TOPS® Software – The Benefit of Embracing New Technologies to Grow Your Business

The days when towing companies could run operations with a pad a pencil are a thing of the past.  The demands of the industry are changing rapidly, and without adequate computer systems to manage those, companies can and will fall behind.  With digital dispatching and complex reporting requirements coming from all sides, towing companies need sophisticated systems to handle these increasing demands to compete in this ever-changing landscape.

In this world of interconnected devices and systems, towing companies have been forced to follow suit.  Motor clubs, municipalities, law enforcement, and even the person on the street want to be able to request a tow from whatever kind of device they are using without having to pick up a phone and make a call.  Law Enforcement wants to be able to send a tow request that is entered by the officer in the squad car.  Motor clubs want to able to dispatch to a tower through their digital dispatching product.  The person on the street wants to able to click on a link and request a tow without having to call all over the place to find a company willing to do the work.  And then after the work is assigned, all the previously mentioned customers want to able to see a status of the driver’s progress to know when the driver will arrive.

Companies large and small use software to run their towing operations.  Large companies understand the necessity of integrated systems, but small companies can take advantage of all of the same features with the same impressive results.  The web-based tools that are available to the towing industry in today’s world are better and more connected that ever.  Even a small company that used to be only concerned with keeping records and invoicing can utilize the same digital tools that until recently were only available to large companies with large systems budgets.  Quality computer systems already provide a retrievable history, can verify invoicing and manage receivables.  But the real benefits are in the new features and the doors that it can open for your company, and the new business opportunities they present. While it does take time to input data and to learn how to use a system, in the end a business is able to offer a better product, get paid for all the work that is provided, and convey a more professional image to their customers.

Included in this article are some features of our TOPS® towing management systems which help to illustrate how software can be used to help you manage your business and to take advantage of these new and increasingly important technologies. These features help our customers streamline their overall business process, save time on daily tasks and offer a better and more professional product to their customers.

Municipality and Law Enforcement Towing

Towing on behalf of a municipality or a law enforcement organization can be a profitable part of a towing business.  City and police contracts usually are signed and in place for several years and can amount to significant revenue.  In addition, being associated with city and police contracts lends a certain amount of respectability to a company’s reputation.

As cities and law enforcement agencies continue the move towards modernization of their systems, they are demanding that towing companies do the same.  The days of receiving telephone calls from police dispatch offices or receiving faxes to pick up abandoned vehicles are quickly becoming a memory.  They want integrated systems that receive calls directly from their officers in the field, and from their dispatchers or CAD systems.  They want GPS devices in the contractors’ trucks to allow for automatically dispatching to the closest truck.  They want 20 minute ETAs with GPS-based accountability.  They want paperless tow sheets, and real-time integrations with their records systems.  If companies want to be in the law enforcement towing business, they are being required to have systems that support these technologies.  Many of these contracts are awarded and then implemented in weeks and not months, and the computer systems’ provider must be prepared to integrate and assimilate information and processes quickly and without mistake.  Cities take the health and safety of their citizens and law enforcement officers seriously, and the demands – and payoffs – can be high.

The TOPS® suite of municipal products includes several tools which cater to managing Dispatch, Towing management and Impound management with full transparency between all parties.  The heart of the system is our TOPS CMA.  TOPS CMA manages the creation and distribution of tow requests out to the contracted tow operators. The tow operators themselves can manage the towing and impounding of these requests using our TOPS impound software, with each driver able to use the TOPS Driver mobile application.  As the towing and impound data is entered into the towers’ TOPS impound software, it is reflected back in real-time into the TOPS CMA for oversight and review by the municipality or law enforcement.  The TOPS PPI system allows municipalities to monitor Private-Property Impound and Repossession firms as they enter non-consent tows.  The TOPS PD system is a web-enabled search and reporting tool that allows 911 and 311 centers access to city summary impound data without granting them access to other systems.  The TOPS Public Search tool allows the public to search across all City, county, private and PPI lots to find their vehicle if it has been towed.

This model of full transparency is what sets the TOPS suite of municipal applications apart from the rest. The next time you are fighting for local contracts, remember that these tools are available to law enforcement, to the city and to you – the local tow operator – to use in a 3rd party management role.

Motor Club Towing

Whether a towing company’s primary business is motor club calls or they simply use motor club calls to keep their trucks busy between account and police calls, motor club business can be a valuable asset to a towing company.  In addition to traditional motor club operations, many automobile insurance companies now include motor club emergency service as part of their value-added services.  Like it or not motor clubs are here to stay, and as a revenue stream they shouldn’t be ignored.

Many motor clubs are increasingly using digital dispatch systems to send calls to their tower base in an effort to drive costs and arrival times down.  Many clubs have made it a requirement to continue to do business with them.  Early on these digital interfaces were proprietary to the motor club and sometimes required club-specific systems.  Many dispatch systems now have a dedicated motor club interface for receiving and responding to motor club tow requests which merge clubs into a single, easy to understand system.  This allows your staff to see and respond to motor club requests much quicker and easier, and simplifies the entire process.

TOPS Motor Club is the TOPS digital dispatch interface to receive and respond to digital platform motor club calls. TOPS Motor club receives digital tow requests from ADS, Agero, Allstate, GEICO, NSD, Quest, Road America, Tesla, USAC and FleetNet. As tow and service requests are received and negotiated, calls are pushed directly into the TOPS dispatch system.  This offers an efficient transfer of information into TOPS for dispatch to the best driver / truck resource. Updates are shared back to the respective motor club, offering a full two-way integration with each motor club. Using integrated tools like TOPS Motor Club can help your company receive additional work and increase your call volume.

Mobile Applications

Mobile applications have become a critical tool for businesses on the go. Mobile applications enable workers in the field to quickly and easily access and update data and to support their job functions. As law enforcement and motor clubs increasingly require real-time driver status updates and ETAs, mobile applications are the only way to realistically provide these.

Using effective mobile applications, drivers and supervisors can update call status times, navigate to pickup and drop-off locations, upload and store vehicle- and incident-related information and photographs, create and dispatch new calls and email call receipts to customers directly from their mobile device in the field.  Impound-lot personnel can enter and update vehicle information, do physical inventories and inspections, take photographs, and scan barcodes for ease of managing lot inventory. When these systems are interconnected with municipality systems, the updating and sharing of data provides transparency that cannot be obtained any other way.

The TOPS® suite of mobile applications includes apps to aid field and inventory operations.  All mobile apps are designed for iOS and Android mobile phones and tablets.  TOPS Driver allows the driver to receive, update and even create calls on the fly.  The TOPS Inventory application is designed for the impound-lot staff to take physical inventories, search for vehicle information and update records as needed.  The TOPS Xtra app ties completely customizable functionality to our standard TOPS Driver and TOPS Inventory applications. An example is to add a customized paperless tow sheet to TOPS Driver or a customized impound inspection process to TOPS Inventory.

Web-based Applications

Web-based applications have opened new doors for towing businesses to increase cash sales. Web-based applications enable the person on the street to search out a local tower and request a tow, by simply clicking on a link on a web page that the tower provides.  By clicking a link, the system can determine their location and create a tow request, which can be directed to the closest available driver via the GPS location of the trucks.  This provides the person on the side of the road with unprecedented access to services that they have never had before along with the peace of mind knowing that help is on the way.

GPS Interface

The most valuable physical asset a towing company has is its fleet of trucks and equipment.  Each truck constitutes a significant financial investment, as well as being a rolling advertisement for the company at all times while on the road.  Many companies have chosen to protect that investment by installing GPS devices in their trucks.  These devices can be hard-wired, or in some cases can be plugged into the vehicle’s OBDII port as a ‘plug-n-play’ solution.  These devices can often be purchased for relatively small investments.

The GPS device is only half of the story.  The other half is the software interface designed around the device.  What good is knowing the lat/long of a truck if you don’t know where that is on a map?  A good GPS system relies on software that is engineered to support the user and the business that they are in.  The BudgetGPS system is a vehicle and fleet tracking solution that can be used by any industry, but is specifically tuned to support the towing industry. BudgetGPS integrates with the TOPScma system and the TOPS software to offer a true visual dispatching tool, where users are able to view current vehicle locations, unassigned pickup and drop-off locations – all on the same map. Icons are color coded allowing for a visual picture of calls in-process and those that are clearing. Knowing this information can save time, and time is money. Additionally, users are able to monitor ETA’s based on mapping calculations of drive time between the truck and pickup locations.  The BudgetGPS system also allows for dispatching the closest truck to the breakdown, by using the ETA of each available truck and its proximity to the incident location.  This feature is becoming the option of choice for law enforcement agencies, as it has shown time and time again to provide the lowest ETAs, and the streets are cleared the quickest.

BudgetGPS delivers a full set of features for a single low price. These include things like Live Map with 20-second vehicle updates and live Google traffic for both the map and satellite views, a historical breadcrumb view with 6 months of history, Alerts and Monitoring for PTO, GeoFence, Ignition, and Speeding. Reports include Driver Distance, State Mileage, Stops, Speeding and more.

About towXchange

TXI Systems, Inc. dba towXchange markets and sells towing management products under the brand name of TOPS®. The TOPS® suite of products is deployed to private tow operators, municipalities and law enforcement. TOPS® software tools support towing dispatch, freeway service patrol, impound lot management, private property towing and more with efficiency, transparency, and accountability in mind. BudgetGPS fleet tracking is also marketed to the towing industry and offers a full-service fleet tracking tool with includes a visual dispatching integration with TOPS®. Let TXI Systems customize a solution for you today!

For more information or to schedule a demonstration, please call 866-800-8677 Opt 2 or visit our websites – TOPS® –  BudgetGPS –

TOPS® is a Registered Trademark of TXI Systems, Inc.