Good advertising for towing begins with online marketing, and at Lift we’re constantly focused on getting cash calls for our clients using SEO fundamentals, reviews, and social media. Carefully done Private-Property Towing can also be good advertising for towing and help support the bottom line.
Private-property towing works well within the confines of a traditional towing and recovery company in that the employee skillset and equipment requirements dovetail nicely to general towing assets. The demand for private-property calls can serve as a good off-peak work source, and private property signage can act as billboards for your company throughout your service area—increasing your visibility beyond the rolling billboards you have by way of your trucks.
The downside: people are generally unhappy when their car is towed without their consent. This unhappiness, if unmanaged, can have a negative impact on your brand image. It is important that the same high-quality customer service is provided even to the most irate customers. We know from experience that you can convert a private-property customer to an at-will cash customer if the situations are handled correctly.
Understanding and employing private property work can be good advertising for towing businesses.
Since private-property towing often requires additional levels of licensing and regulation as well as paperwork and customer management, many companies avoid adding the source to their towing business altogether. But understanding and employing this work source can be good advertising for towing and a perfect complement to your business.
In addition to licensing, companies are typically required post tow to notify the local police and then follow up with the appropriate DMV if the vehicle goes unclaimed for a period of days. Once ownership information is received, the tow company is further required to send a certified letter notifying the owner of impoundment, claim procedures, and a destruction/auction notice if the vehicle remains unclaimed. It seems like a lot of work, but once you have your process down it is fairly painless.
Warning signage is usually required to be posted on the property. Sign requirements can include a warning that vehicles can be towed, the price of tow, tow company name and contact information, and hours of operation.
Many towing companies form a separate company to handle their private property work, which is a sound strategy. When that is not possible, carefully select which type of lots to service and design your signs to be good advertising for towing potential voluntary customers.
For instance, instead of defaulting to a somewhat menacing red all caps “NO PARKING” sign, use your company colors, add the police phone number in addition to your shop line, and use language like “Tenant Parking Only” if regulations allow.
Depending on the volume of signs purchased, you can estimate spending about $25 per set up. This includes the sign, poles, your time posting signs, the on-site meeting with property management, etc. If you think you will get at least three tows from the property, the overhead expense will be covered. If you think you will not get any calls from the property, consider if the sign location will help business. If the signs are not in a good area for potential customer to see your brand, then it may make sense to ask the property owner for a nominal annual fee, say $50 per year. This will at least ensure you don’t lose money on the deal.
As for sign placement, be sure to strictly follow laws dictating sign position and also consider other hazards such as snow removal lanes, landscaping activity and anything else that may destroy your signs.