In big rig towing a price estimate is generally computed based on port to port which means round trip from the tow company’s yard and back again. When the big rig tower gives an estimated time say 3 hours, the first reaction of the customer is well “it only takes me an hour to get there”. which is really saying it should only be a 1 1/2 hour job. What is not taken into consideration is that a big rig tow truck towing a truck or a tractor with a trailer combination will travel slower and how about hook up time which involve:
1. removing the drive line,
2. installing tow lights and safety chains,
3. running air to the truck to release the brakes.
After hook up, now tow the disabled truck to the customer’s location. Where are we headed? If the driver of the disabled truck is not with his or her truck then good directions are crucial in the final price.
Park in that perfect spot in the lot between other trucks on an uphill slope or how about around the corner behind the building against the fence.
Unhook the truck – take everything off and re-install the drive line. Having the tow operator re-install the drive line is becoming more and more a practice required by dealerships and repair shops which is yet one more added time factor.
Finally drive back to the towing company’s yard and hopefully not during commuter traffic.
So you see pricing can be tricky when you are given prices per hour. Usually, a tow company will estimate based on port to port charges and the pricing could become negotiated due to variables such as the “less than experienced driver” or traffic conditions.
Now that I have explained pricing, other factors to consider in selecting a good company:
1. How long have they been in business? Over 10 years means they rely on repeat customers. Referrals are essential to a tow company. If the company is fair there will be no problems in getting a good referral.
2. Many are registered for business ratings with The Better Business Bureau or Dun & Bradstreet.
3. They are active members with their state trade organization such as CTTA in California.
4. Clean trucks and drivers showing pride in the tow company and therefore reflects taking great care of their customers.
So, don’t let price be your only motivation. If you have these additional factors you will know that a good tow company has a pretty solid idea on their price. Why? Well they’ve been in the area long enough to know port to port times so their estimate will be pretty close to the final price. If a big rig tow company quotes a “low ball” hourly rate, they may make it up in charging more hours or add an extra charge such as a fuel surcharge.
Sure, competitive pricing is essential in today’s market but consider it with all these factors when picking the right towing company for you.