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How Do I Become a Tow Truck Operator in Texas?

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Tow truck operators in Texas need a license based on the types of vehicles they expect to tow. There are three licenses: incident management, private property and consent tow. You also may need certification from the National Drivers Certification Program of the Towing and Recovery Association of America.

Consent Tow License

A consent tow license in Texas only lets you tow a vehicle by request of the owner or someone with possession of the car. For example, if an owner's car breaks down, he can call you to tow his car. This doesn't include traffic accidents. The license doesn't require certification from the TRAA, but you'll need four hours of continuing education courses when you renew it annually.

Private Property License

A private property license lets you make private property tows and consent tows. A private property tow is initiated by a facility owner without the car owner's consent. For example, if someone is parked illegally in a paid parking lot, the lot manager can request that you tow the car. This license requires certification from the TRAA and four hours of continuing education for renewal annually.

Incident Management License

An incident management license is the top tow truck license. It lets you make incident management, private property and consent tows. An incident tow occurs as a result of a wreck. The license requires TRAA certification and you'll need eight hours of continuing education for the first renewal only.

License and Certification

Tow truck licenses last one year and can be obtained online from the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation. Click on the new license application, fill out the form, pay the fees and agree to a background check. For incident tow or private property licenses, you'll need certification with the TRAA. This costs $75 for members and $100 for nonmembers, as of 2014. Go to the Texas Towing & Storage Association website to apply for your certification. You'll be emailed a study guide and assigned a test location. The test has 100 questions and you must score at least an 80 to pass.

Licenses for Tow Trucks

Your tow truck must be licensed under the same permit levels: incident management, private property or consent tow. The incident permit requires $500,000 of liability insurance and $50,000 on-hook cargo insurance. Private property requires $300,000 of liability insurance and $50,000 on-hook cargo insurance. Consent permits need $300,000 of liability insurance only.

Finding Jobs

To find a job as a tow truck driver in Texas, you can post ads offering your services through websites such as craigslist or Facebook or you can post flyers. You also can work through a tow truck agency. The TTSA sometimes posts job opportunities on its website. You also can find jobs with tow truck companies on websites such as, Simply Hired or craigslist under the category of transportation jobs in your city.


With features published by media such as Business Week and Fox News, Stephanie Dube Dwilson is an accomplished writer with a law degree and a master's in science and technology journalism. She has written for law firms, public relations and marketing agencies, science and technology websites, and business magazines.

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