Darian Weaver – Thanks for the time you have given me to learn more about your company, and how you have grown through the years. So, how did Pitts & Sons get started?

Todd: My grandfather, Leon Pitts, started the company in 1948.  My grandfather had a heart for people, so he owned a service station and wrecker service–his first truck had a hand crank! Leon had a heart for service and growing the business, so he brought his son (my father), Sammy Pitts, up in the business. Sammy, like his father, instilled the same passion for people and for quality service in his own kids, me and my brothers.  Sammy opened wrecker service in Saraland in 1982, and we grew to 122 trucks and currently are at 95-plus trucks. We have not only grown in the number of trucks, we have also expanded to different locations here in Alabama based in Birmingham, Mobile, and Saraland and even out of state to locations in Memphis TN, and Milton, Florida. 


Darian- What was a factor that really grew your business?

Todd- In 2007, insurance and driver pools were affecting our growth as a company, so we made the decision to scale back and put more emphasis on employee training and retention.  Once dispatched, the driver is the one who interacts with the customer and other first responders, collects key information, performs the tow, making it all happen.  Because of that, we put a major focus on enlisting quality drivers. The better your driver, the better your business.  We also split towing and heavy hauling right down the middle.  So now, between hauling and towing, we are busting out at the seams.


Darian – So, how would you describe your team at Pitts & Sons Wrecker Service?

Todd – We have a real strong team because when we hire new employees, we tell them that we will treat them like family because we won’t ask them to do anything that we have not already done.  This explains why we have such a strong employee retention. Our employee with the longest time has worked with us for 35 years.  Other employees have been with us for 20, 18, and 15 years. People stay when you treat them like family, and that is what we do.


Darian – What would you say are the keys to your success?

Todd – First is a commitment to family. We are a family-owned and family-run business. My grandfather started the towing business as “Pitts Wrecker Service.” When my oldest brother, Jerry Pitts, came along, the name changed to “Pitts and Son Wrecker Service.” When my youngest brother, Darrell Pitts and I came along, it became, “Pitts and Sons Wrecker Service.”  My grandfather was passionate from the beginning about the towing business, so he invited us to join him as a family which is reflected in the in how our business name changed through the years. Second is a commitment to the community. Our company’s purpose is to the serve the city assisting people when times are bad and when they need help picking up the pieces–we want to be there for them. For us, it is more than just towing or recovering a vehicle, it’s about helping people. These are the very reasons I personally went into the towing business myself: to carry on the family tradition and serve the community when they are in need.


Darian – What has been one of your biggest challenges in business?

Todd – “One of the biggest challenges has been finding the right drivers that you can count on. You can find truck drivers, but you can’t always find tow truck drivers. When you do find a tow truck driver and he is trained already, you still want to train him on how you do it.”  Once we do find the right tow truck driver, one of the most important and frequent things we say to train him in how we do it is, “Take care of your equipment and your customers. Because your customers are number one, roll out the red carpet for them!”


Darian – With 15 light-duty wreckers, 10 medium-duty wreckers, and a 60-ton rotator truck with air cushion recovery, how do you reduce the waiting time for a customer from equipment or truck issues?

Todd – Getting to the customer in the timeliest way with a truck and equipment that is working and ready to go is a premium value for us. Because of that, we employee 3 full-time mechanics to service all our trucks, so breakdowns are less likely because of proactive and proper maintenance.  Any issue that arises can be dealt with by a mechanic who knows the trucks and can make any repairs quickly and efficiently that might be needed.


Darian – What is the range of services you offer the public?

Todd – Being HazMat and WreckMaster certified, we offer a wide range of towing services: we have towing and recovery experience in automobiles, 18-wheelers, airplanes, boats, and anything you can drive.  So, whether you have a small car that needs towing or have overturned heavy equipment needing air cushion recovery, we offer a 24- hour/seven days a week full-service towing and recovery for any size job.


Darian – What is one of your most challenging recoveries that you have done throughout your time in the business?

Todd – One of the most challenging recoveries we had was a tractor trailer that was carrying sulfuric acid that turned over on top of a bridge. Part of the trailer was hanging off the bridge touching the ground below while the rest of the trailer was on the top of the bridge along with the tractor and tank which had a hole punched in it and was pouring acid out on the bridge.  It was the extent of the cleanup that was unforgettable.  It highlighted the importance of being ready for a very toxic spill cleanup while at the same time recovering a vehicle that was in a very complicated and compromised position. 


Darian – Of all the things you have experienced in the towing business, what would say are your best memories?

Todd – I have to say my best memories are the times when I got a new truck, and I would take it over to my grandfather.  When he saw it, he would light up every time; it made his day and mine too! We are a family business, and in the end making that family happy is what counts!

Darian – Thanks for the time you have given me in sharing your story of Pitts and Sons Wrecker Service.  We appreciate your commitment to family and to the community you serve appreciating what you and all our readers do for the public risking your lives to help those in need.