Rules & regulations
Ready to set out on his own, Warnke took his own truck to a repair and equipment shop and had it outfitted with everything a professional tow truck needs. Only then did he realize that there are quite a few challenges to face as the owner of a towing company.
“There is a lot of insurance costs, Department of Transportation regulations, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration regulations and fees, advertising, fuel, etc. And as a commercial driver, there are additional rules that need to be followed for the safety of everyone on the road,” explained Warnke.
Additionally, Warnke noted, the rules and regulations of towing differ depending on the type of license you have. For instance, he said, All County Towing is not licensed to impound a vehicle.
“Clark County has limited the number of towing companies it has allowed to set up impound yards/lots in and around Vancouver, so some of the newer guys are having to focus on private and motor club work. When I get a call for someone else’s call parked in front of an apartment complex or in front of someone’s driveway, I am unable to take the call,” he said.
With impounding out of the picture and in addition to roadside assistance, All County Auto Towing focuses on fuel delivery, jump-starts, winching and lockout service.
Traditional and digital marketing
Like many other small businesses, Warnke has learned to utilize the Internet to market his company. He enlisted the help of a search engine optimization (SEO) expert and has also used Google AdWords to bring in service calls.
At the end of the day, Warnke said the best way to compete in advertising is to make sure everyone is happy and taken care of. The combination of word-of-mouth and positive reviews online have served him well, he said.
“I am focused on giving my customers the best service possible while being straight forward with pricing,” he said. “I do not low-ball a quote just to get out there and get the vehicle serviced only to raise
the rate. I enjoy helping people and the appreciation I receive from them.”