A tow truck driver employs a towing and recovery company and they assist clients with breakdown and accidents. Their duty involves driving to the accident scene or vehicle breakdown, connect the damaged vehicle to the truck and tow the vehicle safely to the junkyard. The truck operators may also require to perform minor roadside repairs, changing the tire, and jumpstart cars. The tow truck drivers offer repair and hauling services to commercial and non-commercial vehicles, policies, and municipalities. To perform the job professionally, the truck operator needs to be knowledgeable and experienced.
What does a tow truck driver do?
- Prompt service to customers – When the tow truck driver receives a call, they need to respond to it promptly and must provide outstanding customer service on the scene. They must greet customers courteously with a smile and must have a positive attitude. They need to show empathy when customers are upset. They must speak professionally and use active listening skills to determine the nature of the problem. They need to be experts in handling various types of vehicles, repair, and maintenance.
- Perform minor repair – If there are minor issues in a vehicle, the tow truck driver must offer repair service at the spot. Minor repair services include reconnecting parts, testing and jump-starting a dead battery, inflating and swapping a flat tire, and providing enough fuel to the customer from the nearby fuel station. If the customer gets trapped inside the vehicle, they must provide a lockout service.
- Towing service – If the truck operator is not able to fix large repair problems, they must be ready to offer emergency roadside towing services. The tow truck driver must know using the right towing tools like wheel traps, safety chains, and J hooks. They must tow the vehicle safely and make sure the vehicle doesn’t suffer any damage during transfer.
- Conduct regular maintenance of vehicle – the tow truck operator should regularly maintain their trucks and other equipment. They must make sure the truck remains clean and well maintained and should be ready to offer service to customers at any time. The driver must follow general and safety inspection and perform minor maintenance on regular basis.
- Administrative duties – The truck operators should follow up with their customers regularly and must provide status updates. The driver must be educated to conduct minimum paperwork like a daily log of two truck inspection and repair activity, reporting missing tools, travel, and mileage logs. They need to provide itemized invoices and handwritten receipts to customers.
How to become a tow truck operator?
Towing professionals must be ready to deal with various situations and the job involves navigating all sorts of roadways. The rules and regulations required to become a tow truck driver vary from state to state in the US. Most candidates need to pass a series of tests as well as licensing programs. Candidates need to go through different levels to become a professional tow truck operator.
Meet the age and education requirement
The candidate needs to be at least 18 years or older to operate a tow truck. However, many companies have their criteria so you need to be technically qualified to be a tow truck driver. Companies won’t be ready to hire anyone younger than 21 or 25. Most companies would ask drivers to have completed at least a high school diploma or GED.
Must possess a valid driving license
The candidate must possess a standard state-issued driving license and should also have a clean driving record. Most tow companies will inspect prospective employee’s driving records. If someone has a record of speed driving or general traffic violation is unlikely to be hired.
Must pass a physical assessment
The towing company will examine whether the candidate has passed the physical exam including vision, hearing, and a drug test. Although there are no general physical requirements for this role, you must be physically fit to perform the job. Due to heavy machinery that has to be used, the driver will require to pass a drug test.
Submit a background check
Sometimes your employer will run a criminal background check because you will be accountable to transfer customer’s valuable possession from one location to another and they must be trustworthy. Anyone with a felony on their record or other crimes is unlikely to be hired. Some states ask tow truck drivers to be fingerprinted before they start their job.
On-the-job training remains the best way to learn about companies’ specific policies, safety procedures, and strategies. They may not ask you for educational background, you may gain experience and then pursue your certification. Your certification will verify that you have learned essential skills to advance your driving career.
Get a commercial driver’s license
Not all tow truck jobs require CDL but the US does require a specialized license for anyone to operate a truck and cargo that weighs more than 26001 pounds. Light duty truck weighs about 14,000 pounds and medium-duty truck weighs at least 26000. Some of the states require tow truck professionals to have commercial licenses regardless of how much they tow. Candidates may acquire CDL through in-person training and written test. Once you pass the test, the employment chances remain high. You can become a versatile candidate.
Certifications to be a tow truck driver
The certification program is available for those who already have experience in towing. Three levels of certification exist.
Level 1 – light-duty – candidates must meet all requirements for light-duty training. You will also need 90 days of tow truck experience. Level 1 certification includes tests with 100 questions. With level one certification, you can operate a truck with a lift and tow hidden wheel lift.
Level 2 – Medium-duty – the second certification program is the middle level that requires 1 year of employment as a heavy-duty tow trucker. You will need 1 year as a recovery operator, a commercial driver’s license, and level 1 certification.
Level 3 – Heavy recovery specialist – the final level is when you receive heavy-duty certification. You need a commercial driver’s license, level 2 certification, and 2 years of experience.
Candidates need to continue with their certification until they reach the third and final tier. The certification will help you become a well-rounded tow truck driver capable of performing a variety of jobs.