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Volume 2 • Issue 4 2013

Visibility 30 | The Key to Safety

Dispatch News Hydraulic Winches 22 | Getting Familiar with Hydraulic Winches

32 | Holly’s Message Service

33 |(PDSI) Professional Dispatch Services, Inc.

Mobile Printing 34 | Is Mobile Printing

Safety 24 |

“Just the Ticket” for Towing?

Top 8 Safety Topics Tow Professionals Need to Understand

I n du stry NEWS


company spotlight

acquisition of Monroe Hydraulics!

8| Dual Tech 8| TwinState Equipment

35 |Tow Ramps 36 |Pierce Sales 37 |Fleet Sales West

38 |RP Recovery Consulting 38 |Lodar Remote System 39 |Progressive Platforms

IN EVERY ISSUE 10| International Towing & Recovery Hall of Fame Honorees

4 | Publisher Letter

Fuel 4 thought

12 | D.J. Harrington, “The Car-Diologist,” joins Tow Professional!

14 | Getting Out of Debt TOW T I P S



Cover Image Courtesy of Warn Industries, Inc.

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |





Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery

Volume 2 • Issue 4 2013

PUBLISHERS Darian Weaver President & Co-Publisher

Hello to all! It’s a great day in Birmingham, Alabama! Recently, we travelled to Orlando, Florida, to exhibit at the 2013 Florida Tow Show, which is hosted by the Professional Wrecker Operators of Florida (PWOF). The show was very well attended, and the vendors showed and sold a tremendous amount of product. It’s a great sign that our economy is moving in the right direction. While at the show, Allstate Roadside Assistance had a dinner banquet with the 70s/80s rock band Cheap Trick playing afterward. We had a great time; Cheap Trick has a few songs that everybody knows (even if you didn’t know that they sang it). My guess is that the guys in the band are 60+ years of age, and I believe that they had as much fun as anybody.

Jack Hartsfield Vice President & Co-Publisher __________________________

PRODUCTION Clint W. Cabiness Art Director Hal K. Huber Graphic Designer Jill Hasty Managing Editor __________________________

With this issue, we begin a regular column that will be provided by D.J. Harrington called “Fuel for Thought.” I met D.J. at the Baltimore show last year; he is the type of person that makes you feel better just because you know him. He is a trainer and consultant to over 1,000 businesses throughout the country, training personnel at all levels, from the Operator to the President of the company. D.J.’s column, along with the Dan Messina business editorial each month, should help your business gain an edge in this tough market. Next we will travel to the American Towman Showplace in Las Vegas, Nevada, May 1618, 2013. We hope to see you there!

Darian Weaver and Jack Hartsfield Co-Publishers

Vo.2, Issue 3 Retraction: In the last issue of Tow Professional on page 39, the Company Spotlight on Heavy Duty Towing Equipment stated that “All units are imported.” To clarify, the statement should have read “All Heavy Duty Towing Equipment units are imported” simply meaning that their units are imported, and not all units in the industry are imported.

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Tom Bacon Richard Farrell Kathleen Freeman D.J. Harrington Andy Lilienthal Dan Messina Paul E Wade and Tabitha Pierce Sam Priestley Stephanie Williams

Executive and Advertising Offices P.O. Box 26308 Birmingham, AL 35260 Toll free: 888-802-8544 Fax: 205-978-1550 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 and click on the “subscribe” tab.


Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

I n du stry NEWS



DETROIT WRECKERS SALES announces the acquisition of Monroe Hydraulics!


In DWS's continuing efforts to further offer the towing and recovery industry better service, they have announced the purchase of a long-established hydraulic company, Monroe Hydraulics. DWS now can offer its customers complete in-house cylinder services. From complete manufacture to rebuild service, DWS has all the necessary equipment and expertise to handle all your hydraulic needs inhouse. Some repairs can even be done while you wait! DWS has also expanded its ongoing relationship with Jerr-Dan to include, along with full warranty services, complete hydraulic cylinder rebuild services. Both DWS and Jerr-Dan believe that keeping your equipment up and running is our primary concern. NEVER will you hear “Sorry, we have to send this back to the plant for warranty inspection." DWS can inspect and replace on the spot! What other manufacturer is willing to do that? DWS and Jerr-Dan have always put their customers first. From engineering to manufacturing, to service after the sale, you will always get the best.

DWS stocks everything you need to keep that equipment on the road and making you money! As southeast Michigan's oldest and largest manufacturer and repair facility dedicated to the towing and recovery industry, you can be sure that the service you receive at DWS will always be the best. From original equipment to upgrades to your existing fleet, you can rest assured that anything you request will be done right. Anyone can bolt on chrome and lights, but unlike so many startups and new to the area facilities, DWS's years and experience and familiarity with consulting with the truck manufacturers give them all the complete information to equip and maintain your vehicles properly. Never will you have to worry about someone’s work voiding your truck’s warranty. Give us a call or stop in; you'll be glad you went to the best. 19630 Fitzpatrick | Detroit, MI 48228 Local: 313-835-8700 | National: 877-TOW-0030 Fax: 313-835-4838 Webstore: Email:



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

I n du stry NEWS



Dual Tech >>>

For the last 100 years, the American Cancer Society has been fighting to transform cancer from deadly to preventable. Cancer is an issue that affects us all, either personally or through friends and family.

Dual-Tech is a family owned and operated company dedicated to families. As a tribute to the American Cancer Society, Dual-Tech set out to build two units to show its support to an organization that is also dedicated to

families. The first unit was a Freightliner, 12 ton wrecker with purple accents; purple represents all cancers. The second unit built was a Peterbilt, Side Puller Unit with a 22’ 1240 Series Bed painted with Metallic Pink Accents in honor of Breast Cancer. Both units were unveiled at the 2013 Florida PWOF Tow Show. To learn more about what the American Cancer Society has to offer, please visit or For more photos of these units or information about the Dual-Tech product, please visit

........................................................... TwinState Equipment >>> TwinState Equipment expands its services to include customized vehicles to meet the demands of the industry. TSE is working with its customers to built equipment that solves problems in today’s tough demands in highway contract towing. Current emissions standards force us to depart from using stock configurations and create equipment that is better suited for the needs of

the tower. It’s easy to throw a big box on a truck and dump equipment inside, but rather than doing that, we look at the whole project ad set expectation of performance and function. Utilizing highquality components and fabricating techniques, we are building a better vehicle for our customers. Many of the employees at TSE have had experience as a tower, and we work to bring that to the table. “A place for everything and everything in its place,” remarks a TSE employee. Our Freeway Service Patrol Package will be on display at the 2013 American Towman Show Place in Las Vegas May 17th-18th. We invite you to come see the difference TSE offers and speak with our team about requirements that you may have. Representatives from Rush Truck Center of Fontana California will be present for customers in the Southern California Coastal regions. For more information, please contact Scott Rahner-Sales Manager/Product Specialist at 702-238-5487 or email


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


Fuel 4 thought

By D.J. Harrington

D.J. Harrington,

“The Car-Diologist,” joins Tow Professional!

wanted to write for a tow magazine on a regular basis for quite some time. I have written for the “Power Source” magazine in the auto recycling industry for over 17 years. The towing industry has been very good to me. I have spoken in Baltimore 14 times; spoken to the towers in Chicago, St. Louis, Houston, and many times in San Antonio, Texas; and been a presenter at Statewide Towing Association of Massachusetts and the Ohio Tow Show. This gives me a voice to talk about things I see happening in the industry that I would like to give fuel for thought. For example, we don’t look at the history of the company before we communicate. By history, I mean, we don’t take into consideration who the customer really is before we yell, “Pay ALL 12 days of storage,” even when it is the owner of a large company who has his personal car stolen. The police really forgot to inform the owner that the car was found much earlier and wasn’t notified until additional charges were incurred. The car owner offered to pay the $135 tow and the two days storage at $35 per day, but the owner of the towing company yells, “Pay the whole bill! I’m not running a charity!” The next day, after the heat passes, with conviction, the co-worker in the office mentions that we do a lot of towing for that company.“What do you mean???” “Well, last year, we invoiced them for more than $32,000 work of towing of their trucks and equipment.” Lots of infor-



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mation, but too late now! People vote with their feet. The owner of the company will not use this towing company ever again, and he tells everyone in the community just how he feels. Before blurting that you don’t run

a charity, take into consideration to whom you are speaking. Kindness goes a long way…and it might save you some grief and loss of business later. Speaking of kindness, would you be so kind to help me collect soda pop tabs? Collecting soda pop tabs is one easy way to help the people at Ronald McDonald House. It’s simple, it’s low-cost, and it’s a great way to get involved. The program started back in 1997 to help the families that have children receiving active inpatient and active outpatient treatments at a local hospital. This helps families with housing in a warm environment while their little ones are going through some tough times. Start saving the pull tabs, and when you have a small bag of them, place in the mail to D.J. You can get your office involved by placing a container marked ‘TABS FOR KIDS’ in a spot that everyone can contribute their tabs. I want to collect 1,267 tabs a day, which equals one pound. If we all work together, we can make a difference in another person’s life. Isn’t that what we should be doing? Making this world a better place? I hope you will put a coffee can, pretzel jug or milk carton out at home and in the office. Every time you pull a tab on a soda, beer or soup can with a tab, you will know that you are helping a family who has to stay away from home to visit their child in a hospital. This is a small act of kindness that you are paying forward. Show your generosity and let’s together help, with a home away from home, some very needy families. Before I finish this article, I was thinking of my departed friend, Zig Ziglar, who once told me that he visited the Washington Monument. As he arrived with his family, he heard the guide announce, “Ladies and gentlemen, there is currently a two-hour wait to ride the elevator to the top of the monument.” The guide then paused a moment, smiled and added, “However, there is no wait should you desire to take the stairs.” Zig’s story reveals something about success. In truth, there are no elevators to the top. If you want to make it there, you will have to take a LONG series of steps. How many steps are you willing to take and how long are you willing to keep climbing determines how high you will go. Please remember to save the tabs, and if you don’t belong to your state association, think about joining it today! I will be in Vegas, San Antonio, and Ohio for

the tow shows. Please come see me at the Auto Data Direct booth and come to my class in Texas and Ohio. I look forward to writing about “Dispatch” in my next issue. God bless each and every one of you. TOW

Correspondence regarding this article should go to: D.J Says, 2820 Andover Way, Woodstock, GA 30189

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, and Damon Corporation He can be reached at 800-352-5252 or by e-mail at 52 weeks a year, we are as close as your telephone. | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


B y D a n M e ssina

GETTING OUTOF DEBT I was at the Florida tow show, where I gave a seminar on why businesses fail. As I was returning home, I sat at the airport and had a chance to reflect on the weekend. As the seminar progressed, it was clear to all attending that a major reason for failure is due to debt. During the weekend, I talked to at least 100 towers about their business and the challenges they face in the future. Making a profit

penses. Identifying expenses is a major factor in getting out of debt. The first step is to stop spending until you figure out all your debt.

was a big concern for most towers. If you want to make money,

Once you have identified your monthly expenses, you want to take

there are two ways to do it.

steps to lower them or eliminate them all together. A long time ago, my wife and I listened to a motivational speaker

1. Raise revenue – With all the competition out there, everyone

named Tony Robbins. After taking his video class, it changed our

is fighting for the same customer. There are some other ways to

lives. We will follow some of the same principles here.

make money by providing new services or opening up new markets.

The first step we want to do is identify all debt or monthly expenses. Remember, we don’t just want to cut debt, but we want to


2. Lowering expenses – A lot of the towers I talked to admit

lower monthly expenses, as well. When it comes to debt, you should

they are lost in the day-to-day operation and lose track of their ex-

know everything about the terms and conditions of the money you

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

owe. Let’s look at the tips for lowering debt:

ing off these bills. A solid plan should not be

We used this as a business plan for the up-

complicated. It’s simply your approach to

coming year. We did nothing by accident. We

1. Put Your Debt On Paper: The very first step

tackling your debt. Here are a few things we

knew every move our company was going to

is to make a list of the debts you have. The list

will need to create our plan:

make from: a. Buying a truck or getting rid of a truck

should include the following information: name, address and phone number of the

1. Prepare a Budget – My wife and I

b. What trucks need maintenance

creditor; the outstanding balance; the interest

would go away every year for a few days and

c. Who we were going to hire

rate; the minimum payment; and any other in-

lock ourselves in a room and create a budget.

d. Who we were going to fire

formation you feel is important (also list monthly expenses). If you have a few months of the same expense, this will allow us to compare months and look for trends. We want to write out our debt on paper. This allows us to see it as it is.

2. Take Advantage of Personal Finance Software: By now, many people already have and use personal finance software like Quicken. If so, you can use the tools within the software to record all of the debt you owe and to develop a plan to pay off that debt. I wrote a newsletter about information and the advantages of having it at your fingertips. It will make our job a lot easier.

3. Create a budget: I provide a excel budget format you can follow; all you have to do is fill in your numbers. This is an easy way to track your debt.

4. Involve Others: It’s important that your spouse or significant other is involved in the process. If you don’t see eye-to-eye on finances, it can make getting out of debt even more difficult than it already is. It’s not uncommon for one spouse to take the lead in handling finances, and that’s fine. But you both should be on board, particularly as you develop a plan to tackle the debt. If you have a business partner, have them get involved, as well.

Create a Plan to Pay Off Your Debt Having written down all your debt, it’s now time to determine how you will go about | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


e. Who was getting a raise and how much it would be f. What customers were making us money g. What customers were costing us money h. Our growth and what new lines of business we would go after Once you know what your objectives are, it makes it easier to identify expenses and possible revenue streams.

2. Be Aggressive About Paying Off Debt – Take one debt at a time and pay it off. This debt is the one costing us the most money, or has the highest interest rate, or has the shortest term. We will figure out a new line of revenue and apply it to this debt. We can make this fun as you watch your debt go away.

3. Be Realistic About Paying Off Debt – We have to remember it took us a period of time to create this debt; it will not go away overnight. We will set a timetable for each debt and work to get them paid off.

4. Place Your Bills in Order – Set a priority for your debt, such as the highest bills first or the one with the most money. It will be easy to identify our direction once we have everything written down in front of us. We can do this with monthly expenses, as well. Let’s make a plan to decrease our monthly expenses by 8% and then figure out a way to do it. The money saved from our monthly expenses can be applied to our debt payoff.

5. Start an Emergency Fund – While we are doing all of this, we will start a little savings account to be used for a rainy day. Having written down all your debts, it’s now time to determine how you will go about paying off these bills. A solid plan should not be complicated. It’s simply your approach to tackling your debt. There is no one single approach; you need to do what works best for you and your family. There are, however, some important considerations and tools that can help you develop an effective debt repayment plan:


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

1. Debt Repayment Calculator: As a starting point, it’s helpful

out of debt fast, we do have to be careful not to get too aggressive.

(and sometimes painful) to see how long it will take you to pay off

Paying off debt is a lot like going on a diet. You can commit to never

your debt if you make just the minimum payments. While the plan

eating foods that are bad for you, but is that realistic? The thought

will involve making extra payments, the starting point is to under-

of never eating ice cream is just too much to bear. The same is true

stand what you are up against making just the minimum payments

with debt. Yes, sacrifices will have to be made to meet your finan-

on your debt.

cial goals, but you need balance in life, including your financial life.

2. Prepare a Budget: For many, the word “budget” is the dreaded

5. Order Your Debt: With your budget in place and an understand-

“B” word. But the fact is that you need a budget to control your

ing of how much extra money you can put towards debt, it’s now

spending and better manage your money. Remember that it’s the

time to map out a specific plan. The question is this – which debt

money you don’t spend each month that will go toward paying

will you put your extra money toward first? The first thing is not to

down your debt.

get too hung up on this question. Depending on your situation, one approach may be better than another, but if you consistently pay

3. Be Aggressive: Dave Ramsey talks about tackling debt with

down your debt without incurring more debt, you’ll make great

“gazelle” intensity. It’s about being aggressive in paying off your

progress, regardless of which debt you pay first. That said, here are

debt. As you work through your budget, recognize that every dollar

the top three approaches to deciding how to tackle your debt:

counts, and that the more you throw at your debt, the less interest you’ll pay and the faster you’ll get out of debt.

• Highest Interest Rate First: With this approach, you put all the extra cash you have on the debt that has the highest interest rate. This approach will result in the lowest interest charges and the

4. Be Realistic About Paying Off Debt: While we all want to get

fastest debt repayment possible. | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


• Smallest Balance First: This is the Dave Ramsey approach. He suggests targeting the debt with the smallest balance first. While that debt may not have the highest interest rate, the theory is to get one debt paid off as fast as possible. Paying off a debt gives you a feeling of accomplishment, which may be just the motivation you need to keep on track. By paying off a debt completely, you free up the cash that was needed to make monthly payments to that bill. While you are likely to put that cash to the next debt, in an emergency, you could use it for other purposes. In other words, by paying the smallest debt first, you free up cash flow. • Non-Revolving debt first: Recall that revolving debt, like credit cards, allows you to borrow again after you’ve paid down the debt. Non-revolving debt, like a car or school loan, does not permit you to borrow again as you pay down the debt. With a car loan, once the debt is paid, the loan is gone. With a credit card, once the debt is paid, the card is still there to use again if you so chose. For this reason, I’ll often focus on non-revolving debt first. Why? Because I can’t go out and charge up the debt again once it’s paid.

6. Don’t Forget Your Emergency Fund: An emergency fund is a really


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important part of a debt elimination program. While you may be tempted to put 100% of your extra cash toward debt, keeping at least some of it aside for emergencies will help break the reliance many have on credit. When the car needs new tires, it’s better to turn to the emergency fund than to a credit card. Improving your credit score is very important in relationship to your debt. When many people think of credit reports and credit scores, they see them as important if you want to apply for a loan, but your credit report and score are also absolutely critical to getting rid of debt. With a good credit score, you qualify for lower interest rates that can help bring down your total interest charges. With bad credit, you’re stuck paying double digit rates. So let’s look at some tips and tools that can help you understand the importance of your credit score. As noted above, your credit score is an important tool in getting out of debt as quickly as possible. To underscore this, check out these stats from for individuals with a FICO score of 660 (fair credit) vs. 760 (excellent credit): • Mortgage: The average interest on a home loan today is about 4.766% for excellent credit, but 5.379% for fair credit. • Car Loan: With a credit score of 760, you can expect a car loan interest rate of about 6.3%. With a score of 660, the rate increases to about 9.8%. • Home Equity: Excellent credit can expect a rate of around 8% or lower, while fair credit borrowers will pay as much as 11% or higher. In short, your credit scores matters, so get a free credit score. Pay Your Bills on Time: There are a number of factors that go into a credit score, but one of the most important is paying your bills on time. Do whatever is necessary not to forget a payment, and make sure you make the | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


ment far enough in advance of the due date so that there is no chance

is to call the mortgage company and request a lower rate. We did this

it will be late.

successfully with our home equity line of credit. While there are no guarantees, it can’t hurt to try.

Don’t Close Accounts: As a general rule, don’t close credit card and other revolving accounts. One of the factors in determining credit

3. Lower the Interest on Credit Cards: Because interest rates

score is the amount of debt you have in comparison to the amount of

on credit cards have risen so much in the last year, getting a lower rate

available credit. The greater the available credit, the better. You can al-

on credit card debt can save a lot on interest payments. If you have a

ways cut up some of your cards if you don’t want to risk using them,

good credit score, you can qualify for a low interest credit card with

but don’t cancel them. Here are some other tips to improving your

rates in the 8% to 12% range..

credit score: 4. Be Careful with Debt Consolidation: While it is important to 1. Refinance Your Mortgage: The general rule is that you should

take advantage of the lowest interest rates possible, the one area

refinance if you can lower your interest rate by 1%. While that’s a good

where you want to be really careful is with debt consolidation compa-

starting point, it is important to also consider how long you plan to stay

nies. While they may promise you low rates and a single payment, the

in the home and whether you need to convert from an adjustable rate

number of consumer complaints about such companies is exploding.

mortgage to a safer fixed rate loan. Interest rates are still at historic lows, and it is easy to compare mortgage rates online. 2. Negotiate Lower Interest on Home Equity Lines of Credit: If you have a home equity line of credit, compare your interest rate with current market rates. If you think you can do better, step one


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

Be patient and follow some of these steps and 2013 can be a good year after all.


Go to to learn about getting out of debt. | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Reviewing the

BASICS By Andy Lilienth a l

Hydraulic winches feature increased endurance and line speed compared to their electric counterparts, making them perfect for the towing industry. When your business relies on a hydraulic winch, it’s important to know a bit about them. Below are some insights on hydraulic winches that will help you get acquainted with these useful tools. HYDRAULIC MOTORS A hydraulic winch is run by a motor that converts fluid pressure to usable power. Just like an electric or gasoline engine, a hydraulic motor is going to come in different sizes with different power outputs. Hydraulic winch motors have flow ratings measured in gallons per minute (GPM) and pressure specifications measured in pounds per square inch (PSI). To put it simply, hydraulic pressure equates to line pull, and flow rates equate to line speed. Also note that hydraulic winches only build pressure as a load increases. PULLING CAPACITY Hydraulic winches are available in a wide variety of pulling capacities. Winches used in the towing industry often begin with capacities 22

around 6,000 lbs. with popular capacities being 9,000 lbs. and 12,000 lbs. Heavier-duty hydraulic winches can have much greater pulling capacities of 20,000 lbs., 30,000 lbs., and more, and are typically used for pulling construction equipment and industrial vehicles onto trailers or out of the muck. It is important to remember that most industrial hydraulic winches do not include rope. Different applications will need different rope lengths and diameters, so be sure you choose a winch that can handle the length and diameter of rope you need. Just remember to never exceed the pulling capacities of the winch or the rope! GEARTRAINS Another important factor to look at with regard to hydraulic winches is the geartrain—it’s the winch’s transmission. There are two basic types of geartrains: worm and planetary. A worm geartrain features a worm gear and a worm wheel. Worm gear winches have few moving parts and proven technology, since the basic setup has been around for literally hundreds of years. The disadvantages to worm

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

geartrains are that they are slow and require messy lubrication systems that need regular maintenance. Planetary geartrains are more advanced than the worm geartrains and feature multiple sets of gears, including a sun gear, planet gears (which rotate around the sun gear), a carrier, and the outside ring gear. This sophisticated reduction system is faster, smoother, and more efficient than worm geartrains and requires little or no maintenance. For most applications, a

planetary gear setup is the way to go. Keep in mind that the combination of gear ratio, drum diameter, and rope layers will affect a winch’s line speed. BRAKES A winch’s braking system is extremely important so that a load does not roll back when the winch stops moving. There are multiple kinds of brakes, including cone brakes and disc brakes. The brake should hold the winch’s full-rated pulling capacity.

cess. The remote clutch lever solves this problem by bringing the lever to the operator. Finally, there’s the air clutch, which is hooked up to a vehicle’s air system. This method uses air pressure to engage the winch’s clutch, and controls are also accessed remotely. WINCH STANDARDS You may notice some winches stating that they meet SAE J706 standards. This means the winch has met the Society of Automotive Engineer’s (SAE) set of demanding performance, durability, and safety criteria for winches. This is

an important standard to meet, as it lends credibility to the winch’s design and engineering. Choosing the correct winch for your job will depend on how you intend to use the winch. The best way to determine the winch you’ll need is to talk to a dealer or manufacturer. They’ll be able to walk you through the process of getting a hydraulic winch tailored to your specific application. TOW Warn Industries, Inc. | 800-543-9276

CLUTCHES Hydraulic winches are available with several kinds of clutches to engage and free spool the winch. The most basic is the manual clutch lever located on the winch. This clutch works by simply moving a lever from an engaged position to a free spool mode by hand. Next is the remote lever clutch. This allows an operator to engage the clutch without having to get near the winch in the event that the winch is located in the center of a tilt bed, or on the second deck of a car carrier, making it difficult to ac- | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Safety Topics Tow Professionals Need to Understand By Stephanie Williams Emergency situations put responders under time-urgent demands that require them to focus on the tasks at hand. For tow operators, this means getting disabled vehicles in tow from an accident scene or performing the work necessary to complete roadside assistance, which is why pre-event preparation and training are critical. Tow truck operators should not only be able to recognize potential hazards, but also know how to protect themselves while performing activities in constantly changing and complex hazardous environments. Training can make the difference between having a workforce that is ready to face the next event or one that is facing high rates of injuries and illnesses. Based on the most frequently cited OSHA standards for the automotive services industry, the standards that draw the highest number


Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

of violations include: hazard communication, bloodborne pathogens, personal protective equipment, portable fire extinguishers, and hand and portable powered tools and equipment. However, there are many other safety hazards to consider as well, due to the working conditions operators face. These include: extreme weather conditions, distracted driving, and traffic. Below are the top safety training topics employers should consider addressing with their tow professionals.


Hazard communication Exposure to hazardous substances, whether at a garage or at the scene of an accident, poses serious risks to the safety and health of tow truck operators. Unfortunately, many employees may not even understand the

risks when it comes to handling vehicle fluids or working with or around other hazardous substances. As a result, OSHA recently revised its Hazard Communication (HazCom) standard to align with the United Nations’ Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals — referred to as GHS. This new, improved standard aims to increase the quality, consistency, and clarity of hazard information that employees receive by providing harmonized criteria for classifying and labeling hazardous chemicals and for preparing safety data sheets for these chemicals. Training is a key element to ensure employees understand the chemical hazards in their work environment and are aware of protective measures to follow.

Specifically, OSHA requires employees to be informed of • The requirements of the HazCom standard • Any operations in their work environment where hazardous chemicals are present • The location and availability of the written hazard communication program, including the required list(s) of hazardous chemicals and safety data sheets. Or, in the case of an accident scene, where, what, and how to look for this information. In addition, employees must at least be trained on: • Methods and observations that may be used to detect the presence or release of a hazardous chemical in the work environment, such as visual appearance or odor of hazardous chemicals when being released • The physical, health, simple asphyxiation, combustible dust, and pyrophoric gas hazards, as well as hazards not otherwise classified, of the chemicals present in the work environment • The measures employees can take to protect themselves from these hazards, including specific procedures the employer has implemented to protect employees from exposure to hazardous chemicals, such as appropriate work practices, emergency procedures, and personal protective equipment to be used • The details of the hazard communication program developed by the employer, including an explanation of the labels received on shipped containers and the workplace labeling system used | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional


S A F E T Y by their employer; and the safety data sheet, including the order of information and how employees can obtain and use the appropriate hazard information. OSHA is clear that training must be effective, which means that employees must carry the knowledge from the training into their daily jobs. For the HazCom training that is required to be completed by December 1, 2013, employees must receive information on: • The type of information the employee would expect to see on the new labels, including the product identifier, signal word, pictogram, hazard statement(s), precautionary statements(s), and name, address, and phone number of the chemical manufacturer, distributor, or importer • How an employee might use the labels in the workplace • A general understanding of how the elements work together on a label • The 16-section format of a safety data sheet.

2. Bloodborne pathogens For most tow truck operators, it is reasonably anticipated that exposure to blood or other body fluids is likely when working in or around a vehicle that has been in a crash. Since blood and body flu-


Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

ids can carry pathogenic microorganisms that may cause potentially life-threatening infectious diseases — such as the hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and AIDS — understanding the causes and modes of transmission, recognizing tasks and other activities that may involve exposure, selecting personal protective equipment, and following procedures if an exposure incident occurs is required. Under the bloodborne pathogens standard at 1910.1030, OSHA lists 13 training elements occupationally exposed employees must be educated on to protect themselves from bloodborne pathogens.

3. Personal protective equipment Providing employees with the proper protective equipment and training them on selection and use is critical. Depending on the type of PPE being provided — whether it is for hands, feet, eyes, or head — there are unique characteristics and classifications within each category that employers and operators must be aware of to ensure that the appropriate equipment is selected. In particular, OSHA says that employers must provide training on the following: “The employer shall provide training to each employee who is required … to use PPE. Each such employee shall be trained to know at least the following: • When PPE is necessary • What PPE is necessary

• How to properly don, doff, adjust, and wear PPE • The limitations of the PPE • The proper care, maintenance, useful life and disposal of the PPE”

extinguisher and the hazards associated with fighting small or developing fires. The education must be provided annually and when a new employee is first hired. OSHA’s regulation on fire extinguishers covers training at 1910.157(g), but detailed requirements are not specified. A couple topics to keep in mind during the training are: • P.A.S.S. technique (Pull, Aim, Squeeze, and Sweep) • General classes of fires (i.e., Class A, B, C, and D) • The type of extinguisher that should be used based on the type of fire


Hand and portable powered tools and equipment Tools are used every day. They make small tasks easier and large tasks possible. Most of the time, hand and power tools can be used with no problems — but serious injuries can occur when tools are not properly maintained or they are used incorrectly. Make sure tow truck operators are trained in the proper use and handling of the equipment they are required to use. Particularly, train employees to:

4. Portable fire extinguisher If fire extinguishers are available for employee use, either in the tow truck, garage, or another part of the facility, it is the employer's responsibility to educate employees on the principles and practices of using a fire

• Recognize hazards and report them to supervisors • Practice good hygiene by making sure work surfaces are clean and dry to prevent accidental slips with or around hand and power tools • Use the right size for the employee | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional


S A F E T Y • Use the right tool for the job and space available Also, employers may want to instruct on good work practices such as the following: For hand tools: • Direct tool movements away from aisles and other people. Always be aware of surroundings. • Keep the blades of tools sharp, and remove or replace cracked blades. • Do not use wrenches with sprung jaws to avoid slippage, and watch for mushroomed heads on impact tools such as chisels and wedges. • Make sure wooden-handled tools are free of splinters. • Remember that iron or steel tools can produce sparks and should not be used around flammable substances. Use spark-resistant tools made of non-ferrous materials in places where flammable liquids, gases, or other explosive substances are stored or used. • Use proper eye protection, hand and foot protection, respirators, and other personal protective equipment when flying objects, dust, or fumes may occur from the use of the tool. For power tools: • Do not carry a tool by its cord or hose.


Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

• Do not yank the cord or hose to disconnect it from a power source. • Do not expose cords or hoses to heat, oil, or sharp edges. • Make sure the tool is disconnected when not in use, before any maintenance work or cleaning, or before switching accessories. • Keep the work area secure. • Keep fingers away from switches when plugging in or carrying a plugged-in tool. • Sharpen blades and clean tools. • Follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for changing accessories or lubricating the tool. • Maintain good footing and balance when operating the tool. • Avoid loose clothing or jewelry around power tools. • Remove all damaged equipment from use and label with a “Do not use” tag.

6. Extreme weather conditions When severe weather strikes — blizzards, snowstorms, ice storms, or heat waves — or work must be performed in excessively cold or hot temperatures, operators may be exposed to a variety of physical and health hazards that, if left uncontrolled, can result in serious injuries and illnesses. Training employees before exposure to ex-

treme temperatures can help in avoiding heat or cold-related injuries and illnesses. Some topics employers may want to train on include: • Recognize the environmental and workplace conditions that may be dangerous • Signs and symptoms of cold/heat-induced illnesses and injuries, • Methods to prevent cold/heat stress • Harmful effects of cold/heat stress

7. Distracted driving Year after year, the leading cause of worker fatalities is motor vehicle crashes. There is no question that new communication technologies are helping businesses work smarter and faster. But getting work done faster does not justify the dramatically increased risk of injury and death that comes with texting while driving. When it comes to tow truck operators, have a clear and enforced policy against the hazard of texting while driving. Make sure operators know the rules and never create incentives that encourage or condone texting while driving. Other distracted driving activities that employers may also want to address are the dangers of eating, grooming, and using in-vehicle technologies. They, too, can be sources of distraction.

8. Traffic Emergencies can happen anytime, anywhere, presenting hazardous situations for tow truck operators. While working at a scene, opera-

tors face the risk of vehicle collisions due to distracted drivers or traffic congestion, as well as the risk of being hit by moving vehicles. Based on a studies performed by numerous agencies, a summary of causal factors that have been noted in incident reports, and through experience, to be responsible for the injuries of emergency responders at a roadway incident scene. These are: • Lack of training. Not trained on the hazards associated with roadway incidents and the proper ways to minimize these occurrences • Lack of situational awareness. Failure to recognize the dangers associated with a particular roadway situation they are facing due to insufficient training or lack of experience • Failure to establish a proper temporary traffic control (TTC) zone. Lack of sufficient training, equipment, or standard operating procedures for the correct way to set up a properly marked work area when operating at a roadway incident scene. • Improper positioning of apparatus. Vehicle not positioned in a manner that protected the work area or unnecessarily positioned in the roadway • Inappropriate use of scene lighting. Be aware that vehicle headlights, warning lights, and floodlights can confuse or blind approaching motorists causing them to strike an emergency vehicle, responder, or other vehicle in the incident area. • Failure to use safety equipment. Failing to use all available traffic-control devices to prevent being struck by oncoming traffic • Careless, inattentive, or impaired drivers • Reduced vision driving conditions. Conditions such as darkness, fog, rain, snow, and blinding sunshine can increase the chances of an incident occurring. • Lack of advanced warning devices — Warning signs to prepare motorists for the conditions that they will soon encounter. Taking the necessary steps to train tow professionals so that they able to recognize the hazards and implement precautionary measures the can help in preventing injuries. Concluding Remark The bottom line is that tow truck operators not only need to recognize potential hazards, but also understand how to protect themselves. Training can make the difference. TOW JJ Keller & Associates, Inc. 877-564-2333 | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional



High-visibility clothing and personal lighting products are essential tools. The clothing is required by Federal Highway Administration’s Manual of Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) and consistently found to be needed after doing a hazard assessment as required by Occupational Safety And Health Administration’s Personal Protective Equipment Regulation, 29 CFR 1910.132. We all know we need hi-vis clothing to be as visible as possible, but which hi-vis clothing is appropriate and what do those regulatory requirements really mean? ANSI/ISEA 107-2010 is a national standard developed to guide employers when selecting hi-visibility vests, jackets, rain gear, parkas, hats and other safety garments for their workers. It is specifically referenced in the MUTCD. Garment classes are determined by the wearer’s activities and location. High-visibility clothing is designed to clearly distinguish the worker from the environment. The basic garment is made up of three parts: background material, retro-reflective material and a combined performance material, which is a combination of retro-reflective and fluorescent material that may separate the two. The color of the background material and the combined performance material can be fluorescent orange- red or fluorescent yellow-green. Retro-reflective materials reflect light back to the source when light shines on it and can be silver reflective or prismatic types. 30

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

1: SILVER REFLECTIVE – Ultimate flexibility and lightweight

2: PRISMATIC – Superior wet weather performance and abrasion resistance


Class 3 These garments offer the highest level of visibility for workers. They are designed for road personnel with high task loads in a wide variety of weather conditions where traffic exceeds 50 mph. Class 3 garments have the most retro-reflective material and must have sleeves with retro-reflective materials between the shoulders and elbows. The width of retro-reflective material must not be less than 50mm. Job classifications that may need Class 3 garments include roadway construction, vehicle operators such as tow trucks, utility workers, survey crews, emergency responders, railway workers and accident site investigators.

Class 2 These garments have higher visibility than Class 1 clothing, but not as much as Class 3. They are intended for work near roadways where traffic exceeds 25 mph and the need for greater visibility in inclement weather exists. The width of retro-reflective material

used must not be less than 35mm. Job classifications that may need Class 2 garments include railroad workers, school crossing guards, parking and toll gate personnel, law enforcement directing traffic and airport ground crews.

Class 1 These garments need to be conspicuous and are intended to be worn by workers where traffic does not exceed 25 mph and there is separation from traffic. The width of retro-reflective material must not be less than 25mm. Job classifications intended to wear Class 1 garments include parking service attendants, warehouse workers in equipment traffic and sidewalk maintenance personnel.

Class E The use of pants with retro-reflective material without any other garments is considered Class E and does not meet the visibility requirements of ANSI/ISEA 107. However, when Class E pants are worn with a Class 2 or 3 vest or coat, the entire ensemble is considered to be a Class 3 rating. While not directly cited by the ANSI/ISEA standard hi-vis accessory clothing, items such as gloves, gaiters, etc. also increase the amount of contrast and increase the likelihood of being seen. One note about reflective clothing – it does wear out. Clothing that is dirty from use does not provide the same visual contrast of a new garment. Each washing also gradually reduces the color intensity in the background material and reflectivity of the striping. Some manufacturers do limit the number of washings to maintain the product’s effectiveness, and once this limit is reached, the items need to be taken out of service. Personal lighting products are another way you can increase your visibility on the road. These items produce light rather than relying on reflectivity alone. Battery-operated electronic beacons easily connect to a belt or lanyard and provide multiple flash patterns. Lightsticks are an inexpensive product that can be place on your person and are water-

proof, non-flammable and can be used around combustible fuels. High-intensity flashlight being waved can attract attention and some hand-held lanterns are designed with built-in flashers. Tow operator’s face many hazards during the typical workday. One of the easiest hazards you can address is by always wearing hi-vis clothing on a roadway. When conditions dictate, personal lighting products can also be a valuable tool that can improve your visibility even more. By using both, you have an important key to coming home safely each night. TOW All products shown in this article are available through AWDirect. AW Direct | 1-800-243-3194 608-754-2345 (International) | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional


Holly’s Message Service –

Dispatch News

The Leader in 24/7 Towing Dispatch

A little over 10 years ago, towers in our area were looking for help getting their phones answered. They were tired. Not only did they need a break from being woken up multiple times a night, but also from missing time with their families. They called us, Holly’s Message Service (HMS), based on referrals from their friends who used Holly’s for their medical or law offices, property management companies, etc. As most for-profit companies would be, we were happy to take on new business, make our phones ring more, and, in turn, make more money! How hard could it be? Answer the phone “XYZ Towing, how can I help you?” take a message, and deliver it to the driver, right? Honestly, we couldn’t be more wrong. Suddenly, we were answering for an "Manager, Denise Morel and Assistant Manager, Tracy Farrell are the driving force at Holly's Dispatch. Whether it's training, scheduling, industry we knew little about. Winchout? GOA? Flatbed? ETA? What landispatching or billing, Denise and Tracy have it covered." guage were these people speaking? As you can imagine, there was a big learning curve…and from what we are told, this language is still foreign at most telephone answering services across the country. So, after coming to the realization that towing dispatch was a different animal than we trained for, and towers were in desperate need of help, HMS decided to embrace that need…and become experts in towing dispatch! Thankfully, our local towers who relied on Holly’s took the time to help develop a training program with us so that not only our current operators could learn, but also we could continue to train new hires

in what progressively became the majority of our business. We are not, by any means, a large call center fielding your calls from multiple locations throughout the country. We are a midsized, 24/7, well-run, fast, accurate dispatch center that understands what it means to dispatch for the towing industry. Each of our customers is given a toll-free number to be used for forwarding at whatever time is needed. Whether it is after hours, 24/7, weekends, or just for a few hours so that you can attend a family gathering, WE are available to answer, and YOU are only charged when we are speaking on your line. Your line will be answered the way you want...and your drivers will get the call immediately after it is taken. At Holly’s Message Service our operators understand towing terms, special equipment used, what motorclubs require, as well as the importance of never putting a police department on hold! First and foremost is the importance of getting every call out NOW. Dispatching to towing companies throughout the United States is what we do, 24/7. Working from our system, as well as out of the Beacon Software for many of our customers, we make immediate verbal contact with your drivers and deliver the full dispatch either by text, email or pager. We pride ourselves on customizing each of our customers’ accounts. You run your business the way that suits you best, and Holly’s Message Service aims to assist you in keeping it running at the times you are not available. Don’t go another day of missing out on sleep or being with those you love. Call Holly’s Message Service or contact us online. We are always available to discuss your individual needs. TOW 1-800-730-3909 | 32

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 |

Dispatch News

Getting it Right the


Hard economic times demand that your company’s phones are answered right the first time. You never get a second chance to make a first impression. With over 18 years in the tow dispatch business, Professional Dispatch Services, Inc. is uniquely qualified to deliver the seamless service necessary to provide the performance that your customers deserve.

ask to make sure your customers are taken care of in a fast and efficient manner. PDSI is NOT an answering service. We do not take messages and pass them on. We take information, sell your company’s service, and send your trucks out to service your customer. PDSI does only one thing, dispatch, and we dedicate all of our training, knowledge and expertise towards servicing the automotive public. David Emmons has been in the tow/dispatch business for 25 years and knows the tricks of the trade and how to handle those special needs. PDSI is a family-owned and familyrun business just like yours, and can be counted on to be there when you need them. Please stop by our booth and talk with Dave. He is looking forward to meeting you and discussing your afterhours dispatching needs. TOW

PDSI | 901 SE Oak St. | Portland, Oregon 97214 (866) 382-7374 |

The age-old axiom in business that to be successful, you need to find a need and fill it is what led to the birth of Professional Dispatch Services, Inc., in 1994. The owner of PDSI, David Emmons, brought to the table his experience as a 9-1-1 dispatcher and the general manager of a towing and auto repair company in Portland, Oregon. PDSI uses state-of-the-art dispatch software and voice recording equipment. PDSI dispatch team is trained on the proper questions to

PDSI provides: • Knowledge of the towing and roadside industry. • Experience dealing with all types of calls (Retail, Police, Clubs, etc.) • Written training programs for employees and well-defined operating policies and procedures. • 24/7/365 manager/owner coverage • Dispatch software to document every request for assistance. • Detailed reports on call volumes, type, etc. • Monitored/recorded phone systems to provide accountability • Contingency plan for power outages • Backup generators to protect your business from power failures • Computer mapping programs | Volume 2 Issue 4 | Tow Professional


Is Mobile Printing

“Just the Ticket” for Towing? Anything that can save your employees time, make customers happy, and improve productivity is probably worth a look. Mobile printing is a great example.

ental car companies and police agencies are great examples of where mobile printing is widely used and relied upon for important business processes. But is mobile printing right for towing companies? Modern, web-based mobile towing software, like Towbook, combined with the availability of reliable mobile printers and the widespread use of smart phones, make it possible for towing companies to quickly add mobile printing. There are several factors driving towing companies to consider mobile printing.


Time and Accuracy Hand-writing towing invoices doesn’t take much time, but it’s certain to result in at least a few errors. Plus, relying on hand-written tickets probably requires that you manually enter invoices back at the office. This means you spend more time creating and processing each invoice, and you’re sure to have some mistakes. With the right mobile printing solution, drivers quickly print an invoice that will be accurate, since the receipt is generated directly from your towing software. Plus, invoices don’t have to be entered manually back at the office, and there’s no risk that someone will lose them along the way.

invoice form. Printers range in cost from a few hundred dollars to about a thousand dollars for ruggedized units. So, depending on your volume, mobile printing usually makes great sense from a cost perspective.

Customer Satisfaction It’s also important to note that printing an accurate, professional receipt for customers is something they appreciate. Even if a customer asks to have a receipt emailed to them, printing a copy on the spot can make them feel more at ease. Also, with easy-to-read invoices, there will be less confusion (and debate) about charges. It can also help give customers a favorable impression of your business. Emailing receipts is definitely increasing as a preferred method for many customers, but it will be a long time before email replaces printed invoices. In fact, many customers will always want both. Equipping your drivers with the ability to quickly and cost-effectively print a customer receipt may be just the ticket. About Towbook Towbook Management Software is headquartered in Michigan and has provided web-based towing management software for over 5 years. Recent updates to Towbook include the addition of mobile apps for iPhone and Android, the introduction of a QuickBooks connector, and the release of a Mobile Printing Solution. Towbook take’s great pride in having the industry’s best customer support service. Support is free and available 24/7/365 – even on holidays. TOW

Cost Depending on volume, companies can often cut costs using mobile printing. Thermal printers will generate an invoice for around a penny a piece – much less than a typical hand-written multi-sheet 34

Tow Professional | Volume 2 Issue 4 | 855-869-2665 (855-TOWBOOK)

No Setup Fees. No Contracts. No Worries.

Tow Ramps

Tow Truck Extension Ramps Provide Operator Safety and Professional Appearance

company spotlight

with the ability to support a 10,000 lb vehicle. The ramps’ textured coating prevents sliding and won’t scratch or otherwise damage floors. They are easy to clean and won’t rust. Tow Truck Extension Ramps feature built-in carrying straps for easy transport and with the split design are sized to fit within 48” tool boxes. Custom sizes are

Brute Technologies addresses tow truck operator safety and professional appearance with Tow Ramps, Tow Truck Extension Ramps. The ramps are designed to safely load—without damaging—low ground clearance vehicles on and off flatbed tow trucks. They are a convenient and easy alternative to wooden planks and other unsafe methods of reducing the loading angle. Simply lower the rollback onto the notch of these specially designed ramps to reduce the loading angle from 11° down to 5.2°. Tow Truck Extension Ramps are specially designed to allow Corvettes, Porsches, and other low profile cars to be loaded and unloaded without scraping, thereby avoiding damage to air dams, bumper covers, and the underside of the vehicle. Tow Truck Extension Ramps are the perfect tool for the professional who wishes to instill customer confidence while loading their exotic car. The ramps provide a professional appearance, as opposed to the slipshod appearance of using wooden planks to reduce the ramp angle. Tow Truck Extension Ramps use Brute Technologies patented super lightweight technology with 100% solid construction to ensure the ramps are highly durable, anti-skid, and very stable—

available, as well. For more information, visit

Tow Truck Extension Ramp Part#: RR-TT-5-10 Part#: RR-TT-5-14 Part#: RR-TT-7-10 Part#: RR-TT-7-10-2

1 piece model – L: 67”, W: 10”, H: 5” (with 4.0° incline) 1 piece model – L: 67”, W: 14”, H: 5” (with 4.0° incline) 1 piece model – L: 74”, W: 10”, H: 7” (with 5.2° incline) 2 piece model - L: 74”, W: 10”, H: 7” (with 5.2° incline) Longest section on 2pc model is 42.3” so will fit in 48” tool box

Suggested Retail Price: $289.00 - $340.00 2pc. Brute Technologies | Rich Heinz 2003 23rd Avenue North, Suite A | Escanaba, MI 49829 (866) 464-2788| | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


company spotlight


With no other known organization providing What is the difference between Pierce winches and any other winch? Pierce customers receive excellent service, a time-tested product and available parts. But what truly separates Pierce from the competition is the people. Purchasing manager Chris Claeys and general manager Ginger Schaffner are model team members who have dedicated their careers to serving customers. THE WINCH GURU

The Pierces have tackled several ventures through the years. In the late 90s, Video Scoops served Blue Bell ice cream and sold movie rentals. Managed by Jeff Pierce’s in-laws, Video Scoops attracted after-school visitors and families. In 2000, new resident of Henrietta, Chris Claeys, frequently organized the local video store’s shelves. At age 18, he was so helpful that he quickly became an employee. Claeys’ tenacious spirit resonated past his piercings, tattoos and leather exterior that turned heads in this cowboy Texas town. After Video Scoops closed in 2000, Claeys was an obvious fit for the Pierce’s main business, Pierce Sales. “Chris has ambition,” says owner Jeff Pierce. “He knows how to take care of customers, and he can be trusted to do great work.” In 13 years, he has mastered positions in 36

shipping, warehouse, winch shop and purchasing departments. Claeys’ broad product knowledge and experience secured his management position as purchasing manager. “Chris catches on very quickly,” says CFO Kathy Pierce. “Show him once and he knows it – he is sharp as a tack. Plus, he cares about the future of the company.” The winches are Claeys’ passion. “I know the Pierce winches inside and out,” says Claeys. “I know what they're capable of. You would think that working on our winches, and selling them, would give me a biased opinion. But seeing our winches still in use that were bought before my time tells me we offer a great product.” THE MAVERICK

In the 70s, the Henrietta chapter of Future Farmers Association (FFA) did not allow female

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

members. Tell that to Ginger Schaffner, and, a few years later, she will not only become a decorated member but also hold leadership positions. Tell Schaffner that she couldn’t sell industrial equipment and accessories, then she will become the general manager. Schaffner started her career with the Pierce family when she worked for George and Nancy Pierce at their local hardware store in 1985. When big-box stores suffocated the market, the store closed, and Schaffner worked in accounting for Pierce Sales. When the phone rang, Schaffner would not just field calls, she would take care of the customer. “Ginger didn’t take long to get in to sales,” says Jeff Pierce. “She started taking care of the customer from day one.” As general manager, Schaffner is responsible for the day-to-day operation of Pierce Sales and is the driving force for multi-million-dollar customers to mom-and-pop ventures. “Ginger makes sure we get business done,” says Kathy Pierce. “Ginger is like family – she’s been here so long that some people joke she is related to Jeff.” “Our customer service is worth a lot,” says Schaffner. “We take care of the customer – no matter who they are.” Big S Auto and Tractor Sales of Oklahoma heard about Pierce Sales through a friend, and he worked with Schaffner to install the new Minute Man XD. “She was really honest, upfront,” says Big S. “Great people to work with. I really appreciate what y’all have done.” Customer service is far beyond a statement on corporate letterhead. It’s getting the job done day in and day out like Chris Claeys and Ginger Schaffner do. Their collective calls equal 26,000 yearly, and they serve 2,600 customers. Pierce Sales wouldn’t be the same without the determination and ambition from these two stand-up team members. TOW Tabitha Pierce | Marketing Director Pierce Arrow Inc. dba Pierce Sales 800-658-6301 toll free 940-538-5643 phone

company spotlight

Fleet Sales West

Fleet Sales West is located in Woodburn, Oregon. We have two sister companies in California: Chevron West Towing Equipment, a premium supplier of Chevron products located in Sacramento, California, and Golden West Towing Equipment, a 60,000-square-feet tow truck superstore. All three of our stores offer parts, sales and service. We pride ourselves on doing things with a special touch; our trucks are unlike anything else in the industry. We've also engineered our own custom tool-box, The Streamliner. We sell new trucks and used trucks, and we also build custom tow-trucks. Our trucks are built fully

loaded, ready to work and equipped with the industry's best equipment. We are a proud Miller distributor, and we also have parts warehouses at all three of our locations. TOW

Fleet Sales West, LLC 800) 724-8766

Golden West Towing Equipment, LP (800) 222-4992

Chevron West (A Div. of West Coast Towing Equipment, LP) (800) 869-8757 | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional


company spotlight

Wireless 4-Person Communication System in The Towman Standard Case

SONETICS’ WIRELESS PORTABLE 4-PERSON SYSTEM offers a complete solution for effective communications in demanding conditions. Rugged and reliable headsets offer full-duplex communication with hearing protection and superb noise-canceling microphone technology. System can be used in all weather conditions. The system includes all necessary chargers and components. Four wireless headsets and a battery-powered portable base are enclosed in a Pelican Case for easy transportation / storage and charging.

Making the Switch

rain is pouring, the road is slicker than an ice rink, and motorists are weekend-bound. Your rollback is positioned, and the mangled car is ready to winch. You wonder who is posing your greatest risk today. Who is calling, texting, or munching on a cheeseburger? But, you are operating smart. You are operating wireless with your Lodar Remote System. Realistically, tow operators encounter danger zones daily. Entire fleets are seeing the benefit in outfitting all trucks with Lodar to often increase efficiency and safety. Since many Lodar are used to engage winches, wire ropes under tension are dangerous. Lodar allows the operator to be at the hook end, taking away the terrifying possibility of being flattened by a snapped cable. Plus,



With this technology, you can upgrade to 16 head sets at a later date and they all will communicate with each other, plus you will receive a Bumper to Bumper 2 Year Warranty on all components. Your team will look and act more professional to all personal on the scene. The Recovery scene will start off and remain calm during the recovery. No more yelling and arm waving trying to get attention of another operator or rigger. Reduce stress and wasted time being able to communicate with everyone on all sides of recovery scene. Your choice of colors: Grey / Safety Yellow / Now in Stock Black with One Side Slotted Ear Cup. The Towman Case is only available from RP RECOVERY. Call Ron Pullen at 315-730-6566 or email We will build a system that is just right for your company. Find us on Facebook: RP RECOVERY CONSULTING TOW

By Wade & Tabitha Pierce

the time spent winching a vehicle is reduced with wireless controls, safety increases by staying far from hazards, and wireless setups prevent unauthorized tampering with the equipment controls. Tim Dockery from Timco Transportation in Murphy, North Carolina, purchased his Lodar in 2006. Like many business owners, Dockery values quality equipment and duplicating his force with helpful tools. Dockery’s operating area is in the Appalachian Mountains, so he requires a proven product to safely winch daily wrecks. “Lodar is the best investment I’ve ever made in my life,” said Dockery. “It’s like having another man with you. You can sit in the car or get out of traffic and winch.” Aside from the safety and efficiency aspects of going wireless, one other benefit is the technology built into the unit. With limit switches, Lodar sends a message to the receiver board if the unit needs to be shut off and prevents equipment from overuse or abuse. Suddenly, maintenance and repair costs are minimized. In addition to maintenance savings, implementing limit switches enhances Lodar’s safety features. In the event your system requires service, the Lodar five-year pro-rated warranty covers repairs or replacements if the unit was faulty due to poor manufacturing in the first two years. Year three, Lodar discounts the replacement product by 40%. Year four, Lodar discounts the product by 30% and year five, by 20%. But, many customers, like Timco Transportation, find Lodar to be a

Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

company spotlight

flawless product, requiring a simple battery change timeto-time. “I’ve never had a problem with Lodar,” concluded Dockery. “I wish everything I bought worked as good as my two function Lodar does.” The world’s in-cab distractions are ever-increasing. According to, a government site committed to safer roads, it is estimated that 3,331 people were killed due to distracted drivers in 2011. That’s up from 3,267 in 2010. Though we have no control over weather or distracted drivers, we can equip our fleets with tools to minimize the risk of injury. With Lodar, your driver can winch from a safe distance and winch quickly. Safeguard your most expensive investments – your team, time, and equipment – by switching to Lodar. TOW Tabitha Pierce | Marketing Director Pierce Arrow Inc. dba Pierce Sales 800-658-6301 toll free 940-538-5643 phone

company spotlight

There Are No Traffic Jams Along the Extra Mile

By Sam Priestley

“Customer service was important.” These words by Roger Staubach have never been more true. A key element that ensures repeat business is the quality and level of ongoing customer service that you provide. This is true in almost any business, whether you are servicing your customers or someone else’s. Within the Tow industry, the Roadside Assistance Providers recognize the need to continually go beyond their customer’s expectations. Progressive Platforms have a goal to seamlessly integrate these companies with their service providers through an innovative suite of applications, including Job Dispatch, Driver Behavior Awareness and vehicle monitoring. This futuristic vision offers incredible advantages to all members of the value chain.

tic and accurate estimated times of arrival, etc. Let me finish with another quote from Roger Staubach that captures the spirit of this article: “Good customer service costs less than bad customer service.” Adopting this philosophy and the correct partner will ensure that you will continue to grow a thriving business. “It costs nothing but determination to go the extra mile for your customer.” TOW Vehicle tracking has evolved from simply tracking the vehicle’s location into a sophisticated solution, ensuring improved driver behavior, safety, navigation and vehicle monitoring. Working with companies such as Progressive Platforms allows the retrieval of real-time data from a discreet unit installed in any vehicle or asset. This data is analyzed and shows how to reduce the financial impact of operating your fleet. Simply monitoring the driver behavior allows you to assess how much unwarranted wear and tear has been added to your fleet, increasing fuel bills, maintenance costs and inefficiencies within navigation. This, combined with route optimization and fully automatic job dispatching, allows each company to increase efficiency, reduce operating cost, improve the environment and build a bigger fleet.

Progressive Platforms 60 Island Street | Lawence, MA 01840 (877) 304-4347

The ongoing collaboration between the GPS Navigation Industry and the hardware manufacturers has allowed tracking companies to take massive steps forward in providing even greater value to the end user. One company has recently opened their navigation platform, allowing asset management platforms to integrate their products with the popular GPS systems, thus delivering job details from several platforms through to the cabin remotely. The Progressive Platforms Dispatch Management application allows the user to effortlessly drag and drop accepted jobs from the major Roadside Assistance Provider straight to the driver, without the hassle of ringing the driver, potentially endangering theirs and the public life. This value only strengthens the customer service provided by every aspect of the value chain: deploying the closest suitable asset, committing to | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery


Available Through B/A Products Distributors Worldwide Soft Axle Tie Downs are available in multiple sizes. Let your customer choose from 30”, 36” or 42” Axle Straps to best suit their needs. The 20” Velcro Fleece Pad works well with all sizes. They are just long enough to protect rims and axles from wear and short enough to keep out of tough to clean road dirt. The shorter Axle Straps are perfect for going around painted axles, while the longer Axle Straps are great for going through wheels. Also included is a convenient carry bag to make transporting a snap. Other Tie Down Kits are also available. Made in the USA at our factory in Columbia, MD. B/A Products Co. | 8925 McGaw Court Columbia, MD 21045-4725 Toll Free (800) 327-3301 | Phone: (410) 381-1700

Heartland Truck Equipment Nussbaum Heavy Duty markets two affordable mobile column lift systems, the 48,000 lbs. & 66,000 lbs. lift systems. System Features: • Systems use 2hp oil immersed pump in each column • Lift runs on a 30 amp service • Lifting height of 63” • Oil pressure locking system: “When it stops, it’s locked.” For more information, contact: Heartland Truck Equipment | Alan Heir 800-884-0808 * 785-542-5252

Dual Tech Dual-Tech’s 12 ton wrecker features a modular aluminum body and ample storage space mounted on a minimum 84” CA chassis. Standard equipment includes 15K planetary winches, hydraulic rear stiff legs, wireless 3 function under lift remote, 3 sets of axil forks, and 1 set of spring lift attachments. Our low profile body allows for maxi-


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

mum visibility from the driver’s seat. The hand-built quality and craftsmanship of our wreckers is our trademark to long lasting service and reliability. For more information, visit our website at or call us toll-free at 800-852-0345.

PSHV10000 Our 10,000 lb. hydraulic planetary winch has a new design offering superior features including 100% braking, SAE J706 rating, and line pull of 46 fpm. Pull with 100 feet of 3/8” cable at a rate of 15.9 gpm. This workhorse winch mounts easily with a 4.5” x 10” mounting pattern. Tell us what you think of our improved winch by posting your comments at Pierce Arrow Inc. dba Pierce Sales 549 U.S. HWY 287 S. | Henrietta, Texas 76365 800-658-6301 toll free

Steck Mfg. The 4th Wheel Loader allows Tow Truck drivers to safely load and secure a vehicle with broken ball joints, lost wheels, locked wheels or brakes, collision damage and control arm failures on roll back wreckers. The tough, aluminum platform and two polypropylene roller wheels hold up to 5 tons and can travel over gravel and other uneven surfaces. The 4th Wheel Loader also includes two polypropylene shims, a 6’ chain, and a load binder to safely secure the device to a damaged vehicle. Check out the 4th Wheel Loader at and see your Steck dealer to pick yours up today!

Steck Mfg. 1115 So. Broadway Street Dayton, Ohio 45417 1-800-227-8325 | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery


Monitor Fleet Anywhere, Anytime with Eye3Dispatch Live View and Unlimited Data Protect your people, your property, and yourselves!! Eye3Data, a provider of Video Surveillance Solutions to the Towing Industry, announces its launch of Eye3Dispatch Live View with Unlimited Data. By using Eye3Dispatch Live View with Eye3Data’s Unlimited 3G/4G Data Plan, owners and drivers can retain peace of mind, knowing that they can access their vehicles anywhere at any time.

Eye3Data implements Eye3Dispatch Live View with its two most popular mobile video solutions, Eye3WitnessPro and VTracker. The solution combines the power of GPS , Wireless technologies and 3G/4G, all in a compact and lightweight unit that is easy to install just about anywhere in the vehicle. This user-friendly solution allows 24-hour access to your vehicles. Eye3Dispatch Live View can be accessed 3 ways: via PC Application, Web Based Application and iPhone Applications. 1-888-777-9059 Come Visit Us in Vegas at Booth #349 for a Live Demo


The TM48SS represents the most advanced wireless heavy duty tow light system available today. Featuring an additional “Safety Strip” that is capable of three traffic arrow patterns, as well as a strobe flash, the unit provides users with a means of extra protection while hooking up the load to be hauled. Additionally, the unit contains TowMates’ state-ofthe-art electronics capable of communicating over 1,000’ and effectively providing signal regardless of the load, something that is unique to the TowMate product line. TowMate, LLC 15827 Serenity Point Ln. Rogers, AR 72756 Phone: (800) 680-4455 Fax: (479) 925-3494


Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

I-MON Protect your investment with the TowMate interactive monitor system (IMON) that relays information about your light to you in real-time on a small LCD display. If the unit is left behind, the IMON’s internal buzzer sounds and a symbol flashes on the screen indicating such. Other features include a battery status indicator and signal verification so that you know all systems are go!

TowMate, LLC 15827 Serenity Point Ln. Rogers, AR 72756 Phone: (800) 680-4455 Fax: (479) 925-3494



By Richard Farrell

This was the comment a customer gave me after he was told by his truck dealer that his dash wiring and fuse panel was not going to be repaired under warranty. It seems this fellow had bought a new flatbed and then had more lights installed. You know, down the side of the bed, up the light pylon. Extra tool lights, the whole nine yards. The truck really looked great at night. Unfortunately, the shop that did all this work (at quite a price, I was told) did not understand the limits to the factory lighting systems. The truck's electrical system was severely overloaded. Along with that, many of these extra lights were not installed to the truck’s wiring accordance to the manufacturer's specification. This poor guy's costs ran into several thousand dollars. This is all too often the case. Too many shops that install equipment on chassis do not have the expertise. I talked with Steve Hicks, Vice President and Director of Production for Detroit Wrecker Sales. DWS has a long history in Detroit and has seen many startup companies come and go. Shops will open up with great claims. Some will offer services with little or no experience. Giving away all kinds of things to entice you in. Be careful of who you deal with. Steve related one story from a few years ago. It seems a customer went to the East Coast to buy a wrecker from a large vehicle dealer, with no real equipment background. This company (now out of business) would stock a large amount of completed trucks, at what seemed to be a great price. Unfortunately, all of the installation and paint was simply sub-contracted out to the lowest bidder at the time. This fellow flew out and picked up his new truck and, after having several additional lights installed, drove back to Detroit. On the way back, he began to notice a funny smell. It would come and go. After driving all night, he stopped by DWS to pick up a few other items for his new truck early the next morning. One of DWS's sales people comes out to admire the vehicle with the owner. Again, both noticed a smell coming from the back end. Everything looked fine, no oil leaks, the rear end looked fine. The owner leans on the tunnel toolbox and suddenly jumps up. Seems the tool box was very hot!

They opened the toolbox door, and, to their surprise, the wiring for the extra marker lights is melting inside box. A quick look around showed the installer had burned the fuse box and simply ran a wire from the battery to a switch with NO fuse or breaker. This seems to happen all too often, according to Mr. Hicks. Too many shops do not understand that the car companies limit the load the lighting system will handle. They calculate for the DOT requirements and not much more. Any additional loads must be dealt with by additional power supplies and circuits. DWS has worked for over 30 years with the vehicle manufacturers, consulting with and supply equipment for testing and internal use; they have an insight that is passed on to its customers. DWS is often asked about additional lighting and will explain that if any light is out, required or not, you could get a violation. If you really need the additional lights, they must be installed properly. If your service center cannot tell you what is the maximum load for your vehicle's system or does not take advantage of the vehicle manufacturer's body builder’s services, you are probably not going to get the best service. If something does go wrong, you could be on your own. Don't be afraid to question the shop you are going to use. If they can't answer the questions or become upset...RUN. Any good shop will be more than happy to determine these things. Even the best will sometimes need to consult with these Builder Services. To me, this is a mark of a true professional. Sometimes the lowest price will cost the more in the long run. Ask your repair facility if the work that they do will impact your warranty. Frame work, electrical, driveline can and should be done by shops that can comply with the manufacturer's specs. Don't be afraid to ask! In the long run, you'll be glad you did. TOW

Detroit Wrecker Sales 19630 Fitzpatrick, Detroit, MI 48228 Local: 313-835-8700 | National: 877-TOW-0030 Email: | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional




Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

DealerPlace | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional




Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

MarketPlace | Volume 2 • Issue 4 | Tow Professional



Professional Your Resource for Towing & Recovery



Agero . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Alexander Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25 Anchor Graphics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

ATIG . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31 Atlanta Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Austin Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 B/A Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12, 46 Beacon Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Bowers Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

Clore Automotive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41 Collins Dollies . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 COMEUP Winch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37

Custer Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28

CW Mill Equipment Co. . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 Dan Messina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

Detroit Wrecker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 Direct Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46

Dual Tech . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Dynamic . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IBC ECM Performance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

Eye3Mobile . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47



Flash Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5 Fleet Sales West . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45

Florida Wrecker Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45 Ford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .IFC, 1 Hal Kresser . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Heartland Truck Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . .28 Holly's Message Service . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32 IAA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9

Industrial Netting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 International Towing & Recovery

Hall of Fame and Museum . . . . . . . . . .10,11

JJ Keller . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26 KBK Insurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Lift and Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Lodar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Marking Pen Depot . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Matjack . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Mfr. Express . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18

Mile Marker . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35

Miti . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 NABancard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7



National Traffic Signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Nussbaum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 PDSI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33

Pierce Sales . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23 Pillow Protection . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

Progressive Platforms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .BC Recovery Billing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

ROI . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

RP Consulting Services . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Rugged Tow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 RV Wheel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 S&J Metal . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27

Saftlite (General Mfg) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46 Steck . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 Tow Connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47

TowBook . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21 TowMate . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3, 48

TowRamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Travis Barlow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47 Twin State Equipment . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44 Zacklift . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46



Tow Professional | Volume 2 • Issue 4 |

Tow Professional  
Tow Professional  

Vol.2 Issue 4, 2013 Your Resource for Towing and Recovery