Starting your own towing business can be both rewarding and profitable. Many towing company operators are able to earn a good living by establishing towing accounts or contracts with local businesses as well as with government and law enforcement agencies. However, as a new towing company owner, the contracts will not come to you – you must go out and get them. With some hard work, planning and door-to-door sales calls, you can improve your chances of getting towing accounts.
Ensure you have all licenses, permits and surety bonds required for towing businesses in the municipality, county or area in which you will be operating. Most businesses and virtually all government or law enforcement agencies require proof of these documents before they will consider granting your towing business a contract. Refer to the local business-licensing department or department of revenue in your area to ensure all of your paperwork is up to date.
Obtain a liability insurance policy from an authorized insurer in your state. Ensure that the payout limits of the policy at least meet the minimum requirements of towing companies in your state. If possible, purchase a policy that exceeds minimum requirements as this portrays your company in a better light with businesses or agencies with which you want a contract.
Consult with an attorney in your area and seek assistance in drafting a contract for businesses that own properties with parking lots or other parking areas. Ask the attorney to include language in the contract that is business-owner-friendly and stresses the point that the strip mall or building owners are not liable for towing charges or other fees for your services. Owners of the vehicles that you tow are responsible for your fees. Therefore, your contract document should state as much. However, also include a provision in the contract that holds you and your company blameless and without liability in the event a business owner instructs you to tow a vehicle illegally or without just cause. Note that if you contract with government or law enforcement agencies, they usually have their own contract documents you must sign.
Contract with a sign maker in your area to produce “No Parking,” “Parking for Customers Only” or other similar signs. In order to secure contracts with owners of buildings and strip malls, you must usually provide free signage.
Create legible copies of all licenses, permits, bonds and insurance policies. Create binders or booklets from the copies to give to business owners with whom you want to do business.
Contract with a local printing shop to print business cards for your towing company. The cards need not be fancy or even colorful, but the phone number should be bold and easy to find on the card.
Visit local businesses, government agencies and law enforcement departments in your area. Ask to speak to the owner or highest-ranking official available. Have your documentation and business cards ready to present to the person with whom you need to speak. While you might have limited success calling such people on the phone, your chances of landing towing contracts improve with personal visits.
Stress factors that might be important to the business owner or agency official whom you speak to. For instance, business owners are more likely to use a towing service that is near their location, provides free signage and requires no out-of-pocket costs. On the other hand, government agencies tend to use towing services that provide 24-hour service, have a holding area for towed vehicles and have been in business for a while.
Provide the business owner or agency official with your binder or booklet with all applicable licensing and policy information included. Tell the person your company meets or exceeds all requirements for a towing company under the law in your area.
Explain any other advantages you think your towing company might offer over others in your area. For instance, if you have multiple trucks and drivers, a lighted or gated holding area, or provide lockout or jumpstart service, be sure to mention them when speaking with the business owner or agency official.
Ask the business owner or agency official if you may contact her soon to follow up on the contract request. Ask for a business card and follow up with the person a few days after your initial meeting. If the business owner or agency representative agrees to your proposal, schedule a time to meet and sign the contract.
Execute the contract with the business owner or agency representative. Provide the other party with one original copy and keep one for yourself.
Install towing signs at the location of the business if contracting to tow vehicles at a mall or commercial location. Wait for calls from the business or government agency and provide towing services as needed. Respond to towing requests as quickly as possible.