In the unpredictable industry of towing, it’s important to be prepared for responding to various types of emergency service calls at all times of the day.
Located in Southfield, Mich., Quality Towing has a tow truck fleet consisting of wreckers, flatbeds and a large specialty truck to handle different types of towing and hauling jobs.
“We wait for the phone to ring,” says Glenn Flynn, owner of Quality Towing. “On average, the amount of towing per day varies and it depends on the weather. On a busier day, we could have around 20 calls.”
A majority of its business comes from police departments that need an accident vehicle towed or auto repair shops needing disabled vehicles picked up, but Quality Towing also provides automobile transport, long haul trucking, abandoned car removal and private property impounds.
Starting in 1984 with one older truck, Flynn’s company has grown to eight diesel trucks — with another truck on the way. His current fleet consists of four Ford trucks (two F550s and two F650s), two T300 Kenworth trucks and two Chevrolet trucks (C5500 and C6500 series).
Responding to calls within the Detroit metro area, the trucks don’t put on a lot of miles per day. According to Flynn, his trucks average about 20,000 to 30,000 miles per year.
“I find it very rewarding helping the motoring public,” says Flynn. “They are normally glad to see me pull up whether it is as simple as changing a tire or assisting them after they have been involved in an accident.”
One of the biggest challenges for Flynn is maintaining a 24 hour service. In case emergency calls come in overnight, he normally has two drivers work the night shift. But during the winter when there are snow or ice storms, Flynn has had most (if not all) his drivers work through the night.
“The drivers take home the flatbed trucks after hours and are dispatched from there,” says Flynn. “It can make for a long day. That is one of the hardest parts of my business: being overwhelmed with calls one day or night and then having no calls the following day.”
Depending on the towing situation, Flynn has flatbed trucks and wreckers in his fleet. Flatbeds are often used in the industry because all-wheel-drive vehicles need to be towed with all four wheels off the ground, says Flynn.
Additionally, flatbeds have the ability to tow two cars at the same time. Wreckers can be useful for recovering a car from a ditch and require less space than a flatbed to load a vehicle — an advantage when working in a tight urban area or parking lot, according to Flynn.
With five drivers, not all of Flynn’s trucks are used on a daily basis. One truck is designated as a spare and another is specifically used for towing large box trucks. All the other trucks can tow any type of car, says Flynn.
After purchasing the trucks from his local dealership, each truck is drop shipped to American Enterprises, a body manufacturer based in Ohio. According to Flynn, American Enterprises provides the new chassis for his truck.
“American Enterprises will get the chassis for me and it only takes a few weeks to get the body mounted,” says Flynn. “Then they create customized large toolboxes on the sides of each truck.”
These large toolboxes carry equipment needed for towing, such as tie-down chains and straps, as well as brooms and shovels for accident clean-up.
After running the trucks for five to six years, Flynn usually sells them to avoid high mileage. “I have had some luck selling them on eBay,” he says.