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How Much Do Tow Truck Owners Make?

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Tow truck driver owners are very valuable people. They rescue you when your car breaks down, or tow your broken down car from your driveway to the shop so it can get repaired. A tow truck owner salary, while not on the higher end of the spectrum, can earn you as the driver a decent living. So if you want to become a tow truck owner and driver, you will be performing a service that will save many people from inconvenience, at the very least.

Job Description

A tow truck owner is very likely a one-person business. Once you’ve invested in your tow truck, you are ready to start your business and start earning your tow truck business income. This is a job that has a lot of variety. You’ll get to drive to many locations in your general locale, so you should be familiar with the area you serve. You’ll also need to invest in a good, up-to-date GPS system, and you'll need to be able to get around traffic congestion. As a tow truck owner driver, you’ll wear lots of hats. You’ll be a salesperson, mechanic, driver, accountant and computer operator.

As a tow truck owner and driver, you'll want to have an understanding of, and even a passion for, auto and truck mechanics. You’ll be the first line of response for people who are stuck on the road, and sometimes, also for those who are involved in crashes. Some tow truck drivers perform simple mechanical repairs for clients; this can be advantageous to the two truck driver, as he can bill the motorist on the spot, and then send the driver on her way. More likely, you’ll be loading up the car, and sometimes also the car’s occupants, to transport the vehicle to an auto mechanic's shop to be fixed. You’ll probably need to be set up to take credit cards, and you’ll need to be able to calculate the proper payment so that you’re charging a fair rate for your service but not overcharging the motorist. You will need to be calm and reassuring, since many of your clients will be distraught. You must load the car onto the tow truck with care, after making certain that the vehicle’s occupants are not in your tow truck.

Education Needed

A tow truck driver owner doesn’t need formal education beyond a high school diploma, but you will need training. The Towing and And Recovery Association of America has a certification process with three training levels. A commercial driver’s license is usually required, and training courses are available. Training courses put drivers through courses that teach you math, including geometry and algebra, which is needed to calculate angles used to retrieve vehicles. You'll also be taught to identify proper equipment for the job, how to clear highway accident scenes quickly and safely, and how to do jobs from a large school bus to a small car. A tow truck driver should also be familiar with auto mechanics.

Many tow truck driver owners start out as mechanics, and save money to buy their own trucks. Business courses are also helpful, because a tow truck driver owner is likely to be self-employed. Some tow truck driver owners start out with one truck, and eventually buy more trucks and hire employees. So training in employee relations is helpful. You may be able to hire an accountant, but basic bookkeeping skills are also important to calculate your tow truck business revenue.

You will also need sales skills. You’ll need to build up relationships with auto mechanics and service stations who will send you clients. You may build relationships with local first responders and insurance agents.

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Tow Truck Industry

A tow truck driver must be prepared to work in all kinds of weather. You will be called out in snow, ice, rain and heat. Your hours will vary. You may work early mornings, late evenings, even the middle of the night. As the owner of a tow truck, you can set your hours, but if you want to keep your clients happy, your hours may not be typical weekday hours. Tow truck driver owners work for themselves, but it helps to partner with other drivers and auto shops to coordinate coverage of geographical areas if you need to be off at a certain time.

Salary

A tow truck driver earns an average of $57,500 per year. Entry-level positions start at $26,000 per year, while experienced workers average $97,750 per year. Tow truck drivers in the West and Northeast tend to make more than drivers in the South and Midwest. Tow truck owners must earn enough to cover the costs of their truck, their insurance and other business costs.

Job Outlook

There is a need for heavy truck drivers, which includes tow truck drivers, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Employment is expected to grow 6 percent a year through 2026, according to the BLS. Revenue in the U.S. towing industry, about $6.3 million in 2018, is expected to grow to $6.5 million in 2022.

About the Author

Karen Gardner is a writer and editor who spent many years in community journalism. Her worklife began as a Library Page, shelving books in a local library, and selling children's clothing in a department store. Those early customer service experiences gave her the foundation she needed to navigate through tricky office situations in later jobs.

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