What are the criteria to look for in a local towing service?

You probably aren’t in the best of spirits when your car breaks down and you need a tow. The last thing you need at that moment is a towing company that does not meet your needs (or even makes things worse). How can you make sure the towing company you call will provide quality service? Some of our readers had some helpful insights as you navigate your towing company selection. Keep reading to see what they recommend.

Chris Kowalski

Chris Kowalski

Chris Kowalski is the Content and Marketing Director of Autopadre.

Reviews, Pricing, and Experience

Customer Interaction. Read the online reviews. They should tell you everything that you need to know about the towing service, and what to expect from them when they arrive.

Price Point. Make sure you check their prices against other local(ish) towing services and choose the one that best fits your pocketbook and what you can afford. And when you call them, make sure that there are no extra “hidden” charges and that you get an all-in, final price quote.

Experienced. Experience is essential, and you want to make sure that the person towing your car knows exactly what they’re doing. The longer a towing company has been around, the more reliable they usually are. Always find out how many miles they’ve got on their odometer and go with the business that has the highest figure.

Can They Handle Your Vehicle?

One of the most important criteria for finding a local tow service is whether or not the tow company can handle your vehicle. If you just have a small car, you’re likely not going to have a problem finding a tow truck that can handle your vehicle.

However, if you have a larger truck, or if you’re towing a trailer, you need to confirm with the tow company that they can handle your vehicle. You don’t want to be stranded on the side of the road with a trailer and have the wrong kind of tow truck show up.

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald

Kyle MacDonald, Director of Operations, Force by Mojio.

Don Archer

Don Archer

Don Archer is the founder and CEO of The Tow Academy.

Six Criteria For Picking a Tow Company

When choosing a local towing company to help you with your car, there are many different factors to consider. Does the company in question possess the ability to tow your vehicle without causing damage? How quick are their response times? Does management take responsibility when things don’t go quite as planned? Essentially, do they take responsibility if one of their tow truck operators makes a mistake?

Unfortunately, when most motorists need the services of a towing company, it’s usually during an emergency. This means that time is an obstacle to determining the answers to the aforementioned questions. However, there are some shortcuts you can use to avoid a tiresome afternoon research session into your local towing companies’ positive and negative attributes.

The quickest way of determining which company is best for you is to look at a few of their online properties and the information therein. The majority of businesses have the following four online properties: a Google business profile, a Facebook business page, a business website, and a Yelp listing. When you visit the listings and websites of the companies you want to compare, you’ll get an insight into the quality of service they provide.

Use these criteria in conjunction with one another to determine which towing service to choose.

    ● Online Reviews. While the aggregate 5-Star rating is a good place to start, you can glean much more information by reading both the positive and the negative reviews. Business owners have the opportunity to respond publicly to reviews and offer thanks to good ratings as well as provide disgruntled customers with solutions to their complaints. If instead of solutions to 1-Star reviews, you read snarky comments from the owner, steer clear.

    ● Longevity. Most tow company websites, and some business listings, will indicate when the business was started. While the length of time that a towing service has been operating does not necessarily provide a clear-cut indication that they’re a good fit for you, longevity does indicate that they’re doing something right.

    ● Who are their customers? In conjunction with longevity, take a look at whom the business serves. While many towing businesses provide services directly to motorists, some towing businesses generate the bulk of their revenue through relationships they’ve fostered with municipalities and law enforcement.

    This can mean the towing company’s online presence may be diminished or none at all, leaving you no way to research their reviews and other information. Of course, local municipalities and law enforcement must answer to the public, so if the towing companies that serve them have been doing it for the long haul, they may be a good choice.

    ● Size and Makeup of Their Fleet. Tow trucks come in three basic sizes, light-duty, medium-duty, and heavy-duty. The price of a new tow truck ranges from $120,000 to more than a million dollars for heavy-duty tow trucks. And when you consider the cost of insurance, maintenance, and repairs, the expense of maintaining a sizable and varied fleet is immense.

    While there are other important criteria to consider, if the towing business has been able to maintain a sizable fleet of late-model tow trucks, they’ve probably already overcome many of the obstacles that run fly-by-night towing companies out of business.

    ● Phone Etiquette. One of the ways of determining a company’s devotion to helping motorists in need is by learning how they treat potential customers over the phone. A quick phone call to ask questions about the areas the company services or its pricing structure can give you this valuable insight. If your call is answered by someone who’s obviously irritated by your questioning, or worse, dismissive of your call altogether, you’ll know to move on.

    However, if the call taker is happy to answer your questions and treats you with respect, it’s a pretty good indication that treating motorists right is a company-wide commitment.

    ● Does the company value your time? Smart tow company owners know that what motorists value over money is their time. There are a few ways of determining if the business in question is respectful of its customers’ time. When calling each business, take note of how many times the phone rings before someone answers. Were you put on hold? If so, for how long?

    Lastly, you can refer back to the company’s online reviews. If past customers were made to wait longer than the wait times provided by the company, it will often be mentioned in their 1-Star reviews.

Always Ask About Insurance

A few factors to consider when picking a towing service are reviews, insurance, other services, and price. Read reviews to learn about how long people had to wait for service and the ease of service. Ask about insurance coverage to see who will be responsible if something happens to your car under their care.

Sometimes you don’t want to go back and forth with various companies, so you might find out if a company you are considering offers other services as well. Lastly, based on all that you find out during this research, see if the price matches what they offer or find one with a lower price.

Adam Rossi

Adam Rossi

Adam Rossi, CEO of TotalShield.

This is a crowdsourced article. Contributors' statements do not necessarily reflect the opinion of this website, other people, businesses, or other contributors.