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May 8-11, 2019
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August 15-17, 2019
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Join American Towman Field Editor Randall Resch as he shows how to avoid sloppy actions on-scene, questionable vehicle operations and chances that tower’s repeatedly take with his “Wreckers in Trouble” seminar, taking place Friday Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. during the American Towman Exposition at the Baltimore Convention Center in Baltimore, Maryland.
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American Towman Magazine Presents the Week in TowingNovember 14 - November 20, 2018

What is Your Job?

7-Dump Dilemma-TIW-11 56693By Brian J Riker

What is your job? Answers I heard while attending Tow Expo-Dallas varied from "tow cars" to "cleanup wrecks" and dozens of other variations of the same answer.

Perhaps the best answer I heard was during the WreckMaster seminar on communication. Lead Instructor Barrett "Bear" Murphy stated his job is to solve a problem.

That is the best attitude a tower can have towards their work.

Put another way, we are servants. When we forget that our job—no, our duty—is to serve our customer in the best way we can, things can sour quickly. Many of our daily contacts are with people that are having a crisis. We are there to help them through this crisis as best we can, with our technical skills and our people skills.

Empathy is very important in diffusing a situation. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment and realize the physical problem is really just a small part of the overall issue. The breakdown may make them late for work, may blow their budget for the week or come with any number of other consequences.

Is the vehicle owner always the customer? No. Many times our customer is a law enforcement agency, dispatch club or private property owner. Service to the primary customer is paramount; however, we still owe respect and have a duty to serve the vehicle owner as best we can.

Respect and empathy are great tools to manage confrontational situations. Do your best to not take their frustration at the situation personally, even when their own actions are the reason for the tow.

The servant culture begins at the top. Owners and managers have a duty to serve their teams, providing them with guidance, mentoring, training, tools and a platform to serve the community, customers and the company.

Does this mean that a leader has to give up everything? Not at all. Does a good leader sacrifice for their team? Yes they do, when appropriate. A good leader willingly gives of themself.

The servant culture also comes with taking ownership of the problem. As a professional, we need to identify all the issues the customer is having, take reasonable care to offer and execute the best possible solution and make it right.

This does not mean we pay out claims blindly, nor does it mean we take responsibility for things beyond our control. It simply means we do what we would expect if we were in their shoes.

Servants are not weak; in fact, they are stronger than most. It takes a kind heart, broad shoulders and a thick skin to always think service. Being a servant is also the most humbling and rewarding position one can be in. It feels good to serve—to solve a problem and make the best of an unfortunate situation.

For many of us, this industry is not just a job or a business ... it is a lifestyle. We are called to serve. I challenge you to go out today and make someone's day just a little bit brighter. Give them a smile and a heartfelt hello, truly empathize with them and offer the best solution that you can.

Brian J Riker is a third generation towman and President of Fleet Compliance Solutions, LLC. He specializes in helping non-traditional fleets such as towing, repossession, and construction companies navigate the complex world of Federal and State transportation regulatory compliance. With 25 years of experience in the ditch as a tow operator Brian truly understands the unique needs and challenges faced by towing companies today. He can be reached at
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WreckMaster President Justin Cruse said that the WreckMaster Convention will bring together towers from all over North America to provide a unique and beneficial opportunity to broaden knowledge.
© 2018  Tow Industry Week/American Towman Media, Inc.