07 Dec The Top 10 Things Towers Should Know Before Heading Into 2023
Winter is coming, towers. As the year comes to a close, the hard work shall continue. The holidays can be a hectic time for towers, as more and more Americans take to the roads to visit friends and family. As we wave goodbye to 2022 and say hello to 2023, what are some important things to keep in mind? Jeff Poquette and Brad McIntosh, hosts of the Tow Business Podcast, spoke about this in a recent episode. Inspired by their informative show, here are the top 10 things towers should know in 2023.
Increased Traffic on the Roads
You may have noticed the Thanksgiving rush on your highways and roads. As Christmas and New Year’s Eve get closer, travel begins to ramp up once again. For towers, things can get a little rough out there, so it’s important to be prepared for an increase in business. Plan ahead so your business is better positioned to earn more customers during one of the busiest times of the year.
Don’t Take Safety Measures Lightly
Following up on increased traffic, it is also very important to make sure you’re staying safe on the roads, especially as winter weather and out-of-town drivers can present many unique challenges. While the potential for increased holiday business is always great, making safety a top priority is key. Be safe when exiting your truck and educate friends and family members about the importance of slowing down and moving over for first responders.
Make Sure Your Insurance Policies are Ready to Go
Especially for those looking to get into the industry, having the right insurance is crucial. It won’t be cheap, but inadequate coverage could burn you in the long run. While it is exciting to buy your first truck or add a new wrecker to your fleet, make sure you can afford all the other costs necessary to run a safe and legitimate tow business.
There are so many different coverage options, from the truck itself to what is “on hook”, so putting in the time to understand what your policies will insure will go a long way. Take garage keeper’s insurance, for example.
According to Poquette, the police contract his business fulfills requires a minimum of only $25,000 in garage keeper’s coverage. While that may have been enough to insure a car or two back in the early 2000s, the average vehicles today are much more expensive. He recommends that you don’t simply pay for the minimum coverage plans, but truly understand what your business will be handling.
Find a Mentor and Connect with Other Towers
This one is also very important for those just starting in the towing industry. We can all learn from each other, especially in this industry, so always be on the lookout for like-minded colleagues to share discussions with.
Join your local towing association and never be afraid to pick the brains of those who are established. The more appreciative and curious you are of what it takes to succeed, the better your business may perform. McIntosh and Poquette both agree that it’s paramount that towers continue to run their businesses professionally and resist the urge to cut corners.
Prepare for Taxes
When your business had a profitable year, expect to be giving Uncle Sam a little more. A misconception is that making big end-of-the-year purchases can limit the financial burden taxes present, as profits and cash flow are not the same. Seek advice from trusted tax experts as you formulate your business’s strategy for holiday bonuses, potential write-offs, and more. Poquette’s company’s tax plan begins around the end of the first quarter.
By analyzing first-quarter performance and comparing it to years past, Poquette’s accountant is able to make projections for the remainder of the year, which helps give them a better idea of what tax season will look like.
From a tax perspective, the towing industry is very unique, so do your research on who is best to represent the accounting side of your business.
Holiday Gifts and Parties
A significant part of success in this industry is your relationship with your employees and customers. And who doesn’t love a thoughtful gift around Christmas time? Keep them personal, too. If you know a customer is a big fan of football, you could buy them some tickets to a game to show appreciation for their business.
For your employees, the end of the year is a time to celebrate. The chance to blow off some steam and enjoy a day or night out with other towers at a holiday party is a great way to boost morale and get everyone excited for what’s to come next year. McIntosh’s company even adds giveaways to its annual gathering. Do plan ahead, though. If you want to limit the number of guests or have separate activities for kids, don’t wait until the last minute to get it all in order.
As mentioned, the holidays tend to be a busy time on the roadways. As more and more people begin to travel by car to meet family and friends, you could see a big increase in the towing business. When figuring out your schedules for December and early January, it may be a good bet to give your employees the power to decide whether or not they want to work during the holidays.
A voluntary signup process for Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s is something both Poquette and McIntosh use at their companies to let their operators figure out who has the time to work through the holidays and earn a little extra cash.
Buying Winter Work Gear
With the holiday season comes winter. The weather will vary depending on where your towing business is located, but for most of the country, it’s time to start breaking out hi-vis jackets and hoodies on a regular basis. When buying ANSI class 3 winter gear for your operators, read over the specs to ensure you’re buying the best quality material. A couple of years ago, Poquette’s business unknowingly purchased gear that was ANSI class 2, meaning his operators still had to wear their ANSI class 3 vests over their jackets.
Get Your Trucks Prepared for Winter Weather
Don’t let mother nature get in the way of your business’s success. As we get into the colder months, especially in states where snow and black ice become more common, you may need to make some adjustments to your fleet. Checking on the health of your fleet’s snow tires, installing them when necessary, using the right fuel for colder weather, and testing your batteries and heaters are just a few of the things you can do to ensure your business is ready for any weather conditions.
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