel Lift. This wheel lift is the ultimate light-duty towing tool, being safe, efficient, and cost-effective. Contact our team at Minute Man to secure one for your team today.

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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