There has ever been a better time to start a business. Everybody is focused on the internet and online businesses or startups, but even a regular type of business that has been around forever is a great idea. For starters, it is much easier to market now because of social media and blogs. And there is a ton of software that you can use rather than hiring people to do the same job.

With all this in mind, there is a business that not many people think about but is very lucrative when done right. The tow truck business is always a money maker and is not that difficult to start and operate.

Until they make cars that never break down, or people stop parking their cars illegally, there will be loads of business for you towing cars.

In this article, I will go over how to get started and some of the things you need to know to be successful.

1 - Figure out how much money you need

The first thing to do is draw up a business plan so you have something to show the bank when you are looking for financing. Which means that you need to know how much money you actually need to get started.

The most obvious starting point is paying for the trucks. Don't worry if you are on a budget as there is the option of buying these trucks used. But, either way, you need to know how much it is going to cost. Beltway Companies is a good starting point so you can at least see how much the going rate is for trucks of every type.

You'll also need to know how much to expect to pay in insurance to cover the trucks, damage to cars that are towed and any other liabilities. This will vary greatly depending on where you are and what type of insurance you are required to have.

Then, figure out how much it will cost for you to rent or buy the space where the cars will be towed to if you are doing vehicle recovery when parked illegally. And of course there is the pay for the drivers and the other workers that you'll need to pay.

Once you have all of this on paper it can give you an idea of how much you're going to need to get started. Of course it may be high or it may be lower but this is a ballpark figure to give you an idea.

2 - Get licensed

This step is likely to be the most time consuming and frustrating. It is the bureaucratic side of things when you need to get all of your permits and licenses in order. It can take a while to do this depending on the wait times at the departments in your local jurisdiction so make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get this done.

You'll need to check with your state's Department of Transportation to see exactly what this entails. The general idea though is that you'll need a Consent Tow permit to allow you to actually remove cars with an owner's consent, an Oversized Vehicle Permit which is for your trucks and a Private Property Permit for when there isn't an owner present or they deny consent.

In addition to that your drivers will need to have a Class B CDL driver's license. This will allow them to operate a vehicle that is up to 26,000 pounds with the addition of another vehicle that is towed up to 10,000 pounds.

3 - Start marketing

Now that you have your financing, gotten your permits and are ready to start towing, you have to get the word out there.

The first order of business is to make a good website that is easy to use and has all the information people are looking for. The key thing to do after getting it online is to sign it up for Google My Business so you come up on local searches. When somebody searches "Tow truck in my area" then you want to be at the top of the search results.

Having a blog will help you rank for the right keywords for local SEO. You aren't competing with every tow truck company in the world, just the ones in your area. Make sure that the keywords you use are more about your area over being too general.

Then try to do some networking events locally. This is an old school way of doing marketing that still really works these days. Digital marketing is great for many other types of businesses, but to really make money you want to have a connection with local businesses. For instance, when a restaurant wants to have a car towed, they usually want to just use the same company every time. This way they know who has the car and where it went. So, when you network you are in contact with other business owners that will likely give you the contract.

4 - Create a budget

Once you have an idea of how much business you can expect to get based on your contracts with local businesses, then you can make a budget. Take careful accounting of your payroll and all of your operating expenses.

Then try to hit your targets for revenue and spending every month. For the first year, you may be in the red as you need to build business so a budget is important so you don't overspend before you are making enough money to warrant some expenses.


The last thing to remember is that the tow truck driver and owner is always looked at with scorn. Nobody likes getting towed when they aren't expecting it. So, enjoy the money you make but try to remember that you aren't going to be the nice guy businessman in many people's eyes.

Which is ok, anyway. You are doing an important service and making money in the process no matter what.