Customer Testimonial: Merl’s Towing Service

Success Story: Merl’s Towing Service


Merl’s Towing Service is based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan. They became a TRAXERO customer by getting started with our TOPS platform in August 2001. They also adopted our Auction Simplified software in March 2022. 

Our Senior Content Marketing Manager, Laura Dolan, sat down with Brian Young, Merl’s Towing Service’s Inventory and Dispatch Manager. He gave us his take on how our towing management software (TMS) + GPS + auctions platforms have helped him improve his towing business over the years. 

Thanks to our TMS, Merl’s Towing Service was able to achieve towing revenue optimization (TRO). This means they’re able to see how our software integrates from one platform to another. Thus, improving the efficiency of the business, expanding their customer base, and bringing in more profits. 

This is their story.

Customer Testimonial: Merl’s Towing Service

In Merl’s Towing Service’s Own Words


LD: Thank you, Brian for taking the time to speak with us today. Let’s start out by telling us a little bit about the history of your towing business. What year you opened, what your role is there, all that fun stuff.

BY: Sure, Merl’s Towing has been around since 1969. I’ve been here since February of 2000. Started here as a driver, and over the years, moved into the office, and began managing our impound lots and auctions. And now, I manage our dispatch team, and do whatever needs to be done, like any small business.

LD: Nice. And what is your connection to the company? Is it family owned, or do you know anybody in the company? How’d you get started with it?

BY: When I first came here, I had a brother that was working here at the time.

LD: And did you know this is what you wanted to do? Did you get into the industry by accident, or is this something that you were excited to pursue when you talked to your brother about it?

BY: By accident. I was actually living out of state at the time in Knoxville, Tennessee, and had an opportunity to move up here. It was more of a family connection thing. I was getting to know some brothers and sisters that I didn’t grow up with, and just thought, “Okay, yeah, it’s something to do. At least I’ll have a job waiting for me when I get there.” And, here we are, 23 years later still here.

LD: Awesome. So you are a customer of TOPS and Auction Simplified. How long have you been using our software?

BY: I believe we started with TOPS in August of 2001.

LD: Wow!

BY: And taking it back when it was still owned at the time by RoadOne. And then, we’ve used a couple different products over the years. Picked up BudgetGPS, TOPS Motor Club, those kinds of things. We began with Auction Simplified in March of 2022.

LD: Nice. And can you talk a little bit about your user experience and how these platforms have improved your business since you started using them?

BY: On the TOPS side of things, I was actually still a full-time driver at the time when that was implemented. And that was a changeover from pencil and paper dispatching, and driver’s just writing down notes when a dispatcher called over the radio.

So obviously, even though it was a long, long time ago, it revolutionized what we did at the time.

There’s always some new challenge that pops up in towing that you didn’t anticipate, but TOPS certainly makes it more efficient. And my dispatch team, the people that have been here going back before we had BudgetGPS, will joke around that that job became a completely different animal. It used to be that dispatchers had to know towns by the back of their hand.

Now it’s not anything close to that. It’s a whole lot easier with a tool like that. And it shows you the town, shows you the trucks, where your customers are waiting, and all that.

As far as Auction Simplified, that has, once again, revolutionized how we’ve done things. We’ve always run a pretty small auction. I started doing auctions here about 20 years ago. At the time, doing 20 to 25 cars per month, and that’s grown over the years. We’re averaging about 80 to 100 cars a month now, depending on the time of year, that kind of thing.

And prior to Auction Simplified, everything was in-person only. We’re out there with the cars, auctioning cars off, rain or shine, sleet or snow, 100 degrees or 10 below.

LD: Dang! That’s commitment right there!

BY: That’s the way it was working. And then, with this software, and having the additional eyeballs, and additional bidders available to be online with us, combined with being able to do a more hosted situation inside our garage, we’re just streaming the auction to a big 70-inch TV right there.

Myself and our auction clerk have both been like, “I don’t know why we ever did it for that long, standing out there, roasting, or getting soaked, or whatever it was.” But it’s definitely been awesome for us.

LD: That’s great. So you’ve been able to take advantage of some of the different types of auctions such as simulcast, or online only? 

BY: We do the live auction with simulcast.

LD: Okay.

BY: So we’ve got in-person bidders along with accepting things online.

LD: Nice. And you touched a little bit on how it’s helped improve your business. Do you think it has helped improve efficiency along the way?

BY: Oh, yeah, absolutely. Again, when I first started doing auctions, everything was pen and paper. Just me. We didn’t have an auction clerk or anything like that. And it certainly allowed us to grow our customer base. Because like I always talk about, whenever I have an opportunity to speak with another tower about this, it comes down to consistent auctions, and having some sort of consistency on the size of your auction as well.

I mean, even if it’s 15 cars at auction, that’s better off than two cars every third month. There’s just no way to build consistency that way.

And we’ve been trying to encourage even some fellow towers in the area to see if they’d like to team up with us too. So they can take advantage of our consistency, and win a little bit by having a few more customers get us to look at their vehicles.

Customer Testimonial: Merl’s Towing Service

Merl’s Towing Service + TRAXERO’S Customer Service = Gold


LD: And just switching gears here to talk about TRAXERO’S customer support. Have you received a lot of that during the implementation and ongoing use of TOPS and Auction Simplified along the way?

BY: Based on what I’ve seen over the years in support, now, once I moved into here, and was responsible for the technology stuff with the business, certainly, they’ve been extremely responsive. Always great people to talk to, and it’s always seemed like it’s been the same people the last 20 years. Either Jeff, or Robert, or Sean, those guys have always been great.

And the same in our 18 months or so here with Auction Simplified. Seems like I’m on the phone pretty much every week with Andrea for one reason, or another. Sometimes it’s just reviewing the auction, or hey, here’s some customer feedback, that kind of stuff.


That’s wonderful to hear. Thank you for that testimonial. I know our staff is just second to none when it comes to customer service. That’s all I ever hear about, so that’s awesome that you’ve had that experience. Can you recall what your favorite feature is of our products, and how it helps you the most?

BY: I like how the integrations have worked, as they’ve come up with different pieces of software to help us. The way they’ve tied those things together tightly, has made it that much more useful, and efficient. There’s a lot of people out there that try, on pretty much a monthly basis, to call me trying to sell me GPS solutions, but what they can’t offer is the integration with showing not just where my trucks are, but also where my customers are at. 

Or whether it’s with Auction Simplified, there’s a lot of online auctions out there, but being able to tie it to our current inventory, so as we’re updating information in TOPS, and it just moves, kicks everything over to Auction Simplified, and then, as things get closed out after the auction, that feeds back in. So the tight integration in addition to just really good products has been a huge, huge win for us.

LD: That’s so good to hear. That’s what it’s all about here at TRAXERO, our integration, our towing management software as a whole, so that’s great that it’s working out for you. So if you met another tower who was on the fence on whether or not they should transition over to TOPS, or Auction Simplified, what would you say to convince them that this is the way to go?

BY: I think having the dedicated team that you guys have there is one of the bigger differentiators. I mean on the technology side, and software, and there’s a lot of people out there that can code. And whether that’s somebody who’s already in the towing industry, or somebody like Salesforce, who is out there trying to beat the drum pretty heavily as far as building solutions that are a little more tailored to it. To me, it’s the people that not only know what they’re doing software wise, but they also understand our industry, and again, that tight integration of products are the big wins.

LD: Is there anything else about our products that you’d like to talk about? Anything we didn’t cover?

BY: On the auction side of things where I would expand a little bit is, it seems like once a year, maybe twice a year, based on whatever trends we end up with, some really, really large auctions come up where we’ve hit 100+ vehicles.

That’s something that just wasn’t doable before. It just would not have been possible. We’d have been out there for two days, it would’ve felt like doing the old pen and paper style.

With Auction Simplified, we’re able to schedule things, we end up bringing lunch in for the bidders, and have a little bit of a break in between, but we’re able to actually handle that volume in one shot, and clear our lot out a lot quicker, and easier that way.

LD: Amazing! And how would you rate the overall ease of use of our products? On a scale of one to 10.

BY: I would definitely give them an eight or nine. To me it’s pretty intuitive. I mean, of course, I’m a technology guy, so I’m not afraid to get into things, and click around, and see what happens, and how it works is helpful. And again, if there’s a problem, or a question about the features, or how something works, the team’s only a phone call away.

LD: And it sounds like you’ve really embraced the technology, and I think that’s half the battle right there, in the towing industry. I know some people are afraid of change, and they’re comfortable with pen and paper, and it seems like it’s very daunting to move over to technology. So we’re grateful that you’ve embraced the changes, and the evolution, and the technology going forward. Brian, how can our audience find you? What’s your website?



And are you on social media?


We are on Facebook. Have not taken the plunge with Instagram, or anything like that yet.


Haha, that’s fine, that’s always a big commitment right there. Well, thank you again, Brian so much for taking the time to speak with us today.


Not a problem. Thanks a lot, you have a great day.

Customer Testimonial: Merl’s Towing Service

Towing Revenue Optimization


TRAXERO’s GPS and auction software services play a key role in the Towing Revenue Optimization (TRO) lifecycle. 

TRO is a mindset shift from just managing calls to focusing on driving efficiency and effectiveness across your entire towing business so you can stay organized and bring in more profits. 

Our fully-integrated towing management software (TMS) makes this possible. With solutions that include dispatching, credit card processing, fleet tracking, impound yard solutions, and more – you can quickly and effectively manage your entire operation digitally. Better reporting. Better insights. More money coming in. That’s TRO! 

Click here to learn how TRAXERO can help you achieve TRO and streamline your towing business.

Customer Testimonial: Merl’s Towing Service