The Owner is the Company

The last few articles I talked about how the industry is changing. The industry can change but one thing remains the same. YOU. When I started my company I knew nothing about the industry, but I knew who I was and how I would operate. Growing up I played a lot of team sports. I never realized how that would play a role later in business. I was very competitive and always wanted to win. In order to win you need several things to happen:

  • Know the rules of the game
  • Know your objective
  • Look intimidating
  • Surround yourself with good players
  • Don’t worry about your reputation
  • Define your character

These were the winning ingredients for my company. The industry is changing and owners today must adapt to all the changes.

Rules of the game

There are new rules to meet the ever changing times. Not only are there new laws that changed the game, but we got hit with a pandemic that also changed the way we do business. Hiring new employees has become a challenge. First you have to find the right people to hire. Then you have to meet their demands on what you have to pay them. Every state in every city seems to have their own set of rules.

Your objective

When I opened my doors I knew exactly how I wanted my company to look, and how I wanted it to function. You can’t do that today. Trucks are hard to find, people are hard to find, and you custom has become too demanding.

Look intimidating

Any sports team I played on I made sure we had matching uniforms, all the colors matched, added bling, and had the latest and greatest equipment. Today my drivers have blue hair and listen to their girlfriend. I was in Wisconsin talking to a business owner and he got a call that his driver quit because his girlfriend broke up with him. No notice, no other job to go to, no 2 week notice just left the owner hanging

Good players

I tried to hire the best employees for each position. Today people just want to stay at home and live off the government. In the past we always had a driver problem. I can’t think what it’s going to be like 5 years from now. My next mission will be to start a towing trade school. I will be working with the California state association and hopefully many of the tow companies out there to make this happen. Watch for details in the future.

Your reputation

All you have left is who you are and how you built your company. When you are the best company your competition will try to ruin your reputation. Remember this is not who you are this is other people’s opinion. They can paint any picture they want and make you look how they want you to look.

Your character

Remember you are a service company. Your customer will know who you are by your character, the team you built, and the way you conduct business.

It is difficult being a small business owner because you wear all the hats even if they don’t fit. Make no mistake your company will become what you are. The good thing to know is, there are plenty of resources to draw on if you are having problems, especially other business owners that would love the opportunity to help when you have problems.

Remember these few things:

  • If you want others to pursue excellence, you must set the standard
  • If you want others to communicate, you must be prepared to listen
  • If you want others to have innovation, you must give them freedom to fail
  • If you want others to trust you, you must earn their trust
  • If you want others to follow you, you must demonstrate excellent leadership

Success Magazine

Be honest, moral, and ethical and your business will succeed no matter how the industry changes. I am building my new company based on how you run your business, I want to have 20,000 tow companies towing for my customers and I will help you set the standard of excellence in the future.

I had the opportunity to experience firsthand a company with good working ethics. Recently I was traveling home from vacation and our group stopped in Louisiana to eat supper. When it was time to leave my truck would not start. We packed up all the woman in one car and sent them on their way back to Dallas. My son-in-law and I waited for the tow truck. It was a motor club call so you know it took a while for the truck to arrive. I talked to the owner of the company who assure me the truck was on its way and he would be there as soon as possible. The truck was about 20 miles out.

I received a very fair price and a reassuring voice that I would be taken care of.
After about an hour the truck arrived and we were preparing it for tow and my truck started. I told the driver to leave, and that I would drive back to Dallas without stopping. The tow truck driver left and I started on my way. I made it about 8 miles and my truck died. In the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. I called the owner of the tow company again. He told me not to worry he would send the driver back out. He did not charge me and his only concern seemed to be for my safety. Forty minutes later the driver showed up and took me to the nearest Ford dealer and dropped off my truck. The driver was friendly and courteous and took us to a hotel where I ended up spending the night. I was having a bad day but the tow company and the driver did the best they could to make my day better than it was.

It was easy to see this company had good working ethics and business sense when it came to a satisfying a stranded customer.

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Dan Messina
In 2003, Dan Messina started his own towing company starting out with just one truck and no accounts. In two short years, he was number one in the industry. In 2006, he founded Southwest Tow Operators, one of the largest tow associations in the U.S. We are proud to share Dan's business advice with the towing industry.