How to Start a Tow Truck Business

how to start a tow truck business towing company startup guide

Starting a tow truck business sounds simple enough. But is it?

After all, what do you need? A tow truck and clients, right? Well, it's a little bit more complicated than that. If you want to start a successful business, you'll need to get your certifications in order and properly promote it so that people know you exist, among other things.

In this post, we're going to go over the steps that you need to take in order to start a successful tow truck business. We're willing to bet that there are one or two things that you've overlooked, so let's get started.

How to Start a Successful Tow Truck Business

Starting any kind of business requires a good amount of work and thought before you start acquiring the things that you need to run it properly. The tow truck business is no different. You'll need to do a lot of planning when it comes to geographical locations, what goes into running a business, and promotion.

Here, we're going to look at the work you need to do before you start, how to get your towing business off the ground, and how to ultimately turn it into a success. Let's look at a step-by-step guide on how to run a tow truck company.


The key to the success of any business, towing included, is the work that you put in before you launch. Doing some research into equipment prices, demand and competition in your geographical area, and how successful towing companies promote themselves will be what sets you apart.

If there are already 12 established towing companies in the area that you currently live in, you may want to consider a location change. If you need to buy a truck, start looking at prices to figure out how big of a business loan you need. If you need special driving certification, find out how to go about getting it.

Being prepared for the hurdles that inevitably pop up will help you jump over them easily. Do your research before anything else.

Business Plan & Name

Your business plan should lay out what you're doing, why you're doing it, and who you're doing it for. Are you a commercial towing business, towing illegally parked cars for businesses? Or are you going to specialize in roadside assistance? Knowing who you're working for and why it's important to you will help you with marketing.

The other thing that'll help with marketing is your business name. When it comes to towing, you want something easy to remember that describes exactly what you do. Your name should also make you sound reliable, so avoid anything silly that might be cause for second-guessing you.

Once you've got your business plan and your name figured out, you can obtain an LLC to make your business official. Now you're ready for the expensive part.

Equipment, Licences, and Financing

Since you've already done your research, you'll know about what it's going to cost to get your new (or used) tow truck, a physical location to store vehicles that you've towed, and any driving and business licenses.

Depending on the state, you'll almost certainly need a commercial driver's license. Talk to your local government offices about obtaining a business license. The terms vary depending on what you're doing, as will the cost associated with making your business official.

You'll notice during your research that tow trucks aren't cheap. This is a huge startup cost that will put you in the hole, but you can actually get pretty good deals on tow trucks that are 10-15 years old.

Another option at the start would be obtaining a drop deck trailer instead of a truck. It's the cheapest option and could help you avoid the massive startup costs. Check online to see options for drop deck trailers. Purchasing a brand new truck might sink your business out of the gate and it's not necessary to have one right away.

Once you've purchased the truck, you'll also need a healthy amount of insurance to cover anything that might happen on the road. Your insurance rates will be determined by your driving record, any employees that you've hired, and the type of towing that you'll be doing.

All of this stuff costs money, so before you do any of it, look into your financing options. Now, let's figure out how you're going to make all of this money back.

Promoting Your Business

You probably didn't choose to get into the towing business so that you could learn all about current marketing methods. Fear not, however, we've got you covered. Unlike other industries, there is still a lot of value in physical advertising for the towing industry.

Radio and TV commercials, newspaper ads, and billboards will all help you get noticed in your area. You shouldn't ignore digital marketing, however.

Many of your clients will be searching for your service with their smartphones, so your website needs to be optimized for mobile and mobile search. You need to think about localized SEO, as well. Google will need to know what you do and where you're located in order for your business to be visible on SERP's.

Fill out your Google My Business page, encourage your clients to leave reviews on listings websites and promote those reviews, and use social media to give your towing business a personal touch. If you need more information on digital marketing for starting a tow truck business, there are loads of informative resources online that are easy to find.

You have to get this right or else customers won't know that you exist. It is worth putting the time in to learn about digital marketing or even hiring a digital marketing firm to handle these things for you. You will thank us when you have made back your startup cost and you have started buying more tow trucks and hiring drivers.

Keep On Towin'

Now that you know how to start up your tow truck business and turn it into a success, you can get to what really matters; helping people out of jams. Put quality service before anything, but don't neglect digital marketing. If potential customers can find you, then you can do your part to help them out.

To read more about digital marketing, SEO, and entrepreneurship, visit Bootstrap Business. It's time to start your tow truck business today and start your engines!

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