When you were growing up there may have been several different careers that you had aspirations of one day getting to do. But I don't know if I'm speaking falsely when I say that I don't think many people grow up hoping to have a career as a tow truck driver. Though if I'm being fair, you may be about to read several things that make it a very intriguing career option. Such as the fact that they make more on average in Canada than a significant portion of the population.
That being said, you would also have to deal with several awful ramifications of the job. Such as the fact that one of the tow truck drivers on our list once got whacked in the face with a baseball bat. But his co-worker was shot at, so I suppose perhaps this person was just counting themselves lucky. But if "lucky" means you only get beat up with a bat, then a new career may very well be something you consider.
There are also many little tricks and tips that tow truck drivers have been known to implement. Some of which that may explain why they have given you some headaches in the past if you have had to encounter them. Though this list is also going to be well worth your time because I also mention ways for you to save some money if you do ever find yourself having to interact with a tow truck company.
These are the 20 things people don't know about tow truck drivers.
20 They Can Lie To Get An Address
When it comes time for a tow truck driver to come and take your car, one of the most important things for them to know is your address so they can come and find it.
But how they go about finding an address is not always the most honest way, at least according to a former tow truck driver.
"They might have someone call the guy and tell him something stupid like he's won tickets to something and they want to know where to send them - anything sneaky so they get the guy's address," Sounds similar to a situation where someone may disguise their appearance in order to deliver court ordered papers!
19 They Can Get In Serious Altercations
There are some negative ramifications that are sure to come with any job that you choose to do. But the life of a tow truck driver can include some serious altercations when you get on the bad side of someone, "We kind of walked into a group of people who saw that we had our company tow truck shirts on and a friend got into a little bit of an altercation with them. I was trying to tell everyone to not worry about it and go home, but when I wasn't looking I got a baseball bat to my face," said a former tow truck driver, as well as saying a former co-worker had been shot at while on the job. (Source: CNN).
18 It Can Get Competitive Over Who Tows The Cars
You can understand that there are some jobs out there where you are facing some serious competition. And for tow truck drivers, they definitely may have to deal with someone else trying to come and collect on illegally parked cars.
A former tow truck driver mentioned how he would swoop in when the time was right.
In the process they ended up making their competition pretty upset, “It's not my fault they haven't been going and checking for cars. They thought no one else would be at that property and little did they know I just rolled up and took all their cars".
17 They'll Sometimes Leave Illegal Cars As A Trap
One of the biggest reasons as to why you may choose to park where you do is because you've noticed there are other cars in the area. But that doesn't always mean those cars are there legally. In fact, they may be purposely left there by tow truck companies in order to catch more people, "Normally, these drivers won't grab all the cars from a lot because they don't want people to think there's a strict policy. It's kind of like fishing, you want to keep some bait out there. But when the money's tight, people take every car they can," said a former driver when talking about their methods. (Source: Neatorama).
16 They Need To Make Sure The Car Is Empty
This might sound like a ridiculous story, but you can only imagine the dread that this tow truck driver felt.
After towing a car in Illinois, the owner of the tow truck realized that there was still a child inside the car!
Making the situation perhaps even more problematic was the fact that the child suffers from Down syndrome. You can make the argument that the father should have never left his son in the car, the whole situation is a nightmare for everyone involved. The driver was later wanted for charges of child endangerment after he let the child out after a few blocks. (Source: ABC).
15 They Have To Give An Estimate For The Costs
It can be a nightmare to see your car getting towed as you start to calculate the potential costs that are going to be associated with it. But in Canada, there are rules implemented to help make the process a little bit less frustrating for the driver, "The rules changed that motorists are required to sign authorization before towing commences, and also receive an estimate for the costs that are going to be incurred, and the costs cannot be more than 10 percent at the end of the day beyond what was initially quoted." Which means that at least you aren't going to be quoted at a certain cost and then get the actual cost later that is significantly higher. (Source: CBC).
14 Customers Can Pay A Drop Charge
If you looked out your window and saw your car getting towed, you may start to panic. But if you want to help solve some of the problems associated with it, make sure you go out and talk to the driver about a "Drop charge". When discussing how the "Drop Charge" and the different rules around it can work (as things like the cost paid may vary), the Globe and Mail stated "Once the car is hooked, the tow-truck driver can proceed with taking that vehicle to the impound yard.
If the driver gets there before the tow truck operator has started hooking up their car, they can pay him a fee – 50 percent of the $70 towing fee – to let you go.
If the driver moves the car before the tow truck arrives, he avoids the impound fee completely," (Source: TheGlobeAndMail).
13 They Really Help Keep Traffic Moving
You may have a very good reason to have some scorn for a tow truck company that has inconvenienced you in the past. But tow truck companies are also hugely important for helping make sure you are able to get to work on time, “Certain streets through the city are designated as rush routes. Between 7 and 9:30 a.m. we tow all the illegally parked cars to keep the traffic moving - otherwise you’d have gridlock. It’s bad enough as it is, because they’ve changed a lot of the streets to accommodate bike routes; it’s really starting to slow down the movement of traffic," said one tow truck driver when talking about the impact he has on traffic.
12 The Quality Of The Cars They Typically Tow
It might be nice to imagine that the tow truck driver is towing away expensive supercars that are hopefully owned by people who are more than comfortable paying the fees it costs to get their car back. But in some cases, it's the nicest cars that can get left behind “Sometimes you'd have a fairly new car and under weird circumstances the people didn't come to claim the actual nice cars," said a former tow truck driver. But perhaps the owner just goes out and buys themselves a new car? Though he did go on to admit, "But it's pretty rare that the cars were nice".
11 They Can Make Serious Commission On The Job
One of the best ways for a tow truck driver to take home a bigger cheque isn't necessarily to make sure they are working longer hours, but that they are being effective with their time, as commission plays a big role in how much they ultimately are able to earn.
It was reported that the main tow truck company in Vancouver, Busters, pays tow truck drivers 67% of whatever it is the tow fee is.
10 They Need To Be Careful Not To Ruin The Car
If you are getting ready to tow a car, you need to make sure you are doing everything you can to do the process safely. When one woman's Pontiac Vibe AWD was improperly towed, it ended up causing some serious damage to the vehicle as the transmission was ruined when the car was towed while in park. “I didn’t want to be a b*tch, but I was very assertive and called Busters every day until they paid the bill for $3,650. The tow truck driver had to pay for everything.” Yikes! You can imagine that was probably a pretty awful day of work when the tow truck driver realized what they had done. (Source: VanMag).
9 There Is A Great Deal Of Paperwork That Can Be Involved
If you had to guess as to what a typical day would look like for a tow truck driver, you'd probably assume it involved a day that was almost entirely spent on the road. But that may not always be the case.
When describing what a typical day looks like, an online website made sure to warn people about the significant amount of paperwork that the driver may have to deal with.
Which means that you want to spend a solid amount of time working on your penmanship as it may end up being just as important as your driving skills! (Source: SuperiorTowingGreeley).
8 They May Have To Work On Call
One of the most frustrating things about your job could be if you are required to be "on call". Which means that even if you are sitting at home and getting ready to enjoy a nice home cooked meal, there is a solid chance that your phone is going to go off and you are going to have to go into work. Something that may be even more annoying for tow truck drivers who - unlike other professions like firefighters - won't often be given the luxury of having several days off in a row where they are considered "off call". (Source: Deadron).
7 There Is A Code Of Ethics
No matter how nice you are as a tow truck driver, you are probably still going to find yourself making people pretty upset when they have to see you. But perhaps that's just the nature of the job. But at least with Busters Towing, located in Vancouver, the company promises to abide by the code of ethics that was officially published by the Automotive Retailers Association. Which means that part of working for them must be understanding what that code entails in order to be able to make sure you are following it! (Source: BustersTowing).
6 There Is A School For Towing
It is perhaps common sense that you need to be a fantastic driver if you are going to be able to have a career as a tow truck driver. At least unless you want to get into accidents on a very regular basis.
They also need to make sure they have good eyesight, or at the very least, be willing to go out and buy some glasses!
But if you are from the states did you know there is a program you can go to get officially certified by the Towing and Recovery Association of America? You can imagine that would probably look pretty good on the resume! (Source: TraaOnline).
5 Don't Try And Drive Away Once Hooked
It is possible that once you see your car start to get towed that the driver may agree to let your car go. But if you have your car fully up on the tow truck, the last thing you want to do is to still try and make a break for it. An incident in Colorado Springs occurred in 2011 when a woman tried to drive away after seeing her car was being towed which led to the cable become accidentally wrapped around the tow truck driver who was then dragged to his death after the woman drove for 1.4 miles before seeing what she had done. (Source: Quora).
4 Cops Will Give Them The Order To Tow Cars
There is another entry on our list that talks about how if you find yourself getting towed, that you have the option to potentially pay a small fee and have the car not get towed. But if your car is ordered to be seized by a police officer - which is definitely something that a tow truck driver may have to experience - you are going to have no luck trying to convince them to let you go with just a small slap on the wrist! But I suppose that's what you get for breaking the law in a significant enough way that law enforcement had to be called.
3 They Need A Contract To Tow From Private Property In Australia
If you are living in Australia and have aspirations to become a tow truck driver, you need to make sure you are organized. When discussing the job on the government website, the responsibilities of the tow truck driver is outlined "Tow truck drivers must carry a copy of the Towing Consent (evidencing the written contract between the tow truck license holder and private property owner/occupier) when towing a vehicle from private property and produce the Towing Consent to a vehicle owner or authorized officer on request." I'm sure having the towing consent has helped solve many arguments in the past. (Source: TMR.Gov).
2 There Are Different Ways To Tow Cars
You might not know this when you start looking into the career of a tow truck driver, but there are several different ways that you can help get your desired vehicle moved. Depending on what it is, some tow truck companies - such as Bill's Towing & Recovery - has access to things like a flatbed. They may also do what is more "typical" in your eyes by moving the vehicle by lifting it by the wheels or frame. But that may also mean that if you think your car is unable to be towed, you can probably think again. (Source: BillsTowing).
1 How Much They Earn Per Year
It is very possible that now that you are at the end of the list that you have aspirations to become a tow truck driver! But if you do, you definitely want to be aware as to what they normally make on any given year. It was reported that - at least in British Columbia - that the average Median of $49,313. Which, to be fair, does mean that they are making 1.5 times more than what the average person in Canada is earning. Though considering some of the horror stories on this list, I'm sure there are many drivers who feel they are significantly underpaid for the frustrations that they have to deal with! (Source: Neuvoo).
Sources: VanMag.com, CBC.ca, TheGlobeAndMail.com