A Good Offense: It’s the best defense against those who seek to regulate us

Overview

Published: 05/01/2012

by Dennis Wencel

Photos

Your state towing association has much to offer its members. From educational opportunities to information sharing to just being around other people who have an idea of what you go through every day. But the greatest benefit your towing association may present to you is the chance to create a singular and powerful voice for towers’ interests with legislative efforts at the State Capitol.

Towers are under attack throughout the United States from interests that want to impose onerous laws and regulations on towers. In the past several years there have been efforts by the insurance and other industries to push regulations in an effort to legislate to the extremes.

Every insurance company has a story or two about an insured vehicle being held “ransom” by an unscrupulous tower for an exorbitant amount of money — often requiring the payment in cash with the transaction taking place in a vacant lot in a seedy part of town.

Their Money Talks
And surely the issue of wreck chasers is a black eye on the towing community. But ransom situations and wreck chasing are of course the exception and not the norm in the towing industry. But that reality is not stopping the companies from throwing their substantial weight around with legislators.

Insurance companies have a lot of money and people to reach out and schmooze politicians, and they’re pretty darn good at it. Representing, say 25,000 customers in the state, their pitch to legislators is that fixed towing rates, additional licensing, extra fees, and complicated paper trails are the only ways to protect the average citizen against unscrupulous towing operators.

What is not made clear to Mr. Politician is the amount of additional work and expense these policies put on America’s small businesses. And Senators and Representatives will never know that unless they happen to know a tower personally or hear from someone representing the towers’ side of this discussion.

What Can You Do?
You and I know that the vast majority of towers are honest, hard-working small-business owners who could benefit from less government interference in the day-to-day operation of their companies.

We understand that most of us charge reasonable rates and perform outstanding emergency-response services in every possible weather condition 24 hours a day.

And we believe time-consuming paperwork is often in direct conflict with our charge as incident managers to clear intersections quickly and return the flow of traffic.

So what can you do about it? Chances are your state towing association already has a legislative committee and fund they use to present the tower’s perspective to law makers. Contact this person and find out what is going on in your state. This committee is often the first and last line of defense for towers.

Your Best Shot
Your involvement and your money are important. The legislative committee is often charged with hiring and managing the lobbyist to keep tabs on the comings and goings at the State Capitol. In the absence of someone with their ear to the ground for towers, the legislative process can move quickly down the road before any tower is even aware of the proposals.

Simply put, your state towing association is the best chance you have to protect yourself against onerous legislation and over-regulation of our industry. Insurance companies and others who push for tow industry legislation count on towers to be independent and therefore unable to respond as a cohesive unit to their damaging legislative efforts.

A few hundred dollars a year to your state association’s legislative fund can be a difficult check to write, but it could turn out to be the best money you spend each year.

Consider it a little insurance policy — to protect you from the insurance people! And if your state association does not have a legislative committee, maybe that is the sign for you to step up to your fellow towers and get them involved to help protect our industry.

Dennis Wencel developed “The Black Book of Towing” and accompanying DVD set to help independent towers be more profitable. His company TowProgram. com also provides online advertising solutions for towing companies. Order his book or advertising services at www.towprogram.com or by calling 888-834-1123.