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TOW PROFESSIONAL

Volume 3 • Issue 1 2014

CONTENTS

www.towprofessional.com

Safety

Maintenance Software

24 |

28 |

Know the Lighting Requirements for Your Tow Trucks

Efficient Fleets Start With Quality Software Get Rid of the Grease Board and Scratch Pads

34 | Credit Card Processing: What’s It Costing You?

I n du stry NEWS

6 |Jerr-Dan’s Cab-Over Engine (COE) XLP

36 | GPS Solutions Deliver Tangible Benefits

8 |Tow Shows: Western States and Midwest Regional Shows

10 |Don't Crush Your Cash: Sell Your Vehicle in Five Easy Steps?

11 |True Tilt 5th Wheel Quick-Tach

Software Spotlights 39 | Beacon Software 40 | sureFleet 38 | Tow Book

11 |NationWide Towing & Recovery Group

Fuel 4 thought

41 | TOPS

42 | VTS Systems

45 | Agero

14 | Your Attitude Is Everything

46 | Tracker Management Systems

16 | TOP 10 Ways to IMPROVE YOUR BUSINESS

Lube tAlk 20| Automatic Transmission Fluid

Lighting Spotlights 48| TowMate

50| Whelen

50| Flash

51| Custer

Cover Image Courtesy of Whelen Engineering Co. Inc.

IN EVERY ISSUE

30| Wall of the Fallen / Hall of Fame 2

Tow Professional | Volume 3 Issue 1 | www.towprofessional.com

4 | Publisher Letter 52| HOOKED UP 56| Dealers Place

57| Market Place 60| Ad Index


PUBLISHERS

LETTER

TM

Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery

Volume 3 • Issue 1 2014

www.towprofessional.com

PUBLISHERS Darian Weaver President & Co-Publisher darian@towprofessional.com

Jack Hartsfield Vice President & Co-Publisher jack@towprofessional.com

Happy New Year! Here we go again; the old year is behind us and New Year is ahead of us. Hopefully your sights are set high for 2014; I know that ours are. Set lofty goals for your busi-

Steve Goodwin Sales Manager steve@towprofessional.com __________________________

PRODUCTION

ness, goals that will take extraordinary effort to reach. With determination, your goal can be attained and your business will be stronger, which, in turn, makes your spouse, your children, your employees, you, and your banker much happier people. As we go into this year (I’ve preached it before), keep your blinders on, go forward while controlling what you can control. Life is not about what happens to us, but about how we react to what happens to us. DJ Harrington touches on it this month in his “Fuel for Thought” article. It’s titled “Your Attitude is Everything” and, as usual, gets you

Clint W. Cabiness Art Director Hal K. Huber Kattie Spence Graphic Designers Jill Hasty Managing Editor __________________________

pointed in the right direction in life. DJ’s material is always a great read, but he doesn’t just write or speak a good message; the way he lives sets the stage for that great message. We can all learn from it. This issue of Tow Professional also brings you “10 Ways to Improve Your Business” by Dan Messina, “Lighting Requirements” by Tom Bray, “Automatic Transmission Fluid” by Dan Watson, “Efficient Fleets Start With Quality Software” by Jeffrey Godwin, “GPS Solutions Deliver Tangible Benefits” by Matt Gunzenhaeuser, and plenty of product informa-

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tom Bray Jeffrey Godwin Matt Gunzenhaeuser D.J. Harrington Dan Messina Dave Sunkenberg Dan Watson

tion from our business partners.

All the Best in 2014! Executive and Advertising Offices

Darian Weaver and Jack Hartsfield Co-Publishers

2007 Old Montgomery Hwy, Suite B1. Birmingham, AL 35244 Toll free: 888-802-8544 Fax: 205-978-1550 www.towprofessional.com Tow Professional is published nine times a year by Over The Mountain Media, Inc., P.O. Box 26308, Birmingham, Alabama, 35260, USA. Tow Professional is distributed free to qualified subscribers. Non-qualified subscription rates are $57.00 per year in the U.S. and Canada and $84.00 per year for foreign subscribers (surface mail). U.S. Postage paid at Birmingham, Alabama and additional mailing offices. Tow Professional is distributed to qualified Towing & Recovery's Top Decision Makers. Publisher is not liable for all content (including editorial and illustrations provided by advertisers) of advertisements published and does not accept responsibility for any claims made against the publisher. It is the advertiser’s or agency’s responsibility to obtain appropriate releases on any item or individuals pictured in an advertisement. Reproduction of this magazine in whole or in part is prohibited without prior written permission from the publisher.

For a new free subscription, address changes or corrections, please visit www.towprofessional.com and click on the “subscribe” tab.

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............................................... Jerr-Dan’s Cab-Over Engine (COE) XLP >>>

I n du stry NEWS TOWING & RECOVERY

While speaking with the personnel at Jerr-Dan, it’s obvious that they have passion for putting a quality product on the streets. We began to discuss certain trends in the market, which is what led us to discuss their XLP carrier. Here is what we learned and would like our audience to know. --Jack Hartsfield, Publisher With the increasing popularity of the CabOver Engine (COE) chassis’, Jerr-Dan has engineered their low profile XLP carrier for the Isuzu NRR and Hino 195 COE chassis to provide a product that can be utilized by those towers who are in need of a carrier that provides the lowest load angle in the industry and a chassis that fits into those smaller areas such as the “tight” city areas. The COE XLP provides a lower deck height and better load angle with improved visibility and maneuverability. Jerr-Dan provides the most engineered chassis solutions for the widest variety of chassis in the industry, helping to lead the industry in new product innovation. They are now offering XLP carrier models on all of the following chassis: • Ford F650, F550 • Peterbilt 325, 330 • Kenworth 270, 370 • Hino 238, 258 • Freightliner M2 106 • International Durastar • Dodge 5500 • Isuzu NRR *featured • Hino 195 *featured

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Standard features provided by the Jerr-Dan XLP carrier include: a. Load angle as low as 7.5 degrees b. World’s lowest maintenance carrier, including No-Lube™ technology for slide pads and pivot joints c. Industry’s strongest aluminum beds featuring exclusive, patented Galvanized Steel Beam Technology™ d. On-board hydraulic pressure gauge allows for easy troubleshooting e. Single sheet decking on conventional and dual angle steel decks reduces weld joints and potential corrosion points f. Combination winch cable guide roller and tensioner plate g. Manual or air-controlled winch freespool h. Corrosion-resistant lighted dual-control stations i. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration DOT 393 compliant crash protection headboard j. Industry’s most advanced high performance hose and wire cable-tracking system k. Industry’s highest standard DOT reflectivity and lighting levels l. 12 key slots standard Be powerfully present with R.A.I.L.™, JerrDan’s exclusive Rear Awareness Indicator Lights. Bright amber LED strobe technology commands attention whether you’re working through dark, foggy, rainy, or high-traffic conditions. Random flashing light patterns project horizontally for increased rear visibility,

Tow Professional | Volume 3 • Issue 1 | www.towprofessional.com

especially when the deck is tilted for loading and unloading allowing you to work in confidence. R.A.I.L. is positioned rearward of carrier bed controls to minimize distraction for the operator and their robust, corrosion resistant mounting bracket provides unparalleled durability. Get noticed in a flash and have a higher level of confidence on the job with R.A.I.L. “Jerr-Dan will continue to innovate and engineer solutions that provide our customers options when choosing a product for their particular application,” said Jeff Soldner, Jerr-Dan Product Director. “Expanding the XLP carriers to the Ford F550 and Dodge 5500 earlier this year filled a gap that customers were requesting. The introduction of the Jerr-Dan XLP for the Isuzu NRR and Hino 195 shows our commitment to the customer by designing our product for mounting on two popular CabOver chassis.” For more information, visit Jerr-Dan online at www.jerrdan.com.


I n du stry NEWS

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TOWING & RECOVERY

Tow Shows

>>>

Western States Tow Show

Tow Professional magazine, the Western States Tow Show, and the Midwest Regional Tow Show are proud to announce a partnership to help promote these association tow shows across the nation. The two association operated shows are planned and executed with the goal of raising money for the associations in order to further the industry, provide funds for lobbying, develop ongoing education programs, and foster safety in our dangerous profession. It’s exciting to be a part of this marketing program, as both shows already have a regional presence and their associations work to share information and resources with their neighboring states, making all stronger. We feel this will be a great opportunity for all. With the increased marketing, the two shows will bring an even larger variety of 8

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Midwest Regional Tow Show

vendors to the shows with the latest equipment and knowledge for the attendees, and continue the outstanding events and social opportunities that the towing community enjoys. Expanding the attendees through the surrounding associations and the readers of Tow Professional will give even greater value to the vendors and help them grow stronger also. : Western States Tow Show www.westernstatestowshow.com Midwest Regional Tow Show www.trao.org/tow-show


I n du stry NEWS

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TOWING & RECOVERY

Don't Crush Your Cash: Sell Your Vehicle in Five Easy Steps Salvage Auction Leader IAA Provides Full-Suite of Solutions to Reduce Abandoned Vehicles

>>>

Abandoned vehicles take up space on a towing lot and can be a big financial burden for those businesses. As an alternative to crushing a car, there are plenty of resources for tow companies looking to free up space in their lots. Many customers abandon their vehicles because they often think the process of selling their vehicle can be long and burdensome. According to Ray Rodecker and Ron Walters of Insurance Auto Auctions (IAA), this is a common misconception. “We have developed a full-service solution, from title procurement to quick and easy payment options,” says Rodecker. Adds Walters, “This simplifies the process and helps companies get their vehicles to auction and turned into cash fast.” IAA says that customers can quickly turn their vehicles into cash through a simple process. It starts with towers showing customers how IAA’s process works and what to expect when partnering with IAA. Educating customers on such resources has an added benefit for towers. Here are five easy steps:

1. Contact IAA: First, contact a local IAA facility to learn more about locations and services nearby. IAA has facilities in over 160 locations across North America. 2. Secure Title: Securing a title can have the biggest impact and IAA’s Title Services division has developed an efficient, simplified and flexible suite of solutions, which help to reduce the length of time it takes to secure a vehicle title and sell the vehicle at auctions. 3. Process Vehicle: IAA offers marketing and auction services to give sellers exposure to hundreds of buyers internationally this in turn clears their lots fast and increases profits. 4. Auction Vehicle: IAA’s model combines on-site and on-line buyers into one auction, which fosters a healthy, competitive bidding experience designed to give buyers the choice to manage their bids on the go. Through IAA’s mobile app CSAToday>, customers can also track the status of their vehicles and accept bids. 5. Collect Money: Sellers can be assured that IAA is getting the best value on their sold vehicle and quickly turning it into cash. IAA Selling ServicesSM gives buyers flexible bidding options. Buyers can choose to bid on vehicles live and live-online through I-Bid LiveSM or purchase direct through IAA Buy FastSM. 10

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IAA provides full services solutions to help towing companies turn their abandoned cars into cash. Through its unique hybrid auction model -- including live, Internet and proxy bidding – IAA auctions offer everything from highly repairable high grade vehicles to pure scrap vehicles, working in partnership with a range of sellers including insurance companies, dealerships, rental car companies, and fleet lease companies. IAA also sells directly to recyclers on behalf of those hoping to crush their vehicle and recently expanded its operations to include its Tow and Abandonments division, which helps towing companies’ clear abandoned vehicles from their lots quickly without draining their bank accounts. As part of IAA’s efforts to assist tow companies in recouping the financial losses associated with abandoned vehicles, Rodecker and Walters have been hosting a series of free educational seminars for towing professionals. Towers learn about the advantages of the auction process, navigating the title procurement system and calculating the value of abandoned vehicles sitting on their lots. For more information about IAA’s services or to learn about upcoming "Don't Crush Your Cash" seminars, contact Ray Rodecker and Ron Walters at 888.825.2145 or towingandrecovery@iaai.com.


................................................................. True Tilt 5th Wheel Quick-Tach >>> The True Tilt 5th Wheel Quick-Tach is a heavy duty under lift that has the most extension, most retraction, more lift and the most lifting capacity of any lift on the market. It has a lift rating of 45,000 pounds retracted and 24,000 fully extended. It has a clear extension of 140” to the center of the axle forks and nearly 160” to the center of the Heavy Duty Wheel forks when used. The unit will tilt the full rated load in the given positions. The hydraulic hoses are all “hidden” in the unit, encased in a nylon tracking chain to keep them in place free from wear and tear. Our crossbar is made of a one piece solid steel casting made of 100,000 pound steel. The tongue it rotates in is also one piece cast steel (100,000 pound steel).

We have standard wireless radio built into the unit. The radio is a standard feature with a 6 function controller, which will control the lift for up-down; in-out; and tilt up-tilt down operation. Our unit pricing includes either an electric/hydraulic pump or a valve pac to tie into your trucks PTO pump; the 6 function wireless radio control plus a 25’ hard wired remote control; 4 sets of axle frame forks; the parking stands; and all necessary hardware to mount to a road tractor.. www.triplekindustries.com 800-624-2892

........................................................... NationWide Towing Loganville Ford Supplies Towing and Recovery Group >>> Industry with Volume Pricing >>> While working as a Claims Adjuster, one of my Trucking Company clients began ranting that ALL “Wrecker Service Providers” (WSP’s) were crooks! I disagreed! They were using a “Free Directory,” knowing they received a small percentage of the WSP’s Towing & Recovery Invoice, but felt like costs were still too high? What a shocker! NTRG is a “DataBase of WSP’s” where the Trucking Company pays a fixed monthly Subscription Fee so that the WSP doesn’t have to mark-up their Invoice to cover any “small percentage.” When our Subscribers need help, they call the WSP direct, and say that they found your name on our website. All that means to a WSP is that they agree to bill the Trucking Company, using our Invoicing Software, as it already includes their hourly Rates. This was created to simplify the billing process…at no cost to the WSP, while also providing uniform Invoices for our Subscribers. NationWide Towing & Recovery Group, LLC. P.O. Box 3058 | Springfield, MO 65808-3058 Phone (417) 595-0712 E- Fax (417) 501-4251 E-Mail ntrg4u@gmail.com

Loganville Ford has become a Industry leader in Volume Pricing, In today's market where getting a Quick accurate price on Towing Equipment has become somewhat of a challenge Loganville Ford is setting a new industry standard! We will always Present a price on every ad we run so the customer knows before they call what the price and all Fee's will be. We do not charge a Doc Fee on any of our Towing Customers. The only amount above our selling price due is the customers Taxes in the area they will be registering the truck.We have a distinct advantage in being a Ford Dealer and also the Distributor that allows us to not only be the Industry price leader but also having multiple financing sources that are not available to much of the industry.Please call us with any questions. Chris Chitwood Commercial Sales Mgr 404-569-4723 www.towprofessional.com | Volume 3 • Issue 1 | Tow Professional

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Tow Professional HELPING SUPPORT ASSOCIAT


ION SHOWS “TOW SHOWS FOR TOWERS BY TOWERS”


Fuel 4 thought By D.J. Harrington

Your Attitude is

EVERYTHING Attitude

is the way you view your life, your experiences in the towing business, and your experiences outside the towing business. Attitude is how you deal with your opportunities, your problems and choices, and then your responses to the results. Losers always see thunderstorms. Winners always see rainbows. Losers see all mishaps of icy streets, while winners put on their ice skates. Losers are always putting down, and winners are always lifting up. Losers let life happen to them. Winners make life happen for them and others. Winning and losing are all about attitude. Let me share with you a story about a wise little boy who wanted to change his situation. There was a big bully down the street who was always bothering this little boy. The little boy was trying to get his nerve up to stand up to the bully, but he was still too afraid. Well, one day, his father bought him a new telescope, hoping to divert his son’s thoughts. His son was out in the front yard, playing with it,

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Losers always see thunderstorms. Winners always see rainbows. Losers see all mishaps of icy streets, while winners put on their ice skates. Losers are always putting down, and winners are always lifting up. Losers let life happen to them. Winners make life happen for them and others. Winning and losing are all about attitude. but he was looking through the wrong end. Instead, he was looking through the big side. His father stepped outside and said, “No, son. You’re doing it backward. Turn it around, and it will make everything bigger like it was meant to do.” The little boy said, “I know that, Dad, but right now I’m looking at this bully. When I look at him this way, it makes him so small that I’m not afraid of him anymore.” You may need to turn your telescope around. You’ve magnified that problem long enough. You’ve thought about how impossible it is, and how it’s never going to work out. But if you’ll turn it around, you will see from the right perspective. It goes back to Dr. Wayne Dwyer’s saying,

“Change the way you look at things and the things you look at will change.” Attitude begins as harmless thoughts. Then, with practice, they become layered by habit into unbroken chains to shackle OR strengthen our lives. We are scarcely aware they exist. Just like a comfortable bed, they are easy to fall into, but difficult to get out of. First, we make our attitude and then our attitude makes us. There is little difference between common people and those who are uncommonly successful. Both common and uncommon people have a passion. The slight difference is in their attitude. What makes this little difference HUGE is whether the attitude is positive or negative. Things will always happen to us. We are not respon-

sible for what happens out here or what others do or think. We are responsible only for how we choose to feel or behave. My final thought is some of us in towing need to turn our telescope backwards and start seeing some of our challenges in a better and proper perspective. After that exercise, we’ll have a better attitude. See you next time. TOW D.J. Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, AutoData Direct and Damon Corporation He can be reached at 800352-5252 or by e-mail at dj@djsays.com.

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10 ways to

By Dan Messina

improve your business not uncommon for towers to get in a comfort zone, especially when things are going good, and they continue to do the same thing every day. The owners love to take their trucks out and tow. That’s what they are good at and that is what they know best, but in these ever-changing times, it is time for the owners to expand their horizons and look for ways to improve their businesses. I have developed a list of things you might want to do to improve your business.

It’s

you perform the most. Some towers tow motor clubs more than any other customer and they are not making a good profit, and in some cases are losing money, yet they continue to provide this service. You can make good money with motor clubs if you know how to do it. You must develop daily, monthly and yearly accounting forecasts. Ensure your data is timely and available in real time so you can respond to changes quickly. Charting your data is one of the seven quality tools. Chart your data to look for trends and then take action on those trends.

1. Know your numbers. Cash is the lifeblood of any business. Start improving your business by understanding your cash flows. What services generate most of your profits and therefore your cash? This does not mean what services

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2. Price your products and services. Pricing is not easy. Books are written on how to price products, but there are some simple rules of thumb. Raise prices on high quality


services and lower prices on your lower quality services. The idea is to focus on customer value not your cost of service. When I hold seminars I would tell the audience that I could come into their area and raise my prices by 10% over their price and win all the contracts. Remember, we are in a service business and the quality of service will dictate the price of that service. If your service is high quality, then say it with your price. Don’t be afraid to raise your prices on those services that your customers really like and lower prices on the services they don’t like. If you are not sure what your customers value, then ask them and they will tell you.

3. Hire the “right” people. Focus your employee hiring process on hiring great attitudes not personalities. Great people are performers that demonstrate results. Don’t be afraid to hire people smarter than you; as a matter of fact, I recommend it. Look past skills on a resume and look for great accomplishments. Remember, good is the enemy of great, so hire great people not people that are good enough. I remember when I hired my first sales person. He demanded a lot of money, and I was a startup company. I hired him and, once I realized what his functions were, he was the most valued employee in the company.

4. Fire the “wrong” people. If you have made a mistake, then don’t be afraid to fire someone that is not working out. Know your people. I took my managers and evalu-

ated every employee I had. It was a great learning process for me because we identified employees that I thought were average and we determined they were good, and we identified employees I thought were good and it turned out they were bad for the company. I immediately fired the people that were hurting the company. If it’s not working out, you will know it in the first 90 days, so end it now. Don’t wait for improvement in your finances or their attitudes. Firing should be done sooner rather than later. Nobody likes to fire people, but your business is more important.

5. Develop standards. The services you provide have requirements and so does your business. Define what “great” is for every job that is critical to your business. Start with each service you provide and create policies and procedures for each job and use them. Look at your competition and benchmark what and how they provide their services. Then, set a higher standard for yourself.

6. Implement controls. Controls start with clearly defined objectives for every job or process that link back to your accounting system and the forecast. Good controls will tell you when things are going bad and what area needs to be addressed. Take time to understand what can go wrong and work to prevent it from happening. Develop warning flags to indicate when things are going wrong.

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7. Focus. I once was in a meeting with Ross Perot, the owner of the largest computer service company in the world. He told me to pick one thing and be the best at it than anyone else. My wife and I focused on being the biggest private property company in the U.S. When I sold my company, I was second to none. A working management strategy requires focus. Focus on the one thing that will make you great. Budget your resources to grow your best opportunities while eliminating the poor performers. Basically, get everything out of the way so all you have are good opportunities.

8. Improve your sales process. Sales is a contact sport, so make sure you are getting out in front of your customers often. Teach every employee to be a sales person. Your dispatchers and your drivers talk to your customers every day. Teach them to sell. Build relationships with customers so they continue to use your services. If your revenues are not growing, then you are not selling.

9. Understand your marketplace. The marketplace is not static, so expect it to change. Understand what’s changing in your marketplace and either change with it or be changed by it. As your market changes, it may allow you to add new services or delete services you no longer need. Pay attention to what your marketplace needs and give it to them before your competition

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does. Your goal is to offer your customer solutions to their problems. Anytime you have a solution to a problem, you’ll have a new customer.

10. Build a strong brand. Your brand will identify your business. A failing brand leads to a failing business. Your marketing, vision and strategy are key elements of building a strong brand. If you don’t have a marketing vision or an idea of what you want your company to look like, it will be hard to implement the nine other points. Once you have established a vision for your company, it will be easy to set a brand for your company and maintain it. It will also make the nine other points easy to implement. Don’t let your brand suffer or else your business will suffer, too. These are 10 important keys to your business, and none of them requires a tow truck. When implemented, this list will allow you to be in control of your business and grow your company. I know you are thinking these are things I am not good at. If that’s the case, we can help. 2014 will offer new challenges, and you will have to go to outside resources for help. That’s a good thing; there are plenty of experts in these areas that you can use and actually make them part of your company. See our ad in this magazine, give us a call, and we’ll help you implement these 10 steps. TOW Visit www.djanddan.com for more information.


Lube tAlk

B y Dan Watson

Automatic

Transmission

FLUID

Automatic Transmission Fluids (ATF) are the most complex fluids used in today's vehicles. These complexly designed fluids perform multiple functions including: • Lubrication • Wear protection • Heat dissipation • Foam prevention • Shift quality optimization • Hydraulics • Material compatibility

Understanding Your Automatic Transmission If we take a more in-depth look at the functions listed above and how these are critical to proper transmission performance and life, it should be clear that using the specified ATF is imperative.

ATF Lubrication Automatic transmissions contain hundreds of moving parts, including bearings, gears and sliding mechanisms. Multiple lubrication regimes (see "Intro to Lubrication") and a fluid that lubricates over a wide range is required. The bearings require light weight oils that are designed for high speed applications in which the gears require oils capable of protecting the gears at the gear tooth interface.

ATF Wear Proper lubrication is the key to reducing wear. Wear protection is established by the correct anti-wear additives, as well as the strength and stability of the oil used as the base stock. Again, what makes this challenging is the wide range of lubrication regimes that occur inside an automatic transmission.

The exterior of the 2011 Allison transmission hides a very complex assembly of various types of gears, O-rings, clutch faces, gaskets, seals and more. To make ATF formulation even more complex, companies that produce automatic transmission fluid must align their products with all the different-from-each-other requirements specified by vehicle manufacturers. The following list is only a sample of the wide variations in the market place. • General Motors: Dexron III to Dexron VI • Chrysler: ATF-plus to ATF-4plus • Ford: Mercon, Mercon V, Mercon SP and Mercon LV • Allison Transmissions: C-4, C-5 and TES-389 • Toyota: TO-4 and WS • Honda: Z-1 and CVT • Nissan: Nissan Matic-D, J and K This is only a fraction of all the manufacturers’ specifications – and the list grows more and more ever year. As a vehicle owner, you must insure that the proper ATF is used in your vehicle by paying attention to your owner’s manual. Proper ATF in your automatic transmission is the key to the proper operation and life of your transmission. Simply put, using the wrong ATF may cause it to shift improperly and incompatible material may begin to deteriorate. 20

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Heat Dissipation Heat is the No. 1 factor in transmission failures in modern vehicles. High pressure fluid and heat produced by the interaction of transmission gears causes automatic transmissions to build up heat; this is especially true under heavy loads. The ATF fluid is the major medium of heat transfer to remove the heat from the transmission. Air flow over the transmission will provide additional heat removal, but the modern aerodynamics of vehicles limits the airflow and so increases the heat load on the fluid.

Hydraulics Automatic transmissions use hydraulic actuation to move gears into different ratios, resulting in different vehicle speeds. Clutches are engaged and disengaged using hydraulic pressure, as well. Without hydraulics might be nearly impossible to construct the modern automatic transmission.

Anti-Foaming It is always counterproductive for lubricating oils to foam, since foamy oil does not establish a working oil film for protection. For hydraulic oils, it is fundamental for proper operation; foam is compressible and defeats the principle of pressurized oil performing work. Simply, foaming will limit or stop hydraulic actuation.

Material Compatibility Various materials are used in automatic transmissions components:


O-rings, clutch faces, gaskets and seals. Automatic transmission fluids must be compatible with all of these component materials or damage will cause operational problems that will lead to transmission failures.

component size and stress. So, there really is a legitimate reason why the different manufacturers develop tailored specifications for their transmissions; the transmissions are different and designed specifically for their line of vehicles.

Choosing the Right Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) So, with all this information on the complexity of automatic transmission fluid, what should the consumer look for when buying ATF the next time the transmission needs serviced? The best approach is to systematically match your vehicle's needs to the correct ATF and then find the best quality ATF for your application. Here are some steps to follow:

A look inside the GM Six-Speed Hydramatic Transmission Shift Quality As if all the specifications required to satisfy the complex lubrication and functional aspects of automatic transmission fluid were not enough, each manufacturer requires different shifting characteristics – some manufacturers require a soft shift and others a hard shift – along with vastly different load bearing requirements. Some transmissions are fourspeeds and many now are six-, seven- or eight-speed; each of these configurations creates varying geometric arrangements that affect

Step One: Check your owner’s manual to see what is specified for your vehicle. This is the most critical step in the selection process. Get this wrong and you could damage your transmission and incur expensive transmission repairs. Be especially attentive to the manufacturers’ specifications (eg: Dexron VI, Mercon V, Chrysler ATF+4 etc.). If you are having the service done at a service center, ask questions about the ATF. Some change centers seem to think ATF is ATF and they put the same fluid in every car. Step Two: Acquire the necessary gaskets and filters required to change the transmission oil. If you are having the service done at a service center, ask questions about the changing of filters; some change centers do not change filters unless you direct them to do so.

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Lube tAlk Internal transmission filters should be changed at least at 100,000 miles (I personally recommend every time the transmission fluid is changed).

transmission repairs are the most expensive repair that will be done in the life of the vehicle and doing anything that will extend the life of the transmission just makes good sense.

Step Three: Choose between a complete transmission exchange or the traditional dropthe-pan and method. I do not like the idea of leaving used fluid in the transmission and mixing new, clean fluid with the old, dirty fluid. Certainly, it costs more for the exchange, but

Synthetic Vs Petroleum ATF Should you use synthetic or petroleum automatic transmission fluid? This really is a straightforward analysis and the facts will lead to a correct decision. The easiest and most sensible approach is to compare the use of syn-

thetic vs. petroleum for each of the stated functions of ATF. Lubrication: Proper lubrication depends on both the base stock and additives to provide lubrication throughout the complete operating range of the transmission. Transmissions operate from cold to very hot, and the thermal properties of synthetics vs. petroleum results in a clear advantage for synthetics. Synthetic base stocks offer very wide temperature ranges with little effect on viscosity, while petroleum base stocks are not thermally stable, thinning at high temperature and thickening at low temperature. Advantage: Synthetic Wear Protection: Wear is directly related to additives and oil viscosity. As previously explained, synthetic oils maintain viscosity over wide temperature ranges, where petroleum oils change viscosity significantly over the same temperature range. Assuming the antiwear additives are equal, the superior thermal stability of synthetic oils results in a far superior anti-wear performance for synthetic automatic transmission fluids. Advantage: Synthetic Heat Dissipation: In liquid state, the heat transfer quality for the synthetic ATF and the petroleum ATF is nearly equal. Synthetic oils will remain liquid at very high temperatures, where petroleum oils will thin and begin to flash to vapor at high temperatures. When the petroleum oils reach the point of flashing to vapor or being a mixed vapor liquid combination, heat dissipation is severely reduced. Advantage: Synthetic Foam Prevention: When lubricants foam, their ability to lubricate properly and prevent wear is significantly reduced. Additionally, foaming of fluids used in hydraulics prevents proper hydraulic action. Air is compressible and oil is not, so any amount of air in the hydraulic system will cause erratic operation. With proper additives, antifoaming of synthetic and petroleum based is virtually equal. Poor anti-foaming additives will allow for foaming regardless of the base stocks employed. Advantage: None Hydraulics: The movement of gears and engagement of clutches in the transmission is accomplished by hydraulics. Hydraulic systems

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use compressed oil to move pistons, and this, in turn, moves components to establish various gear ratios. When oil is operating at very high temperatures, flashing to vapor occurs. Vapor is compressible, and, for hydraulics to work, the medium (oil) cannot be compressible. Synthetic oils will tolerate much higher temperatures than petroleum oils before losing viscosity and flashing to vapor. The higher temperature range gives synthetic oils a superior hydraulic function at high temperatures. At very low temperatures, petroleum oils are similar to pudding, where synthetics are less viscous. Advantage: Synthetic

Shift Quality: The engagement of the clutches and the gears in the automatic transmission is dependent on design and friction additives in the oil. Original equipment manufacturers will design the transmission for the shift of their choice, from very soft to very hard. Friction modifiers are the main elements controlling the shift quality. Synthetic or petroleum, the shift is a function of design and additives. Advantage: None Material Compatibility: Gaskets, O-Rings and clutch material must be compatible with the automatic transmission fluid including the additives. Modern materials are compatible with both petroleum and synthetic fluids with little difference. Advantage: None

And the Winner is...

GM Vortex Transmission Flex Gear

Looking at the functions established for automatic transmission fluids, synthetic fluids are superior in four of the seven functions, while petroleum fluids are superior in none.

For three of the seven functions, there is no advantage of one fluid type over the other. This analysis results in a clear advantage for synthetic automatic transmission fluid. When purchasing ATF for your vehicle, be sure to meet the specific requirements stipulated by your vehicle's manufacturer. Today's transmissions are incredibly complex mechanisms and, correspondingly, the automatic transmission fluid that they require can be very specific. Misapplication can cause expensive repairs. Synthetic transmission fluids will provide superior performance over a wide range of applications and extend the life of your transmission. TOW For questions and/or comments, contact me via my website, www.TheLubepage.com, or by email at danwatson@thelubepage.com.

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S A F E T Y

Know the

Lighting Requirements for Your Tow Trucks B y To m B ray efore we get into the discussion of the lighting requirements that are specific to tow trucks, let’s look at the general lighting requirements in the federal regulations. These requirements are found in two places: 1. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 108, also known as FMVSS 108 or Section 571.108 (since it is located in Part 571), and

B

2. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) regulations at Section 393.11. The NHTSA regulations apply to new vehicles and the FMCSA regulations apply to vehicles that are presently in service. The two are tied together more closely than one might think. The FMCSA regulations (and most states) require that the vehicle, for the entire time it is in service, continues to meet the FMVSS requirements that were in place when the vehicle was built.

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The basic light package that is required includes: • Headlights • Taillights • Brake lights • Front and rear turn signals • Front and rear side markers (lights that are visible from the side to indicate the length of the vehicle) • Front and rear clearance lights (lights that indicate the overall width of the vehicle) • Backup lights (activated when the vehicle is in reverse) The vehicle must also have reflectors at the “corners,” visible from the side and rear. Lights are allowed to serve multiple purposes, such as the vehicle’s “front parking lights” serving as both the front side marker light and the front clearance light, and having a reflective lens cover so it can serve as the front side reflector as well.


Extra lights may be required

Tow truck specific requirements

If the vehicle is over certain dimensions, then additional lights will be required. If the vehicle is over 30 feet long, it must have an intermediate side marker light (and reflector) mounted at roughly the middle of the vehicle’s length. If the vehicle is over 80 inches wide, it must have a set of “identification markers” on the front and rear. The “ID markers” are the set of three lights mounted on top of the vehicle. They are there to identify the vehicle to other traffic as a wider-thannormal vehicle.

At the federal level, mounting “lights other than those required” and/or “auxiliary lights” are allowed, as long as they do not reduce the effectiveness of the required lights or create confusion, and as long as the type or color of light is not prohibited. Additional lights must also comply with the state’s rules related to color and placement. For example, some states restrict the use of certain color auxiliary lights to specific vehicles — such as reserving blue for law enforcement or white strobes for school buses. Also, the driver must comply with any use restrictions the state may have in place on the use of additional or auxiliary lights. States also place additional lighting requirements on certain vehicles, such as tow trucks. To operate as a tow truck in many states, the vehicle must be equipped with oscillating, rotating, or strobe lights of a specific color. Several states require two colors, one to be used when stopped on the side of the road (such as when hooking up at an accident scene) and another for use when actually towing another vehicle. Most states also require that, if the lights on the rear of the tow truck are not readily visible to traffic following the tow truck, basic lights be placed at the rear of the vehicle being towed. There is a liability issue here as well. If the taillights, brake lights, and rear turn signals of the tow truck are not visible to traffic following the tow truck and it leads to an accident, the operator and company could both be held liable. How do you find out about the tow-truck specific lighting rules? If

Light color is closely regulated The regulations specify what color and what candlepower all of these required lights must be. In general, headlights and backup lights need to be white, rear-facing lights and the side marker lights at the rear corner of the vehicle need to be red, and all other markers and clearance lights need to be yellow. The only required lights on the vehicle that can be either red or yellow are the rear turn signals, provided they are not combined with a brake light. If the rear signal is combined with a brake light, the light must be red and the signal light must be the one that is active if the brakes and signals are active at the same time.

Be careful when making modifications Most vehicle and body manufacturers know these rules quite well and build their vehicles to comply. Doing aftermarket modifications to the vehicle or the body is what gets vehicle owners or operators in trouble when it comes to the required lights.

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S A F E T Y

you are on the city or county “rotation,” or have a “contract” with the city or county to do towing, the tow-truck lighting requirements may be included in the paperwork. If you cannot locate the information and you are not sure what the requirements are, you may contact your state or local towing association, or a local, county, or state police officer with thorough knowledge of the state vehicle regulations. TOW Thomas Bray is Sr. Editor – Transportation Management for J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

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Contact him at transporteditors@jjkeller.com. Also be sure to check out J. J. Keller’s website at www.jjkeller.com. Copyright 2014 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.; PO Box 368 3003 Breezewood Lane Neenah WI 54957-0368


Efficient Fleets Start With

Quality Software Get Rid of the Grease Board and Scratch Pads By Jeffrey Godwin

the towing industry, we often overlook the fundamentals of operating a solid fleet. Though it is true we are typically more mechanically skilled and rarely cannot haul our own equipment when it is down, there is no reason to settle for reactive maintenance where we just fix what breaks. With simple fleet maintenance solutions, we can gather information in realtime from the drivers in our vehicles and then make decisions that can reduce downtime and repair costs. This is not a hypothetical case; fleet maintenance software saves companies money by reducing downtime, providing insight into expenses and through interactive preventative maintenance and vehicle inspection. It seems many companies with small fleets often ignore tracking of fleet maintenance. This may be common practice and may even be acceptable in industries where the vehicle is not actually performing the work, but, in towing, we have too much at stake to not know what is happening in our fleets. Simple fleet maintenance software

In

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packages are available that can track all of your fleet costs and report back to you with real information to validate your gut feelings. Most packages are capable of managing and monitoring everything in your fleet from the heaviest rotator down to your personal truck, skid steers, trailers, or even generators and compressors. If it needs maintenance, many packages can track it. If it has wheels, fleet maintenance software is a must. The benefits of quality software in this area of your business are significant. Using these tools, a company can expect to track its vehicles, manage parts inventory, identify over or underutilized fleet components, schedule maintenance, track costs, monitor warranties, receive alerts such as upcoming needs forecasting, and capture data from the field including fuel, inspections, accidents and more. There are dozens of high quality, meaningful reports available from most systems, and these will help in your continuing efforts to understand your fleet costs, predict your needs, and reduce labor costs and downtime. There is no worse event in a fleet based operation than to have a vehicle down for an extended period of time due to unplanned maintenance. The vehicle is not earning for the company, and its driver is not earning either. Fleet maintenance software can help. It is really a simple process. The system is set up with your trucks and drivers. You set when you want things to occur like oil changes


or checking tire pressures. Your drivers use mobile apps or paper inspection forms to check with vehicles either before or after their shifts. Any issues are automatically reported to the person responsible for maintenance, and you have full visibility to items being reported, what is being addressed, what is being ignored, what you are spending and what you can expect to spend in the future. The system will make sure you do not forget to renew license plates, change the spark plugs, or simply inspect the appearance of your fleet. Mobile tools allow your drivers to record all fuel purchases, all inspection activity, special tire reports, appearance inspections complete with photos, guided accident reporting and more. Back in the office, the shop tools allow for work order management to deal with shop tickets for repairs and other issues. The office system allows for reporting on all of the costs and downtimes, as well as many other valuable tools such as fuel reconcilia-

tion, state mileage and/or fuel reports, and forecasts related to potential upcoming maintenance needs and their associated costs. The fleet related software packages available today are easy to use, low cost and include significant functionality to help across all of your fleet maintenance and management needs. One of the most basic features is the ability for you to setup PM thresholds for a variety of maintenance work you perform on your vehicles. Using simple mileage or time related triggers, these software pack-

ages can track when services are due and notify you in advance so you can plan and forecast downtime (or avoid it altogether). These systems allow you to set these thresholds by vehicle type or even specific to each vehicle in your fleet. They don’t just track PMs; they track every aspect of your vehicles and things that need to be monitored, inspected, replaced, renewed, etc. From tire wear and pressure to greasing bed rails, and from PM service to simple truck washes, these software systems can tell you what to expect soon, what is needed now and what is overdue. When coupled with mobile tools for pretrip inspection, or at least regular odometer reporting from mobile apps or GPS systems, the fleet software can accurately predict the

Continued on page 32

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Efficient Fleets Start With

Quality Software Get Rid of the Grease Board and Scratch Pads

needs for fleet maintenance, as well as alert you to other reported issues across your fleet, including safety hazards or simple repairs. The systems can track the work performed and then start all over again at monitoring to ensure you know when services are due. These are the most simple of the features available today, and with full featured fleet management packages available for a yearly cost of less than a single oil change, there is no reason not to use these powerful systems to improve fleet performance and your knowledge about the status of all items in your fleet. Let the software keep track of the fleet needs. One more headache solved. Fleet maintenance software can be used to manage maintenance in your own shop or the maintenance you outsource to other facilities. It can even be used in an external fleet management capacity as another business for your shop. Good systems will allow you to track maintenance for your customer’s vehicles as well as to perform or

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manage the performance of the actual maintenance work. The customer gets visibility into their fleet, while you manage the work and the associated information and provide the customer wise direction supported by quality data built over the course of a variety of inspections and maintenance events. Quality packages will provide you with a list of upcoming service needs based on your own custom criteria. This prediction of necessary maintenance needs is then coupled with the data being provided by drivers across the fleet who are entering pre- and post-trip inspection data, submitting vehicle appearance information, fuel purchase data, GPS driving data, accident reports, and more. From the day a vehicle is put into service until it is sold or otherwise disposed of, a complete day-to-day history is being built and the details of a fleet can be reported quickly and easily. This continuing stream of information allows for greater insight into the needs of the fleet or a specific vehicle and is combined with high end features like

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driver qualification file tracking and systems that support monitoring of licensing, permits and certifications for both vehicles and those who operate the vehicles. Most fleet maintenance software can be integrated with dispatching systems to provide even greater efficiencies where appropriate. These external interactions can be with dispatch or load building software that may need to take vehicle status into account or may need to pair trucks with trailers or other asset groupings. Reports handle some of the external interactions as well when systems can submit accident reports, complete with photos and audio or video details, gathered on the scene and submitted in a standardized manner acceptable to the insurance industry. There are fleet maintenance software packages that can be installed on your office PC for simple tracking or even in your shop for detailed maintenance and repair tracking. The best systems are operated as Software as a Service (SaaS) systems and allow ac-


cess from anywhere with an Internet connection. Maybe you use a computer in your office to run reports, but the shop technician uses a rugged tablet so data can be entered while working on the vehicle. Drivers use a combination of iPhones and Android devices to enter inspection data daily and at home you check in on your dashboard with your iPad. From the field, a manager can find the nearest vehicles or run mobile apps that can be customized to allow for everything from simple fuel or odometer entry for drivers to complex management reporting from these portable devices. It always seems difficult to make a change, and the move to fleet maintenance software can be a scary one where concerns about making the process more of a burden are warranted. The key is to not get too bogged down in the heavy details but to instead begin by getting your vehicles into a

from taking the time to implement a quality solution. Take some time and research systems. Pick one that you want to try and then put the effort into getting it solidly in place in your operation. Users will be more productive, and your fleet will have reduced operating costs and downtime. That is a win-win. TOW system and then allowing your employees to interact with that system. Simple daily trip inspections, recording of fuel usage, and documentation of all work performed on a vehicle will yield incredible dividends over time as you build the data. You can provide better time management to your employees and better record keeping with fleet maintenance and management software. The efficiencies you create will be rewarding for everyone. There are hundreds of reasons to use fleet maintenance software, but resistance to change prevents many companies

Jeffrey Godwin has 20 years of experience in the towing industry with most of those years in Information Technology. He currently serves as Chief Operating Officer of FTI Groups (towPartners, sureFleet) and as Vice President of TXI Systems (TOPS, BudgetGPS). He can be reached at jgodwin@ftigroups.com.

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Credit Card Processing:

What’s IT CO$TING You? card processing is convenient, but it may be costing you more than you think. Most merchants these days have some form of mobile or in-field credit processing options. You can even get some store-bought units with little effort. All you need is a smartphone, but who pays for the convenience? What interest rate are you getting? Are you paying a monthly fee? Do you have a minimum monthly amount to preserve your interest rate? Here are a few points to keep in mind when deciding what’s right for you.

Credit

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Your major “store-bought” swipe brands like Square, Paypal Here Reader, or Intuit GoPayment Reader are very similar. You get your swipes for free, but are paying 2.7 to 2.75 per swipe. A per-transaction fee is also common. Some processors will have options for interest-free transactions for a larger monthly fee and a high monthly minimum for total transactions. Most of your standard merchant services will also offer mobile swipes in addition to the common “Point Of Sale” swipes you may have at your counter. Unlike the store-bought processers, you apply for services with these companies. Interest rates will be based on many factors. One factor is your processing method. Are you


At the end of the day, you really need to think about what benefits you the most. Over-the-counter swipes are easy to acquire, but have a higher per transaction cost. If your volume is low, the ease of use may be worthwhile. If your credit card payments are in the thousands, tens of thousands, or higher, you may want to steer clear of the store-bought swipes. It’s probably time to seek out a better option, and keep your money in your pocket. TOW

getting a “card present rate?” The average processing cost for a retail business where cards are present is 1.3% - 2%. The average cost for card-not-present businesses is 2.30% 2.75%. Average ticket size is another factor. This relates to the total amount of the sale. The benefit here is a lower swipe rate per charge with no per transaction fee. Monthly fees are usually lower, as well. Beacon uses Card Present processing, so you get the best rate!

Mike Haney National Sales Director Beacon Software Company (440) 237-6653 – Direct (866) 437-6653 – Sales www.beaconsoftco.com

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Deliver Tangible Benefits By Matt Gunzenhaeuser, TomTom Business Solutions Labor and fuel are the two biggest line items on a tow operator’s operating budget. If you could cut fuel costs by 15 percent or more, it would have a major impact on your business. What about maintenance costs? Insurance? Liability? Technology has undoubtedly changed the tow industry – in some cases, making things more challenging, but, in many cases, making it easier than ever before to get a handle on your business, save costs, and improve performance. One development that is delivering value to towers is the integration of GPS/fleet management systems with traditional dispatch and management software. The right commercial GPS solution can help you determine which is the best vehicle to dispatch to a given job, and give your drivers the best tools to perform their job safely and effectively.

Reducing Mileage and Idling

Integrating GPS into your dispatching and back office operations can have a measurable impact on your business. Smart dispatching and traffic avoidance do much more than simply provide turn-by-turn directions. They can actually reduce time and mileage driven for the current workload. With the average tower spending close to $2,000 per month per truck on fuel, saving 15 percent can really add up. We all know that reducing miles driven and minimizing idling are the best ways to reduce fuel consumption. Idling continues to be a problem across the industry. After deploying a GPS solution with engine idle monitoring, one tower found that some of his trucks were 36

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idling as much as four or five hours a day. With this information, he was able to set a company standard – and ensure that his drivers were following the rules. And GPS solutions can clearly impact miles driven by providing smart route planning and turn-by-turn directions that get vehicles to the job in the most efficient fashion. Route planning, smart dispatch and traffic avoidance can also increase revenue opportunities. What if you gained 30 minutes of time per driver per day? That’s two and a half hours per week per truck. For a small operator running 10 trucks, that represents 25 additional work hours per week freed up for more jobs and more revenue.

Improving Driver Performance

Imagine sitting in the passenger seat next to every driver, every day. Can you imagine what their driving habits would look like? If they knew you were watching, you’d suddenly have a fleet of vehicles that never sped, where hard braking and hard steering were unheard of, and idling was just not an option. Today, technology allows you to virtually ride along with every driver. With active visibility into how your drivers behave, you can move to a model where each employee treats your vehicles as well as they treat their own, and that leads directly to significant reductions in maintenance costs. In addition, the ability to monitor PTO and after-hours driving can eliminate side jobs and non-revenue generating driving. Having the latest technology is important – but combining that


with the right business practices is what really makes the difference. Setting policies, and then deploying the right technology to help measure compliance is the best way to make a real impact. After all, you can’t manage what you can’t measure. Maintenance can also represent a significant cost. In this case, prevention is better than the cure. GPS solutions that offer “active driver feedback” engage drivers by providing them with data about their behavior while they drive, making them more invested in better driving habits, while also helping the tow operator to monitor what they are doing. Towers who manage performance and bonuses through driver scores have seen significant changes driving habits, resulting in lower maintenance costs. Liability is also a larger concern than ever before. State and federal authorities can hold you responsible if a driver is in an accident while using a mobile device. Still, the use of cellphones is still way too common in the tow industry. GPS solutions deliver all of the dispatch and driving information a driver needs to the vehicle, can be voice-

enabled, and allows one-touch and hands-free calling if the driver does need to call the office. Demonstrating that you’ve deployed the right technology is your best defense in a liability situation.

Increasing Visibility

By monitoring who’s doing the right thing, tow operators have greater visibility into their businesses than ever before. With real data, they can focus on improving performance by tackling some of their biggest problems – like idling and driving behaviors. For any business owner, it is impossible to be everywhere. But with the right in-vehicle technology, towers can provide drivers with powerful tools and then monitor and manage their performance. TOW

Matt Gunzenhaeuser is Director of Sales & Marketing at TomTom Business Solutions. Learn more at http://business.tomtom.com.

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Towbook –

Towing Software Made Simple Towbook is 100% web-based, so you can use Towbook from any device with Internet service, including PCs, tablets and smart phones. Plus, there’s no software to install, so you’re always running the latest version. Towbook’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android make it easy to update call information, take pictures, decode VINs, send invoices to customers and much more. Towbook can synch with your QuickBooks account, too, so you don’t have to double enter invoices and you can avoid costly billing mistakes. Towbook runs great on Windows, Mac, iOS and Android.

Built for Towing

can view and update call data when they’re on the move. They can also see pending calls assigned to them and accept calls once they’re cleared from their current run, reducing downtime between calls. The Towbook mobile app “plate to VIN” feature allows drivers to simply key in a plate number to obtain the full VIN and other vehicle data, which is automatically added to the call – saving time and preventing errors. Drivers can take photos of vehicles and add them to a call and they can capture customer signatures and email invoices, all right from their iPhone or Android. Saving time for drivers and reducing the chance for errors is critical for any towing operation.

Dispatching. Towbook’s real-time dispatching makes all call information instantly visible to all your employees - nobody has to refresh screens or wait for updates. Motor Club Calls. Motor club calls go directly into Towbook, automatically creating a new dispatch and alerting everyone on your team that a motor club call came in. Impounds & Private Property. It’s easy to manage impounds with Towbook, including calculating daily storage fees, tracking police holds and releasing vehicles. Plus, Towbook will automatically notify private properties when you tow a vehicle, including sending photos. Reporting. Use Towbook to report on business performance, track daily call volume, manage accounts receivable, calculate commissions and much more. License Plate to VIN. Towbook’s new license plate to VIN feature allows you to enter a plate # and the system will return the full VIN plus the make, model and year of the vehicle – saving time and reducing the chance for mistakes.

With Towbook, calls from Motor Clubs go directly into the system, automatically creating a new dispatch. This saves time for dispatchers and eliminates the chance for mistakes. Towbook automatically calculates pricing for each call, including specific account pricing, mileage charges and daily storage, so you can quickly and accurately release vehicles. Dispatchers can quickly locate a call record in Towbook, update the call and email call records to customers, insurance companies and police. Towbook will help you organize your operation and give your dispatchers a set of tools that will help grow your business.

Why Owners use Towbook.

Why Towbook?

With Towbook, owners and managers have access to real-time data about their business. Call activity, income, driver status and much more are always just a few clicks away. Eliminating hand-written tow tickets and managing transactions within the system reduces operating costs and prevents lost income by eliminating inaccurate or misplaced tickets. Towbook’s simple reporting gives you access to dispatching, accounting, AR aging, driver performance, and much more in standard report or graphic views for easy understanding and comparison. For owners and managers, having access to your company's information 24/7/365 is a powerful advantage.

With no contracts and no up-front setup or training fees, we make it easy to get rolling with Towbook. Plus, Towbook is priced right with low monthly fees starting at just $49. Plus, you can add as many users as you want because we have no per-user fees. Our simple setup process is so easy you’ll be entering calls the day you sign up. Plus we provide free training and support. Your business is all about customer service, and so is ours. You can count on us to be there when you need us. We provide free support 24/7/365. TOW

Drivers love Towbook. Drivers can receive detailed call information on their smartphone so they 38

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Towbook helps Dispatchers.

Towbook Management Software www.towbook.com (888) 884-9598


Dispatch Anywhere from Beacon Software

messing up your day?” This is a question I ask folks who inquire about our products. Do you feel like you’re losing money? Are you spending too much time at work? Are you spending hours and hours on your billing? I’m sure many of you can relate to this. You work hard, sometimes so hard it’s difficult to make sure you’re covering all the bases. You can’t be everywhere at once. This is a common issue, and there are tools out there for you! Dispatch Anywhere is made for you…specifically for owners of towing companies, and no one else! We help you manage your business even when you’re not there. It starts with a call from a customer. All of your accounts and motor clubs are set up in the software. This makes you efficient. Services, pricing, required information fields, default services, and mileage calculations are all preloaded. This means when you select an account for a new call request, this information is there for you. Calls can be manually created in a matter of seconds. Your motor club calls arrive digitally through TowMagic. Imagine a digital request from a club that you accept on your computer and all your call information populates in the call screen. You select a driver/truck on your computer and drag them on top of the call. Confirm it and the request goes out to the driver. Your driver received the call and instantly confirms it. You know this because the call status on your dispatch screen has changed to “confirmed.” This is the first timestamp on the call. Your driver uses a free App on his smartphone to receive call information. He can let you know when en route, arrived, loaded, dropped, and finished. All of these time stamps will appear as the current call status back at dispatch. You can also select your map tool from the dispatch screen to view the location of all the jobs you have on the board in relation to your drivers. We can use the GPS location of their smartphone to track them. This map can detach if you use multiple monitors in the office. We can also track the black boxes from many third party GPS solutions if you desire. Your driver’s mobile app offers accountability and accuracy. Drivers can touch addresses and phone numbers in the job information for auto dialing or GPS routing to locations. They can select the vehicle type to

What’s

link to Towspecs for recommended methods and tips. They have the ability to add photos that get stored with the call and can be viewed from dispatch. Drivers can take payments and print or email receipts and tickets from the field. When a driver finishes a call, they are prompted to enter Items that you set as required like VIN and odometer for specific accounts. This gives you all the info you need for billing as soon as the job is completed. Storage calculations for impounded vehicles begin accruing as soon as the job is completed. Dispatch Anywhere allows you to produce invoices and take payment when vehicles are released. Any invoice, statement, or report can be faxed or emailed directly from the same screen. Billing your accounts and motor clubs is less painful. First, you post your calls. This allows you to view all unbilled calls and will highlight any call that needs information before billing. This allows you to focus only on the calls that need attention rather than looking through everything. Once calls are posted, you can print your statements for all your accounts. Billing your motor clubs is just as easy. Simply select a group of calls to send by checking a box next to each one. Then you click the send button. We will digitally push calls out to most of your clubs’ web sites. It’s about 15 calls per minute! This reduces the manual entry that is consuming your time. Everything you do on a daily basis is creating data about your business. All of this data can now be filtered into multiple reports. Our reports will allow you to look at driver performance and commissions. Daily logs, ETAs, calls by the hour ETC. Sales reports allow you look at sales by driver, by service, by truck, or payment method. Impound reports that can be created by account for your police calls. You can run release reports with or without amounts. The list goes on and on. Here’s the bottom line! You know your business better than anyone. You can tell when something is not right. Maybe you feel like you’re getting behind. Are you making as much as you think? Being able to find an issue as fast as possible is the key. Beacon Software gives you the right tools with Dispatch Anywhere and TowMagic. TOW

Beacon Software www.dispatchanywhere.com | (866) 437-6653 www.towprofessional.com | Volume 3 • Issue 1 | Tow Professional

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Using sureFleet, companies can enter all maintenance performed on their fleet, store all data, and maintain vehicle, and equipment lists. sureFleet is specifically designed to help business operations with better tracking and reporting on fleet preventative maintenance needs, repair costs, fuel purchases, and more. sureFleet provides notification when services are due, plates are expiring, state or internal safety inspections are due, etc. It provides data capture and reporting associated with fleet maintenance to record everything from oil changes and fueling information to engine overhauls and tire positions. sureFleet incorporates detailed reporting and advanced tracking methods with the capability of tracking the maintenance for an unlimited number of vehicles. The system also manages insurance policies, accident reporting, image storage, and even vehicle depreciation. There is also a sureFleet mobile app available for both Android phones and tablets, as well as iPhone 40

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and iPad devices. The mobile application allows drivers to update odometer and fuel purchase information, complete standard or customized pre- and post-trip inspections, report accidents, as well as perform appearance inspections with photos and more. sureFleet is specifically designed to help your business operations by providing better tracking and reporting on fleet repair costs, downtime, fuel mileages, and other daily maintenance costs. This type of valuable information allows users to control the cost of managing their fleet of vehicles. sureFleet is integrated with BudgetGPS for fleet tracking and offers further integration to other GPS systems as well as inventory control tools. With a price point of less than $2 per week, per vehicle, the sureFleet return on investment is significant. TOW Contact: Kami Rogers Phone: 877-401-2345, ext 204 e-mail: krogers@ftigroups.com


TOPS towing management software is designed to manage all aspects of a tow operation from the initial tow request to the vehicle’s final disposition. The TOPS system provides a unified and sophisticated platform for call-taking, dispatching, inventory management, lien processing, and auction administration. TOPS supports single and multi-company operations, and provides individual company and roll-up accounting and management reports. TOPS will enable your staff to work smarter with advanced tools that include powerful mobile applications for drivers and lot managers designed for the iPhone, iPad and Android mobile phones and tablets. Update call status times, upload and store callrelated photos and email call receipts to customers directly from your mobile device in the field. Enjoy enhanced data accuracy and improved employee productivity through drop-down menus, short code or type ahead field entry, pre-population of call information and integrated swipe devices (where applicable) for quick data entry. Improve workflow and ensure employee accountability with features such as automated pricing, tow ticket management, driver and release clerk payment management systems, and sophisticated security. TOPS protects your interests by offering process, screen and field level security via user access roles. These access roles keep employees focused on their specific tasks, limiting their visibility into systems outside of their area of responsibility. TOPS allows you to gain a better understanding of the big picture of your business with detailed management, customer activity, and driver and truck productivity reports. TOPS integrates with GPS, motor club, police and municipality systems, and imports directly to QuickBooks. TOW

TOPS Contact: Nathan Barker Phone: 866-800-8677, opt. 2 Email: Nathan.barker@txisystems.com

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CLOUD BASED TECHNOLOGY will dominate within five years, but is it right for you NOW? It is a year since Tow Professional reviewed the industry software market and much has changed. New towing software vendors are entering the market, providing competition for the more established software companies who have a long-standing national presence. These prominent software brands (Beacon, Tracker, and VTS Systems) have continued to add new features, and there is a growing trend, initially started by VTS Systems, toward collaborating with other technology leaders, Auto Data Direct and TomTom, providing expanded features at a lower cost. Over the past 12 months, Telematics or integrated GPS has become the fastest growing segment and a “must have” for competitive, cost conscience owners. Integrated Telematics link with your management software, providing “intelligent dispatch” and interactive driver/dispatcher input, along with real time vehicle performance data. TomTom’s “Traffic” stands out as a major advance, providing real-time updated traffic flow and congestion status, continually updating the quickest route from call inception to incident location. When used to optimal driver/truck efficiency, TomTom claims a 15 to 20 percent saving in fuel and maintenance costs. For many towing companies, paper ledgers, paper invoices, man42

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ual lien letters, and visits to the Post Office are just memories. Yet many in the industry are struggling to accommodate the never-ending advances in office automation. Not everyone caught the computer bug, and, to many, the black box in the office is something you do not mess with. Therefor it is important for the software developers, while providing additional cost saving benefits, to keep the programs intuitive and easy to operate. New operating platforms from Google and others are challenging the dominance of Microsoft and Apple by offering cloud friendly operating systems. However, Microsoft will not give up its global dominance of the OS market without a fight. Launched in August 2012, Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system has successfully moved Microsoft firmly into cloud OS territory. However, for those tow companies who are firmly entrenched in the traditional Windows 7 or previous versions of Microsoft OS, Windows 8 is a steep learning curve. There is little doubt that web or cloud based technology, along with smartphones, tablets and a host of new apps, will dominate our industry within five years. If your business is located in a rural community or a city that has below standard Internet service, then cloud technology may not be


for you. Before you throw caution to the wind and give up your solid, reliable PC/server based application, and jump into a cloud solution, there are preparations to make and questions to ask. • How reliable is your Internet connection (WAN), and do you have a back-up solution? “It is not if your Internet will FAIL, it is when.” • Check your bandwidth capacity and the time it takes your screen to refresh or change (latency); a slow Internet not only adds frustration, it is operationally inefficient and a strong indicator of underlying problems. To conduct a simple test of your Internet speed, go to http://speedtest.comcast.net To operate an effective cloud base tow management program,

you should have a minimum latency or “PING” rate of less than 30 ms (milliseconds), a download speed of not less than 20 mbps (megabits per second) and an upload speed of not less than 5 mbps. An efficient cable Internet service will provide 10 ms PING, 80 mbps download, and 15 mbps upload. • Invest in a professional networking company to evaluate or build-out your office network (LAN). Build for the future; demand and Internet speeds will only get faster. Insist on 100/1000 or Giga switches, and if your budget will run to it, CAT 6 rather than CAT 5 Ethernet cabling.

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CLOUD BASED TECHNOLOGY will dominate within five years, but is it right for you NOW?

• The reliable office network of the future will be a tiered system both hard wired, and Wi-Fi wireless. There simply is not enough wireless bandwidth to service a busy office. Multiple wireless users will cause data collisions, data corruption, slowness of screen refreshes and eventually crashes. Hard

wire your desk PC’s All-in-One’s, semipermanent laptops and network printers. Leave the wireless bandwidth for smartphones and tablets. Without Internet, a PC/server-based system can enter and release vehicles, print statements and operate normally. Without the Internet, a cloud-based business is dead! Turn

out the lights, close the door, and go home. However, this should not be a showstopper, but it does need you to rethink your network priorities. Reliable, high bandwidth Internet and VoIP telephone services are essential to tomorrow’s towing and VSF businesses. It is usual to find three optional broadband providers in the larger cities, cable, DSL, and wireless; most areas will have two services available from which to choose. It is important that you have a primary and a back-up solution, one that you can switch to when the primary goes down. Notice I said when, not if! High-speed 4G wireless, although slower, makes an excellent secondary plug and play solution. Do your research; do not go cheap, go for a business package; reliability and bandwidth are most important. Ask about outages and repair history; get it in writing. Cable offers the most bandwidth for the buck; up and down speed packages vary, so get the details. Some national cable providers have earned a poor reputation for return to service times, so ask around. DSL is the next best offering for bandwidth, as long as the phone lines are solid. In addition, check out bundling packages; TV, phone, and Internet bundling can offer great saving. Remember reliability and bandwidth is paramount! TOW

Nigel Pestell Managing Partner, Business Development VTS Systems (A Division of Collision Management USA LP) 14935 Dunwoody Bend, Suite 100 Cypress, Texas 77429 281.373.3072 US & CDN Sales, Ext. 104 /101 281.373.3072 Business Dev., Texas Statutes/TDLR Rules, Ext. 101 281.373.3072 Tech Support Center, Ext. 103 281.746.7816 US Fax www.vts-systems.com 44

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Are You Using

Location-Based Services?

By Dave Sunkenberg, VP Network Services, Agero As of September 2013, it is reported that 74% of smartphone users are taking advantage of location-based services. Apps such as Foursquare, Uber and Yelp are designed to use your location to recommend places to go, find a local coffee shop, and get you a taxi. The use of these location-based apps is growing extremely fast, with over 130 million Americans utilizing them every day. So, why are location-based services important for tow providers like you? They enable you to become more efficient, save money and time, and offer the customer a better experience. Nearly 40% of tow trucks have installed a hard-wired GPS device, and more than 60% of tow truck drivers carry a smartphone, making it easy for those drivers to transition to a location-aware application, such as Agero’s Roadside Connect, or a mobility-enabled dispatch management system, such as Progressive Platform’s “Tow Aces” or Beacon Software’s “Dispatch Anywhere.” With location-aware capabilities, you can more effectively manage your fleet and your communications with your cus-

tomers. Agero’s Roadside Connect mobile app is completely free to download. With the newest version of the app (available on Android now; coming to iPhone in March), dispatchers can see where their trucks are located on a live map; they can assign the driver closest and best equipped to serve the customer, and lower their ETA’s and operate more efficiently. Customers also benefit from tow providers being location-aware. Agero’s system will alert the customer of how long it will take for your driver to arrive, keeping them informed of his or her progress. “Location-based services are the future of roadside,” says Mark Fensome of Progressive Platforms. “The technology makes it so much easier for providers to manage fleets – it’s more cost effective and fuel efficient.” TOW

Agero One Cabot Road, Medford, MA 02155 www.agerosupport.com

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The development of Tracker Management Systems, Inc. from day one was based on building a solution for the many needs within the office of towing companies. Providing customer support and training on how to utilize the software to maximize profits became a comer stone. Tracker has been extremely successful at achieving these goals. Tracker is practically a household name within the industry for nearly three decades and now second generation family. If you do not use Tracker to manage your business, most likely a successful company that you admire does.

other software perhaps go a little deeper adding the ability to do your statements. Linking to QuickBooks or Peachtree accounting is a great time saver, but after these few features, there are dozens of processes and variables to your business that should and could be automated. Utilizing Tracker will give you faster, quicker more accurate information in fraction of the time.

Tracker continues to offer leading edge solutions, such as the only complete management suite that includes the needed functions to be able to maintain a complete picture of your business. Tracker goes way beyond a simple dispatch system that sends calls to phones or TomTom dash GPS. Look under the hood and you will discover for yourself what all it does. Notice the detailed functions that you would want after you get the basic dispatch and impound storage features working. Most 46

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Lastly, your software selection needs to be a very easy to use and easy to understand solution. Easy, simple and complete are Tracker's core values. As just one example, look at our Tracker Touch product, which links the GPS in truck communications with a visual picture of your city. Add all your calls to the same screen, then give your dispatcher the ability to assign a call to the nearest truck within 3 seconds by simply touching the screen. Then be able to see the actual ETA of any assigned truck without talking to the drivers. Stop wishing there was a product like this. Stop wishing your company was up to speed. Tracker has products built for the way you run your business. These products are available today from Tracker. Call today to set up a live demo and get your questions answered. TOW

1-800-445-2438.


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LIGHTING SPOTLIGHT here is one name that is synonymous with wireless tow light systems, and it is by no accident either. TowMate was founded when owner, Bryan Anderson, invented the world’s first wireless tow light in 1985 and has grown from offering just one product to now offering over 100 varieties of LED lighting solutions over their 25+ years of production. There are now wireless lights for virtually any application from light duty to heavy duty hauling and everything in between. Much of TowMate’s success can be attributed to their maintaining what can now be viewed as “old fashioned” business tactics. That is building a quality product, offering it at a fair price, and standing behind it. Since day one, TowMate has built everything in the USA and backed their products with a lifetime warranty on the electronics and LED’s. The products are now built in-house from concept to completion with robotic machines that populate their circuit boards being the first step. They then make their way through the flow of the operation to end up as finished goods where they are checked for quality before being packaged and shipped. The family owned and operated business has always prided itself on having friendly staff available to answer questions and offer assistance without ever having to first deal with an automated telephone system. You call, they answer. And of course, feedback is always welcome. Most of TowMate’s existing

T

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LIGHTING SPOTLIGHT

products and features are the direct result of listening to feedback from users in the field and adapting appropriately. More recently, TowMate’s new Power-Link product line has become as revolutionary to emergency lighting as their wireless lights were to tow lights all those years ago. This series of lighting is ‘essentially wireless’ as it does not require wires to be run from the lights to the control pad. Instead, simply tap into 12V+ and ground and instantly have complete control over the Power-Link lighting on a given vehicle. To take it one step further, they have developed a smart phone application that allows the user to control the lighting on their truck or even monitor their wireless tow light. Talk about innovation!

A testament to their pioneering efforts and hard work paying off, TowMate will be moving into a new building early this year with construction set to be finished by mid-February 2014. The 11,000+ square foot facility will be located in close proximity to their current facility on Beaver Lake in Rogers, Arkansas, and will provide state-of-the-art production space for the 40+ workers that make up the TowMate family. Among these are two full time electronics engineers, five tech support staff, two production managers, and over 30 various assemblers and fabrication specialists. All are a part of the team and even more so the family. Customers are encouraged to call and schedule a visit if they are in the area and are welcome to stay at the ‘TowMate Inn’ with enough notice. TOW

Follow TowMate on Facebook or Twitter to keep up to date with the latest. You can also visit their website, www.TowMate.com, or call them at (800) 680-4455 for more information or to find a dealer near you.

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LIGHTING SPOTLIGHT

HowFlash Can Help You? Flash Equipment Inc was established in 1996 by entrepreneurs Robert Kohn and Lloyd Roland. Who believed in a basic philosophy “How can we help you?” keeping that in mind and with many years in the Vehicle Lighting industry they knew they had a special “niche” when it came to giving the customer what they want! Customer Service is there main priority! “We enjoy our customers and care about their needs. Our goal is to please the customer by keeping them informed, giving them options on product and actually enjoying the order process!” “Why not make the experience a good one?” With that philosophy, trained staff and there diversified inventory Flash Equipment has become the leader in the Towing and Vehicle lighting industry. Flash Equipment’s focus is to keep your fleet operating safely & efficient. They do this by

stocking one of the largest inventory of replacement parts for all your strobes, rotators LED’s, lightbars and more. They have parts replacement professionals who will work with you to figure out what you need even if you don’t have a part number whether it is old or new. When constructing a new lighting package for a vehicle just call and they have light package specialist to help you in putting together

the best package to fit your budget while keeping safety in mind (the best bang for your buck). Our inventory of new products is extensive. We carry all your major light lines including truck & trailer lights as well. It also consists of back – up

cameras, truck mirrors, electrical connectors and more. They believe technology is progress, while keeping yesterday in mind. By integrating a hitech computer network system and people who care. Our customers are greeted with a good old fashion “Hello” Not an automated computer asking you to push buttons! You will be speaking to someone with years of experience to assure your order is being processed promptly and efficiently. We ship worldwide and are happy to build those relationships. But if you ever head down south, our warehouse offices and show room are located in Beautiful Sarasota Florida. Stop in for a cup of coffee or just to say “hi!” We always enjoy meeting our customers reaching out and saying “How can we help you?” TOW

Flash Equipment 800-570-8866 www.flashequipment.com

designed and developed warning and signaling devices. Our light and siren products set the standards for Police, Fire and Rescue, Emergency, DOT, as well as Maintenance and Construction equipment. We’ve built state-of-the-art aviation lighting since 1952 and our high power voice and siren systems are heard around the globe. Whelen is the only U.S. company to still manufacture its products entirely in the United States. TOW

Whelen Engineering designs, manufactures and builds emergency warning lights and siren systems for Police, Fire, EMS & DOT vehicles, as well as Aviation lighting and Public Warning siren systems. For more than 60 years, Whelen Engineering has researched, 50

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WHELEN 51 Winthrop Road Chester, CT 06412 PH: 860-526-9504 www.whelen.com


LIGHTING SPOTLIGHT

Custer Products has introduced several new high powered work lights to their LITE*IT. The new lights range from an 8Watt PAR36 replacement light to a 9000 lumen 120Watt LED light. “We now have a LED work light to fit almost any need, helping to make the work environment safer and more productive,” said Brad Custer, president. “We’ve had a tremendous response in a short period of time on our new LED work lights.” Custer Products Ltd has been supplying quality products to the towing, agricultural, trucking, trailer and safety industries since 1993 and now manufactures wireless towing and agricultural lights. We currently sell to a network of Distributors throughout the US, Canada, Mexico,

South America and Europe. Custer Products strives to provide first class customer service, quick order fulfillment and innovative solutions fulfilling our customers' needs. TOW

Custer Products 4101 Shuffel Street NW North Canton,OH 44720 Office 330-490-3158 Toll Free 800-490-3158 Fax 330-497-9736 Website: www.custerproducts.com

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HOOKEDUP

Larson Electronics Offers Wrecker Lighting Solutions The TPM-2XLEDP3W-3 is a telescoping light pole that can be mounted to any flat surface to allow operators to elevate a pair of included high intensity LED lights and adjust their height from 3 to 9 feet. Designed to be mounted via a 4 hole mounting plate, this telescoping light pole can be adjusted to various heights and locked into position as well as collapsed and removed from the mounting bracket for stowing. This design is ideal for wreckers where the convenience of easily deployed and stowed high power lighting is desired. Larson Electronics, LLC 800-369-6671 www.magnalight.com sales@magnalight.com

TM50S Series Multi-Setting Marker/Flasher Combination Light TowMate’s new 4.5” flush mount LED markers/flashers offer an intense burst of light increasing your visibility to motorists. Cycle through 8 flash patterns with the wave of a magnet over the light (no need to remove it to change settings at any point)! Each unit features four high-intensity LED’s and is available in amber, red, white, blue, or green. An optional chrome bezel is available to give it that finished look. Made in the USA. Lifetime warranty. Go to www.TowMate.comor call (800) 680-4455for more details or to find a dealer near you.

MobileTRAQ Vue MobileTRAQ Vue is the first highly integrated and field upgradeable, commercial-grade monitoring and maintenance system, designed to grow with fleets and changing industry demands. It is a rugged, flexible asset- based monitoring system for both connected and stand-alone truck & trailer monitoring. Featuring an intuitive, programmable color touch-screen display that allows the driver to see and hear warnings, the MobileTRAQ platform was developed to readily connect with Mobile Awareness wired and wireless sensors, the first of which is TireStat TPMS. TireStat TPMS is an innovative flow-thru tire sensor mountable inside the tire or externally on the valve stem. These unique TPMS sensors transmit data every 60 seconds to the MobileTRAQ monitor, with pressure and temperature events triggering the system to alarm in real-time. This rapid reporting is as much as 5 times more frequent than most other TPMS systems. With a battery life of up to 10 years and an operating temperature of - 40°F to 257°F (-40°C to 125°C), TireStat is the ruggedized sensor choice for commercial tire maintenance and monitoring. www.mobileawareness.com 866-653-5036 52

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Side Rail Tiedown SIDE RAIL TIEDOWN - One of the most popular Auto Tiedown's for Flat Bed trucks & trailers S & J Manufacturing, Inc. | 203 Commerce Drive | Cuba, MO 65453 Phone: 573-885-4460 | Fax: 573-885-335 www.sjmetalcubamo@yahoo.com

E–Z Out Strap E – Z OUT STRAPS are used to get automobiles out of the ditch and clear the highway quickly. It’s as easy as 1-2-3. STEP #1 – RUN THE STRAP THROUGH THE WHEEL. STEP #2 – WRAP THE LOOP END OF THE STRAP BACK TO THE HOOK. STEP #3 – HOOK THE WINCH LINK TO THE RING IN THE END OF THE STRAP TO WINCH OUT. S & J Manufacturing, Inc. | 203 Commerce Drive | Cuba, MO 65453 Phone: 573-885-4460 | Fax: 573-885-335 www.sjmetalcubamo@yahoo.com

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HOOKEDUP

Balldog Multiple Use Hitch Attachment Device Patent# 7967353 (Additional Patents Pending)

With the BallDog Plus, you have options! There are multiple ways to connect and multiple applications for use with just one item, saving you both time and money. Made with Exclusive Twist Lock™ technology available exclusively through B/A Products distributors worldwide. B/A Products Co. 8925 McGaw Court Columbia, MD 21045-4725 (800) 327-3301 (410) 381-1700 | www.baprod.com

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Towbook Adds “Plate to VIN” Feature Towbook recently announced the addition of a “license plate to VIN” feature in their web-based towing software. This new feature allows you to simply key in a license plate number and Towbook automatically returns the full VIN plus the make, model and year for the vehicle. The plate to VIN feature is also available in Towbook’s mobile apps for iPhone and Android, so it’s a big time saver for drivers, too. Towbook is the leader in webbased towing software. With no software to install, you can access Towbook from anywhere with Internet service, including iPads, tablets and smartphones. With the lowest price in the market, no setup fees, free training and no contracts or cancellation fees, Towbook is hard to beat. You also get free support 24/7/365. (888) 884-9598 www.towbook.com

WorkSafe USA, Inc. NO-JACK A tow truck operator's duties typically involve the use of a service jack for tire changes, repositioning broken ball joints and tie rods to prepare a tow, just to name a few. WorkSafe USA, Inc. is proud to present

the NO-JACK vehicle lift system for self loading wheel lift wreckers. The JO-JACK system allows a self loading wheel lift wrecker to be utilized as an on-site automotive service jack, eliminating the need to carry service jacks and jack stands on the wrecker. WorkSafe USA, Inc. www.dump-lok.com | (217) 487-7045

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DealerPlace

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DealerPlace

MarketPlace

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MarketPlace

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MarketPlace

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COMPANY

ADVERTISER INDEX PG

Agero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Alexander Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Amsoil Synthetic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 Atlanta Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Austin Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Auto Data Direct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 AW Direct . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 B/A Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18, 58 Beacon Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17, 58 Boxes 4 U/ Crashfilm . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Budget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Clore Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Collins Dollies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 COMEUP Winch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Custer Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 CW Mill Equipment Company . . . . . . . . . . . . .34 Dan Messina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Detroit Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 Direct Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Dynamic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Eartec . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 ECM Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Flash Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 FlowStop . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53 Gaither Tool . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

COMPANY

PG

Glenn's Auto . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Holly's Message Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .51 Hubcaps Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 IAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29 Industrial Netting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame & Museum / Wall of the Fallen . . . . . . . . . . . .30, 31 Jerr-Dan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IFC Keystone Tape and Supply . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48 Larson Electronics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 LDC Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Lift and Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Lodar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Loganville Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Marking Pen Depot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Mfr. Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27, 37 Midwest Regional Tow Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 Miti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Mobile Awareness . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52 NASCO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22 NationWide . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58 Nussbaum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Ohio Power Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35 Pillow Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57 Powerbilt . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49

COMPANY

PG

Ram Mount . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Recovery Billing Unlimited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55 Recovery Consulting Services . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 Rick’s Auto Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Robert Young's Wrecker Sales & Service . . . .56 Rugged Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 RV Wheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 S&J Manufacturing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Slick Top Solutions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 Steck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40 sureFleet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 TomTom . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60 TowBook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BC Towmart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54 Towmate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 Tracker Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IBC Triple K Industries . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59 VTS Systems . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43 Western States Tow Show . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 Whelen . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Worksafe USA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Worldwide Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56 Zacklift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .58

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Tow Professional | Volume 3 • Issue 1 | www.towprofessional.com


Tow professional issue 1, 2014  
Tow professional issue 1, 2014  

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