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Issues Archives: Volume 3 Issue 8

The Winter Season is Coming—Are You Ready?

By Paul Ederer, Technical Support for AW Direct

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Cold, ice and snow create problems for all of us, but when your business is counted on to bring people to safety, being fully prepared is the only way you can be on the road when it counts. Fall is the time to really get everything in order for the upcoming winter season. You need to inspect the truck itself, towing tools, get supplies on hand, and look at your and your drivers’ winter clothing.

Although much has been written on vehicle maintenance, tow trucks have special needs that cannot be neglected. First, you can’t go anywhere unless the truck starts. Extreme cold temperatures can turn a battery with a few years of use into a liability. Test your battery, connections and charging system to determine if it’s in top condition and replace the battery if it’s weak. Battery protectors are available to ensure your battery does not fully discharge if something is unintentionally left on.

Inspect your hydraulic system for any minor issues that can turn into major ones when the temperature drops. Check for any cracking or chaffing of hydraulic lines, leaks at connections, even a new filter and fluid, if a change is overdue. Switch to a manufacturer recommended cold weather grade of hydraulic fluid if your winters are severe. The pneumatic system air dryers need to be working at their peak to avoid frozen moisture in the lines, as well. Drain the system and repair if you do find moisture. Engine anti-freeze needs to be tested to ensure protection as the temperature drops.

When the snow and ice fall, having good traction is a must to get around, as well as to perform recovery operations. Inspect tire tread and replace tires if needed. Check tire chains for wear and proper fit. Look for worn, bent, gouged or stretched chain links. If you do not have tire chains, consider purchasing them now before the snow flies so you can properly size and test fit them when the weather is warmer. It is much easier than ordering them in a blizzard and hoping delivery companies will be able to actually deliver them when you need them.

While checking your wrecker’s battery, you should also inspect the tools you need to help your customers’ batteries. Verify jumpstart sets have working plugs and hand clamps. A battery tester to determine the status of customer batteries is a very useful tool. Replace weak jumpstart pack batteries or worn out units so you can quickly move from call to call.

While also part of a routine maintenance program, preparing for winter is also a good reminder to lubricate your winch lines to protect them from winter moisture. Dollies should have the bearings re-packed, all fittings greased and tire condition checked. Some items need to be stocked up on to be used throughout the winter season: windshield washer fluid, diesel fuel additive, lock deicer, batteries for flashlights, ice melter, snow shovels and even disposable hand warmers.

Finally, keep yourself and your operators warm, safe and dry out on the road. Make sure winter clothing fits properly and is not overly tight. We all can change sizes from the prior season. Decreased light during the winter season and limited visibility during snowstorms require having hi-vis clothing to be as bright as possible. Inspect clothing for fading from multiple washings. Most garment manufacturers have a limit to how many washings can be done before the item must be taken out of service. Many permanent stains on a garment will also reduce the color intensity and are grounds for replacement. New garments must meet the requirements of ANSI 107-2010 Class 2 and Class 3.

In addition to a jacket or coverall, protecting the extremities is also important. We lose much heat through our heads and wearing a simple winter hat keeps us warmer. Working in snowy conditions with our hands, cotton work gloves of summer do not protect the hands from the elements. Waterproof, insulated gloves are needed to keep hands warm and dry. Footwear plays a dual role to keep our feet warm and dry but also to provide traction. Steel toe, insulated, waterproof work boots are ideal especially when worn with thermal wicking socks. In icy conditions, work boot traction can be improved further by using ice spikes. And, at the end of the day, placing your work boots on a boot dryer ensures they will be dry for the next day.

The winter season is the towing industry’s busiest season, and, with the proper preparation, you can keep your crew safe and your businesses thriving.

AW Direct–Helping You Help Them
(800)243-3194

www.awdirect.com

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URGENT.LY : We’re not your traditional, profit-squeezing road club.

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Traditional roadside business can be a pain…and a drain on your towing or roadside assistance business. But now, Urgent.ly is taking the industry by storm, combining great rates, fast digital payments and easy-to-use apps that make it easy for roadside businesses to be profitable.

As consumers live more and more through their mobile devices, the industry is ripe for pay-as-you go, instant access, on-demand roadside assistance solution. Consumers are no longer willing to pay membership or club fees based on antiquated insurance models. When they need help, they want to instantly connect with service providers; a virtual guarantee that “help is on the way;” and a cashless, flat-rate and straightforward pricing and payment system.

Urgent.ly delivers all that and more, using technology that is free to the towing or roadside provider and amazingly cost-effective for the customer. Consumers using Urgent.ly’s iOS mobile or web apps take advantage of the company’s proprietary real-time dispatch platform to connect to nearby, available help. They have access to more providers in their immediate area, with visibility into their provider’s movements via GPS tracking, instead of waiting blindly for a service provider contracted by an insurance company that may have two to three jobs to complete first.

Urgent.ly allows the consumer to see the provider on a map moving in their direction, and allows them to talk directly to the driver through the Urgent.ly application.

The iOS consumer application is free and can be downloaded directly from the Apple iTunes store or via web app.

With Urgent.ly, a six mile tow costs the consumer a mere $99, and a roadside repair just $75 — far less than the $150 annual fee traditionally paid for an insurance program that may never be used. And the benefits aren’t for consumers alone. The towing providers are seeing large benefits, as well. Urgent.ly is paying providers $50 for a road side repair and $75 for a 6 mile tow with $3 per mile over.

If you are tired of the low fees you are paid from traditional roadside companies that often don’t cover the cost of doing business, give Urgent.ly a try. Urgent.ly is simplifying the process and making roadside assistance more profitable for service providers. It simply matches the closest provider with a customer in need via their driver application or dispatch portal, and charges the consumer a fair market rate for on-demand service from quality providers. And all of these
technologies are free to the towing or roadside assistance provider.

If you want to get paid more, and get paid faster — often in 24 hours via direct deposit — you can learn more or sign up at http://signup.urgent.ly. You simply provide your business information online; add Urgent.ly as a certificate holder on your insurance; download the driver application to your Android phones and start receiving high margin work immediately. On-demand mobile services are the future — the way consumers are meeting their immediate needs today — and Urgent.ly is the future of roadside assistance.

Testimonials

Urgent.ly Service Provider Testimonials

“It was always a challenge for me to get visibility into my Roadside Assistance fleet’s deployment within our region. With my drivers running Urgent.ly’s android mobile application, I have full visibility of their realtime locations even when they are not running Urgent.ly jobs, with no expensive GPS equipment or monthly fees – a huge plus!” –Kenneth Holmes, Call Charley

“Being an independent operator, I am always looking for new, innovative and efficient ways to supplement my regular business. Urgent.ly’s high paying roadside assistance jobs make sense for us, and its simple mobile platform links me to jobs that are close to my location.” –Chris B. – CB Seegars Colesville, MD

“We typically shy away from the traditional roadside assistance business, given the low margins and red tape of dealing with it. The combination of Urgent.ly’s nearby jobs, high payout and quick, paperless no-hassle payment system makes it make sense to us
again.” –Rick G. Blairs Towing, Sterling, VA.

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USAC/MD ACQUIRED

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USAC/MD has been around for over 40 years and has seen its share of changes, none as important as the one this past September.

Innovation Group PLC, a global provider of software and business process services to the insurance and fleet industries, acquired USAC/MD. The Innovation Group is a publicly traded company headquartered in the United Kingdom. Innovation Group operates in 13 countries around the globe including North America for the last 7 years.

USAC/MD provides a sought-after solution. Lewis Miller, CEO at Innovation Group North America, explains, “We have been providing a set of claims solutions to the insurance and fleet industries, but didn’t have a towing solution. This is where USAC/MD fits in.”

The team at USAC/MD is optimistic. “We are extremely excited about this acquisition,” said Staley Cash, EVP at USAC/MD. Cash said further, “The nature and culture of both businesses are very similar. Combining USAC/MD and Innovation Group creates new opportunities for our service provider network. We look forward to extending our service capabilities to Innovation Group’s clients.”

Craig Hamway, CEO at USAC/MD, said of the acquisition, “We are delighted to be joining The Innovation Group. Their strategic direction and ambition resonate very well with us, and we are excited about what we can achieve as a combined business.”

USAC/MD will remain in its headquarters in Dallas, and the entire management team will remain in place.

In unrelated news, Jim Hurst who has been with USAC/MD since 1994 is making a career change. He will still be in the towing industry, although now working directly for a major towing company. Hurst explains, “I have been contemplating this move for some time now. This new opportunity gives me more flexibility in my day-to-day life. I can work from home, and spend more time with my family.”

When asked about his move during an acquisition, Hurst said, “The timing of my departure and Innovation’s acquisition of USAC/MD was completely coincidental. In fact, I am extremely excited for USAC/MD. This acquisition is very meaningful for the company, as it sets the stage for significant growth in the number of service calls USAC/MD will be dispatching to their network. And, I am looking forward to continuing my relationship with all my USAC/MD colleagues in my new role.”

Cash commenting on Hurst’s departure, “You cannot replace a guy like Jim Hurst. He will surely be missed. I will step into Jim’s role, a job I have done before, and, fortunately for me, Jim is only a phone call away. We are looking forward to working with Jim in his new role, as well as all our network partners on new opportunities that will be created through this transition. This truly is a fantastic new chapter for USAC/MD.”

For more details about what to expect in the future, USAC/MD welcomes you to come by their booth at the American Towman Exposition.

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Then Along Came Poly!

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I don’t think there is a stronger case for today’s existence of manufacturing in America than the towing industry. North American manufacturing would be broken down without the presence of the towing industry constantly changing for the better with new technology and products. Oh, but those of you will say we evolved from the European theater incorporating their under reach and crane apparatus. Don’t get fouled! Just because your last name starts with Mac or ends in a vowel doesn’t mean you were bornover there either. Good Ole’ USA manufacturing is alive using the latest in towing ingenuity at a continuum throughout America every day in places like Chattanooga, Norfolk, Greencastle, Deer Park, Bean Station and of course, North Andover, MA. I will give one shout out to our upper North American neighbors who share our industry’s passion. Buffalo towers would be hard pressed without the flow of their precious resource into our country.

Let’s take a closer look at the newest innovative product for the tow truck industry, the PolyBody™. To get a closer view, you’ll notice a familiar flag flying outside the headquarters of United Plastic Fabricating in North Andover, MA. The American flag is proudly waved at all three UPF manufacturing facilities located here in the United States. United Plastic Fabricating is the first manufacturer andinnovator of the trade marked PolyBody™ made of polypropylene, which is a light weight, durable and tough hard plastic that does not create stress cracking characteristics, is semi-rigid, and has good fatigue resistance. This product was engineered and is manufactured for the towing industry right here in theUSA. Let’s take a look at is origins and evolution from the fire and rescue segments into the towing industry.

United Plastic Fabricating is known for revolutionizing the fire service with over 80,000 polypropylene tanks (POLY-TANK®) designed and installed since 1986 replacing metal tanks, and now produces this same high impact copolymer polypropylene for a complete line of long life polypropylene service, line and wrecker bodies.

Historically, water and foam tanks for fire apparatus were manufactured primarily from steel or fiberglass, which were heavy and prone to cracking. In 1982, the first polypropylene water tank was conceived, designed and built through the efforts of a Lynnfield, Massachusetts, Fire Department technician to replace a rusted steel tank in his department. Word of this successful concept spread quickly and other local Fire Departments sought a polypropylene replacement.

By December 1986, the demand for this new tank material reached the point where the Lynnfield technician and a fellow fire fighter decided to be co-founders of the world’s first polypropylene fire tank business. The new company, United Plastic Fabricating, Inc. (UPF), opened their doors in North Andover, Massachusetts, in a 6,400-square-foot facility. Sales grew quickly and within a year’s period of time, UPF moved to a 10,000-square-foot facility. UPF expanded operations to Florida in 1989 and to Wisconsin in1991. With continued growth, UPF Massachusetts moved into a new 38,000-square-foot corporate headquarters in 1992, which includes a design and engineering center. In 2005, UPF Wisconsin moved to a 103,000-square-foot facility, and, last year, UPF Florida moved to a 78,030-square-foot facility. Today, UPF has 219,030 square feet of facilities and employees 235 people on its team.

In its 28 years, UPF’s sales has surpassed steel tanks to become the best-selling water and foam tanks in the industry, while trade-marking the name, Poly-Tank®. UPF’s lifetime warranty, the most complete warranty in the industry, makes the Poly-Tank® the last tank you’ll ever need. There are currently over 80,000 Poly-Tank® operational in 85 countries throughout the world. All of these tanks were made herein the U.S.

The PolyBody™ is a plastic body made from UPF’s PT3™ 1/2” thick Ultra High Impact Copolymer Polypropylene. The PolyBody™ provides an alternative to the steel service body materials that rust and corrode, and to the cracking problems associated with fiberglass. This true long-life body will provide an outstanding appearance year after year and chassis after chassis. In addition, The PolyBody™ offers lighter weight than conventional steel or fiberglass bodies, thereby allowing for increased payload orimproved fuel economy. UPF’s PT3™ polypropylene is so strong it can withstand the impact of a sledgehammer. Try that on a steel or fiberglass body!

“From my years in the fire service, I was aware of the UPF POLY-TANK®. In fact, I encouraged my fire company to invest in a truck with a UPF tank. Shortly after getting the vehicle, however, it was in anaccident and rolled twice. The chassis was totaled, but the UPF tank barely had a mark. This stuff is so strong, but it’s also lightweight, corrosion resistant and has a longer warranty. I knew this poly material is what I wanted my new wrecker body made of,” says Mark Sexton, Owner of Mark’s Equipment Service, Inc.

PolyBody® inherent features and advantages:

  • Corrosion and Rust Proof
  • Resists dents and dings
  • Maintenance free
  • Lighter weight Improves Fuel Economy
  • Custom Configurations
  • Automotive painted finish
  • Dry compartments
  • Increased storage capacity
  • Durable with long life capability
  • Reduces compartment noise
  • Roll-up or flush doors

The PolyBody® Wrecker body can be specified as a new or as a replacement wrecker body. UPF started manufacturing PolyBody® units as secondary styles for new wrecker OEM’s. We have since enhanced our product line to specialize in replacing Heavy Duty wrecker bodies from a 16 ton to a 75 ton rotator. These bodies can be bought as side packs and mounted to existing sub frames and are measured specifically for your replacement. UPF can supply the body only which allows you or your outfitter tocustomize lighting, chrome rails and paint. We have seen the evolution of towing bodies migrating from steel bodies in the 80s to aluminum bodies in the 90s and into composite type bodies in the 2000s. Common problems with steel bodies were corrosion leading to rust, which could start with doors, fender walls or covered areas due to settling interior water. It’s not just the snow belts who experience these issues. The United States is covered by shoreline and salt water loves to eat metal. Once it starts on your wrecker body, it finds a home until you can see through it. Aluminum bodies look great for the first 3 years when the wear and tear of everyday use starts to break down aesthetics. Throwing chains and lumbar in and out of wrecker tool boxes causes cosmetic damage and forces you to weld reinforces every few years. If today’s highways were smooth, you probably wouldn’t have an issue pounding 50,000 to 85,000 lbs. of machine up and down them every day like every other truck on the road does. Think of that long straight weld stretching 150 -250” or more twisting and turning every day. Metal has memory, so it’s only a matter of time before a stress crack appears. Now, let’s add another 80,000 lb. casualty to your load and try to avoid the potholes of our roadway infrastructure. You can’t. So, your truck and the body on it are taking a beating. So along came composite bodies. Great for corrosion resistance and are resin panels are glued not welded but they are heavy and don’t have the ability to change styles since the panels and doors are built from a pre-set mold.

So, today’s choice is yours; spend your winter windfall replacing your fleet or reevaluate your total cost of ownership with a PolyBody® replacement where your return on investment keeps more money in your pocket today.

We can still enjoy our traditional Wednesday spaghetti dinners, St. Paddy’s day corned beef, and New Year’s Eve fried rice, but I still find my favorite beer brewed and bottled in Boston! For more information, call Patrick Cahill, Director of Sales and Business Development at UPF, at 978-989-0264 or email pcahill@unitedplastic.com.

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Diversify with Mobile Service and Increase Your Bottom Line

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Today’s Towing Industry is drastically changing. Towing contracts are becoming more and more competitive, and, as most of us know, the towing business is a very volatile business to be in. Doing the math to recognize your costs per call is only half the battle. The never-ending challenge is figuring out how to maximize your per-call profits. Purchasing more fuel-efficient trucks, investing in dispatch management software, and correctly billing for each and every task performed are great ways to increase profits. But what happens when the towing calls just aren’t coming in?

In any business when times are slow – diversification is crucial. There are numerous towing companiesacross the nation that have already taken advantage of investing in a mobile service truck and have seen the profits that can be made. And, in many instances, they have found that their mobile service trucks are the most profitable of their fleet!

There is a growing need within the trucking industry to get their trucks fixed immediately on the side of the road in order to meet demanding freight schedules. The towing company is often not their first call – it’s the mobile service provider. Large and small trucking fleets alike have seen a rise in dealership service rates but even more importantly cannot afford the indefinite down time and endless other costsincurred while their truck sits at the dealership waiting to be fixed. Along with the towing companies, the mobile service provider is becoming a much-needed asset to the trucking industry.

The addition of a service truck to your fleet can increase your bottom line in sales by allowing you to provide additional services. Sales of tires, batteries, repair parts, and retail labor sales will increase profits, which you would otherwise not see. It’s interesting to note that mobile service providers receive a fee for simply responding to the call. These service vehicles can also be utilized as mobile command centers for large recovery scenes, providing tools, equipment, and supplies needed for optimum quick clearance support.

When considering an investment in a mobile service truck, there are two essential pieces to the puzzle. First, and probably the most difficult, is finding the qualified mechanic that has the experience, know-how, and determination to get the job done. The second major piece of the puzzle is equipping the right service body with adequate resources, which puts the mechanic in the best position to get the disabledtruck up and running as efficiently and safely as possible.

Today’s service trucks are more sophisticated and organized than ever. The minivan with some jumper cables and a diesel can with minimal safety lighting and insufficient work lights is a thing of the past. New service trucks are basically a shop on wheels –power units including a welder, compressor, generator, starting unit, fuel and lube transfer systems, efficient and ergonomically friendly tool & part storage are all key elements to getting the job done as quickly as possible. The inside work areas and means for storing tires and wheels are a necessity that new bodies on the market provide.

With the right combination of mechanic, tools, and service body, the sky’s the limit. And if you can’t get the truck up and running, I’m sure you know a quality towing company that can tow the truck to its respective destination!

Zip’s Truck Equipment, Inc.
www.zips.com
(800)222-6047

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HERD NORTH AMERICA – Front End Collision Protection

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With collision rates as high as 1-in-41* drivers in certain parts of the U.S., the costs of repairs, downtime, lost contracts and increasing insurance costs, front-end protection is top of mind for all truck drivers. When it comes to front-end collision protection, Herd provides the #1 solution.

Herd North America specializes in manufacturing vehicle protection guards for
commercial transport trucks and working–class pickup trucks. Their engineering team designs each model and application in-house to ensure that every Herd meets their high standards of Protection Performance and Appearance.

“There are two primary reasons that customers choose Herd,” says Leroy Peters, Marketing Manager for Herd. “Performance and Appearance.” Customers range from owner operators to small and medium size fleets. Regardless of the type of transport (oil field construction and logging to national carriers), they all depend on Herd to protect them from collision-related downtime and peace of mind for the driver.

Herd’s website has testimonial after testimonial from drivers like Geoff Little, who writes, “I recently hit a young bull moose near Savant Lake, Ontario, Canada. It was a 50 mph impact, hitting the moose with the left corner of the HERD bumper. The truck sustained no damage and the HERD bumper did not bend or crack-NO DAMAGE! I will never own another truck without a HERD bumper on its nose!”

Extruded from high quality 6061 aluminum, Herd bumpers are fully integrated and replace your factory bumper to provide complete front-end protection. They also mount directly to the frame of your truck using a steel section with exclusive impact plates that extend toward the outer edges of the bumper – the result is unparalleled protection in the event of an off-center impact.

Standard features include: Boxed-in uprights, 3” tubes or bigger, steel impact plates, signal lights and Herd’s proprietary mirror finish.

Firmly established as the industry leader, Herd is the only manufacturer who offers a full range of products from economical Defender-style to the Ultra-Premium Big Tex and Super Road Train. All of which are hand-made on a configure-to-order basis.

Visit www.herd.com for full range of products and driver testimonials or call toll-free 1-888-543-4373.
(*source: 2013 State Farm Mutual Insurance Company)

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RECOVERY BILLING UNLIMITED

Since 2009, Recovery Billing Unlimited, Inc. (RBU) has been hosting their Advanced Business
Management Seminars with a flawless feedback record. While other training institutions teach
you how to tow and perform recoveries the proper way, RBU teaches you how to be more
profitable using the techniques you’ve acquired by having the ability to bill for your services
rendered and ultimately obtain payment. No matter if your company is a one-truck operation, or
if your company has multiple locations and five rotators, this seminar will benefit you!

With nearly 500 towing and recovery outfits throughout the United States and Canada attending
since 2009, their name, image, and what they stand for is growing within the industry at a
tremendous pace. They are an organization dedicated to teaching fellow towers how to become
more profitable at what they do in the course of their daily business operations. In addition to
profitability, safety, training, and proper certification are key components discussed within the
seminar. RBU teaches:

  • Building the proper tow and recovery business from the ground up;
  • Training employees so they project a more professional image;
  • Remediation of the accident scene to free you from future liability;
  • Proper way of writing an acceptable recovery invoice;
  • Billing on liability insurance coverage only;
  • State and Federal Laws; and
  • Obtaining payment for proper billing procedures.

In addition to Bob and Eric Fouquette from Big Wheel Towing & Recovery as the main instructors of the seminar, they have numerous guest speakers on hand, including Attorneys, Insurance Executives, OSHA Instructors, and even the occasional past seminar attendee that shares their experiences since they’ve taken the course.

Rumors about the course being designed to “scam” insurance companies could not be any further from the truth. In fact, the seminars teach towing and recovery companies to work with insurance companies to get them to better understand the process that went into creating the invoice set in front of them. By having an invoice complete with a detailed narrative, itemized pricing, breakdown of all equipment, and a full set of pictures, there are no unanswered questions. RBU’s main objective with hosting these seminars is to strengthen the towing and recovery industry.

The initial cost of attendance may seem a bit daunting to some companies; however, the benefits outweigh the cost tremendously. Included along with the tuition fee comes two free refresher classes for the same people from each company that attended the first paid seminar. Also, RBU stands behind each and every attendee by being on call 24/7 to answer any and all questions that may arise at a later date. As mentioned earlier, hundreds of companies have attended the seminar, and the overall consensus is 100% positive feedback.

With that being said, visit them at Booth #405 at the American Towman Exposition being hosted this year in Baltimore, Maryland. They are also hosting one of their seminars right at the American Towman Exposition on November 22 and 23, 2014, from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. on both days. If you wish to sign up for that seminar, please contact American Towman directly. Otherwise, their next seminar will be hosted at their Massachusetts facility on January 17, 2015. Please feel free to contact Linda for more details and how to sign up at 508-763-5474.

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Reacting to Problems

DJ Harrington and Dan Messina
Reacting to Problems
By Dan Messina

I’m sure that if you were watching the news for the past month or so, it was nothing but Ray Rice and how he abused his wife and what a problem it created for the NFL. Everyone got involved, and everyone offered their opinion. I watched different talk shows and they had guests on each day talking about what was done, or what should have been done. The bottom line is the people they talked to all agreed on what was finally done. He is out of football, and now they are going after the commissioner of the NFL for his involvement or lack of involvement with the incident.

I’m going to look at this through the eyes of the NFL and how I would have handled it if I was running that business. Let’s first look at what they did.

  1. A two game suspension, and they based it on other incidents with other players.
  2. Then the NFL came out and said they handled it all wrong and they wanted a do-over.
  3. Then came the ugly video from the inside of the elevator and that changed everything.
  4. Ray Rice was suspended indefinitely.
  5. The general public is after the commissioner’s job.

If this were my business, I would not have reacted, but I would have done some investigating before I passed judgment. I feel once these steps took place, the media went crazy, and they probably had a good reason to do what they did. In this scenario, there were no winners. There will be an impact on several people’s lives forever. What Ray Rice did was wrong, and there should be major penalties assessed, but make sure when the punishment comes down, there is some good involved. Here are the results of the actions that took place:

  1. You have a young lady that has been publicly humiliated. She has to live this over and over every time she saw it on TV
  2. The young lady is now Ray Rice’s wife and her life will be impacted financially since her husband lost a $10 million a year job.
  3. There is no guarantee that this action could happen again since there was nothing that says Mr. Rice has to get some type of counseling.
  4. The NFL is taking a public relations hit because of the actions they took.
  5. It’s possible that the NFL will be looking for a new commissioner.

We work in an industry that this type of action could happen to any of us. If you were faced with this type of problem, you, the owner of the business, will have to be prepared to face the consequences of your actions.

I remember having several incidents at work where there was a fight over a child. It was a fight in the office between a driver and his wife, and they each had a hold of the child and were pulling. I separated them had a talk with each employee. There was a long history of fighting between the husband and wife, and I was new to the towing industry, so this was new to me.

They were instructed to get help, and they both eventually left the company because of the rules I put in place. When something like this happens, and these problems are often brought into the workplace, it is a major distraction. Employees take sides, and a bad working environment is created.

The rules I put in place were strict and fair to both sides. As an owner, I wanted to make sure there was no favoritism to the husband or wife, male or female. It must have worked, because for the next seven years, I never had any type of problem like this again.

Getting back to the NFL problems I think I would have handled it in the following manner:

  1. I would have suspended Ray Rice indefinitely while an investigation took place.
  2. I would have made sure that if he ever wanted to play in the NFL again that he would have to get help. This could comfort his wife knowing that with help it may never happen again.
  3. Ray Rice would have to donate $250,000 to some type of shelter for battered woman. This would set a standard for other players that if you are involved in this type of problem it going to cost you.
  4. I would make the owner also donate $250,000 to a shelter. The owner should control his employees. If there is a penalty on the owner, they will take steps to avoid these problems in the future, and take action to correct the problem if they know they have this type of problem.
  5. The shelters benefit because they have a revenue stream that will allow them to make improvements at their shelters.
  6. This would also send a message to any player that if he has a problem he better get it addressed before it becomes serious
  7. The media may not have been so hard if these types of actions were taken; therefore, they would not have been all over the TV
  8. PR for the NFL would not have taken such a big hit.
  9. The commissioner gets to keep his job.

As this problem ends, another problem arises with a child abuse case brought against one of the premier running backs in the NFL. It will be interesting to see how this plays out and if the NFL learned anything from the first experience.

This problem is only going to grow and roll over into the workplace. As a business owner, you might want to start establishing rules on how you will handle this type of problem should it occur. I guarantee you if this happened in my company my competitor would be calling on all my customers telling them how bad I was. Start talking to your employees about these problems and offer help if any of your employees are going through something like this.

If something like this occurs in your company, what you don’t want to do is pass judgment immediately without investigating. Good employees are hard to come by, and you don’t want to fire someone who doesn’t deserve to be fired. Keep an open line of communication with your employees and let them know they can come and talk to you about their problems, before they become your problems.

Owners in our industry will be facing all kinds of issues they never faced before, so don’t react when a problem occurs. Think first, talk to an outside source if you have to; this will allow you to make the right decision.

If you need help, www.djanddan.com can be of assistance.

dan messina article photo

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Picture, Prayerize, Materialize

DJ Harrington - Fuel for Thought

DJ Harrington – Fuel for Thought


Picture, Prayerize, Materialize
By D.J. Harrington, CSP

Consider this phrase: “Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize.” Sometimes what you see and hope to get will materialize.It will happen and won’t be just a dream. The phrase “Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize” reminds me of something that I really wanted years ago.

At the time, I was speaking at a convention in Myrtle Beach, North Carolina. The resort was located on a picturesque piece of property. Since I had the afternoon off, my daughter and I rented bikes and started our leisurely father-daughter ride. We talked about life, boys, and cheerleading. As we rode that sunny afternoon, I noticed a beautiful, white, four-door Lincoln with a dark blue canvas roof. It was awesome! I asked Erin for the camera and walked as close as I could to take a picture or two of the car.

To our surprise, the owner came out of his very large estate to remind me I was standing on private property. My daughter loved it! Dad was being reprimanded by an adult! Quickly, my feet started moving, and we were back on the bike trail. That night at dinner, my daughter couldn’t wait to give her mother an update. You’re probably wondering what I did with the picture that got me into trouble.

That picture became a permanent addition to my bathroom mirror and my desktop. Several times a day, I looked at that picture. Six months passed. Then one day, we visited a local Lincoln Mercury store. The general manager said, “Remember that car you wanted and were dreaming of? You’re not going to believe this, but a retiring judge just traded in that exact car last night so he could buy his wife a smaller car.”

My daughter was in shock. She said, “Whatever you think about comes about, right, dad?” She was reminding me of what she had heard me repeat many times.

Learn to Picturize, Prayerize, and it will Materialize. I have been a sales trainer since I had brown hair and had hair. One day, I was in Atlanta, Georgia, calling on the World Headquarters of Coca Cola. This day, we had an appointment with the head person of purchasing for Coke—Worldwide. The sales person accompanying me on this trip asked me what he should do before calling on an account. I told him if it’s a large account like Coke or a small account where the husband & wife run the business…it’s all the same.

My strategy and preparation are simple. I first picture the buyer as a nice person and that they like me. They trust my company or firm and then I see the buyer in my mind, signing a very large purchase order. And then, guess what happened? He did just that. It was one of the largest purchase orders that we ever had. The buyer was a nice person. It was the sales call made in Heaven, or should I say made first in my mind. People from other walks of life share similar thinking.

Many famous golfers say that they first see the ball spin into the hole way before they pull their putter back and do their slow and even strike onto the ball. It’s called Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize.

Visualization and expectation is when you expect things that you want and try not to expect the things that you don’t want. Here’s another Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize event.

When we purchased a very nice home in the Atlanta, Georgia area, the basement was not finished. The development was really located in a “fake it, till you make it” neighborhood where most of us bought more home than we really needed at the time. Most of us certainly had no way to fill it with furniture.

When we moved into the neighborhood, my daughter Erin was only 8 years old. In one corner of the unfinished basement, I put up a wall and made it into a make-shift workshop. Erin had two little friends she was showing the house. They didn’t know I was behind the wall, but I could hear every world they said. My daughter began to mimic me! Not always good! But I listened.

Erin continued with, “Now here will be the movie theatre. Over here and there will be the ice cream bar, and this will be where the pool table will go”. She told one of her friends to step back because she was now standing where the jukebox was going to be. And, yes, there will be a dance floor.

Now, my daughter is all grown-up. And just as she told her friends that day, the basement is furnished as she described it. There is a movie theatre with real movie seats, a dance floor with black and white tile, a pool table, and an ice cream soda fountain. The only difference is that we did not get an old jukebox. We installed a 1973 Ford Thunderbird jukebox. A rare find! And it makes for a great sounding jukebox. Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize!!!

My wish to all of you is to learn to picturize. Picture in your mind, first the car, the home, business or career that you want. Then pray, think or meditate on it. And then get ready for what materializes. In the words of my dad, “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, he will achieve!”

By adapting these three words, Picturize, Prayerize, Materialize, you, too, will be on the right track for what you want.

Until next time.

DJ Harrington is an author, journalist, seminar leader, international trainer, and marketing consultant. He works primarily with customer service personnel, and his clients include such world-class companies as General Motors, DuPont, Caterpillar, and Damon Corporation. He can be reached at 800-352-5252 or by e-mail at dj@djsays.com

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